To give the South African racing fans every opportunity to attend the inaugural Kyalami 9 Hour, the 2019 season finale of the Intercontinental GT Challenge will take place on November 22-23.
It is well known that South African fans love a whole variety of sports, whether it be racing, football or rugby. Since the original date for the Kyalami 9 Hour coincided with the final weekend of the 2019 Rugby World Cup, and there is every chance that the South African Springboks will be in contention, the SRO Motorsports Group has opted to change the date of the inaugural Kyalami 9 Hour to the final Saturday of the same month, November 23rd 2019.
The 2019 Kyalami 9 Hour will be the fifth and final round of the fourth edition of the Intercontinental GT Challenge, the planet’s only global GT3 competition. It is also the first time a round of the series will be held on the African continent.
The 4,522 km long circuit near Johannesburg is steeped in history when it comes to endurance sportscar racing. In 1961 the original version of the 9-hour race – held at the Grand Central Airport near Midrand – moved to the newly built Kyalami Circuit. The name ‘Kyalami’ (liberally translated) means ‘My Home’ in Zulu, one of South Africa’s official languages.
Between 1965 and 1973 the Nine Hours of Kyalami was the main event of the South African Springbok Trophy Series, before switching to a 6-hour format to become part of the World Sportscar championship. After a brief spell as a touring car race the event became a sportscar event again in the beginning of the eighties, with a length varying between nine hours and 500 kilometres. After a ten-year absence, the event was revived initially in 1998, as a two-and-a-half hour race. The most recent edition of Kyalami’s endurance race was held in 2000.
A brief look at the winners’ list reveals that legendary cars such as the Porsche 550 RS, Ferrari 250 GT0 and Porsche 917 are among the victorious machines. Former Kyalami 9 Hour winners include racing legends such as Jacky Ickx, Jochen Mass, Brian Redman and Clay Regazzoni.
The 2019 Intercontinental GT Challenge starts on February 1-3, with the traditional season opener at the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour.