While international racing suffered under the raging Covid-19 pandemic, with many cancellations as a result, it was a small miracle SRO managed to keep the Kyalami 9-hours on the IGTC calendar. It was the perfect opportunity for the South African team Perfect Circle Racing to grab the opportunity to shine in an international field. Local drivers Saul Hack and André Bezuidenhout joined forces with Porsche factory driver Dylan Pereira to put their mark on the South African endurance race.
Saul, congratulations on the performance in Kyalami. Having a race of this level amidst the calamity of a global pandemic is a feat in itself. What did this race mean to you?
This race was a huge deal for me and the team. I haven’t raced internationally all year long and this was the first opportunity to take it up with an international field of competitors. When the local lockdown lifted André and I had been racing our Polo in the local cup a lot, but I hadn’t been in the 991.2 GT3 since Kyalami last year. With the Covid figures surging again in our country, even though the grid was only 12 cars, it was a miracle the race even started.
You team took the honours in Pro-Am. Talk me a little through the race weekend.
It was a great weekend, and it was great to be back. There was a true sense of elation and it was amazing to be back in the car. For André, this was his first time in the car, but he was up to pace in no time. It was great to have Dylan in the car with us. He helped us keep up the pace with the pros out there. We pretty much had a flawless race and we’re happy with where we ended up. When the radio message came through saying I was on pace with the factory Porsche, that was a great moment.
Your car was entered by the Lechner Racing team. The race must’ve been overshadowed by the passing of Walter Lechner? I take it he meant more to you that just being a team owner.
Yes, Walter was so much more to me than that. I remember running errands the week before the race and got a text informing me of his passing and I can remember being overcome with sadness. He did so much for me personally and turned Lechner into a family in which you either fitted in perfectly or you didn’t. It really was unique in motorsport. You can talk to any race driver who raced with Lechner and they all have their own “Walter story”. This entire race was definitely dedicated to him.
How has your racing season been in 2020 and given the situation are you already making plans for next season?
It’s been a rough season like with most of us. When the lockdown lifted, we continued racing in our Polo Cup car with great success. The week before the Kyalami 9-hours we had raced there in an endurance race as well, and we managed to climb our way up to third overall until mechanical woes robbed us from a podium. Our plans for next year are really hanging in the balance because of the Covid-19 situation. We’ll definitely move forward with the Polo Cup and with our mission to grow motorsports in South Africa. There’s been a lot going on behind the scenes and how this will pan out relies completely on the local and global sanitary situation.