With more victories under its belt than any other manufacturer, you could say, in a figurative sense at least, that Porsche owns countless numbers of race tracks around the world. But here we’re not talking about figuratively owning a track – we’re talking about literally buying one. And Porsche has just bought Kyalami.
Kylamai, for those unfamiliar, is a grand prix circuit near Johannesburg in South Africa. Between 1967 and 1985, and again in ’92 and ’93, it was home to the South African Grand Prix, and has since hosted a variety of local and lower-level international races, but apparently fell on hard times. As a result, the track’s owners – listed as Universal Property Professionals – put it up for auction. Bidders had to deposit four million Rand (about $380k) to participate, but after just 50 seconds, the auction was over.
The winning bid was placed – via telephone from the local press launch for the Macan – by Porsche South Africa CEO Toby Venter, who bid a reported 205 million rand (about $19.5 million) to take over the complex. The German automaker’s South African division reportedly intends to keep the track open for racing, but could also be expected to use the facility for testing, customer track days and such moving forward.
It would not be the only track, after all, owned by a Porsche – even if the South African option is owned and operated independently of the German automaker and its holding company. The factory at Leipzig has its own test track on premises, there’s another one in the works for the company’s new US headquarters in Atlanta, Porsche Engineering owns the Nardo high-speed test track in Germany and there’s probably a few more we’re forgetting about, not to mention facilities like Ehra-Lessien which Porsche effectively owns through its 50+ percent stake in the Volkswagen Group.
Porsche also has a number of customer experience centers opening at tracks around the world – including LA, Atlanta, Silverstone and Le Mans – and given the new acquisition, we wouldn’t be surprised to see it set one up at Kyalami as well.