Tyres take on new roles

As the march towards autonomous motoring steps up its pace along with efforts to make motoring ‘greener’, the car tyre is taking on a far more prominent role as an information provider to the unit as a whole.

At this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA), Continental presented Conti C.A.R.E., a comprehensive technology system.

Conti C.A.R.E. (Connected. Autonomous. Reliable. Electrified.) stands for the fine-tuned networking of wheel and tyre technology and the manageability of the desired performance characteristics. These characteristics are also closely aligned with the requirements of electric and autonomous driving in both individual and shared mobility scenarios.

In combination with the web-based ContiConnect Live application, Conti C.A.R.E. forms a flexible system solution that can provide a means of tyre management for modern robo-taxi fleets, for example, boosting performance as well as helping to optimize costs.

Conti C.A.R.E. tyres feature sensors that are built into the structure of the tyre. These sensors generate and continuously evaluate data concerning tread depth, possible damage, tyre temperature and tyre pressure.

This monitoring system, which goes by the name of ContiSense, transmits information on the condition of the tyres to ContiConnect Live, facilitating efficient mobility management for fleet operators.

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It can also actively adjust tyre pressures by means of centrifugal pumps built into the wheel. As the vehicle accelerates, the centrifugal forces within the wheel act on the pump to generate compressed air. This PressureProof technology keeps the tyre pressure constantly within the ideal range and helps achieve a sustainable drop in CO2 emissions. Any excess compressed air is stored in an integrated tank.

PressureBoost technology then uses this air to rapidly adapt the tyre pressures to various driving situations.

And, in the SilentWheel concept, Continental will be presenting a modified wheel rim that reduces the vibrations generated while driving and delivers superior ride quality.

However, it goes further than that and, like so many other industry verticals, fleet management is undergoing significant change as new technologies become commercially viable. These technologies are helping to streamline current operations but, more exciting, they promise to change the nature of fleet management altogether.

One of the most promising of these is tyre management which is already changing important aspects of fleet management for the better. But while individual technologies can be used effectively as standalone solutions, taking the ecosystem approach is actually the way to achieve new levels of value.

As an example, consider the growing use of RFID (radio-frequency identification) chips or sensors that allow the transmission of information from an object, such as a truck tyre, to a central point, like the company’s data centre.

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When vehicles typically return to a depot at regular intervals, a gate sensor can collect data using WiFi as the vehicles pass, ensuring maintenance teams know exactly which tyres need pressure adjustments.

For vehicles that are away for longer periods of time moving cargoes around the country, chips with mobile connectivity can feed information back to headquarters from wherever the truck happens to be.

Bridgestone introduced Toolbox, a cloud-based tyre management program, in 2017, which is available both as a desktop or mobile app. It’s designed to provide meaningful and actionable insights to fleet managers, enabling them to optimise overall tyre usage, selection and maintenance.

A recent development that has extended this ecosystem is the acquisition of the telematics division of TomTom. This means the system can be used to plan drivers’ routes, plot progress and immediately see all the tyre pressures of all vehicles. Using this platform thus enables the fleet manager to obtain visibility of all his or her tyre assets across the fleet — where they are, how they are being used and what their current state is.

The TomTom platform will integrate into Toolbox, providing the foundation for exponentially more sophisticated — and useful — ways of using the data, and acquiring more data.

For example, one day soon a fleet manager could monitor the full history of each tyre, including such information as how much it cost, how many times it has been retreaded, its tread depth at last reading, and begin to project when that tyre will need replacing—thanks to much improved algorithms and the use of sophisticated predictive analytics.

The final step is to integrate all of this operational information with the financial side of fleet management to obtain a truly holistic view of a whole fleet’s tyre assets.

All of this indicates that tyre and fleet management is very much at the forefront of the emerging Internet of Things. What is exciting is that as this builds momentum, we are approaching the ability to move from selling tyres to selling mobility solutions—the ‘as a service’ model that is revolutionising so much of business.

Bridgestone is already offering the option of leasing tyres to a small segment of the market, but as the range of data and ways to process it expands, will be able to roll this out to a wider market because both the risks and benefits will be more quantifiable — and transparent.

Operationally, tyres are one of key pain points for fleet managers — if the tyres malfunction, the whole vehicle is unusable with inevitable consequences for scheduling and overall profitability. Increasingly smart, data-driven solutions will serve to reduce downtime by pre-empting problems via preventative maintenance, and also maximise return on investment. It’s the future, and it will solve many of a fleet manager’s current challenges.

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Engine whizz Basil Green honoured

Basil Green, the architect of the brutal V8 Ford Capri Perana that captivated South African motor sport fans in the ‘60s and ‘70s, has been inducted into the South African Hall of Fame.

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The SA Hall of Fame serves to tell the stories of extraordinary achievers, recognising their outstanding service and overall contribution to sport. In motor sport circles, South Africa has produced numerous famous names that have excelled locally and internationally, including the likes of Sarel van der Merwe, Ian Scheckter, Wayne Taylor and multiple Formula 1 championship-winning designer Rory Byrne – such that they have been honoured by the SA Hall of Fame alongside golfing icon Gary Player, and the country’s most famous and admired citizen, Nelson Mandela.

For 82-year-old Basil Green, the nomination and subsequent formal induction to the Hall of Fame, which took place conjunction with the fourth annual Concours South Africa event, it was a fitting tribute to his decades of dedication and excellence in motorsport and the motor industry in general.

Speaking about his induction into the SA Hall of Fame, Green says: “It is a great honour to receive such an accolade. It’s difficult to put into words what this means to me, particularly when one considers previous recipients such as former President Nelson Mandela. I am truly humbled and grateful to everyone who made this possible, and also to the many people that played a role in our success over the years.”

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Image: classiccarsinrhodesia.co.za

“Basil Green created the era-defining fast Fords that were unbeatable on the track and unmatched on the road, combined with such engineering excellence and dedication to detail that various evolutions of the Perana Cortina, Capri, Escort and Granada were not only approved by Ford, but were officially sold through the countrywide dealer network,” says Neale Hill, MD of Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa. “Many of his modifications to standard cars were world-firsts, and Ford even incorporated some of his developments in the production model local line-up.

“Along with the road cars, Basil Green’s exploits in the motorsport arena were truly exceptional and came to define the period, with his multiple championship-winning Capri Perana V8 being the most memorable.”

Such was the dominance of the mighty Capri Perana V8 that its famous Group 5-specification car, number Z181 with its distinctive orange Gunston livery and driven by Bobby Olthoff, won 13 of the 14 races in the 1970 season. It was capable of over 270 km/h on the old Kyalami circuit’s long main straight, and topped the saloon car lap records at every one of South Africa’s circuits, using a highly tuned V8 with a high performance Weber carburettor for each cylinder.

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Image: gomotors.net

With the rules changing from Group 5 rules to the more production-based Group 2 formula in 1971 in an effort to level the playing field, the Capri Perana remained the class of the field, with car number A2 taking the title. Fortunately both cars have been carefully restored and remain part of prized collections in SA, and are used on selected outings at historic racing events.

The road-going Capri Perana V8, on which the race cars were based, was immensely successful, with estimates of around 500 having been built by the Basil Green Motors team. It soon developed a cult following, and the handful of original cars that remain are highly prized locally and internationally, and are extremely valuable.

“When the Capri was introduced by Ford in 1969, we fitted a V6 engine as they were all four-cylinder models at the time, with the V4 being the top of the range,” Green recalls.

“We sent one of our Capri V6 models to Ford for evaluation and engineering approval, and they liked it so much that they started building their own 3,0-litre V6 model based on our car, which was a first for Ford in South Africa, and globally.

“We then looked at what else we could do with the Capri, and ended up with the lightweight V8 engine from the Mustang, sourced from Windsor Export Supply in the US, which was specially built to our requirements,” he adds. “We also changed the gearbox, suspension, brakes, wheels and tyres. The bodies were produced at Ford’s Port Elizabeth plant and shipped to us, where we did the rest of the work.”

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Image: https://fordcapriperanalkl.wordpress.com/

Tested by Car Magazine in January 1971, the Capri Perana was the only Ford-sanctioned Capri V8 in the world, and was the fastest locally produced car in South Africa. It was capable of accelerating from 0-100km/h in a mere 6.7 seconds, and reached an impressive top speed of 228.4km/h. New, it sold for R4 450 through Ford dealers with a full factory warranty.

Although the Capri Perana is the most iconic model, it was preceded by several years of top-notch performance modifications for various cars during the 1960s, resulting in the company’s extremely popular, high-quality aftermarket kits being sold locally and exported to the UK. Interestingly, another of SA’s motorsport legends, Willie Hepburn, formed part of the Basil Green Motors team during the founding years and the subsequent Perana era.

The Perana brand was formally introduced with the Ford Cortina Perana in 1967. The name was actually chosen by Basil’s wife, Paddy, and derived from the ferocious South American piranha fish species.

Based on the Cortina Mk2 2000 GT, it was fitted with the renowned Essex V6 engine and drivetrain from the Ford Zephyr, along with upgrades to the suspension, brakes and use of what was then sporty 175×13 radial tyres on distinctive alloy rims. It cost R2 850 out the box, and established an outstanding racing pedigree for the Perana brand, claiming several SA Saloon Car Championship titles. This was followed by the Cortina Mk3 Perana V6 in 1972, which predated Ford’s popular Cortina ‘Big Six’.

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Image: zahistorics.com

Other noteworthy Perana models were the 1969 Escort Mk1 Perana, based on the Escort RS1600, to which Basil Green Motors fitted Ford’s venerable 2,0-litre OHC engine in place of the complicated original 1,6-litre unit used in European markets. It proved an inspired choice, powering its way to numerous local race and rally titles.

A later effort in 1993, based on the front-wheel drive 1,6-litre Escort XR3, proved exemplary once again, with the hot Perana version boasting almost identical acceleration times and a higher top speed than the Ford Cortina XR6 of the same period. The company also offered tuned 3,0-litre and 3,4-litre versions of the Ford Sapphire in the early 1990s.

Besides the outstanding performance of his fast Fords, Basil Green’s association with the company was firmly entrenched when he was appointed a Ford dealer in 1974. Green and his team won numerous Dealer of the Year awards over the years for his landmark operation in Edenvale, which still proudly carries his name today as part of the SuperGroup conglomerate.

The story behind Green becoming a Ford dealer is an intriguing one, as it involved Ford Motor Company’s global president at the time, Lee Iacocca, who heard of the local team installing the Ford Mustang-derived 5,0-litre V8, as used in the Capri Perana, in the upmarket Granada Mk1 launched in 1972.

“One day Lee Iacocca phoned me and said that he wanted one of the Granada V8s we were building, so one was sent over, only for him to call me back and say the steering wheel is on the wrong side,” Green reminisces. “So it was arranged for a left-hand drive Granada to be sent to us from Germany. We managed to do the modifications in about a week, and it was then flown to America.

“Lee, as he insisted I call him, phoned me a couple of days later saying the car is fantastic and that Ford doesn’t have anything like it in the US,” Green proudly adds.

With the Basil Green Motors team churning out Peranas as fast they could, it all came crashing down when the international fuel crisis hit in 1973-74, bringing an abrupt end to what was a booming business.

“Motor sport was banned and we weren’t allowed to sell high performance cars,” Green muses. “We finished off the remaining cars we had in stock, but we didn’t have a business after that.

“Lee Iacocca contacted the chairman of Ford South Africa and told him to make me a Ford dealer, and we were given the Edenvale and Bedfordview sales areas,” Green adds. “We opened the first dealership in our workshop, put a new car on one of the ramps and added a shop window so we could drive the car out the front. I think we won Dealer of the Year from Ford the following year.

“I then built a beautiful Ford dealership in the main street of Edenvale, called Basil Green Ford, and that is where my long and proud relationship with Ford began.”

The gloves are off in WRX

If ever the expression ‘the gloves are off’ had meaning, it will this weekend in Latvia when the penultimate round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy takes centre stage at the Neste World RX.

The three main characters are separated by just two points, so there is all to play for in the Bikernieki forest on the outskirts of the Latvian capital of Riga.

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Monster Energy RX Cartel’s Andreas Bakkerud rose to the top of the standings at the previous round in Loheac, France. The Norwegian has 160 points and holds a two-point cushion over the Hansen brothers Timmy and Kevin, who are tied on 158.

The 2019 championship as proven to be one of the most closely-fought seasons ever with six different winners from the eight rounds to date. Only Timmy, with three victories, is a multiple winner this year.

The Swedish siblings had been trading the lead of the drivers’ championship standings prior to Loheac where Bakkerud ascended the summit despite a win for Timmy and third place for Kevin in the French final.

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With just two rounds remaining, all three of the leading protagonists could claim the title – a point not lost on Bakkerud who has called up reinforcements in the shape of Mattias Ekstrom, the 2016 World RX champion.

“I’ve brought Mattias (Ekstrom) with me to be my personal coach to help me go faster,” he says. “Hopefully that can make a difference. The start line in Riga is very slippery which makes it very tough to hit the right revs and make consistently good starts so we’ll focus on that.”

Bakkerud admits he will have his work cut out this weekend against the duel threat of the Hansens.

“Riga has never been my strongest World RX event on the calendar, but I’ve always been a huge fan of going there. It’s been cool to witness the popularity of the sport growing there and also to see all their fans. This year I hope I can go faster at the racetrack itself.”

As for Timmy, Riga is a favourite venue and the Swede believes his Peugeot 208 will be suited to the layout.

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“I like the circuit and the car has a good record there. I hope we have a good chance this weekend,” he says.

“It’s a great track for our car. Seb (Loeb) won here back in 2016 and we have always been fast here. Of course I hope to win again this weekend. I will focus on finding a good rhythm on the track to get 100% out of myself all the way from Q1 to the final.”

As for the championship, Timmy is not looking beyond Riga.

“The championship is very close, so it will take a great weekend to stay in the fight. That’s really all I’m thinking about right now, to drive a good race in Riga.”

Kevin, meanwhile, sees the technical character of the circuit as a major challenge and is mindful of the forecast for rain this weekend.

“Riga is a tight and technical track, which is quite fun and complex: you could call it our Monaco Grand Prix,” he says.

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“It’s important to take a very precise line and look after the tyres carefully: in other words not too much sliding with the throttle wide open. The main thing is to make sure that you are spending more time moving forwards than moving sideways.

“What’s going to make it particularly complicated this weekend is that we’re expecting quite a lot of rain, so it’s going to be even more important than usual to keep everything clean and tidy. It’s a nice day today, so it seems quite hard to believe, but it’s fairly common in Riga to have mixed conditions, so we need to be prepared for everything.”

Local hopes at World RX level rest with Team STARD’s Janis Baumanis and Reinis Nitiss, who drives one of three Hyundai i20s for GRX Taneco alongside the Niclas Gronholm and Timur Timerzyanov.

Baumanis’s consistent performances this season have propelled him to fifth in the standings on 120 points. He has appeared in five finals and reached the podium twice – third in Norway and second in Canada.

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For Baumanis, who has a best finish of fifth in 2017 in Riga, adulation and expectation comes in equal measure. “After a year we are back in Riga, one of the most important – and the most stressful events on the calendar for me,” he said.

“The atmosphere is fantastic and makes it very special for me and my fans. This will be the fourth year in Riga so obviously everyone knows the track by now. I hope to do my best for the home fans. I can’t wait for Saturday morning to get going.”

Nitiss, who makes his third appearance of the year after featuring in the opening round in Abu Dhabi and finishing second in Sweden despite rolling his Hyundai i20 in Q1 on Saturday, is also looking forward to his home race.

He has fond memories of clinching the Euro RX title at this venue last year.

“Home events are always more challenging – you have all your friends and fans in grandstands cheering for you, so naturally the pressure grows,” he says.

“Bikernieki is an iconic, old-school motor sport complex with so much racing history. For me the relatively new rallycross track has a special meaning – I have been involved in the making of the circuit and was one of the very first drivers to try it out even before it was fully completed.

“It is hard to describe the feelings that hit you when you see all the people in the grandstands standing up and cheering for you.

“With a limited racing programme this year, the stakes are high – but I know that together with the GRX team I have the speed. It’s proven by the fastest lap in Abu Dhabi and the podium finish in Sweden.

“To succeed in my home race, I will need to focus even more, prepare even more and be calmer than ever, not to overdo it, but to keep my head straight and aim for the best result.”

Gronholm, fourth in the standings on 135 points despite missing two rounds this year through illness, finished fourth in last year’s Riga final, his best result of the season.

“Once again, we showed great pace in Loheac, especially on Sunday when we were really up there, but the final didn’t go our way. Last year here was my best race of the year, so I think we can expect a good race for us,” the Finn said.

“There will be a lot of Finns cheering for me and our team so I want to deliver and show them what we can do.”

Another incentive for GRX is the teams’ title, according to team manager Jussi Pinomaki.

“The fight for P1 in Teams’ championship is still wide open and we will focus on every detail to succeed in this race.”

There is added spice to the weekend with comments by ALL-INKL.COM Muennich Motorsport’s Timo Scheider after the previous round in France. At the centre of the German’s ire was Lithuania’s Rokas Baciuska, who reached his first World RX final at Loheac.

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Scheider was aggrieved by the GC Kompetition driver’s aggression in their semi-final, claiming the contact he had with the Renault Megane cost him a place in the final.

“Everything went well, until in the semi-finals once again an over-motivated stupid boy has messed up my clear entry into the final,” was the German’s view on social media.

Scheider was mighty with his launches in Loheac – recording a reaction time off the line of 0,75. He was P3 overnight after day one and P6 overall after Q4 but the contact with Baciuska in the semi-final ended his participation for the weekend.

Doubtless he will look to put that right in Riga in an upgraded Seat Ibiza which he believes is now capable of mixing it with the front-runners.

GC Kompetition’s Anton Marklund, second in Loheac, aims to keep the momentum going for the French squad.

“The Bikernieki track was where I had my first test with the GCK Megane RS RX after the race weekend last year. Hopefully we can bring the good momentum from the last races in to this round. I’m really looking forward to racing in front of the Latvian crowd,” the Swede said.

GCK team boss, Guerlain Chicherit, is seeking a strong all-round performance from the team in Latvia.

“With Latvia RX the last race in Europe of the FIA World Rallycross Championship calendar, I’m really looking forward to bringing the team of five cars and drivers to the Latvian crowd and race in front of all the fans before heading to South Africa,” he said.

“It’ll be an exciting weekend of race action with some awesome fights for sure. We look to continue to up our performance from the last races and bag strong points for GCK.”

GCK Academy’s Cyril Raymond, meanwhile, is focussed on the Bikernieki circuit’s technical challenges.

“Latvia RX is one of the hardest circuits in the calendar for me. The track is really picturesque especially when you are driving in the forest but very technical. Our Clio will be more efficient on this type of track,” he said.

His team-mate Guilaume De Ridder goes in search of a long overdue change of fortune as does Britain’s Oliver Bennett who has completed repairs on the Xite Racing Mini Cooper after an off in Q4 at Loheac.

Sweden’s Robin Larsson, who clinched the FIA European Rallycross Championship at Loheac, joins the World RX grid for Riga.

Larsson will be at the wheel of a JC Raceteknik Audi S1 along with fellow Audi drivers Bakkerud and Monster Energy RX Cartel team-mate Liam Doran and EKS Sport’s Krisztian Szabo.

Larsson, who competed in World RX in 2014 and 2015, said: “I’ve obviously raced in World RX before, but it will be a little special to make this jump when the World RX drivers are in a really tight fight in the championship.

“It will be exciting to see how we stand against the World RX guys now. I think you can raise your own level even more when you are fighting to keep up, so maybe we can close the gap more too. The goal is to at least make the semi-finals, and use this as a good event to check our pace.”

There is another outing for Matvey Furazhkin in the ES Motorsport – Labas GAS Skoda Fabia following his World RX debut at Loheac the previous round.

“The weekend in Loheac was one of the best of my career. The level of racing was impressive. The car felt really competitive and working with such a professional team is very motivating,” the Russian said.

“Now we are preparing for the Riga event and the main goal for this race will be to improve results from the previous race weekend. I can’t wait to be in the car again and push the limits.”

Norway’s Pal Try makes his third start of the season in the second Team STARD Fiesta alongside Baumanis.

Next stop – Cape Town.

Nail-biter for Lichtenburg

With just 23 points difference between the two top teams, the Lichtenburg 400 – round 5 of the 2019 South African Cross-Country Series (SACCS) – is going to be a nail-biter with the added bonus for spectators of being able to see ex-F1 ace Fernando Alonso in action.

Victory on last month’s Bronkhorstspruit 400 moved Toyota Gazoo Racing SA’s Henk Lategan and navigator Brett Cummings to within a hair of winning the 2019 title. There is still some work to be done for the Toyota Hilux crew over the remainder of the season, and a good result in this weekend’s Lichtenburg 400 will be crucial to the pair’s success.

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Lategan/Cummings are 23 points ahead in the overall championship, with Ford’s Lance Woolridge and Ward Huxtable in second place. Toyota Gazoo Racing teammates, Shameer Variawa and Juan Möhr have moved up into third place, after recording consistent results in the four previous rounds.

However, with 30 points on offer for victory, Lategan/Cummings are not assured of the title just yet, and scoring maximum points in Lichtenburg will be their main aim this weekend.

Defending champions, Giniel de Villiers and Dennis Murphy, driving an identical Toyota Hilux, find themselves in fourth place on the log, after disappointing results in the last three rounds. Their hopes of securing the 2019 title faded after the Toyota 1000 Desert Race, and were dashed after failing to score meaningful points in Round 4. A good result in Lichtenburg, however, could still elevate them in the overall standings.

“It will be an interesting weekend for the team,” says Toyota Gazoo Racing SA Team Principal, Glyn Hall. “Henk and Brett could potentially secure the championship; Giniel and Dennis need to push for maximum points; and Shameer and Juan could, with a bit of luck, move up to second place in the overall standings. So, there’s a lot going on for us this round.”

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Add to that the team’s preparations for the upcoming Rally of Morocco, where De Villiers will be competing alongside new navigator; as well as the overall preparation and testing of components for the 2020 Dakar Rally, and it is clear that the Lichtenburg 400 will be a busy round for the team.

As if the SACCS title chase, Dakar testing and Morocco preparations aren’t enough, the team will also facilitate a further training session for two-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner, reigning FIA World Endurance Championship title holder, two-time Formula 1 World Champion, and winner of the 24-Hours of Daytona, Fernando Alonso.

As such, Alonso and his navigator will be taking part in the Lichtenburg 400 as a non-competitive entry, in order to experience more varied terrain, as well as the pressure of a race.

Harrismith was originally scheduled for this fifth round, but exceptionally dry conditions and a high risk of fire in the area resulted in the organisers having to move the race to the North West town at short notice.

There has been a common thread running through the Class T championship this season, as the Castrol Ford Cross Country Team’s Lance Woolridge and Ward Huxtable have made the top step of the podium their own with a clean sweep of five victories (including the two separate races that made up the Botswana Desert Race in June).

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As the reigning champions, the crew has been untouchable in the Neil Woolridge Motorsport (NWM) built and run Ford Ranger (T34), putting them on the brink of a second consecutive title this year. A finish in the points in either of the two closing rounds will hand them the Class T crown.

“We’ve had an amazing year so far, with Lance and Ward performing faultlessly throughout the season,” says NWM team principal Neil Woolridge. “The hard work that has been put into developing the Ranger this season has certainly paid off, and it reflects the long hours and dedication of the team as a whole.

“It’s a pity that we won’t be racing in Harrismith, as it is much closer to our home base and our many supporters from KwaZulu-Natal who normally come to the race, but the change in venue is completely understandable following an exceptionally dry winter.

“The sport relies on the support of local farmers for us to race on their land, and the potential of a fire would be devastating for their livelihoods.”

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Lance Woolridge

The race weekend will start with a qualifying race on September 13, from the Lichtenburg showgrounds, which also serves as the Designated Service Park (DSP) and race HQ. The main event will get under way at 8 am on Saturday morning. Fans can follow the race via the RallySafe application, which is available for both iOS and Android devices.

Emerald Speed Fest postponed

Travel safety concerns amidst the looting and ransacking in the Gauteng region coupled with date clashes with other motor sport events have prompted the organisers to cancel the Emerald Speed Fest for 2019 and move it to a new date next year.

Originally scheduled for the September 28/29 the motor sport and motoring lifestyle at the Emerald Resort and Casino in Vanderbijlpark will now take place on February 7/9.

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“A date in early 2020 has proven to be a more desirable option for this exciting new motor sport event. The safety of competitors and spectators is a prime concern and the new date will also ensure all competitors in local motor sport will get an opportunity to participate in this unique event,” says Shaun Swart, Head of Business Development for show organizers Messe Frankfurt South Africa.

“Messe Frankfurt South Africa is fully committed to deliver a safe and successful event and the new date provides a better platform to achieve this objective. We would also like to thank our event partners and the venue for the overwhelming support of the exciting new motorsport event,” added Messe Frankfurt South Africa CEO Joshua Low.

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High-performance race cars, modern road-cars, historic race cars and supercars will compete in a time challenge along a 1,6 km strip of tar at the Vaal Resort. The event will offer competitors a challenging high-speed run competing, in classes, for a variety of prizes totaling close to half a million rand in value.

Spectators will witness these high-performance road and race cars in action as well as also enjoy a variety of displays and refreshments. The pit area will be open to the public. Classic Car displays as well as motoring and motor sport related exhibitors will add to the excitement of the event. Visitors will also benefit from the family orientated features and attractions Emerald Resort has to offer.

New Defender virtually debuts

Land Rover’s chief design officer, Gerry McGovern, has been around automobiles for a very long time and, in journalistic terms, ‘is good copy’, meaning he can always be relied upon to have something interesting to say – and with the all new Defender, does just that.

“We have created the new Defender to ensure it is ready for anything, with a design that has been inspired by the past, not constrained by it. Its elemental grille, sophisticated surfacing and commanding stance give the entire family a modernity and confidence that set it apart, while simultaneously retaining the essential elements that make a Defender so recognisable.”

That just about sums it up for the newcomer, unveiled as a worldwide virtual launch to computers everywhere.

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The 110 is just the start for this family and will be followed by a short wheelbase 90 in 2020.

The new Defenderhas minimal front and rear overhangs, providing excellent approach and departure angles, while the upright stance keeps the Alpine light windows in the roof, side-hinged rear tailgate and externally-mounted spare wheel that make the original so identifiable.

The stripped-back personality of the original Defender has been embraced inside, where structural elements and fixings usually hidden from view have been exposed, with the emphasis on simplicity and practicality.

Innovative features include a dash-mounted gear shifter to accommodate an optional central front ‘jump’ seat, which provides three-abreast seating across the front like early Land Rovers.

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As a result, the Defender 110 offers five, six or 5+2 seating configurations, with a loadspace behind the second-row seats of up to 1 075-litres, and as much as 2 380-litres when the second row is folded. The Defender 90 will be able to accommodate six occupants in a vehicle the length of a compact family hatchback.

Land Rover’s new purpose-engineered D7x (for extreme) architecture is based on a lightweight aluminium monocoque construction to create the stiffest body structure Land Rover has ever produced. It is three times stiffer than traditional body-on-frame designs, providing perfect foundations for the fully independent air or coil sprung suspension and supports the latest electrified powertrains.

The new Defender has been through more than 62 000 tests for engineering sign-off, while the chassis and body architecture have been engineered to withstand Land Rover’s Extreme Event Test procedure – repeated and sustained impacts, above and beyond the normal standard for SUV and passenger cars.

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During development testing, prototype models have covered millions of kilometres across some of the harshest environments on earth, ranging from the 50-degree heat of the desert and sub 40-degree cold of the Arctic to altitudes of 10 000 ft in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado.

Permanent all-wheel drive and a twin-speed automatic gearbox, centre differential and optional Active Locking Rear Differential ensure it has all the hardware required to excel in the soft sand of the desert, the freezing tundra of the arctic and everywhere in between.

Configurable Terrain Response debuts on new Defender, allowing experienced off-roaders to fine-tune individual vehicle settings to perfectly suit the conditions, while inexperienced drivers can let the system detect the most appropriate vehicle settings for the terrain, using the intelligent Auto function.

The new body architecture provides ground clearance of 291 mm giving the 110 approach, breakover and departure angles of 38, 28 and 40 degrees (Off Road height) respectively. Its maximum wading depth of 900 mm is supported by a new Wade programme in the Terrain Response 2 system, which ensures drivers can ford deep water with complete confidence.

On dry land, Land Rover’s advanced ClearSight Ground View technology helps drivers take full advantage of Defender’s all-conquering capability by showing the area usually hidden by the bonnet, directly ahead of the front wheels, on the central touchscreen.

A choice of advanced petrol and cleaner diesel engines ensure new Defender has the power, control and efficiency for any environment. At South African launch expected in the first half of 2020, the 110 line-up will include a powerful 3,0-litre straight six-cylinder P400 featuring efficient Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle technology with outputs of 294 kW and 550 Nm.

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Alternatively, customers can choose a 2,0-litre D240 turbo-diesel with 177 kW and 430 Nm. The introduction of increased engine options, along with the short wheelbase 90 derivative, will follow later in 2020.

New Defender introduces Jaguar Land Rover’s new Pivi Pro infotainment system. The next generation touchscreen is more intuitive and user-friendly, requiring fewer inputs to perform frequently used tasks, while its always-on design guarantees almost instant responses.

In addition, the new Defender takes Software-Over-The-Air (SOTA) technology to a new level, with 14 individual modules capable of receiving remote updates. By downloading data while customers are asleep at home or in far-flung locations, the new Defender will get better with age: as electronic updates cascade down to the vehicle immediately, without delay and with no need to visit a Land Rover retailer.

Nick Rogers, Executive Director, Product Engineering, Jaguar Land Rover, says: “We have embraced Defender’s stunning capability and minimalistic, functional interior to reinvent the icon for the 21st century.

“New Defender gives us the licence to do things differently, to push the boundaries and do the unthinkable, without ever losing the character and authenticity of the original. From the start we had an absolute obsession with functionality beneath the skin, from choosing the right materials through to state of the art connectivity. The result is not only the most capable Land Rover ever made, but also a truly comfortable, modern vehicle that people will love to drive.”

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New Defender will be available in 90 and 110 body designs, with up to six seats in the 90 and the option of five, six or 5+2 seating in the 110. The model range comprises Defender, First Edition and top of the range Defender X models, as well as standard, S, SE, HSE specification packs.

Customers will be able to personalise their vehicle in more ways than any previous Land Rover with four Accessory Packs. The Explorer, Adventure, Country and Urban Packs each give Defender a distinct character with a specially selected range of enhancements. The exclusive First Edition model features a unique specification and will be available throughout the first year of production.

Customers will also be able to opt for a new Satin Protective Film to make the exterior paintwork even more durable. The sustainable, solvent-free and completely recyclable wrap helps protect against everything from car park scratches to bramble rash and will be available as a factory-fit option with Indus Silver, Gondwana Stone and Pangea Green colours, providing a unique contemporary finish as it protects new Defender’s paintwork.

Felix Bräutigam, Chief Commercial Officer, Jaguar Land Rover, says: “New Defender will be available in 128 global markets and meets or exceeds the toughest emissions and safety requirements in the world.

“Combining advanced technology and durable mechanical underpinnings we have delivered the toughness and character you can only find in a Defender. Our new 4×4 has been developed for adventurous hearts and curious minds. With four personalities to choose from, two body styles and a comprehensive range of options and accessories, customers will be able to personalise Defender to make their ultimate 4×4 companion – whatever their lifestyle.”

Namib special edition Cruiser

In the spirit of other special edition model derivatives, such as the Legend Hilux, Toyota South Africa has turned its attention to the desert dominator Land Cruiser to create the Namib variant.

“The Namib Desert presents some of the most challenging terrain and surviving in these extreme conditions requires the right preparation and equipment. I am proud to announce we have created this special Land Cruiser model to offer customers a ready-to-go vehicle prepared and equipped to tackle the most daunting challenges,” says Calvyn Hamman: Senior Vice-President of Sales and Marketing.

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The front grille has been changed to a simple mesh design with prominent Toyota lettering (akin to the Hilux GR Sport), leveraging the design of Land Cruiser heritage models. Unique stylised Namib badges can be found on the flanks alongside the Land Cruiser brand mark, as well as the tailgate.

A steel front bumper with integrated heavy-duty nudge bar and headlight protectors add utility and ruggedness. Large, high-intensity LED spotlights ensure optimum visibility under all conditions. Moving towards the business end, a tubular rear step with integrated towbar make loading and towing a breeze, whilst protective loadbin skins round off the package.

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The ‘Namib’ is available in Ivory White and Sand Beige.

To combat desert temperatures, the glovebox features an added cooling duct, allowing items to be kept chilled via the vehicle’s air-conditioning system. The Land Cruiser Namib package has been designed with the customer and unique-usage situations in mind, so the interior has been fitted with bespoke grey canvas seat covers, embroidered with the sand-dune-inspired Namib logo. The edges also feature anti-scuff panels to prevent degrading of the material during ingress.

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An application-specific roof console has been added, enhancing versatility by means of rear-facing LED lights, lined storage binnacle, driver and passenger LED lights, two-way radio compartment and microphone cord hook.

The Land Cruiser Namib has been fitted with an upgraded off-road suspension (manufactured by a respected local off-road suspension expert for Toyota), whilst maintaining the existing payload and towing capacity. The tyres have been upgraded to larger 265/75/R16 Cooper Discoverer S/T Maxx versions, complete with white lettering, affixed to durable 16-inch alloy wheels.

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The ‘Namib’ is powered by the 1VD-FTV 4,5-litre turbo-diesel engine, churning out 151 kW and 430 Nm from a low 1 200 r/min (up to 3200 r/min). The Fuel Consumption index is pegged at 11,3 l/100km with CO2 emissions registering 300 g/km.

The Namib edition retains all of the standard Land Cruiser 79 D-Cab V8 specification, which include a touchscreen audio system with built-in Navigation, Bluetooth, front power socket, power windows, tilt and telescopic steering column, remote central locking and anti-theft system. The safety systems include driver and passenger crash bags alongside an anti-lock braking system.

A 3-year/100 000 km warranty is provided whilst customers can purchase optional service plans according to their needs.