KNYSNA MOTORING NEWS - Winners of South Africa's premier motorsport and motoring lifestyle event, the Simola Hillclimb, will now be guaranteed an entry into the fourth edition of the FIA Hillclimb Masters event to be held in Braga, Portugal from 9 to 11 October.
The FIA Hillclimb Masters is a bi-annual invitational event established in 2014 with the aim of bringing together the winners of national championships recognised by their respective national motorsport associations, as well as the winners of the FIA Championship and Cup series.
With South Africa not having a Hillclimb series or championship, Motorsport South Africa (MSA) and the organisers of the Simola Hillclimb have come to an agreement with the FIA to allow certain winners of the annual Knysna event to qualify for the Hillclimb Masters.
Qualifying drivers will be the winners of the King of the Hill's Modified Saloon Car and Single Seater/Sports Prototype categories. As the Masters is held every two years, Simola Hillclimb winners from two events will receive an entry, meaning that if there are different winners over the two events then four drivers will have the opportunity of representing South Africa in the Masters.
Competitors will not only compete for individual honours for gold, silver or bronze medals but will also represent South Africa in the Nations Cup against an ever-increasing number of countries.
In 2018, drivers from 20 nations were represented. This will be the first time that a country outside of Europe will contest the FIA Hillclimb Masters.
"To have South Africa as the first-ever non-European team entering in 2020 would be quite a coup for the FIA Hill Climb Masters," said Vincent Caro, the FIA's head of department – Historic Motor Sport, Hillclimb & Off Road. "It has become increasingly clear that the Simola Hillclimb is raced in the same sportivo-festive spirit as the Masters and we have also been able to appreciate the quality and level of performance of the cars and drivers that stand out there each year."
Adrian Scholtz, chief executive of Motorsport South Africa commented that this would be a significant boost for the local event. "The Simola Hillclimb is already one of the annual highlights of the South African motorsport calendar and the links being established with the FIA Hillclimb Masters can only add to the event's stature," he said. For the organisers of the annual Simola Hillclimb, which features the 11th edition this year, the tie-up with the FIA Hillclimb Masters is a major boost for South African competitors. "We are delighted that, together with the FIA and MSA, we can offer this incredible opportunity to competitors," said Ian Shrosbree, managing director of the Knysna Speed Festival.
As the Hillclimb Masters is an invitational event there is no entry fee payable by competitors, however the Simola Hillclimb winners that qualify will be required to cover the cost of shipping their cars and flights themselves. The 2020 edition of the Simola Hillclimb is scheduled to roar into life from 7 to 10 May, marking the start of the second decade of this truly exceptional automotive extravaganza.
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