The 2017 season for the Investchem Formula 1600 championship finished at Kyalami in Johannesburg on Saturday. Julian van der Watt (42 – Race Driver SA) is the 2017 Investchem Formula 1600 champion and receives R250 000 as well as two motorsport tests for his performance this year. Van der Watt tests with Formula Renault and with Afrix as part of his championship win.

In second place for this year, Stuart White (8 – Fantastic Racing) has won R125 000 and Alex Gillespie (50 – ERP Trucking Components) managed a one-point advantage on Cameron O’Connor (93 – Repro Supplies / Racing Factors) to claim third spot overall for 2017 and win R62 500!

Ian Schofield (10 – Investchem) claimed the Class B championship, with Allen Meyer (15 – Investchem) taking second spot and Donny Lamola (14 – Investchem) – who is currently in recovery after a serious non-motorsport accident – taking third spot this season. Van der Watt and Schofield both recorded these championship victories before the Kyalami outing, so there was no surprise waiting in terms of the 2017 outcome – but that did little to dampen the excitement of the final round competition.

To celebrate the final event of the year, the Investchem Formula 1600 championship fielded three brand new competitors in the series and the new sequential gearbox for the 2018 season underwent its first race test.

Alex Vos (12 – Investchem), Andrew Rackstraw (40 – RaceDriver SA) and Mike Verrier (45 – Aidcall 24/7) all took their first spin in the Investchem Formula 1600 series at Kyalami, a daunting task for any newcomer to the single-seater series. It demands a great deal of concentration and is a very different experience to most other formulas.

“We are always looking to update and keep the Investchem Formula 1600 series relevant to modern motorsport,” says Ian Schofield of Investchem Formula 1600. “For 2018 that means a new, sequential gearbox which we tested quite successfully at the Kyalami event. It will be a great addition to the championship and means less maintenance which improves the racing experience and reduces the financial input required from competitors to compete in the Investchem Formula 1600 national championship.”

“New drivers compete by invitation at various rounds of the championship through the year. There is always interest in competing with us and new drivers are given the opportunity to experience the formula first-hand. Alex, Andrew and Mike faced a challenging race day, but probably had the most fun of all guest drivers this year, being able to compete at Kyalami.”

Andrew Horne (31 – Investchem) was the competitor chosen to put the new five-speed sequential gearbox through its paces and give feedback on real-world race conditions. Since Horne was running equipment out of specification for the current season, he was required to start from the back of the grid at Kyalami.

To give an indication of what awaits the Investchem Formula 1600 competitors next year, Horne progressed from a last place start to finish 11th overall for the weekend. With 19 starters on the grid, early indications are that the field is going to be even more competitive in 2018 as the racers can push harder, with greater confidence.

Race results for Kyalami saw Stuart White (8 – Fantastic Racing) claim both race victories on the day with Wesley Vosloo (72 – Henkel / Dent Xpress) taking second place in race one and Cameron O’Connor (93 – Repro Supplies / Racing Factors) taking third in race one and second in race two. The new champion, Julian van der Watt (42 – Race Driver SA) finished third in the second race.

Class B results saw Allen Meyer (15 – Investchem) the winner in each race, with Mike Verrier (45 – Aidcall 24/7) and Craig Nunns (44 – Fantastic Racing) third in the first race and Nunns and Garth de Villiers (9 – Durrant Motorsport) second and third in race two.

This put the overall results in White’s hands for the Investchem Formula 1600 championship for the day, with O’Connor and Vosloo in second and third. Meyer lifted the category win for Class B with Nunns and De Villiers second and third.