SA Touring Cars

Debutant Van der Walt eager to make his mark on GTC SupaCup

Jean-Pierre van der Walt is eager to make his mark in the Global Touring Cars (GTC) SupaCup this coming weekend (March 4-5), when he debuts at Killarney International Raceway.

Van der Walt spent two seasons in Polo Cup, where he affirmed himself by setting the quickest time in his first-ever practice session. Despite not claiming a win, he regularly contended for the lead, showing an ability to make level-headed decisions while in close and fast-paced battles. Underlining his speed over a single lap, Van Der Walt won the 2021 Simola Hillclimb event in his class. He is eager to carry those qualities into his GTC SupaCup season.

“I am looking forward to the challenge that lies ahead,” says Van der Walt. “In the past two years, I have learnt an enormous amount about racing at the highest level. Some of the drivers competing in this year’s championship have also been my rivals in Polo Cup, so I imagine this will be an exciting season.”

Apart from testing his Platinum Wheels VW Supa Polo, the Johannesburg businessman has also had an extensive stint driving a similar car at Killarney International Raceway in the final round of the 2021 South African Endurance Series (SAES). Sharing the driving duties with Jonathan Mogotsi and Andre Bezuidenhout, the trio came close to completing the total nine-hour race distance.

“It was good seat time and valuable preparation for the 2022 season. Having some experience in this car around the Cape Town circuit will not hurt my weekend’s preparation. Despite a significant difference between endurance and sprint races, we have gained valuable experience and data to build on for this weekend.”

While confident about his form, Van der Walt remains realistic about where he’ll see himself in the pecking order. “There are several exciting new drivers who have moved up with me into GTC SupaCup, not forgetting those who have been there from the inception of the championship. It’s promising to be an outstanding season indeed. As a team, we want to compete at the front, but we all know the first true indication of where everyone finds themselves will only come during Qualifying. So, my focus will be on setting the car up throughout Friday’s practice sessions and to ensure a number of strong qualifying laps. Hopefully, I can get a good grid position and control my race from there.”

Van der Walt’s maiden GTC SupaCup weekend will see him participate in two 12-lap races on Saturday, scheduled to start at 13:15 and 15:55, respectively. A limited number of spectator tickets are available, and the entire Extreme Festival will also be broadcast on the Global Touring Cars Facebook page.

Issued by Motorsport Fanatix on behalf of Platinum Wheels

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