Xolile Letlaka claimed a double podium at the prestigious Kyalami 9-Hour, earning a third place finish in the SA GT 1-Hour race, before racing to a superb second place in the Kyalami 9-Hour National GT3 class along with teammates Tschops Sipuka and Philip Kekana.
Sipuka and Kekana were recruited into the team as a homage to the missed international opportunities their talent deserved.
The Stradale Racing/Into Africa Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo team created history as the first all-Black African team to enter – and finish – the Kyalami 9-hour. The team gained enormous exposure and interest from the International media on the grid before, during and after the race, garnering the loudest applause from the throngs of spectators as they mounted the podium.
The pre-race grid activities included Letlaka revealing his Africa Race Together Foundation, an initiative aimed at driving sustainability in national and international motorsport through diversity. The Foundation aims to identify and nurture emerging talent across all spectrums of the sport.
After the race, an elated Letlaka said: “Racing in the Kyalami 9-Hour was an amazing feeling, made even more special with the crowd so strongly behind us. We got a huge cheer at the end which was quite emotional for us. This is how motorsport should be.”
“The car ran perfectly for the whole race. This result is a testament to the whole Stradale Team as well as Tschops and Philip,” he concluded.
A weary Sipuka summed up his Kyalami 9-Hour experience: “The Lamborghini is an exciting car to drive. The team did their best and worked wonders during the event. Racing at night doesn’t happen very often – you really need an extra set of eyes out there as all your brake markers have disappeared into the night. You need high concentration levels as the last thing you want is to throw the race away in the dying minutes.”
Kekana, the oldest member of the trio was equally thrilled with the team’s result: “I had minimal seat time before the race. Once I worked out just how good a GT3 car is, I started to explore its capabilities more and more as the race went on. I’m really happy for the team and amazed at just how much support we enjoyed from the crowd. It’s an experience I’ll remember for the rest of my life”.