Porsche buys Kyalami Race Track for record auction price
Motorsport fans can breathe easy knowing that one of the most valuable pieces of land in Gauteng will carry on as a racing facility.
The historic Kyalami race track in Midrand was sold for the record auction price of R205 million yesterday to winning bidder Porsche South Africa, which has confirmed it intends to keep the venue as the spiritual home of SA motorsport, quashing fears of the 72ha property being demolished for development.
'I'm happy to be the new custodian,' said Porsche SA's managing director and racing driver Toby Venter. 'For every motoring enthusiast Kyalami means 'my home' and we're preserving it for racing.'
The property, formerly known as Farm Bothasfontein, is situated on prime real estate with massive potential as an economic hub between Joburg and Pretoria.
There were seven registered bidders at the auction with confirmed interest from international consortiums, but the sale was finalised in less than two minutes.
Only one other bid met the lot's reserve price of R200m, and was made before Porsche SA's successful entry. Interested parties had to put down a R4m deposit to take part.
The High St Auction Company, which was responsible for the sale, said the previous record price in South Africa for a single lot auction was R120 million 12 years ago.
Kyalami was opened as a racing circuit in 1961 and held 21 Formula One Grands Prix between 1967 and 1993. Racing greats such as Jim Clark, Niki Lauda, Ayrton Senna and Nigel Mansell have graced its notorious, undulating curves and SA's own world champion Jody Scheckter claimed victory there in 1975.
The track underwent a revamp in 1988 when it took on a shape similar to today's 13-turn anti-clockwise layout, and since then it's hosted five World Superbike Championship rounds and a leg of the A1 GP series in 2008. Porsche SA plans to revamp the circuit again as soon as possible.