The motorsport world is full of bitter rivalries, on-track challenges that set the narrative for particular competitions. Such a rivalry has developed at the annual Simola Hillclimb over the last few years. In recent times South Africa’s premier motorsport event has been dominated by just two names: Andre Bezuidenhout and Franco Scribante. Now, the two protagonists have set aside their differences and teamed up to tackle their biggest racing challenge to date.
Bezuidenhout and Scribante, along with Silvio Scribante, will be contesting the upcoming Kyalami 9 Hour endurance race. This event is the final round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge series for road-based sportscars and will take place at the world-famous Grand Prix Circuit on the weekend of November 21-23. Older motorsport fans may recall that the 9 Hour was run at Kyalami in the 1960s and ’70s. In 2019 the famous race returns the local circuit to the international motorsport calendar.
Bezuidenhout is well-known for his exploits, in different machinery, at the Simola Hillclimb as well as racing various Porsches at local racetracks. The Scribante family is steeped in motorsport tradition; the family name adorns the circuit in Port Elizabeth. Franco currently competes in the Extreme Series in one of South Africa’s quickest Porsches. Silvio is a regular competitor at the club level in PE. He is a multiple champion in South Africa who has achieved Springbok colours in motorsport. Their weapon of choice for this nine-hour-long endurance event is, naturally, a Porsche. The 997-generation machine is a race-ready 911 GT3 R that was sourced from UK racing outfit Trackspeed.
Johannesburg-based Andre Bezuidenhout says of the upcoming event: “As an 8-year-old boy, I hung on the fences of Kyalami and watched as my racing hero, David Piper, competed in the 9 Hour in a Porsche 917. I dreamt that one day I would be behind the wheel of a Porsche racing at the 9 Hour. It took me fifty years to achieve this dream. Franco and Silvio, like most other motorsport fans, also have their unique love affair with Kyalami. We’ve branded our effort in respect to Piper’s team at the 1969 event, with his blessing. It seems that my racing ambitions have formed a perfect circle from that inspiring day I watched Piper race.”
Franco Scribante on teaming up with his opposition: “Andre and I are fierce rivals on-track, but we are also good friends and have a great deal of mutual respect for each other’s abilities. We are usually trying to beat each other, so teaming up to compete in the 9 Hour is a great way for us to be on the same team on local soil. I am really looking forward to the challenge.”
Silvio Scribante on his involvement in the team: “I am delighted to share seat-time with Franco and Andre. We were the first South African team to enter and all three of us are achieving a lifelong dream to compete in the 9 Hour at Kyalami.”
After an absence of 37 years, the Kyalami 9 Hour and we at MOTOR couldn’t be readier for the Kyalami 9 Hour spectacle.