South Africa will come alive to the sights and sounds of a grid full of 1930s Grand Prix cars racing for the first time in nearly 80 years in November 2018, when the South African Historic Grand Prix Festival celebrates the iconic racers that originally participated in the South African Grands Prix in the 1930s.
The first ever South African Grands Prix took place at the Prince George Race track in East London between 1934 and 1939, supported by the Grosvenor Grand Prix in Cape Town and the Rand Grand Prix in Johannesburg as a mini ‘Winter Series’ for European and British racing drivers of the day.
UK-based event organiser Speedstream undertook considerable research to identify and trace as many of the original cars that participated in South African grands prix during the 1930s and the response has been tremendously positive, with several thrilling cars already committed to participating, including the Maserati 8CM that Whitney Straight drove to victory in the inaugural 1934 Grand Prix; the ERA that won the 1937 South African Grand Prix and the Riley Ulster Imp which finished second in that race.
Other entries expected include Bugattis, Alfa Romeos, Talbot, Frazer Nash, Aston Martins, MG, Railtons and a Plymouth Special, as well as further ERAs, Maseratis and Rileys.
Billed as a once in a lifetime experience, the South African Historic Grand Prix Festival will comprise three elements taking place between 25 November and 2 December 2018. The first leg will be a commemorative race at the East London Grand Prix Circuit combined with a parade around the original 11-mile long Prince George race circuit on 25 November 2018 — a fantastic opportunity for vintage car and Grand Prix enthusiasts to witness these great cars driven in anger in South Africa for the first time in 80 years.
The Festival then moves on to a private tour from 26-30 November, with the road-going Grand Prix cars taking in among South Africa’s most scenic and exhilarating roads between East London and the Western Cape, leading up to a two-day Grand Prix Garden Party close to Cape Town where the Grand Prix cars will be on display and in action on demonstration runs. This will be another opportunity for the public to interact with the cars and owners in celebration of South Africa’s proud history of hosting Grand Prix racing, at a venue to be confirmed in due course.
Set in a high-end venue, the Grand Prix Garden Party will offer ticket holders a unique opportunity to get up close and mingle with the cars in a relaxed environment. A limited number of VIP hospitality tickets will be available in the Drivers Club Hospitality at both the East London race event and the Cape Garden Party where visitors will be able to network with celebrities, motorsport heroes and like-minded enthusiasts.
While preference will be given to entries where cars have authentic South African Grand Prix history, the ‘By Invitation Only’ event is also open to owners of age related Grand Prix cars who may wish to participate in this once-off experience. Total entries are limited to 25 cars.