I was recently at Zwartkops Raceway for a shoot, and to kill some time while waiting for my subject to arrive, I thought I’d make a quick stop at Fast Development to see what they’re up to.
Freddie Pretorius, the man behind Fast Development, has spent many years engineering some of the fastest circuit racers in South Africa. As you’ll soon see, BMW and Porsche models are very popular bases for his builds, but it doesn’t stop there.
Pulling up outside, I was first met by two BMW track cars – an E92 coupe and E90 sedan – and then two familiar Porsche faces.
One was the twin-turbo 930 Slantnose I featured in November 2020, and the other was the Rothmans-liveried twin-turbo Porsche 912 from earlier this year. Also outside was an ex-production class Mini Cooper S and a really good looking Porsche 997.
On the day I popped in it was mainly a BMW affair inside, with everything from E36s to a brand new F82 M4 being worked on.
The M4 is a new build that was very close to being done, and during a track day at Kyalami a week ago I actually saw it cutting some laps.
Freddie’s work is extremely tidy, to the point that many of his full builds look like factory race cars. It’s not surprising then, that when Nissan South Africa needed a GT3-spec GT-R built in 2018, they turned to Fast Development for the entire project.
Of course, most builds start as road-going models, and sometimes of the less popular variety.
The 993 has always been one of my favourite Porsche models and the 996 has been growing on me quite considerably over the last few years. This 993 was being prepped for some new turbos.
Not every car at Fast Development is a full build. This E36 comes in for maintenance and fine tuning every now and then, and is actually a mostly-original BMW works car from the mid-1990s, still wearing its original Envirocar livery.
At the other end of this spectrum are cars like this Z4, which is currently being tested after being built up with a twin-turbo V8 engine, sequential transmission, GT3-style bodykit and every other upgrade needed to be competitive in local ‘unlimited’ class racing.
Like many of the small race workshops I’ve visited here in South Africa, Race Development does as much work as they can in-house. The small number of things they can’t do are outsourced to a few select companies they have long relationships with.
No job is too big or too small, and Freddie is always busy with a variety of interesting projects.
It’s always good to see the owner of the business so involved in the work and builds, and that really reflects in the race-proven machines that continue to come out of Fast Development.