The on-track Hillclimb action commences on 3 May with Classic Car Friday, which caters for a spectacular array of iconic cars from a bygone era. The oldest car in the line-up is a 1928 Austin Seven driven by regular competitor Greig Smith, and he will be sharing the start line with 64 other eager drivers occupying the hot seats of a simply mesmerising array of machinery spanning more than six decades.
A total of 28 illustrious and historical marques feature on the Classic Car Friday entry list, including Jaguar, Alfa Romeo, Austin Healey, Marcos, Cooper, Ginetta, Lola and Shelby. Franco Scribante reigns supreme as the four-time Classic Conqueror champion in his immaculately prepared 1970 Chevron B19, and it will be fascinating to see if anyone is able to challenge him for the 2019 crown.
Although the intense Hillclimb action unfolds on the fast and flowing 1.9 km course on Friday, there’s lots to keep enthusiasts enthralled leading up to the event. Thursday’s scrutineering and a parade lap at the Fan Fest zone in central Knysna will give enthusiasts an opportunity to see the cars close-up and meet the drivers.
Scrutineering and the parade for King of the Hill competitors takes place on Friday before they take on the challenge of the Simola Hill for the ensuing two action-packed days, on 4 and 5 May.
Thursday and Friday’s Fan Fest activity will include the Coca-Cola Gig rig, and other entertainment, while Monster’s Le Riche Racing brothers will thrill the crowd with their extreme motorcycle show on Friday. They will also be in action at the Hillclimb on Saturday and Sunday.
As usual, the King of the Hill entry list is restricted to a maximum of 84 competitors, with 30 automotive brands set to excite and delight fans this year. Title sponsor Jaguar will once again be creating a buzz by showing off its latest models driven by some of the country’s leading race drivers, joined by a dazzling array of entries that include Porsche, Lamborghini, McLaren, Alfa Romeo, Chevrolet, BMW, Lotus, Mercedes-AMG, Shelby and Nissan.
Andre Bezuidenhout is the Jaguar Simola Hillclimb’s outright record-holder, setting an astonishing winning time of 35.528 seconds last year on his very first outing with the Gould GR55 – a specialised Hillclimb racer, powered by a Nicholson McLaren 3.8-litre V8 engine. He will be a tough act to beat in Class C for Single Seaters and Sports Cars, but there’s no doubt that he will be aiming to set an even quicker time with this truly impressive car.
This category has been remodelled for 2019 to allow Single Seaters and Sports Cars to compete in separate classes, with the line-up increased from three to six categories. C1 to C3 caters for single-seater racing cars with various engine configurations, while the introduction of C4 to C6 is expected to attract greater participation from endurance racing sports cars, as typically seen at Le Mans. Devin Robertson’s Radical SR1 and Alan Dike’s Kudzu Mazda are just some of the intriguing new challengers in this segment.
Wilhelm Baard will be the man to beat in the Class B Modified Saloon Car category, having raised the bar in 2017 with his outlandish race-bred Nissan GT-R, and repeating the feat again last year. He will be up against a formidable armada of rivals, with Franco Scribante now leading a barrage of contenders in mild-to-wild GT-Rs. And you can never discount the Joubert brothers, Charl and Dawie, in their fire-breathing Lotus machines, or Anton Cronje in his rapid Subaru Impreza.
A further two classes have been added for 2019, allowing four-cylinder forced-induction cars to compete separately for two-wheel drive (B2) and four-wheel drive (B3) honours, respectively. A similar scenario will play out in the redefined class B4 for five-cylinder and above 2WD entries, and B5 for 4WD cars.
The format for Class A, which caters for Road-Going Saloon Cars and SuperCars, will be no less enthralling. Classes A1 to A8 remain unchanged, complemented by the addition of A9 to accommodate the rapidly growing number of high-performance sports utility vehicles (SUVs), sports activity vehicles (SAVs) and bakkies.
Famous racing brothers Mark and Gavin Cronje will add great interest for the event, competing against each other and for overall Class A glory in identical Jaguar F-TYPE SVR Coupés. They will face an onslaught from the likes of Johan Pretorius in a very exclusive Mercedes-AMG GT R, along with Jacques Wheeler behind the wheel of a McLaren MP4 12C.
Be sure to secure your tickets as Pit Access, Turn 2 Grandstand Seating, as well as Pit Priority Parking tickets, are selling briskly. Online ticket sales are available on www.jaguarsimolahillclimb.com.
Demand for the limited number of exclusive VIP Hospitality packages, which include event and pit entry, as well as access to the Le Mans VIP Lounge, Piston Club or a Corporate Box in the VIP Village has also exceeded previous records – so book your tickets now to secure the best motoring and motorsport showcase South Africa has to offer!
For more information on the event visit: www.jaguarsimolahillclimb.com #JaguarSHC