KNYSNA NEWS - The Jaguar Simola Hillclimb just gets better and more spectacular every year, with the 2017 event from May 5 to 7 expected to garner a whole new level of competition following the adoption of three separate King of the Hill categories and respective titles up for grabs.
Of particular interest is the impending battle between the modified saloon cars – or tin-tops, as they’re commonly referred to – which now compete for their own King of the Hill crown, as do the single-seater and sports racing cars, as well as the standard road cars and supercars.
“The introduction of individual King of the Hill titles with equal status for the three categories allows similar types of cars to compete against each other, and represents the natural evolution of the Hillclimb as the cars have become a lot more specialised,” says Jaguar Simola Hillclimb sporting director Geoff Goddard.
“The modified saloon car category is not only by far the biggest with 39 entries, but is also expected to produce one of the most exciting battles this year.”
Indeed, with no less than three former King of the Hill title winners in the mix, there’s plenty to look forward to. Des Gutzeit, the 2015 winner and last year’s overall runner-up with a best time of 40.324 sec, will be back in his explosive Nissan Skyline GT-R R32 with up to 1 500hp (over 1 100kW) on tap, and he is undoubtedly one of the firm favourites for the King of the Hill title.
Gutzeit will be going head to head with the likes of 2011 champion Wilhelm Baard, who is among the mighty contingent of extensively modified new-generation R35 Nissan GT-Rs, along with hot contenders Darron Gudmanz, Quinsley Sale and former circuit-racing star Reghardt Roets who is due to make his Hillclimb debut. Geoff Mortimer, the 2010 winner, will be back in a highly-tuned Nissan 350z.
A new addition to the line-up this year is karting champion Aldo Scribante, who has entered an extensively reworked version of the ex-Terry Moss Racing Audi S4. As a cousin of double Hillclimb winner Franco, the family has a long and proud legacy in motor racing dating back to the 1960s. This includes grandfather Aldo Scribante who ran the SA Lotus Formula 1 team with Dave Charlton who won six consecutive titles, and also built the famous Port Elizabeth race track that was subsequently named after him.
The 2017 Jaguar Simola Hillclimb will see racing drivers from the renowned Inde Motorsports Ranch near Tucson, Arizona, joining the fray – thus adding to the international flavour and appeal of this award-winning event. The line-up includes Kai Goddard, an accomplished racer and lead professional driver for the multifaceted motorsport oasis, as well as its vice president of business development.
Kai was instrumental in securing multiple American GT and touring car champion Randy Pobst for the 2017 Hillclimb, who will be competing in Jaguar-backed entries in both Classic Car Friday and King of the Hill for road and supercars.
Inde Motorsports Ranch member Steve Kimpton will be competing alongside Goddard in an identical V8 Masters car in Class B6, along with the thundering WesBank Modified-era 6.3-litre V8 Opel Rekord of Willie Hepburn and a Lexus-powered Chevrolet Corvette driven by Craig Czank.
The two-wheel drive fight in Class B3 features the Giannoccaro family, with father Jimmy racing a Chev V8-powered BMW Z4 specifically built for hillclimbs, along with his two sons – Ricky now sporting a turbocharged version of the BMW M3 GTR he ran last year, and Gianni will be driving a full race-spec turbocharged BMW 135i.
Clearly, the sparks will be flying in the modified saloon car King of the Hill challenge, which guarantees a spectacular two days of action that simply cannot be missed.
A handful of lucky visitors to the 2017 Jaguar Simola Hillclimb will win an experience of a lifetime, with an exhilarating ride in a Jaguar up the 1.9 km Hillclimb course.
All tickets purchased via www.iTickets.co.za will qualify for the daily draws, with the winners contacted by cellphone and invited to the pit lane for this exclusive adrenaline-charged ride, seated alongside one of Jaguar’s advanced drivers.
Be sure to secure your day, weekend and pit access tickets online at iTickets, and stand a chance of winning a golden ticket to a ride of a lifetime.