The Modified Saloon Car category of this year’s Simola Hillclimb features some exceptional high-performance and race-bred machines across its various classes – and for B7, which caters for naturally aspirated cars with eight cylinders or more, it’s pure supercar territory.
The line-up comprises several top contenders from Extreme Supercar and endurance racing, including the Lamborghinis of Ricky Giannoccaro (2014 Gallardo Super Trofeo) and the 2019 Huracan GT3 Evos of Charl Arangies and Silvio Scribante. Mixing it up in the class will be Franco di Matteo in his thundering 6,0-litre V8-powered Jaguar from the V8 Supercars championship, and Stiaan Kriel in a Lexus V8-powered Backdraft Cobra raced in the SA Endurance Series.
In class B3 for four-cylinder four-wheel drive cars, Simola Hillclimb regular Anton Cronje is sure to be a Top 10 Shootout contender once again in his powerful 2013 Subaru Impreza WRX STi. He will be competing for class honours against Pierre Bester (2014 Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG), Juan van Rensburg (2001 Audi TT) and Robby Ferroli in a turbo-charged 1980 VW Golf.
There is also the pair of 2007 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9s of Capetonians Nic Schwerdtfeger and Shane Naidu. Having competed in every Simola event to date, Naidu is a regular hillclimb campaigner in his quick Evo 9 FQ360.
“The Simola Hillclimb has become part of our family lives as we have been attending the event since it started in 2009,” Naidu says.
“The organisers are passionate about the event and inviting not only the professional drivers but gentlemen drivers like myself who can come along in their road cars and sports cars and race at South Africa’s premier event. The camaraderie amongst competitors is incredible, and the welcome we get from all the other drivers and the teams is rarely found in motorsport these days. It’s like meeting old family once a year”
Simola regular Clare Vale will be back in action in class B2 for four-cylinder two-wheel drive cars, leading the charge in her distinctive 2013 Subaru BR-Z, along with Owen Bridger (2007 Honda Civic Type R), circuit racing ace Lee Thompson in a 2016 VW Golf GTI GTC2-category race car, and Bob Neill in a 2017 Ford Focus ST.
And now, for something completely different …
Pickups, or bakkies as they are known in South Africa, aren’t typically something you would associate with a motorsport event on a road course, however, they are ingrained in South African culture so it’s no surprise that they will feature at the Simola Hillclimb.
The Lindenberg family’s brawny Road to Race (RTR) supercharged V8 Savage 660 Ford Ranger will be lighting up its tyres on the Simola Hill once again – but this time Peter Lindenberg and daughter Paige are trading seats, with dad competing in the ultra-rare Shelby Mustang in the Road Car and Supercar category, and Paige aiming to tame the Savage.
“King of the Hill is the greatest event of the year for me,” she says. “For the past few years I have had the pleasure of racing a Shelby Mustang up the hill, but this year we decided to put a twist in the plans and my dad will be showing us what a Shelby Terlingua can do, whilst I pilot the V8 Savage 660 RTR Ranger up the hill. It will be a huge change and challenge, but one I am looking forward to.”
They won’t have the only bakkie in the line-up, as Francois Fritz will be fulfilling his long-time ambition of competing at the Simola Hillclimb. His weapon is in the form of a 2011 Toyota Hilux that had its normal 3.0-litre diesel engine replaced with Toyota’s Japanese-market 5,0-litre V12 engine, with twin turbos bolted on for good measure.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, Ryno Scheepers will be back in his vintage 1976 Mazda F1000 – but this won’t be a shrinking violet as the tiny vehicle is powered by a high-revving turbocharged 13B rotary engine with an impressive power-to-weight ratio. Also expect Udo de Beurges to be in contention for class honours with his 2019 Audi RSQ3 performance SUV.
The 2021 Simola Hillclimb takes place from 3 to 5 September 2021, starting with Classic Car Friday, followed by King of the Hill on the Saturday and Sunday. Due to COVID-19 regulations, no spectators are allowed, but the entire event will be livestreamed.