Last August it was announced that the 10th running of the IFMAR World Championships for Electric Touring Car was being awarded to South Africa. A decision that was met with some strong resistance, racers divided over safety following incidents at previous World Championships hosted there, as time has passed teams & drivers appear to be more accepting of the location. Despite this some unsubstantiated talk has been doing the rounds that the event will not go ahead in South Africa. Taking on the responsibility for putting on the 2018 Worlds, Antonio Caroli has been travelling to the Reedy Race of Champions in the US and the ETS in Slovakia to talk to racers interested in making the trip to Welkom.
Although set to run at the existing Welkom R/C Club facility, a completely new RC facility building is being built to host the Worlds. A huge financial undertaking, it appears the lack of structural building work is fuelling rumours that the event won’t happen. Nothing could be more to the contrary and like all building projects, Antonio and his team are very busy behind the scenes doing the ground work for the build which is expected to be fully completed by this October.
Speaking with Antonio at the recent ETS at the Hudy Arena, he was happy to outline where the project is currently at with photos to back up the progress already made, admitting himself the level of work done to date is hard to quantify visually. Most of the production of the steel structure, which is being done off site, is complete and with the foundations on the newly acquired land already done, as soon as the steel work arrives on location things will quickly start to happen – the new Indoor Offroad track at Hudy Arena a good example of how such buildings suddenly appear out of nowhere having looked like progress was at a crawling rate in the early stages.
Along with erecting a completely new building, the entire Worlds running indoors on asphalt, Antonio has also started working on the schedule for the event which will see Formula joining the 1:12 section of the event for the first time, together with a 1:12 13.5 Blinky class. Aiming to run the World Championships mid August 2018, they are proposing 4-days of racing for the 1:12/Formula part of the event followed by a registration/break day & four further days of racing for Touring Car. Caroli is quick to highlight the scheduling has still to be ratified by IFMAR.
While the question of safety is one he commonly gets asked, Antonio said interest in attending the event is ‘very good’. He added, a lot people are interested in remaining on after the event for a week of holidays, with Safari trips a popular ‘want to do’ as well as visiting the beautiful City of Cape Town along the wine route. With Welkom situated 280km South West of Johannesburg, around a 2.5 hour drive from the airport, Antonio also reiterated there will be ‘no issues locally’ in terms of safety.