South Africa’s richest racing championship will celebrate its twentieth anniversary in fine style in 2021 with Investchem Formula 1600 all set to bounce back in bumper new racing season later in March. And with a quarter-million rand up for grabs for the champion, who also earns a test in both a premier South African GTC championship Investchem Toyota and an international Formula Renault racer, expect the competition to be super tough.

“Investchem Formula 1600 continues to lead the way in South African single seater racing,” series founder Ian Schofield explains. “2021 is a very special year for us as it is 20 years since we took over the reins from Formula Ford. “Formula 1600 is a pure, fair and thrilling form of racing, we have a great atmosphere and we love to race.

“Formula 1600 offers both the perfect springboard for young guns stepping up from karting into circuit racing, as much as it is a home for established champions for the kids to measure themselves against, while learning the intricacies of racing a pukka wings and slicks race car. “Now to celebrate a landmark 20th season in the Investchem Formula 1600 championship by rewarding our champions like never before,” Schofield confirmed.

“Not only will we pay our 2021 champion a cool quarter-million rand in cash along with those tests, but our runner-up will earn R125 000 and a GTC test, with the third-placed driver taking R62 500 and a GTC test too. The fourth, fifth and sixth guys will take R30 000, R15 000 and R10 000 home, respectively.” Two of Formula 1600’s most recent champions, Scott Temple and Julian van der Watt have since graduated to race GTC.

Also, Investchem Formula 1600 has established a so-called Covid Relief Fund, whereby if a driver enters and races every race of the 2021 season, the series will reimburse all their entry fees for the season.

One man who has made that runner-up cheque pay, is one of this year’s favourites, Nicholas van Weely and his Magnificent Paints & Hardware Van Diemen RF06. Nick has covered most of his season running costs by coming second in the Investchem Formula 1600 championship for three years in a row. Now he aims to earn a little extra beer money by winning the big prize in 2021.

Van Weely’s biggest challenge is likely to come from Cape Town youngster Andrew Rackstraw’s Investchem RDSA Mygale SJ, while Andrew Schofield can never be discounted in his Investchem SaFair Mygale SJ and Brendan Tracey will be back aboard his Investchem Mygale SJ. Those four will have their work cut out as ever by a fresh crop of young guns keen to make their mark.

Among them, former karter Jarrod Waberski showed great mettle in his rookie season aboard his DAW Racing Mygale SJ and this third generation racing kid can be expected to be right on it. Both Alex Vos and his DV Building Supplies Ecurie Zoo Van Diemen RF04 and Zac Edwards’ SCM Mygale continued to make great progress, while Ewan Holtzhausen is another looking to step up in his Total Plastics Bee Tee Tovani Mygale.

2021 rookies include former karters Josh le Roux ILCA Heydeck New Heights Cloud Mygale SJ and young racing lass Taya van der Laan who will join the fray when she is old enough to qualify for a race licence in her Mygale SJ midyear, while Gerard Geldenhuys will join the fray after the Cape Town season opener in his Abacus Divisions Mygale SJ.

It’s all change behind the regular frontrunners this year as a field of old school Post-1990 Formula Ford 1600 Kents join the F1600 grid at four races through the season, starting at Killarney in two weeks time. And that old school bit goes far further than just the classic engines in the back of their cars, with over 350 years of experience between the six senior drivers on the grid alone!

Mr. Investchem Formula 1600, Ian Schofield leads the charge in his Investchem Mygale SJ, where he will take on fellow pension dodgers Allen Meyer’s Investchem Van Diemen RF, Graham Vos, Ronald van Weely’s Magnificent Paints & Hardware Van Diemen RF 92 and Rick Morris in an Investchem Mygale SJ10.

Not quite in the pensioner bracket yet are other well seasoned racers, Graham Hepburn’s Qualipak Van Diemen, David Jermy in a Beauty Factory Mygale SJ and Jeff Gable. And Gauteng FF1600 regulars Andrew Horne, Steve Venter’s Dezzo Equipment Swift and Dean Venter in a Chamber LXXVII Van Diemen will also all be in the fray.

The 2021 Investchem Formula 1600 championship starts with Killarney’s Extreme Festival races in Cape Town on Saturday 20 March with a full grid of FF1600s also joining in on the action too. From there they will tour the country over seven more Extreme racing weekends to find a 2021 champion worthy of handing a R250,000 cheque to. Well maybe do a transfer to them now that cheques don’t work anymore…