Johannesburg – There is something very special about holding an motor show at a race circuit.
The venue has built-in motoring ambience, and the availability of the track for exhibitions, stunt shows or even demo drives for show-goers in a safe and controlled environment lends ‘real-world’ cachet to the event.
So when of SA Shows Messe Frankfurt followed the example of its two-wheeled colleagues and re-imagined the erstwhile Johannesburg International Motor Show as the South African Festival of Motoring, to be held at the newly-rebuilt Kyalami circuit in Midrand from 31 August to 4 September, there was immediate support from the local motor industry.
In addition to Porsche SA, which owns the circuit, major companies that have already confirmed their participation include BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen – with strong interest from several more, according to recently appointed SA Shows boss Konstantin von Vieregge.
Just as importantly, WesBank, South Africa’s biggest automotive finance house and previously a major sponsor of the Johannesburg International Motor Show, has been confirmed as the headline sponsor for the Festival.
“This is the ideal setting for a motor show,” said Von Vieregge. “The Kyalami circuit is a global motorsport icon, and it’s a spacious venue with facilities tailor-made for hosting multi-faceted entertainment.
“We’ll be putting all the logistics in place, including a shuttle service to and from the Gautrain, and we’re doing a detailed study of the grounds so we can ensure hassle-free parking.”
He and show director Pula Dippenaar have also reviewed benchmark shows overseas – including the iconic Goodwood Festival of Speed in the UK – to borrow their best ideas for the Kyalami show.
The special appeal of this venue is the opportunity for prospective customers to take a test drive, either on the circuit or on a special 4×4 track (depending on the vehicle!), as well as booking a supercar drive with a professional driver.
A variety of VIP package options featuring different locations at the circuit, at various pricing levels, will offer an attractive business entertainment opportunity, not just for people in the automotive industry.
But there’s a lot more to it, says Dippenaar, from a fashion show to a special children’s play area with live entertainment, to German touring cars howling around the circuit.
The Galleria area over the pits will host a glittering display of prestige cars and motorcycles, as well as a range of automotive artworks, including an art competition for schoolchildren.
There will also be displays of cars by various marque clubs in a special paddock area, and selected car and motorcycle clubs will be invited to take part in daily parades around the circuit, highlighting various aspects of the motoring world.
The organisers are even planning a countrywide search to find the 25 most interesting cars in South Africa, which will also be displayed at the Festival.