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
The Jaguar Simola Hillclimb consists of two separate invitational events: Classic Car Friday (CCF) and King of the Hill (KOH). The request for invitation process for competitors hoping to be part of the field for the 10th running of the event will be open for online registration on the 1st October 2018 and close on 31st January 2019. Invited entries will be chosen through the Request for Invitation process by the JSHC Selection Committee.
More information on this process will be provided in the event Supplementary regulations which will be available on www.jaguarsimolahillclimb.com on 1 October.
Pre-register to be the first in line for ticket purchases
Why should I pre-register for my ticket?
In 2018, Pit Access, Turn 2 Grandstand, Pit Priority Parking & Piston Club tickets sold out. To avoid disappointment, pre-register to get your hands on all tickets 48hrs before ticket sales go live to the public.
You will be notified, by email, 24hrs prior to the opening of this 48hr period.
The pre-registration process for the 2019 #JaguarSHC will soon come to an end - if you are yet to pre-register please click here.
Changes and additions to class format for 2019
Classic Car Friday
Class format and definitions for Classic Car Friday will remain unchanged for 2019. This is in view of the excellent number and spread of registrations received across the respective classes resulting in the best ever range and quality of cars and competitors for the 2018 event. Feedback from competitors and spectators suggest that this trend is set to continue for 2019.
King of the Hill
Class A has proved to be successful and will remain unchanged from A1 to A8. In view of the popularity of high end SUV vehicles and model variants on the market, and in order to provide further enhancements to the class line-up, we have added A9 Road going cars – SUV, SAV & Bakkies for 2019.
In Class B two classes have been added and others tweaked making for a total of nine classes.
Classes for 4 cylinder forced induction cars have been re-defined to allow 2WD and 4WD cars to compete in separate classes namely:
B2 Racing cars – 4 cylinder 2WD Unlimited and
B3 Racing cars – 4 cylinder 4WD Unlimited.
The traditional class B4 for 8 cylinder and above, forced induction cars has been merged with two newly defined classes:
B4 Racing cars – 5 cylinder & above 2WD Unlimited and
B5 Racing cars – 5 cylinder & above 4WD Unlimited respectively.
The adjusted class line-up will allow compliance of all cars that have previously campaigned the event.
With a view to increasing potential numbers and further enhancement of the Class C line-up, the class format has been remodelled to allow Single Seater and Sports Cars to compete in separate classes thereby increasing the class listing to six, namely:
C1 Single seater racing cars – 4 cylinder – Forced induction,
C2 Single seater racing cars - 4 cylinder - Naturally aspirated,
C3 Single seater racing cars – 5 cylinder & above,
C4 Sports cars – 4 cylinder – Naturally aspirated,
C5 Sports cars – 4 cylinder – Forced induction and
C6 Sports cars – 5 cylinder & above
Sport Industry Awards Finalists again!
The Jaguar Simola Hillclimb was once again recognised as one of the top sports events in the country, having received its third consecutive nomination for the prized South African Sport Industry Awards.
The official shortlist for the 2018 awards covered 18 categories recognising the very best activations, agencies, campaigns, content, events, innovations, platforms, programmes, rights holders, sponsorships and more.
For the third year running, the Jaguar Simola Hillclimb is nominated in the ‘Best Live Experience’ category, and once again it was up against some formidable opposition in SA Rugby for the HSBC Cape Town Sevens, ABSA for the ABSA Cape Epic, NBA Africa Game and Bidvest Wanderers for the Momentum ODI Pinkday. The Cape Town Sevens emerged as the victor for the second year in a row.
According to the organisers of the Awards “Categories were extremely competitive and all entrants should feel extremely proud of entering and participating as entities and brands test themselves amongst the best of the best in the world of the business of sport.”
The Official Shortlist was selected through an extensive Steering Process - involving more than 40 key industry figures across eight days of intensive steering and review, before going forward for consideration by the main Judging Panel, who finally decided the winners in each category.
Ian Shrosbree, director of the Hillclimb said: “It is an honour to have once again been nominated as a finalist in the SA Sports Industry Awards considering the quality of the entries that were received. We entered only one category this year and to be one of five finalists in all of South African sport makes us extremely proud. The Jaguar Simola Hillclimb is committed to presenting an exceptional motorsport experience for our competitors, spectators and sponsors each year. This nomination is once again testament to our focus on delivering an internationally benchmarked event that appeals to a wide audience.
Already renowned as South Africa’s premier motorsport event, the Jaguar Simola Hillclimb just gets better and more spectacular every year. And this is certainly the case for the 2017 event, scheduled from 5 to 7 May, which is expected to garner a whole new level of competition and spectator interest following the adoption of three separate King of the Hill categories and respective titles up for grabs.
Of particular interest is the impending battle between the modified saloon cars, or tin-tops as they’re commonly referred to, which now compete for their own King of the Hill crown, as do the single-seater and sports racing cars, as well as the standard road cars and supercars.
“The introduction of individual King of the Hill titles with equal status for the three categories allows similar types of cars to compete against each other, and represents the natural evolution of the Hillclimb as the cars have become a lot more specialised,” says Jaguar Simola Hillclimb sporting director, Geoff Goddard. “The modified saloon car category is not only by far the biggest with 39 entries, but is also expected to produce one of the most exciting battles this year.”
Indeed, with no less than three former King of the Hill title winners in the mix, there’s plenty to look forward to! Des Gutzeit, the 2015 winner and last year’s overall runner-up with a best time of 40.324 sec, will be back in his explosive Nissan Skyline GT-R R32 with up to 1 500 hp (over 1 100 kW) on tap, and he is undoubtedly one of the firm favourites for the King of the Hill title.
“I think having separate categories is a move in the right direction, because no matter how much power we have, a heavy production-based car will never be a match for the lightweight single-seaters and sports cars,” Gutzeit says.
“My goal is to try and break the 40-sec barrier after having a lot of issues with the car last year, particularly with the fuel we were using. I was actually faster in 2015, so we have gone back to basics and have also done a lot of work on the suspension set-up. We are coming well prepared this year,” he states.
Gutzeit will be going head-to-head with the likes of 2011 champion Wilhelm Baard who is among the mighty contingent of extensively modified new-generation R35 Nissan GT-Rs, along with hot contenders Darron Gudmanz, Quinsley Sale and former circuit-racing star Reghardt Roets who is due to make his Hillclimb debut. Geoff Mortimer, the 2010 winner, will be back in a highly-tuned Nissan 350z.
A new addition to the line-up this year is karting champion Aldo Scribante, who has entered an extensively reworked version of the ex-Terry Moss Racing Audi S4. As a cousin of double Hillclimb winner Franco, the family has a long and proud legacy in motor racing dating back to the 1960s. This includes grandfather Aldo Scribante who ran the SA Lotus Formula 1 team with Dave Charlton who won six consecutive titles, and also built the famous Port Elizabeth race track that was subsequently named after him.
“I’m really looking forward to the Hillclimb, as it is a great event and I think my car will be very well suited to this event,” Scribante says. “We’re doing a lot of work on the car, taking it from the Production Car racing specification and raising the power to around 525 kW, making it about 150 kg lighter with a carbon fibre body kit, and doing a lot of work on aerodynamics with a front splitter, rear diffuser and GTC rear wing.”
Another fierce four-wheel drive competitor will be Anton Cronje, who is always among the leading contenders in his racing Subaru Impreza WRX. He is aiming to go quite a bit faster this year, having reduced weight in the car by 60 kg, improving the aerodynamics and extracting more power to unleash about 400 kW on the wheels.
“We have also fitted a paddle shift gearbox which allows much quicker gear changes, and I’m importing soft race tyres, so I’m pretty confident that I can break below 40 sec this year,” Cronje suggests.
Although the 4WD cars clearly have a start-line advantage, fans can look forward to a determined challenge from the rear-wheel drive brigade too, including a trio of 5.7-litre V8 Masters cars – with 2015 Classic Conqueror winner Charles Arton once again competing in the custom-built race machines.
Notably, the 2017 Jaguar Simola Hillclimb will see racing drivers from the renowned Inde Motorsports Ranch near Tucson, Arizona, joining the fray – thus adding to the international flavour and appeal of this award-winning event. The line-up includes Kai Goddard, an accomplished racer and lead professional driver for the multi-faceted motorsport oasis, as well as its vice president of business development.
Kai was instrumental in securing multiple American GT and touring car champion Randy Pobst for the 2017 Hillclimb, who will be competing in Jaguar-backed entries in both Classic Car Friday and King of the Hill for road and supercars.
Inde Motorsports Ranch member Steve Kimpton will be competing alongside Goddard in an identical V8 Masters car in Class B6, along with the thundering WesBank Modified-era 6.3-litre V8 Opel Rekord of Willie Hepburn and a Lexus-powered Chevrolet Corvette driven by Craig Czank.
Another regular Jaguar Simola Hillclimb competitor will also be taking on the challenging 1.9 km hill in a V8 Masters car – but with a difference. Former rally champion Enzo Kuun is upping the ante in a modified version featuring NOs, or nitrous oxide injection, which places him in Class B3 for force-fed engines.
“It’s difficult to judge where we will fit in, but we try and improve every year with a bit more power, as it seems that’s the name of the game,” Kuun says. “The first year we came to the Hillclimb we had 500 hp, then added 100 hp in 2016, and now this year we will have about 700 hp (522 kW) as we’ve fitted a nitrous pack on the engine. The challenge is to get off the line quickly in a two-wheel drive car. We saw last year that our last sector is pretty much as fast as the winning cars, but our first sector is where the problem lies. We’ll give it our best shot.
“It’s always great to just make the cut for the Hillclimb, as this event has reached such a status that just getting an entry is an achievement in itself, and we’re really looking forward to competing this year,” he says.
Kuun also believes that dividing King of the Hill into three categories is a good move. “The reason the Jaguar Simola Hillclimb has become the ultimate event on the SA motorsport calendar is because it’s put together by a team of organisers that think progressively, listen to competitors and allow the event to evolve, which makes it really exciting for the drivers and spectators.”
The two-wheel drive fight in Class B3 also features the Giannoccaro family, with father Jimmy racing a Chev V8-powered BMW Z4 specifically built for hillclimbs, along with his two sons – Ricky now sporting a turbocharged version of the BMW M3 GTR he ran last year, while Gianni will be driving a full race-spec turbocharged BMW 135i. “Last year we brought a knife to a gunfight, this year we’re coming with all guns blazing,” Ricky confidently states.
Clearly, the sparks will be flying in the modified saloon car King of the Hill challenge, which guarantees a spectacular two days of action that simply cannot be missed!
A handful of lucky visitors to the 2017 Jaguar Simola Hillclimb will win an experience of a lifetime, with an exhilarating ride in a Jaguar up the 1.9 km Hillclimb course.
All tickets purchased via www.iTickets.co.za will qualify for the daily draws, with the winners contacted by cellphone and invited to the pit lane for this exclusive adrenaline-charged ride, seated alongside one of Jaguar’s advanced drivers.
Be sure to secure your Day, Weekend and Pit Access tickets online at iTickets, and stand a chance of winning a Golden Ticket to a ride of a lifetime!
Press Service Provided by Continental Tyre SA
Now in its seventh year, and roaring into life from 6 to 8 May 2016, the Jaguar Simola Hillclimb is widely considered South Africa’s premier motorsport event, featuring the largest and widest range of iconic cars and legendary drivers, all giving it their best on the challenging 1.9 km Simola Hill.
Record interest from competitors and spectators for seventh edition
Year-long preparations set to make the 2016 Hillclimb the best yet
All-New Jaguar F-PACE reveal on Saturday 7 May
Around 15 000 people expected to attend, plenty on offer for the whole family
The Jaguar Simola Hillclimb originated as a mere dream shared by a couple of motorsport enthusiasts, but since the very first edition came to fruition in 2009, it has set the benchmark for the most enthralling and accessible form of racing in the country.
The Hillclimb was acknowledged as the Best Tourism Activity in the 2016 Sanlam Knysna Awards, was a finalist in the Discovery Sport Awards in the Best Live Event category, and the event’s founder and director, Ian Shrosbree, was nominated by the SA Guild of Motoring Journalists for a special achievement award this year.
The three-day event runs like clockwork every time, and is deemed a huge success by sponsors, partners, competitors, spectators and media alike. Behind the scenes, the organising team puts an extraordinary amount of work and effort into the event to make it bigger, better and more appealing each year.
"From the time we invited competitors to take part in the 2016 event until now, just before the running of the 7th Hillclimb, the interest in both taking part and spectating this year has been greater than ever before," Shrosbree says.
"Accommodation bookings in the Garden Route region, the traffic on social media, and some of the improvements we have introduced in our ticket offerings, especially the introduction of the weekend passes and making tickets available on iTickets.co.za, all point to us exceeding last year’s gate record of just over 12 000 people, which should get us closer to a total of 15 000."
Already the Jaguar Simola Hillclimb has achieved its position as being South Africa’s premium annual motorsport event. This is reflected in the number of corporate, celebrity, government and international guests that are attending the event this year, and the VIP hospitality facilities that are already almost fully booked for all three days.
"Our focus over the last three years and going forward, is not on the total numbers but on improving the overall spectator and competitor experience, and enhancing the iconic uniqueness of the offering to true performance motoring enthusiasts," Shrosbree adds.
"We want them to attend in large numbers which, of course is good for us and our sponsor partners. But, most importantly, we want them to thoroughly enjoy each moment and put the Jaguar Simola Hillclimb onto their once-a-year must-attend motorsport bucket list into the future."
The year-long preparations for the 2016 Hillclimb literally began as soon as the prize-giving for last year's event was wrapped up, and involved lengthy discussions and negotiations with sponsors, venues, local authorities, volunteers, suppliers, vendors, media and marketing partners.
In the build-up to the 2016 Hillclimb, the facts and figures that make this event possible are truly astonishing, as the normally sedate country road leading from the beautiful Knysna Lagoon to the Simola Golf and Country Estate is completely transformed into motorsport nirvana.
Aside from the numerous build-up and break-down crews, almost 300 staff and volunteers are on-site throughout the event to keep the wheels turning smoothly, supported by 59 security personnel on duty each day that complete a total of 291 shifts throughout the extended weekend.
Currently, 48 marquees and 1 230 m2 of decking are being bolted together for the 2016 edition, variously being used to create the temporary pit and media complex, the VIP venues, display areas and a host of other attractions and activities. This is supported by 51 Poly John mobile toilet facilities, five VIP trailers and two toilets for the disabled. Nearly 1 400 m of fencing is erected specially for this event in the interests of safety.
Providing a tantalising feast of food and beverages for the spectators, competitors and crews is a hallmark of the Jaguar Simola Hillclimb, and this accounts for a significant proportion of the 30 vendors that will be present this year.
For the duration of the Hillclimb, over 3 000 cans of cool drink are being supplied, along with 3 700 bottles of water and 1 250 energy drinks. This is supplemented by 5 000 half-litre beer cups, 1 400 cans of cider and 450 bottles of spirits. Specialist coffees, complemented by a mouth-watering array of food choices to satisfy virtually any palate, will also be available.
Add to this the multitude of attractions and stalls in Gasoline Alley, the reveal of the All-New Jaguar F-PACE sports SUV on the Saturday – and, of course, the exceptional sights and sounds of around 140 cars being driven in anger up the 1.9 km Simola Hill – and you have the makings of a fantastic, one-of-a-kind motorsport festival that is played out in one of the most beautiful parts of South Africa. It doesn’t get much better than this!
For more information on the event visit: www.jaguarsimolahillclimb.co.za #JaguarSHC
Media enquiries: Robin Emslie - 044 883-1055 or 083 255-8477
Expressions of interest to enter the seventh running of the Jaguar Simola Hillclimb, which takes place from 6-8 May 2016 in Knysna, are flooding in from South African motorsport competitors.
The public entry process opened on 1 December and within a week organisers had received enough applications to fill all the available 84 slots in the King of the Hill section of the event. Classic Car Friday applications were not far off the 60 maximum with 45 submissions.
To date – 17 days after the entry process opened and with another six weeks to go – the organisers have received close on 100 applications for King of the Hill and 50 for the Classic Car Friday categories.
“We have seen record demand for the event,” said organiser Ian Shrosbree. “This is the earliest we have opened the entry process and to have enough applications within a week to fill the grid is unheard of in South African motorsport, especially as the event is still six months away. Competitors are notorious for delaying entries to the last minute, but they are bucking the trend in this event which has grown in leaps and bounds since Jaguar has partnered with us three years ago. We had quite a few disappointed enthusiasts who wanted to enter the 2015 event but missed out due leaving their entry to the last minute. Many of these have been among the first to enter for next year.”
The 2016 entry procedure has seen a change in structure as it now features a two stage entry process and effectively becomes an invitational contest, rather than following the normal, local motorsport entry format where every entry lodged is accepted.
The second stage, now open to the public, closes on 5 February 2016. Aspiring competitors are requested to lodge an expression of intent to enter via the online portal at www.jaguarsimolahillclimb.co.za. Expressions of interest will be duly considered by the organisers who will then issue an invitation to compete to successful applicants by no later than 12 February 2016.
This will be the third edition of the event with Jaguar South Africa as the title sponsor. Jaguar’s partnership over the past two years has lifted the event to a new level, with unprecedented interest across the board resulting in a record crowd of 12 242 attending the event in 2015.
For more information on the event please go to www.jaguarsimolahillclimb.co.za
Public entries for the 2016 Jaguar Simola Hillclimb are now open, with its seventh running taking place in Knysna from May 6 to 8.
According to Ian Shrosbree, managing director of the Jaguar Simola Hillclimb, this is the earliest that public entries have opened in the event's history and stems from the huge demand for places on the starting grid.
"With entries limited to 60 for Classic Car Friday and 84 cars for the King of the Hill category, it is sure to be oversubscribed as was the case for the 2015 Jaguar Simola Hillclimb."
Shrosbree explained that the 2016 event's entry procedure has changed in structure with the event featuring a two-stage entry process and effectively becoming an invitational, rather than following the normal, local motor sport entry procedure.
"Stage one saw invitations sent out to competitors that have previously competed in all events, to past winners and to a few special guests on November 1. If these competitors completed the entry process by November 30, they receive a guaranteed entry," Shrosbree said.
The second stage is the public participation process that opened on December 1, and will close on February 5.
"Aspiring competitors are requested to lodge an expression of intent to enter via the online portal at www.jaguarsimolahillclimb.co.za. These will be considered by the organisers, who will then issue an invitation to compete to successful applicants by no later than February 12."
This will be the third edition of the event with Jaguar SA as the title sponsor. Jaguar's partnership over the past two years has lifted the event to a new level, with unprecedented interest across the board resulting in a record crowd of 12 242 attending the event in 2015.
The Le Mans VIP Hospitality tickets will go on sale in February.