Sarel van der Merwe is South Africa’s motorsport icon, with 14 national titles, including 11 at rallying. But he is best known abroad for his track achievements, including his win in the Kreepy Krauly March at the 1984 Daytona 24-hour, his third place finish in that year’s Le Mans 24-hour, and his stint as the pilot of the Hendrick Motorsport Lola-Corvette IMSA car in the United States during the 1980s.
A multiple karting champion in the 1980s, since then Greg Mills has built a career as a political and economic analyst and author, for a decade the Director of the Institute of International Affairs and, since 2005, The Brenthurst Foundation, an advisory body for African heads of government. He is widely experienced in variety of machinery from contemporary Le Mans prototypes to historic Formula 5000s. The founder of Team Africa Le Mans, he co-drove the Ginetta in its first race with Sarel and Jan to finish first on Index and in class, and second overall in the 2015 SA nine-hour race, and again, in 2016, to finish third in class at the Paul Ricard 24-Hour.
A former Benetton and Scuderia Italia Formula One driver, Emanuele Pirro has won the Le Mans 24-Hour five times with Audi (2000-02; 2006-07), along with the two victories in the Sebring 12-Hour and two American Le Mans Series Championships. He started in karting at the age of 11, and progressed through Formula 3 and Formula 3000, finishing 3rd in the 1985 F3000 championship and second the following year.
Jan Lammers is a former Ensign, Shadow, ATS and March F1 driver, winner (in 1988) of the Le Mans 24-hour, with two other podium finishes in the Sarthe classic. He is also a two-time winner of the Daytona 24-hour (1988 and 1990), and as driver and team principal. Jan was twice the FIA World Sportscar Champion in 2002 and 2003, and has participated in numerous Paris-Dakar rallies. He took part in his 23rd Le Mans in 2017, finished 14th overall in the Team Jumbo Dallara LMP2.
Team Manager David Horsey got into rallying in Kenya as a navigator for this brother Horace. He soon shifted to the driver’s seat, finishing runner-up in the Kenya championship in 1983 in a Datsun 1300 bakkie, and won the African championship the following year in a locally developed and homologated Peugeot 504 ‘bakkie’ (pickup). In 1985 he was the third works driver for Toyota in the Safari rally alongside Bjorn Waldegaard and the eventual winner Juha Kankunnen. Based in Mombasa, nowadays he participates in the occasional historic rally both as a driver and navigator.
The Ginetta G55 is being engineered by Nicholas Jooste. Based in Malindi, Kenya, Jooste has worked for a variety of successful racing teams including Audi, Nissan and Toyota in South Africa, Team Victory Powerboats in Dubai, and Tom Walkinshaw Racing in Australia.
The Ginetta G55 is a bespoke GT4 endurance racing car. Team Africa Le Mans’ chassis, number LT-289, was acquired directly from Ginetta’s Leeds factory, arriving in South Africa in December 2015. This is the latest model of the G55, complete with sequential paddle-shift Hewland gearbox, Motec engine and gearbox management system and a four-cam Ford Mustang V6 engine, producing around 360 horsepower. The G55 has been designed and built with the latest front and rear diffusers, rear wing and full flat floor and inner arches, offering a maximum grip and minimum drag. The car is fitted with a 107-litre dry brake fuel system, 9” front and 10” rear wheels and 6-pot and 4-pot ventilated front and rear brakes respectively. Its FIA-approved chassis includes the latest carbon impact protection.