GLYN HALL Team Principal
Glyn Hall’s motorsport career started in the United Kingdom after he joined Chrysler United Kingdom as a student apprentice in 1975. He progressed through many departments in the company during his training, but it was the competitions department headed up by Des O’Dell (who was on the design team for the iconic Ford GT 40) that captured his imagination the most.
He joined the competitions department on completion of his training and enjoyed what he describes as “three great years”. This period enabled him to meet many influential people in his life such as Tony Pond, Henri Toivonen and Jean Todt, to name but a few, as well as to be involved in the prototype Lotus Sunbeam rally car.
Hall blossomed in South Africa, a country the quiet Briton, 54 on 12 September 2011, adopted in 1980 when he came here as a 22-year-old to work for Geoff Mortimer Motorsport. Tony Pond was driving for Mortimer at the time as well as his European commitments.
Today, Hall can look back on a distinguished contribution to the history of motorsport in South Africa and a career full of achievements, which have placed him at the very forefront of motorsport management in this country.
In 1990, Hall established his own company, Hallspeed, to run the VW Dealer team in national championship rallies.
He and navigator, Martin Botha, caused something of a shock in the 1990 national rally championship when they won overall in a Class B VW Golf GTi, beating the factory-entered four-wheel-drive Class A cars that included 1986 champions Hannes Grobler and Piet Swanepoel in a Nissan Sentra. They were second overall in the Castrol International Rally and were awarded Springbok Colours.
Hall retired from rallying at the end of the 1992 season and joined Nissan Motorsport as an engineer. He was appointed manager in 1993.
In 1996, Hallspeed effectively took over the management of Nissan Motorsport and Hall steered Nissan to a record 29 national championships between 1996 and 2009, including two production car drivers’ championships, four successive touring car drivers’ championships between 2007 and 2010 and nine consecutive off-road drivers’ championships from 2001 to 2009.
The young drivers he employed and nurtured, who went on to become champions, include Giniel de Villiers (circuit and off road), Duncan Vos (off road) and Leeroy Poulter (circuit and rallying).
His achievements have been recognised by the Guild of Motoring Journalists (in 1999, 2007 and 2012) with the Colin Watling Award for outstanding contribution to motorsport by a non-competitor. In 2009, he received the South African Motorsport Industry Association Motorsport Business of the Year award on behalf of Nissan Motorsport. Hallspeed took over the running of Toyota Motorsport in 2010 and is responsible for Toyota’s teams in the national rally and cross country championships.
Hall and his company have enjoyed a decade-long successful involvement with the Dakar Rally and the FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup. Hallspeed has built more than 30 off-road racing pickups, most of which have been sold to overseas customers and, in addition to winning numerous national and international races and several national championships in Russia, Europe and the Middle East, have performed with distinction in the Dakar Rally.
In 2012, four Toyota Hilux pickups designed and built by Hallspeed made history when they competed for the first time in the Dakar. Two were entered by the Imperial Toyota South Africa Team supported by Duxbury Netgear and the Innovation Group and crewed by 2009 Dakar winners Giniel de Villiers and German co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz as well as Duncan Vos and Rob Howie. One was in the hands of Argentinian privateer Lucio Alvarez and the other was run by top Belgian Dakar team Overdrive for Argentine Orlando Terranova.
Hall and almost his entire team travelled to South America to look after the two South African Toyota Hilux entries, with Hall acting as team manager. They were all richly rewarded by the outstanding results. de Villiers finished third overall, Alvarez was fifth and Vos 10th. Terranova was forced to withdraw after his co-driver had to return home for personal reasons during the rally.
de Villiers and von Zitzewitz went one better in the 2013 Dakar Rally, finishing a superb second and first in the class for four-wheel drive petrol-engined vehicles in an evolution version of the Imperial Toyota Hilux. It was de Villiers’ 10th Dakar Rally, his fourth podium in five years and his ninth top 10 – making him the most consistent driver of the past decade.
Vos and Howie, who won the national cross country championship in 2012 with team-mates Anthony Taylor and Chris Birkin second in a pair of Castrol Team Toyota Hilux 4x4s, were less fortunate and were forced out of the race on the third special stage with a damaged roll cage after a roll.
Hall’s team also contested the 2012 national rally championship with two Castrol Team Toyota Auris cars (for Johnny Gemmell/Carolyn Swan and Leeroy Poulter/Elvéne Coetzee) and a third Auris, in Imperial Toyota colours, for de Villiers and Greg Godrich.
Vos and Howie won the cross country championship with three wins, including the Toyota 1000 Desert Race in Botswana, and Taylor/Birkin were second with one win in the eight rounds. Gemmell and Swan were second in the rally championship.
Taylor and Dennis Murphy won the 2013 cross country championship with four wins, including the Toyota 1000 Desert Race, while Vos/Howie were third with one win.
Toyota Motorsport debuted the Yaris S2000 rally car in 2013 with Gemmell/Swan and Poulter/Coetzee in the Castrol Team Toyota cars and de Villiers/Godrich in the Imperial Toyota version. Gemmell and Swan were again second in the championship, finishing second in four of the eight rounds and narrowly missing out on wins in the Toyota Gauteng Dealer Rally and the Toyota Cape Dealer Rally. de Villiers and Godrich were fourth with a best result of third in the Volkswagen Rally. Poulter and Coetzee came close to winning at least two rounds, but had to settle for sixth in the championship and eight special stage wins.