South African Grand Prix
The first South African Grand Prix, took place in 1934, hosted at the Prince George Circuit located in East London, in the Eastern Cape Province. World class drivers such as Dick Seaman, Bernd Rosemeyer and Luigi Villoresi were among the competitors, with Luigi Villoresi winning the South African Grand Prix in 1939.
The start of World War II saw the end of the racing for a time. With South Africa receiving Formula One status in 1962, going on to become a popular event. During to the infamous Apartheid-era in South Africa’s history, the Formula One South African Grand Prix was canceled on many occasions. The very first South African Grand Prix, as part of the Formula One calendar, took place on 29 December 1962. East London, once again, hosted the event and the South African Grand Prix returned to the Prince George Circuit in 1963 and in 1965.
The decision to move the Formula One South African Grand Prix, was made in 1967, and for as long as South Africa remained on the Formula One racing calendar, the Kyalami Circuit in the Gauteng Province (previously known as the Transvaal Province) remained its host. During the years 1962 and 1993, there were 23 Formula One Grand Prix races held at Kyalami Circuit. The Kyalami Circuit takes place over 78 laps, and the total racing distance is 320.112 kilometers.
The fasted lap time was achieved by John Watson in 1977, with a lap time of 1’17.630. This was also a race of great tragedy. A 19 year old student, named Jansen Van Vuuren, together with another mashall, were killed whilst rushing to the aid of Renzo Zorzi, whose Shadow had caught alight, and whilst crossing the track Van Vuuren was struck by Tom Pryce. The impact was so severe it killed both men instantly. Pryces’ injuries were from the fire extinguisher, and Van Vuuren was destroyed by the extreme force of impact. Another tragic loss of life was that of Peter Revson, who died in 1974 during his practice run. The last South African Grand Prix that was held at the Kyalami Circuit was in 1993.