One of the country's most popular annual motoring events, the Simola Hillclimb, is gearing up for its biggest and best yet.
Featuring an array of cars that stretches from real oldies to turbocharged, all-wheel drive modern marvels, the Simola Hillclimb has built itself the reputation of being motoring heaven for the petrolhead.
This year's event, staged again on the 1.9km course that snakes from Knysna to the Simola Hotel, Country Club and Spa, takes place from 7 to 10 May 2020.
“We received almost 200 entry applications this year and were oversubscribed more than a month before submissions closed at the end of January,” says Geoff Goddard, Simola Hillclimb’s sporting director. “Our careful selection and approval process aims to deliver an exciting spectacle that showcases a diverse range of cars and drivers, and the 2020 Simola Hillclimb is sure to surprise and delight the thousands of spectators and hundreds of thousands live-stream viewers around the world.”
Classic Car Friday, taking place on 8 May, is limited to 65 entries, with the line-up featuring more than 25 brands, and spanning nearly 8 decades. The oldest car in the field is a 1912 Ford Model T Speedster which will compete against a bevy of vintage entries from Austin, MG and Riley from the '20s and '30s in the class for pre-war cars.
Add in a dazzling array of entries from the '50s all the way to the early '90s, and there truly is something for everyone.
As the reigning 5-time Classic Car Friday winner, Franco Scribante will once again be the man to beat for the overall title and the class victory for pre-1990 single-seaters, sports cars and GTs. His Chevron B19 will, however, be up against several other specialised race cars from the '70s and '80s.
For King of the Hill, which takes place over two days on 9 and 10 May, the line-up is simply breathtaking and, with the 2 winners gaining entry to the FIA Masters Hillclimb event in Portugal in October, the stakes are higher than ever. From showroom-specification hot hatches to illustrious supercars, championship-winning saloon cars through to some completely wild machines purpose-built for the Simola Hillclimb, motoring enthusiasts are guaranteed to be enthralled by the variety and performance of the machinery blasting off the scenic start line.
More than 30 vehicle manufacturers are represented on the entry list for King of the Hill, which is restricted to 84 competitors. The most outlandish and talked-about entrant from last year was Franco Scribante with his radical, multi-winged Nissan GT-R.
Scribante is sure to face a stern challenge from three-time winner Wilhelm Baard in another wild Nissan GT-R, along with several other extremely competitive pretenders to the throne.
Reghard Roets looks set to join the fray in the Modified Saloon Cars class with a Nissan GT-R after claiming 3 consecutive Road-going Saloon Car and Supercar titles.
This leaves the competition open for a new winner in the road-legal class for 2020, and there will be no shortage of protagonists vying for glory in a wide range of high-performance cars from Mercedes-AMG, Porsche, Alfa Romeo, Volkswagen, Audi, Ford, Toyota, BMW, Renault, Jaguar and McLaren.
The Single Seater and Sports Prototypes category will be headlined by 3-time winner Andre Bezuidenhout in the spectacular Gould GR55, which was specifically designed and developed for hillclimbs. Bezuidenhout holds the outright record for the Simola Hillclimb of 35.528 seconds with this car from the 2018 event, having recorded an average speed of 192.5 km/h – from a standing start!
The long-standing rivalry between Bezuidenhout and Robert Wolk in the Ferrari-powered A1 GP looks set to continue, with other single-seater entries coming from the Formula Ford series, as well as Formula VW and Formula GTi. There will be several sports prototype entrants too, competing in the likes of the Radical SR1 and Shelby CanAm.
Online ticket sales
All tickets for the 2020 Simola Hillclimb can be purchased on the event website (www.simolahillclimb.com). This includes General Entry, a strictly limited number of Pit Access tickets, Turn 2 Grandstand seating, Pit Priority parking, as well as the exclusive VIP Hospitality packages for the popular Piston Club or Le Mans VIP Hospitality suite.
Single-day and three-day passes are available – the latter offering significant savings and value for money, particularly when purchased online. Special discounts are also available when purchasing a minimum of 3 tickets for Classic Car Friday.