Fans of high-performance road cars and exclusive supercars will have plenty to look forward to when the King of the Hill action commences at the 2017 Jaguar Simola Hillclimb during the first weekend in May.
Building on the Supercar Shootout introduced last year, the all-new Class A groups all standard road cars and supercars into one category, with a total of nine individual classes comprising a total of 30 entries encompassing everything from hot hatchbacks to the sports car and supercar elite. No aerodynamic modifications or aids are allowed, and only street-legal tyres are permitted.
The fastest qualifying times determine the class finals, and the top 10 competitors throughout the qualifying sessions progress through to the final one-lap shootout that decides who will be crowned King of the Hill for Road Cars and Supercars in 2017.
Jaki Scheckter dominated the Supercar category last year in a Nissan GT-R in an impressive time of 43.591 sec, which was less than one second off the times of some serious race-tuned competitors. He is sure to be a leading contender once again in the latest specification 2017 Nissan GT-R.
“I will be going with the flow and see how the weekend pans out, but I hear there’s some serious competition in Road Car and Supercar category,” Scheckter says. As to whether he can better his 2016 time, he adds: “It all depends on the weather conditions that affects the times and the performance of the cars, but we hope to do well.
“Knysna is a beautiful place to go race, and the organisers put in a lot of effort to ensure the event runs well, and to make the Hillclimb enjoyable,” he states.
However, he will face a strong challenge overall and in Class A4 from the likes of Hillclimb debutant and former production car racer Reghard Roets, who is scheduled to compete in a 2014 Nissan GT-R entered by the experienced NXGen team of performance specialists.
“I’m really looking forward to finally competing at the Jaguar Simola Hillclimb, having not been able to join the starting line-up for the past two years,” Roets says. “It is a fantastic event, and I’m sure we will be competitive.”
The Nissans won’t have it all their own way, though, as Jaguar is fielding two strong contenders. Multiple American GT and touring car champion Randy Pobst brings a wealth of international racing experience to the Jaguar camp. He will be exploiting the full potential of the roaring all-wheel drive F-TYPE SVR Coupé, an unmodified, showroom-standard car powered by a supercharged 5.0-litre V8 with 423kW and 700Nm on tap.
He will be joined by SA land speed record holder Dawie Olivier, who will drive the stunning new F-TYPE SVR Convertible – Jaguar’s fastest-ever drop-top – which makes its South African debut at the 2017 Jaguar Simola Hillclimb.
Along with Pobst and Olivier in the Jaguar F-TYPE SVRs, Ian Schmidt will be competing in his F-TYPE S, with the British challenge bolstered by the Bentley Continental Speed V12 entered by Clive Geldenhuys.
American tuning specialists Shelby and Roush will be wrestling for bragging rights in Class A8 too. Ross Lazarus will be charging up the 1.9 km course in a supercharged Roush Ford Mustang, going head-to-head with Paige Lindenberg in a rival Shelby Super Snake version of the same car. Peter Lindenberg puts an unconventional spin on the Hillclimb with a supercharged V8 Ford Ranger pick-up.
Colin Cary brings some Italian flair to the party in a screaming 6.0-litre V12 Lamborghini Aventador in Class A7, alongside an Aston Martin Vantage V8 driven by Charles Needham.
The Jaguar SA media contingent will once again be joining the action, with Cars.co.za motoring scribe and racing driver Ashley Oldfield tackling the Simola Hill in the new special edition F-TYPE 400 Sport, featuring a supercharged 294kW 3.0-litre V6 engine matched to a raft of performance enhancements. A pair of 250kW Jaguar XE S models bolster the British marque’s onslaught, driven by L’at Wiel TV presenter Hannes Visser and Autotrader editor Sean Nurse.
In Class A1 for stock standard four-cylinder road cars, Hillclimb regular Deon Schoeman continues flying the Alfa Romeo flag in the agile 4C Spider, competing against the two Ford Focus RS entries of Chris Leeson and Nico Nel.
The hotter Class A2 features the rally-bred challengers such as the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9s of Shane Naidu and Feroz Ebrahim, the Subaru WRX STi of Daniel Zeelie, and the German contenders comprising Pierre Bester’s Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG and Gary van Heerden’s VW Golf R.
The high-tech BMW i8 hybrid will be making its second appearance at the Jaguar Simola Hillclimb, this year entered by Gordon Nicholson.