Formula One has been talking about reviving the South African Grand Prix for a few years now, and The Race reports that it looks like the actual event could take place in 2024. There’s just one problem: there’s no Kyalami Ranch.
Before I jump right into the hot take, I do want to preface by saying that I am largely being facetious; F1's rampant growth in the past few years has been incredible to see, and it is frankly criminal that there isn’t a race on the African continent. I am very excited that we’re seriously talking about a race there.
I am still upset that we will not have Kyalami Ranch.
If The Race has it correct, the Grand Prix would take place at the Kyalami circuit, which used to hold events between the late 1960s and the early 1990s. Since then, though, the circuit has fallen into disrepair and needs a lot of work to restore it to an FIA certified Grade 1 track — a grading system that takes into account everything from track surface and facilities to the nearby accommodations.
The charm of the old track will likely slip away during the renovations (which admittedly already started happening in the late 1980s and early 1990s), but I have to be honest. My favorite part of the old track was Kyalami Ranch.
Basically, the Ranch was a resort at which most of the drivers stayed in and around the South African Grand Prix weekend. It was a place where they could all relax together and enjoy a little off-track competition in the form of swimming, tennis, or ping-pong. And it was also a place where just about every driver used to don their speedos for a few days of fun in the sun.
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I mean, just look at this:
Everyone is just chillin’, having a great time:
Like, just imagine your driver’s meetings looking like this:
This is what the people need.
What we deserve.
Do I have an entire folder in my hard drive filled with carefully-curated Kyalami Ranch photos? I do. I wish I could add them all, but I simply do not have the rights to reproduce them. Instead, I recommend you head to the classic Grand Prix Fashions Tumblr page, specifically the Kyalami Ranch tag. It will show you everything you need to see — and probably more. You can also listen to longtime F1 journalist Peter Windsor talk more about it here.
All I’m saying is, we could use a little camaraderie back in the F1 scene. I can’t think of any better way to accomplish it than handing everyone diminutive swimwear and asking them to hang out together.