Simola Hillclimb entry applications open for 14th edition in 2024

  • Simola Hillclimb is South Africa’s premier motoring and motorsport lifestyle event
  • 14th edition takes place from 2 to 5 May 2024, encompassing Classic Car Friday and two-day King of the Hill challenge
  • Competitor applications open on 2 October 2023 at simolahillclimb.com, closing date is 31 January 2024

KNYSNA, South Africa, 2 October 2023 – The 2023 Simola Hillclimb raised an already high bar for South Africa’s premier motoring and motorsport lifestyle event, delivering the most competitive and thrilling action yet for local and international drivers and fans.

The countdown has now officially begun for next year’s 14th edition – which takes place in Knysna from 2 to 5 May 2024 – with the opening of applications for entry at www.simolahillclimb.com. The closing date for applications is 31 January 2024, and accepted entries will be invited by 9 February 2024.

As a strictly invitational event, motoring and motorsport enthusiasts are treated to the most spectacular, most powerful and fastest road and race cars in the country. The high-profile participation of WRC and WRX champion Petter Solberg at the 2023 event in the championship-winning 2018 VW Polo R WRX Supercar, along with his brother Henning and former F1 ace Mika Salo, elevated the Simola Hillclimb to even greater heights and significantly expanded its international following.

Accordingly, for an event that is oversubscribed with applications each year, there’s expected to be even greater interest from local competitors as well as a growing contingent of drivers from abroad.

“Each year our goal for the Simola Hillclimb is to have an exciting and diverse line-up of cars across the various classes in Classic Car Friday and King of the Hill to ensure that we deliver the very best entertainment for drivers and spectators,” says sporting director Geoff Goddard.

“We also continuously evolve and update the regulations to ensure that we incorporate feedback from our applicants and invited competitors. The introduction of a new class B10 Modified Street Car division for street-legal tuned or modified road cars in King of the Hill reflects this philosophy,” Goddard says. “Each year we receive requests from competitors with cars that don’t conform to Class A regulations for non-modified cars, and there wasn’t really a place for them to be competitive in the respective B classes for racing cars.

“Accordingly, with the addition of class B10, we can now accommodate enthusiast owners and tuners with their modified but strictly road-legal cars, and give this extremely popular segment of the market a chance to compete for glory.”

The new class is open to a wide spectrum of production-based two and four-wheel drive cars, irrespective of engine size. However, they have to maintain the original vehicle manufacturer’s configuration with regard to drivetrain, engine type, number of cylinders and aspiration (normally aspirated, turbocharged or supercharged). The use of nitrous oxide (NOS) or other non-standard injection systems is not allowed.

The body dimensions must remain unaltered, and the vehicle’s full interior trim must be fitted. Minor aerodynamic aids are allowed, but add-on diffusers or wings are not permitted. Similarly, owners can use open-tread semi-slick competition tyres, but full slicks, as well as tyre warmers, are not permitted.

This is an exciting new addition to the Modified Saloon Car category, which will once again feature the wildest and fastest tin-top cars in the country – ranging from the naturally-aspirated four-cylinder cars in B1 to the explosive and fire-breathing and hillclimb monsters in the unlimited classes that tear up the challenging 1.9km Simola Hill at truly breathtaking speeds. There are also fascinating classes for alternate energy vehicles (B8 for electric and hybrid-powered cars) and B9 for powerful sports utility vehicles and bakkies, or pickups.

Five-time King of the Hill champion Franco Scribante currently rules the Modified Saloon Cars in his wild Nissan R35 GT-R, known as ‘Armageddon’. However, he had a formidable armada of challengers hot on his heels in 2023 – and all eyes will be on the thrilling battle that is sure to be unleashed again next year.

In Class C for single-seaters, sports cars and sports prototypes, Andre Bezuidenhout remains the undisputed King of the Hill with six consecutive wins. Bezuidenhout’s first title was secured in 2017 with the 1989 Dallara F189, and the rest behind the wheel of the purpose-designed 2007 Gould GR55 hillclimb single-seater with which he holds the outright Simola Hillclimb record of 34.161 sec, at an average speed of over 200 km/h from a standing start.

There are three single-seater classes based on engine size, and a further three classes for sports cars and sports prototypes.

In Class A for standard production and road-legal saloon cars and supercars, fans are treated to a wide range of entries spanning classes A1 to A8. This includes everything from hot hatchbacks to high-end supercars. Circuit racer JP van der Walt has a trio of consecutive wins under his belt in a selection of Porsche 911 entries and remains the man to beat. The increasing number of hybrid and electric vehicles competing in class A8 add lots of intrigue with their instantaneous power delivery and rapid acceleration off the line.

Classic Car Friday

There’s no shortage of interest in the Classic Car Friday line-up, as the range of cars is even more varied and fascinating. Class H1 features the pre-war cars that compete on a handicap basis according to pre-set and adjusted target times that each competitor sets during the practice and qualifying runs. The three best drivers who beat or come closest to their target times contest the class final, which is scored on a handicap time percentage basis.

Changes have been made to the cut-off years for the remaining classes, with H2 allowing all road cars up to 1970. Class H3 is for four-cylinder cars up to 1987, while H4 is for larger-capacity and rotary engines from the same period.

Racing cars up to 1974 slot into classes H5 and H6 based on engine size, while H7 and H8 follow the same format for cars up to 1995.

Class H9 is for single-seaters, sports and GT cars up to 1980, and Andre Bezuidenhout is the reigning champion with his 1976 Lola Cosworth T460.

The 14th edition of the Simola Hillclimb takes place from 2 to 5 May 2024.

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