By Yeshiel Panchia
An annual super and hyper-car event that saw the rich and famous and 68 high-performance vehicles – worth over $25 million – burn rubber on South Africa’s open roads. What’s needed? A cool $7,000 and a lot of va va voom.
Pitched as the “most epic super-car rally in the southern hemisphere”, the 2021 Daytona Rally went ahead with much fanfare this year, seeing 68 luxury car owners completing a six-day trip of 1,500km from the South African port city of Gqeberha to Mossel Bay in Cape Town, from May 20.
Drivers were treated to five-star hotel stays and red-carpet treatment every step of the way.
“It really is the best thing, a mind-blowing experience every time,” says participant Ismail Peck, who traveled with two friends in a Lamborghini and Audi R8 V10 Performance Quattro. Drivers were treated to a variety of events, from hill-climbs to ¼ mile drift events and more.
Sponsored by New York-based IoT company Justworx, the rally is the intersection of high-speed and the high life, with an entrance fee of around $7,000 to participate and drivers treated to luxury accommodation and experiences during the trip. Originally limited to 50 participants, numbers were upped to 68 drivers due to high demand, with many wanting a freeing experience after a year of pandemic restrictions.
“The race draws the cream of the crop in South Africa,” says Killarney International Raceway commentator Gary Fleming. With the total estimated value of participant vehicles being in excess of $25 million, it’s no surprise there were some ancillary benefits, with Mossel Bay Deputy Mayor Dirk Kotzé making clear that the city’s participation was part of a broader plan to stimulate local businesses, and luxury goods worth $20,000 being auctioned to support local charity efforts.
Local residents were primarily excited at the opportunity to see many of these rare, high-performance vehicles up close, with many taking to social media to express their enjoyment and share images and videos of the event, which included some previously unseen vehicles in South Africa including the McLaren Senna and Ferrari F8 Tri Turbo.
“I was so lucky to have seen the convoy on the N2 into Cape Town this morning,” one attendee said. “What an awesome spectacle.” While the event was not spectator-driven due to Covid-19 concerns, hundreds of spectators did end up being able to view the rally, with the hope that the next event will be post-pandemic.
“It can become a public spectacle… I think it will be one of the biggest events in South Africa…” says Fleming.
Phoenix Events CEO Mark Castell, who co-ordinated the logistics and transport of the vehicles, support and security, ensured that pedestrian and road safety was a priority. Commenting on the extension of the rally to six days for this year’s event, he says: “The feedback is always fantastic but the drivers wish for more time behind the wheel… It’s for the love of racing.”
“I can’t say what we did on the roads, but we got there quick,” quipped another excited driver.