- Vivo GT Cup will be a category of the 2020 National Rally Championship
- Series will provide national level rallying at a more affordable cost
- Franken Motorsport will have support from Volkswagen Motorsport
The Vivo GT Cup will officially form part of the 2020 South African National Rally Championship and will be contested over six rounds throughout the year. The Vivo GT Cup was established to provide current and aspirant rally drivers with the opportunity to compete at a national level but without having to pay the high costs associated with national rallying.
To achieve this, Franken Motorsport with assistance from Volkswagen Motorsport have developed a semi-standard rallycar, based on the best-selling Volkswagen Polo Vivo. The car is equipped with a 1-litre turbo petrol engine coupled to a close-ratio gearbox that drives the front wheels and kitted with all the necessary safety equipment to turn it into a fully-fledged rallycar. After more than 2500 test kilometres, the package proved to be very reliable. The car will undergo one more real life test session when Paulus Franken of Franken Motorsport contests the upcoming Baywest Mall Rally in Port Elizabeth on 19 and 20 July.
“The formula of having identical cars compete in a cup format is extremely successful all over the world and various cups have produced several champion drivers,” commented Kobus Roos on behalf of the Vivo GT Cup. “One can also just look at the success of the local Falken Polo Cup and with the new Vivo GT Cup we hope to replicate that in the sport of rallying.” Like most forms of motorsport, the barrier to entry in rallying can be high, but the organisers of the Vivo GT Cup are confident that the costs will remain very competitive, especially considering the fact that it will be a full national class in 2020. The team from Franken Motorsport was the driving force of the project and will receive further assistance from Volkswagen Motorsport who will be responsible for the manufacturing of the cars at their Uitenhage facility. They will also assist competitors with beneficial pricing on parts while the team will also enforce the technical rules of the series to ensure equal competition, much like in the Falken Polo Cup.
“We are very happy to have assistance from Volkswagen Motorsport,” added Roos. “Their involvement is testimony to the potential of the Cup.” Besides reducing the costs, the Vivo GT Cup will also aim to make it as easy as possible for competitors to partake in rallying. “Not all prospective competitors have workshops or access to technical support to prepare and maintain a car for motorsport which is why we will also be providing that service. We will be offering a full preparation service and will have parts available at each of the six events that will make up the 2020 National Rally Championship. So a competitor will quite literally be able to simply arrive and drive.”
After the Baywest Mall Rally, the team from Franken Motorsport will host an open test session where prospective drivers will receive the opportunity to spend some time behind the wheel of the Vivo GT Cup-car. “People will be very surprised with the car’s performance and handling. And the best thing about the Vivo GT Cup is that we could end up with a field of identical cars that are affordable to run and that promotes competitive racing. If the Vivo GT Cup achieves that, the future of rallying in South Africa will be very bright,” concluded Roos.