MOTORSPORT

South Africa's most adrenaline-fueled racing weekend speeds around again

The Simola Hillclimb is back, and here is what to expect.

Jordan Schmidt
May 2, 2024
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South Africa's most adrenaline-fueled racing weekend speeds around again 

  

Picture this: The smell of burnt rubber and racing fuel permeates the air; the thrill of danger sits around every turn; and some unhinged machines are rearing to tear up the tarmac, creating an atmosphere unlike any other. I have spent my fair share of time around various racing environments, and few come close to the thrills that the Simola Hillclimb delivers. We're heading down to the coast once more to experience it firsthand with Volkswagen SA. But before we head down, here are a few things to look forward to ahead of this thrilling weekend dedicated to speed. 

 

Simola is a unique event where spectators can witness every form of road racing in one place. The first two days of the event focus on the classics, where historic racing cars and modified classics take to the hill with vigour. But the talk of the town is the modern racing class, which takes place over Saturday and Sunday. These modern rockets come in all shapes and sizes, and to wrap your head around the chaos, here are the different classes. 

 

The first classes are the road-going saloon cars and supercars. Believe it or not, this is the tamest class to compete in, but don’t underestimate them for even a second; they mean business. Street-legal versions of popular sports cars such as Toyota Mk5 Supras, Porsche 911 Turbos, and the McLaren 720S are the focus of this class.

 

The second class is the modified saloon cars, many of which were built with one objective in mind: to be fast up the hillclimb. These crazy builds are stripped-out, massively tuned versions of popular street cars. This usually includes stupidly wide bodies, massive GT wings, and exhausts that make your ears ring. Here you will find the likes of the Scribante Nissan GT-R, various R34 and R33 GTRs, modified Subarus, and purpose-built GTC cars, which are occasionally further modified. 

 

The last class is the fastest of the bunch, with single-seaters and sports cars. This group combines crazy racing enthusiasts with specialised racing teams. These rockets have the best shot at breaking the hill climb record and are a mesmerising spectator experience. This class features cars such as Formula Ford and the current record holder, the Gould GR55, as well as modified Shelby Cobras and Lotus Sevens.

 

Let's talk about the event itself, with the classes out of the way. So there are various practice runs, qualifying sessions, and races, all of which run in the same way. The slower road-going saloons lead the pack, and the racing continues until the final single-seater heads off. Each car has to leave the starting line no more than 30 seconds after the previous one for an hour of non-stop action. The single-seaters ascend the hill after all the cars have finished their runs, followed by a brief 10-minute break before racing resumes.

 

I can't recommend Simola highly enough; it's an action-packed racing event that's non-stop. The racing action began on May 2nd, and the King of the Hill races will conclude on Sunday, May 5th. Don't forget to keep a watch out for some of South Africa's most unique racing cars, and don't hesitate to say hello if you spot us on the hill.

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