Toby Venter, Porsche 911 GT2R 993, Porsche SA

Extreme Supercars: return of the Grand Wizard

The one day he was there, and the next he was gone; like a spectre, he disappeared into the afternoon sunset. All that was left was his thunder and havoc, engraved in the ribbon of black.

A few months ago: On her four hydraulic lifters her Hankook (305/315, 265) claws hang inanimately in the air. She patiently waits for the morning rise. As the sun moves slowly with its yellow rays across the Zwartkops pit complex, it eventually reaches her naked (all white) body, to awash her beautiful curves, turning her pale skin into a bright yellow seductive affair. And Trinity was born. She is a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup 997, cared for by Nicky Dicks; she once belonged to the Grand Wizard. (For six zeros you can have any girl you want.) Fast forward a few races, and most of you are familiar with THIS story: Nicky Dicks, turned Sheriff Dicks, subsequently altering his race car’s appearance to compliment his vocation. So, come to think of it: the Grand Wizard has never left the racetrack.

With every race meeting I hoped (and prayed) for his return. (Where do all our hopes, dreams and prayers go? Presumably up.) Race day after race day, as I was taking my acclimatizing stroll through the Zwartkops pit complex (on Extreme Supercar days), in the hope of finding the number-nine Porsche, my hopes began to falter. There was absolutely nothing, until THIS last Friday (2013/11/29) of the race season, when an all-white Porsche 911 GT2R 993, stood with its Michelin grippers flat on the garage floor, peering out to the east, meditating, waiting confidently for the Grand Wizard’s return. ‘He will be here in about an hour and a half’s time, said the friendly Porsche mechanic. And, was it worth the wait—YES! Toby Venter—my dear Readers—was back in the LOUD house!

Once the black stuff runs through your veins, you can check-out any time you like, but you can never leave; runs the lyrics from the Hotel California song, by the Eagles.
Many anticipated that this day would come. On the far end of the Zwartkops pit complex stood the old/new "Jericho Trumpet" of the Grand Wizard. I was jubilant in my own way.

From a distance many stood and made their own assumptions; from a distance many feared that they would not have enough under the hood to man-up against the Porsche 911 GT2R 993 (of the Wizard). If you have twice made your mark on the black (like in June and October 2012), contenders will respect you for it, but, it is not to say they would back down. The battle is ON!
Now, he had to fight for that respect all over again.

This race day was not entirely lost. We banked on the buoyant Charl Arangies, in his Dodge Viper V10 ACRX to establish superiority. He raced most of 2013 season at the front of this thunderous sound-cloud. He once resides from Noble descent (FYI), after his abdication het got Viper (meaning, it is time to win, constantly). Can he take that respect away from the Grand Wizard and, make it his own?
In my opinion, Lee Thompson in his—rocket—BMW 335i (what a beautiful designed racing car it is indeed), will be better equipped for the task ahead.
Mind you, Kris Budnik is as right as rain in his incendiary BMW M3 GT V8, he will surely capitalise on every opportunity that comes his way; then, not to forget Andrew Culbert and Sun Moodley, both racing in their signature blue-and-purple Porsche 911 GT3 997 CUPs.
Not to dampen anybody’s spirit but Black Mamba Zoo (Willem’s Ferrari F360), will not make any dent in the Wizard’s armour. Even though the C3 Brotherhood (Willem, Jacques and Andre) is as tight as a pack of hungry Wolves, motorsport fans can only expect that they will pack the heat from behind.

More than a year ago Willem van der Westhuizen exerted (and I paraphrase): ‘nobody knows what the "BEEP" he’s feeding that Porsche (talking about the Wizard’s GT3).’ ‘We can only speculate’, I replied. That was more than a year ago.
Pedal to the metal and Toby’s latest Porsche 911 GT2R pushes out 650 BHP (multiply that with 0.746, to get kW, and the answer is: 485kW). So, there you have it my dear Readers, the more kilowatts, the more podiums—not true.
Come to think of it (and this stands as proof): Sheriff Dicks procured the Wizard’s previous 911 GT3 CUP (as you can remember) who wreaked havoc on fellow contenders. Now you would believe that Nicky Dicks could do the same, but not. Most of this extreme racing season belonged to front runner Charl Arangies, and one top podium to Deon du Plessis (in a KTM X-Bow). So what does the Wizard’s Porsche contain that others don’t have?

Without knowing it Willem van der Westhuizen provided the answer to this vexed question. ‘Toby Venter is one of the best Porsche racing drivers out there (referring to the racetrack)’, he exclaimed. He might have a very fast and furious Porsche 911 GT2R 993, stocked with six-hundred-and-fifty-horses under the hood. And there might be fancy techno-stuff that gives him the edge, but Toby Venter is the main factor in his own racing car; he is the invaluable human-machine part.

After a lethargic first practice session, he returned to his next session to hammer down sixty-seconds flat around the short and quick two-point-four kilometre Zwartkops racetrack. This equates to an average velocity of forty meter per second (m/s). He even fared better in the GT2 than with his previous GT3 (TJ Timing).

Next to his Porsche (in the race garage) is his blue camping chair, he reaches for his sport-bag to slowly lift a bottle of water from it (yes, the Wizard needs that too). His racing- helmet and gloves stood next to a concrete pillar to cool off. Then he inadvertently runs his fingers through his short dark hair to distinguish himself again. He sits himself down to take a rest ... And then I realised: If you separate the Grand Wizard from his Porsche, he becomes one of us. Outside his cocoon of steel, speed and techno-stuff, Mr Venter is as normal as you and me; once inside his racing car he becomes one with one of the fastest circuit racing cars on South African soil.

We are all connected to the world out there, to people, machinery, nature ... And even though we have speculated and contemplated how this motorsport weekend would end; the answer to our question(s) was always in front of us. We welcome back, the return of the Grand Wizard. —Godspeed!

Photos: Adriaan & Martine Venter (Extreme Festival, Extreme Supercars, Zwartkops Raceway, South African Motorsport, 2013/11/30, 120 images) Main Image: Toby Venter, Porsche 911 GT2R 993.

Extreme Festival, Extreme Supercars, images: 63/120

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