South Africa’s most exhilarating one-make series is about to blast off, with a pit-full of Backdraft Cobras scheduled to start their 2022 endurance racing championship on 2 April at Red Star Raceway.
“Not only are these the most exciting single-make cars to drive, but they also sound the best – there’s a Lexus V8 under that long hood of each of these locally made roadsters, which pump out 300 extrovert horses and have just 1 000 kilograms to push along,” says Backdraft Racing’s Brian Martin. “If adrenaline was measured in decibels, then the racing Cobras might just be considered a banned substance!”
For 2022 the Cobras will again ensure full grids for the South African Endurance championship, with 10 cars likely to be regular starters and at least four others currently available to be bought outright or hired on a race-by-race basis.
The Backdraft Racing Series is unique in South African motorsport thanks to several usage possibilities (it is not a requirement to purchase a car) and that the drivetrain of the car is insured against mechanical failure. If an engine or gearbox breaks, Backdraft Racing supplies another from a well-stocked pantechnicon which is present at all races.
The 2021 championship was dominated by the skilfully driven and impeccably prepared Cobra of Reghard Roets and Steve Clark, finishing on the podium in all six rounds. With their departure from the class, the 2022 series is wide open.
“We’ve had two seasons where we have all been on a steep learning curve, but we’ve had great racing and a huge amount of fun nevertheless,” adds Backdraft patriarch Tony Martin, who has put his money where his mouth is and, additionally, put the reputation of his organisation in the potential firing line to get it all off the ground.
“With all the groundwork done and the systems and procedures honed, I’m sure 2022 will be our best season yet,” says the former Daytona 24-Hour winner.
It is a series where the playing field is truly level: identical engines, engine management control units, gearboxes, differentials, wheels, tyres, shock absorbers and even brake callipers are supplied by the organisers. Several components have been redesigned in the off-season, and the overall package is now even more robust than before.
Tony Martin adds that a combination of preparation, aggregated driving skills, refuelling tactics and of course, overall strategy, will play a significant role in who comes out on top.
With December’s Killarney Nine Hour once again the final round, teams will also need to think carefully about driver line-up for that event (up to four drivers are allowed for the grand finale). As well as RSR and Killarney, the series will visit Dezzi Raceway, Aldo Scribante, East London and Phakisa Freeway.
The Backdraft Cobras runs as class E within South African Endurance, the championship of the South African GT Racing Association. The restructuring of local endurance racing is expected to have significant benefits for all stakeholders and participants, with a comprehensive marketing plan already in place to ensure a high profile for the series.