Sights and sounds of the 1930's Grand Prix cars returns to South Africa

  • 1934 South African Grand Prix winning Maserati 8CM confirmed
  • Commemoration Grand Prix race at East London on 25 November
  • Spectacular road tour from East London to Cape Town
  • Val de Vie Estate to host public-friendly “Garden Party” 1 & 2 December

The roar of Grand Prix cars will return to South Africa some 80 years since they turned a wheel in anger when the South African Historic Grand Prix Festival celebrates these legendary machines in November and December 2018.

The inaugural celebration, organised by UK eventers Speedstream Events, will reunite more than 15 actual cars that raced in the South African Grand Prix between 1934 and 1939. Prime among them will be the Maserati 8CM driven to victory in 1934 by American, Whitney Straight.

Powered by a 3,0-litre straight eight supercharged engine, the 8CM epitomised the greatest technology that Grand Prix racing could offer in 1934. Just 18 cars were ever built, this particular car featuring modifications to the bodywork including its distinctive radiator shroud. The twin overhead cam single seater developed some 240 horsepower (179kW) and was capable of blasting around East London at speeds of over 240km/h.

1934 Maserati 8CM

Whitney Straight’s 1934 Maserati 8CM won the inaugural South African Grand Prix and will return to its hunting grounds later this year.

Other entries already confirmed for the event include the ERA that won the 1937 SAGP and the Riley Ulster Imp, which finished second in the same event.

The original SAGP cars will be supplemented by a number of period cars taking the tally of participating 1930s cars to over the 20 mark. These cars raced in period but did not compete in any of the East London SAGP events.

Much of the original Prince George Race Track in East London still exists. The cars will retrace the historic 17km circuit, before racing in anger on the current track on 25 November. The road-going cars will then tour down to the Western Cape between the 26th and 30th November on some of the most scenic routes South Africa has to offer these international visitors.

The event will culminate in a two-day Grand Prix Garden Party at Val de Vie Estate, located between Franschhoek and Paarl,  where the public will have a further opportunity to interact with these spectacular cars on the pristine polo fields the estate is renowned for.  Supported by local clubs, the 1st and 2nd of December promises to be a classic car haven for enthusiasts at the luxury estate. The Grand Prix cars will be paraded on a short road circuit within the estate.

Seldom will a collection of such historic cars be assembled and the opportunity to get up close and personal is even rarer in South Africa today. Adding to the Val de Vie Garden Party experience will be a selection of modern luxury sports cars from selected marques. The South African Historic Grand Prix Festival promises to be an experience not to be missed.

Limited general access and VIP Hospitality tickets for both the East London Race event and the Grand Prix Garden Party are available online, and ticket pre-registration is available on the events Facebook page. For more information, visit www.sahistoricgp.com or follow the event on Facebook - SA Historic Grand Prix Festival

Issued by Meropa Communications on behalf of Speedstream Events Ltd

Media Contacts 

UK – Mark Woolley – mark@speedstreamgroup.com
SA – Patrick Gearing – patrickg@meropa.co.za