Aldo Scribante Raceway is the home of the Algoa Motor Sport Club and named after the legendary South African team boss and construction magnate who helped to fund it.
Located in the coastal city of Port Elizabeth (now officially renamed Gqerbha) on the Eastern Cape, the circuit takes advantage of the close links with the motoring industry. Ford, Isuzu, Continental Tyres, Bridgestone/Firestone, Dunlop together with Chinese manufacturer SAIC all have factories here, while it was also once home to General Motors South Africa.
The circuit has helped mould the careers of several local national champions. Michael Stephen, Simon Moss, Daniel Rowe and Chassen Bright are among the current crop, while past heroes have included Mike Briggs, Tschops Sipuka and Terry Moss, the later of who is the circuit’s promoter.
Aldo Scribante first opened in 1975, though in reality it had taken the Algoa Motor Sports Club some 14 years to raise the funds necessary to build their track. GM and Ford provided some backing for a circuit on the doorstep of their South African operations, while the club raised around R25,000.
Club President Louis Krittinger then approached Italian-born motorsports philanthropist Aldo Scribante for a “short chat” and left with Aldo’s promise for financial backing for the circuit!
As the patron of "Scuderia Scribante”, he was most famous for guiding multi South African Champion Dave Charlton in his Formula One Lotus and McLaren cars, including outings among the World Championship regulars at Kyalami. He also sponsored a number of other drivers from time to time.
Making his money in the construction industry, he was keen to assist the Algoa club with making its dream a reality, loaning it the outstanding funds on the understanding they would pay him back when ready and able to do so. As a result the club named their new circuit in his honour.
The circuit opens to a strong reception
Construction took place on land made available by Port Elizabeth City Council throughout 1974, ahead of an official opening at noon 30 November 1974. A total of 12,000 enthusiastic spectators turned out to watch the first racing action unfold.
The circuit was relatively basic at this stage; just the ribbon of tarmac and a pit lane without garages, surrounded by earth spectators mounds. Over time, pit garages and other amenities for competitors and spectators would be added as funds allowed.
At the first meeting, the verges were still bare earth, leading to more than usual amounts of dust and gravel being kicked up by errant race cars and several cracked screens, though thankfully little other drama.
The honour of the first race winner fell not to a competitor on four wheels, however; the inaugural event of the 14-race programme was for motorcycles.
Fittingly, it was a local rider - Tiny Marriner on a Sharwoods Honda 750 - who took the first chequered flag after a 10-lap scratch race. The first car to take a win was the Ford Escort 1600 GT of Enrst Viljoen, marking a win for a car produced in Port Elizabeth.
Among the others racing that day was Dave Charlton himself (then the reigning South African Champion) in a Mazda Rotary, who enjoyed a tremendous tussle with the Ford Cortina V6 of Lee Booysen, with the pair taking a heat race win each.
Fastest man at the meeting was Ray Emond in an ex-Van Rooyen Firenze V8, who lapped at just over 1 minute 10 seconds, at an average speed of approximately 127 km/h.
Circuit creates a strong home for local racing
From these relatively humble beginnings, the intervening years would see the circuit became a fully established part of the local and national racing scene. Facilities expanded to include covered garages, a control tower and improved spectator amenities, all the while retaining a friendly club feel.
The track was resurfaced in its entirety in 2018, once again with the assistance of the Scribante family. Scribante Construction’s Asphalt Division undertook the transformation of the previously abrasive track surface, under the watchful eye of Aldo’s son Celso Scribante and grandson Aldo, both of whom are regular competitors in the local modified saloon car series.
Today the track has a strong calendar of local and regional racing and drag events, with the seasonal highlight being the visit of the national Sasol GTC Championship.
- Aldo Scribante Raceway, Coega IDZ, Gqeberha, 6001, South Africa
- +27 66 464 1690
- Email the circuit
- Official website
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