Top drivers in an exciting array of cars have given the return of the Simola Hillclimb a resounding ‘Welcome Back!’ by filling the entry lists more than two months ahead of this Jaguar-sponsored event from May 16 to 18. After hectic activity by both works and private teams since the January announcement of the three-year title partnership by this prestige motor manufacturer for this unique event, it has again proved its magnetic attraction to top quality motor sport competitors from around South Africa.
Most importantly, the fuse has been lit for the debate as to who will emerge as ‘King of the Hill’ after the final blistering runs at the close of the Jaguar Simola Hillclimb on Sunday 18th May.
The star-studded line-up for the feature event includes:
- Multiple saloon car, and reigning Bridgestone Production Car class T champion, Graeme Nathan who will be out in an Evo2 Motorsport-prepared BMW CSI in Classic Car Friday and is looking forward to his first experience of the Jaguar Simola Hillclimb. ‘It will be strange not diving down the inside of a pack of cars for turn 1,’ quipped the gentle giant.
- Peter Lindenberg who made his name by winning 15 South African titles in powerboats before an accident at Saldanha Bay in 2002 left him critically injured. Once recovered he switched to tarmac on a fulltime basis. Now he is one of the leading lights on the historic racing scene and will be competing at Simola in a replica 1965 Shelby Daytona Coupe Ford for Classic Car Friday and a Range Rover Sport in King of the Hill.
- The 2012 Knysna Hillclimb winner, Jade Gutzeit, who ruled the Enduro motorcycle racing scene for a number of years before moving to circuit racing. Although he produced a number of competitive track outings he returned to two wheels winning more titles before winding down his activities to concentrate on business commitments. Jade has taken to the Simola slope with intense enthusiasm and this year is armed with a potent Mitsubishi Evo 7 in which he will be looking for another win.
- Jaki Scheckter, son of multiple SA champion Ian,who won the Formula Ford championship in 1992 and moved to the USA where he won the Barber Dodge crown in 1995 – beating former F1 driver and Indycar champion Juan Pablo Montoya in the process. Sadly a foray in Indy Lights was cut short by budget constraints and he returned to South Africa where he since competed in a number of high profile events.
There are also a large number of bank-balance-numbing exotics being driven by a solid group of top drivers and high profile motoring enthusiasts. A pair of McLaren 650s have been entered for occasional racers Tato Carello and Justin Divaris, with Ernst Du Preez in a McLaren Spider MP412C. Ferrari will be represented by Christopher Foulkes in a Ferrari California, while Aston Martin will have Mark Castel in a Vantage and Rens Rademeyer in a newer V12 Vantage S. Greg Parton will keep the Italian flag flying in a Lamborghini Aventador.
Former Touring Car racers Deon Joubert and Barry Ingle will be lining up in Jaguars. Joubert is down to drive a Jaguar XFR-S and Ingle a Jaguar F Type, while it will be interesting to see what the Range Rover Sport is capable of in Lindenberg’s adept hands.