Visitors to the 2018 Jaguar Simola Hillclimb, which runs from 3 to 6 May, are in for a treat with the most spectacular line-up of cars and drivers yet in this event’s illustrious history.
Acknowledged as South Africa’s premier annual motoring and motorsport lifestyle event, the Hillclimb attracted a record number of applications for its ninth edition this year, testifying to its must-attend status amongst many of the top drivers in the country, as well as several international competitors.
“We opened the entry application process earlier than ever in October last year, and within a matter of weeks we were oversubscribed,” says Geoff Goddard, the event’s sporting director. “When the entry window officially closed on 26 January, we had received over 220 applications, which is a new record for this event.”
The number and quality of applications received this year was truly exceptional, and the organising committee had the arduous task of narrowing the final selection down to just 64 highly prized slots for Classic Car Friday, and just 84 for the various categories that make up the King of the Hill challenge which takes place on the Saturday and Sunday.
For King of the Hill, in the Road-going Saloon Cars and Supercar category, classes A1, A2 and A5 have been dropped due to insufficient entries.
“As a strictly invitational event, our aim is to freshen up the field each year by providing a spectacular and entertaining range of cars and drivers across regular and new competitors,” Goddard says. “For this year’s Jaguar Simola Hillclimb, regular competitors and spectators will see a significant step up in the quality of the high-end entries, particularly in the high-performance sports car and supercar categories.”
Indeed, the line-up for the three days of Hillclimb action is simply dazzling. For Classic Car Friday, fans can look forward to approximately 26 marques being represented, covering all eras of motoring and motorsport – from the earliest days of Grand Prix racing in the 1930s to the beautiful sports cars that defined the 1960s, and the V8-powered muscle cars that dominated the 1970s.
Heading over to King of the Hill completing the weekend, the ensemble is even more spectacular. For the road-based cars, encompassing street-legal and modified racing machines, more than 20 manufacturers will be featured, including illustrious names such as Jaguar, BMW, Ferrari, Porsche, McLaren, Bentley, Mercedes-Benz, Lotus, Shelby, Roush – and, of course, the usual armada of mild to outlandishly wild Nissan GT-R entries.
There’s also a bigger contingent of returning and exciting new challengers for the King of the Hill title in the Single Seater and Sports Car category. Approximately 13 purpose-built racing cars will be vying for glory on the challenging 1.9km Simola Hill course, ensuring that spectators will be kept on the edges of their seats to see if Andre Bezuidenhout’s current record of 37.695 sec in the stunning Dallara F189 Formula One car can be beaten.