The Simola Hillclimb takes place in Knysna – traditionally on an annual basis – and has the craziest cars battling it out to be crowned king of the hill.
The competitors of this 1.9km race are split into several categories, consisting of classic cars, modified saloon cars, road-going saloon cars and supercars, and single-seaters.
Below, we take a look at the coolest cars competing in this year’s event.
There is a wide variety of classic cars partaking in this year’s event, with the oldest car being a stripped-down 1928 Austin Seven.
Another car in this category is a 1989 Minardi NM189, which is the second Formula 1 car to participate in this event.
This is the most decorated Minardi built, as it started second in the 1990 United States Phoenix GP and led the 1989 Portuguese GP.
People are not betting that the Minardi will win this category, however, as Andre Bezuidenhout – the current category record holder with a time of 37.695 – is also competing.
Bezuidenhout will be attempting to break his record in a Martini-liveried 1974 Porsche 911 RSR.
He also holds the current overall record for the Hillclimb, with a time of 35.528 and achieving an average speed of 192.524km/h.
Another person participating in this category is Gavin Rooke, founder of Duchmann – a bespoke classic Porsche builder.
He will be taking part in a 1974 Ferrari Dino 308 GT4.
Modified saloon cars
“Our ultimate aim is to be the fastest overall up the hill, across all classes,” said Franco Scribante, who is competing in his monstrous multi-wing Nissan R35 GT-R.
Also aiming at the title is Cole Powelson, CEO and founder of LYFE Motorsport and avid racer from the USA – who came fourth in the Pikes Peak Hill Climb.
He is racing in a European Rallycross title-winning Citroen Xsara.
There is a lot of tough competition in this sector, with brothers Charl and Dawie Joubert in their Lotus Exiges that have been engine swapped – with Charl running a 3.5-litre, twin-turbocharged V6 Honda engine, while Dawie fitted a 3.9-litre twin-turbocharged Ferrari V8 into his Lotus.
Two bakkies are also racing, with Paige Lindenberg from Road to Race competing in a supercharged V8 Savage 660 Ford Ranger that makes roughly 492kW.
Paige will be going up against Francois Fritz in his 2011 Toyota Hilux that has been engine swapped with a twin-turbocharged 5.0-litre V12 engine.
Other noteworthy cars participating are a 2014 Lamborghini Gallardo Super Trofeo, a 2019 Huracan GT3 EVO, and a 6.0-litre V8-powered Jaguar from the V8 Supercars championship.
Road-going saloon cars and supercars
In this category is an ultra-rare 2016 Ford Mustang Shelby Terlingua owned by Peter Lindenberg.
Only 50 of these were made between 2015-2016, and five came to South Africa.
The car is a track-focused mustang that comes equipped with a Whipple supercharged, 5.0-litre, V8 engine that makes almost 600kW.
Competing against this is a McLaren 720s driven by Gareth Mackintosh.
“I did a time of 46.7 seconds in the Ferrari 458 in 2018, so I’m hoping to go under 45 seconds in the McLaren,” said Mackintosh.
Formidable opponents competing in this category are an Audi R8 V10 Plus, an E92 BMW M3, and a Porsche 911 GT3 RS.
When will the Hillclimb take place?
The Simola Hillclimb is happening from 3-5 September 2021, starting with classic cars on Friday, followed by the rest on Saturday and Sunday.
“In line with the current COVID-19 regulations, we’ve had to meet the strict requirements from local and national government, as well as from Motorsport South Africa, to proceed with this year’s Hillclimb,” said Geoff Goddard, sporting director of the Simola Hillclimb.
“Accordingly, spectators won’t be allowed, and the number of support and pit crew will be strictly controlled.”
The Hillclimb will be live-streamed so that people can still enjoy all the action.