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Good news if you’re concerned by the dangerous levels of petrol still remaining on earth: a new race series starts in South Africa later this year called ‘Global Touring Cars’. In it, 500bhp V8 spaceframe racers clothed in the body panels of familiar mid-sized saloons and hatchbacks body panels shall attempt not to decapitate one another while racing to victory.

That’s the plan, anyway. GTC creator Gary Formato - himself a former racer - insists there is no overlap with other touring car championships, because no other touring car offers a small-ish car with a bloody great 500bhp V8. It’s a franchise, bought into by businesses and offered with everything required to run a national series.

You simply pay your licence fee, get some teams and drivers on board, find some sponsorship and then go racing. The competition-spec car, designed by Paul Ceprnich, is, as mentioned, a 500bhp V8-powered spaceframe racer with a sequential gearbox driving the rear wheels. Each is uniform across the series, though the bodyshell fitted can be whatever each team desires: the frame underneath has been designed to accept OE body panels based on many small saloon or hatchback-sized cars on sale today.

And though the initial idea is for national series, as more countries get on board GTC says there’ll be a ‘world cup’ event for a cash prize. “We want to bring the focus back on racing,” explains GTC executive director Mark Woolley. “Racing at the top level is often seen as a compromised mix of technology wars and team orders,” he adds. Exactly which series he’s referencing there is beyond us. Ahem.

So, Global Touring Cars. It kicks off in SA later this year, and judging by the prototypes in the pics above, promises fireworks. Obviously it’s nothing compared to Hammond’s People Carrier Race Series, mind. We’re still waiting for the FIA to sign that one off.

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