The Phakisa Raceway
Did you know?
Geoff Bodine (aged 60) set the lap record of 36 sec at an average speed of 240 km/h around Phakisa in January 2010
Phakisa Raceway (also known as the Phakisa Freeway), praised by global motor sport icons such as Valentino Rossi, can be found near the city of Welkom in the Free State, halfway between Johannesburg and Bloemfontein. A visit to the Phakisa Raceway promises high-octane action for spectators and competitors alike.
The venue, which can accommodate 60 000 spectators, has hosted the South African MotoGP several times. Previous winners include Max Biaggi, Gary McCoy and Valentino Rossi.
Fast cars, superbikes and glamorous pit girls are all part of the regular weekend racing action at this 4,24km course, which has been operating since 1999. On open practice days, members of the public may test their cars and motorcycles on the track for only R100.
Phakisa is a Sotho word that means 'get moving', a perfect name for a racetrack that has been compared to the glitzy Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the USA.
After winning the MotoGP in 2001, Rossi said he found the track one of the most demanding in the world, adding 'you have to be brave to win here.'
The Phakisa Raceway regularly hosts racing events such as the Wesbank Super Series, which features supercars, motorbikes, production cars and Formula Volkswagen racing.
The 2.5km banked oval racetrack is 12m wide and features 14 challenging turns and a longest straight of 413m, which allows drivers and riders to reach some serious speeds. The circuit is 1 350m above sea level and the altitude adds to the challenges faced by competitors.
The Phakisa Raceway is a part of the Phakisa Major Sports Events and Development Corporation. Other facilities at this venue include a conference centre for up to 200 people and a soccer stadium with a grandstand that seats 4 000 spectators.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Phakisa Major Sports Events and Development Corporation
Tel: +27 (0) 57 391 800
Free State Tourism Authority
Tel: +27 (0) 51 411 4300
How to get here
The Phakisa Raceway is 3 hours' drive south of Johannesburg along the N1.
Hiring your own car is the best option.
What will it cost
Costs vary depending on the event; on open practice days you can test drive your car or motorbike on the raceway for around R100 per lap.
Where to stay
The nearest city is Welkom, which has numerous B&Bs, guest houses and hotels. Camping sites are available at Phakisa during big events.
What to eat
A restaurant and a takeaway outlet are open during all events.