SA'S FASTEST? 5 of SA's motoring media claimed the fastest title among their peers and participated in the 2015 Jaguar Simola Hill Climb. Image: Supplied
Pretoria – Five of South Africa’s fastest motoring journalists are set to participate in the award-winning Jaguar Simola Hillclimb in Knysna this coming May. Joining them on Simola Hill will be two of South Africa’s talented race drivers representing Jaguar in the Supercar Shootout section of the event.
Choosing the fastest motoring drivers is no easy feat, so a challenge was issued to the South Africa’s motoring media to send their fastest, most talented drivers to compete in a karting challenge. In early March the 12 media challengers assembled at an indoor karting venue in Johannesburg, the goal being to find the four fastest drivers. 2015’s Jaguar Simola Hillclimb media challenge winner, Ashley Oldfield, also joined in on the action.
Even the odds
The chosen race format saw the fastest names in local journalism battle on track for the better part of four hours. To even the odds the heavier drivers – who were naturally slower in lightweight karts – had their lap times reduced by 0.1 seconds for every 10kg that they were heavier than the lightest driver.
After an afternoon of stiff competition the kart track the four fastest drivers emerged exhausted, with battered ribs and stiff forearms. While Ashley Oldfield from Cars.co.za dominated the timing charts with his lap time of 18.408, the journalists who will be joining him at the hillclimb in May were separated by a mere 0.16 seconds.
Thomas Falkiner, from the Sunday Times, clocked in a 19.004 second lap and hot on his heels was the lightweight Nikesh Kooverjee from CAR magazine, a mere 0.005 seconds adrift. Behind them were Ernest Page, on behalf of Top Gear magazine, and Andrew Leopold, editor of SA Car Fan, with respective laps of 19.111s and 19.167s.
A different take
These five drivers will now go on to compete in the Jaguar Simola Hillclimb media challenge, racing in the suitably lightweight and sporty Jaguar XE, finished in R-Sport trim and powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine producing 177kW. And to truly feel the part, the media challenge drivers will be kitted out in Jaguar-themed race suits. The media vehicles will also feature personalised liveries designed by their drivers – something that will help them stand out as they negotiate the twists and turns of the hill.
“If the performances we saw at the karting are anything to go by, the race is already on for these drivers,” said Lisa Mallett, Marketing and communications director of Jaguar Land Rover South Africa and sub-Sahara Africa. “We wanted to give the media a different take on the challenge and they responded with more competitive spirit than ever before.”
This year will also see the inaugural Supercar Shootout at the Jaguar Simola Hillclimb. The new event, which takes place alongside the King Of The Hill challenges, allows owners of roadgoing supercars to compete for a separate title. Here, two Jaguar F-TYPE R AWD Coupés will be entered on behalf of Jaguar South Africa and are set to face off against exotics from all over the world.
One of the F-TYPEs will be piloted by Jaguar Land Rover’s national aftersales manager and South African landspeed-record holder, Dawie Olivier, while the second will be driven by seasoned racer Gary Formato, who has competed in the local WesBank V8s series as well as participated at Le Mans.
“We look forward to the mighty F-TYPE R AWD facing off against some worthy opponents at the hillclimb. With Dawie and Gary at the wheel we’re anticipating some spectacular driving,” said Mallett. “Spectators can look forward to some tight competition between the road going cars this year.”
The 2016 Jaguar Simola Hillclimb takes place on May 6-8, at the Simola Hill in Knysna. Day tickets are R80 for adults and R50 for children between the ages of three and 11. Weekend passes, valid for entry on Saturday and Sunday, are R140 per adult and R80 per child.
For further information about tickets, see itickets.co.za or visit www.jaguarsimolahillclimb.co.za.