Brian Joss – If there’s one set of dates that has to be on the calendar for any motorsport competitor or enthusiast, 7 to 10 May 2020 is it, as this will be the 11th edition of the Simola Hillclimb – now widely renowned as South Africa’s premier motoring and motorsport lifestyle event.
For competitors, in particular, the time taken to complete the challenging 1.9 km Hillclimb isn’t the only thing that counts – as time is running out for entry applications that need to be submitted by 31 January 2020 for consideration. With just two weeks remaining, the clock is ticking for competitors to get their applications in via the event website: www.simolahillclimb.com.
“We’ve had fantastic interest in the 2020 Simola Hillclimb, and received over 160 applications by mid-January,” says Geoff Goddard, Simola Hillclimb’s sporting director. “As a strictly invitational event, the cut-off on 31 January gives us time to work through all of the entry applications and finalise the list of competitors to get the very best mix of who will be invited to participate in this year’s event.
“Each slot in Classic Car Friday and King of the Hill is highly prized amongst the motorsport fraternity, and we aim to deliver the very best spectacle for competitors and spectators alike with a diverse and exciting range of cars and drivers,” Goddard explains. “Every year we are over-subscribed with entry applications, and expressions of interest from local and international drivers continues to grow. Therefore it’s essential that competitors hoping to participate submit their applications on time as no late entries can be considered.”
For Classic Car Friday on 8 May, the field is limited to 65 vehicles. The line-up gets more intriguing and inspiring each year, with a dazzling array of iconic road and race cars from the 1930s all the way to the late 1980s being driven up the scenic Simola Hill with true gusto. Many of the vehicles are extremely valuable pedigreed classics, while motorsport aficionados will relish the sights and sounds of some of the most memorable cars from the heydays of local and international motor racing being featured in the line-up.
King of the Hill sees a total of 84 breathtaking cars going head-to-head for victories in their respective classes over the two days of non-stop action, on 9 and 10 May. The Road-going Saloon Cars and Supercars category caters for standard production and road-legal cars – from hot hatches all the way to exclusive high-end sporting machines and, of course, the venerable Nissan GT-R that has been the dominant force for many years.
They are joined by a simply awe-inspiring selection of South Africa’s wildest, most powerful and fastest racing machines in the Modified Saloon Car category – with Franco Scribante’s multi-winged World Time Attack-derived Nissan GT-R setting an entirely new benchmark for its radical design and title-winning performance in 2019.
The Single Seater and Sports Prototypes category is home to thoroughbred racing cars, including the specialised Gould GR55 that Andre Bezuidenhout powered to the existing Simola Hillclimb record of 35.528 seconds in 2018, achieving an average speed of an astonishing 192.52 km/h. Although competitors will be vying for the overall King of the Hill title for this category, separate classes are provided for the single-seater entries as well as the sports prototype racers.
“With the growing interest in endurance racing, it will be great have some of these sports prototype cars being entered for the 2020 Simola Hillclimb, as it will add to the exceptional variety of cars competing and create an even greater spread of spectacle for the fans,” Goddard says.
It’s not just the cars that are the highlight of this event, as spectators will get to see some of South Africa’s most famous and accomplished drivers behind the wheel, and gracing the pit lane over the three days of action and excitement.
Aside from the adrenaline-fuelled pits and the amazing sights of the cars taking on the Simola Hill, the weekend offers visitors a whole lot more entertainment courtesy of the wide range of stalls and displays in Gasoline Alley, along with helicopter rides and some of the very best offerings of food and beverages at this unique on-site event.
All ticket sales for the 2020 Simola Hillclimb can be conveniently be done on the www.simolahillclimb.com website – with an added incentive for early online bookings at discounted prices, which remain unchanged for the third consecutive year.
Spectators can build their own custom packages, starting out with General Entry ticket, then having the option of adding upgrades such as the limited number of tickets available for Pit Access, the Turn 2 Grandstand seating and the Pit Priority Parking facility. Single entry tickets are available along with three-day passes that offer the best value for money.
A variety of VIP Hospitality packages are also available, including the popular Piston Club which will now be located close to Gasoline Alley. The Le Mans VIP Hospitality suite provides an exclusive package that includes meals, drinks and a prime viewing point overlooking the start line.
Visit: www.simolahillclimb.com or #SimolaHillclimb for more info.
*Information from Colin Mileman
CAPTION: Ready for Simola: Andre Bezuidenhout in his 1976 Lola Cosworth Formula Atlantic 8. Picture: Motorpress