BACK TO RACING: The Jaguar Simola Hillclimb returns for the 2017 edition. Image: MotorPress
Knysna - Jaguar says the ‘King of the Hill’ is the most prestigious title in the world of hillclimb events, and only six drivers have earned this crown to date on the Jaguar Simola Hillclimb (JSHC), South Africa’s premier motorsport event.
In 2017, Franco Scribante rewrote the history books by becoming the Jaguar Simola Hillclimb’s only double champion after repeating his 2014 victory, and fans can expect a fierce tussle for this year’s title in the single-seater and sports racing car category.
But now, there’s a whole lot more King of the Hill excitement in store!
All type of cars
Indeed, for the eighth running of the Jaguar Simola Hillclimb in May 2017, the organisers have separated the entries into three main classes, each with equal status and the allure of becoming a King of the Hill champion.
Plus there’s the special trophy, known as ‘The Jody’ and named after South Africa’s only Formula One champion Jody Scheckter, for each overall winner.
Geoff Goddard, the event’s sporting director, says: “By its very nature, the JSHC features a wide variety of cars for the King of the Hill challenge, comprising everything from standard road cars to thoroughbred racing cars, which is what makes it such drawcard amongst competitors and fans alike."
Starry line-up for 2017 Jaguar Simola Hillclimb
The organisers introduced the Supercar Shootout as an additional element to King of the Hill in 2016, which was won by Jaki Scheckter in a showroom-specification Nissan GT-R.
Goddard adds: “There was such great interest in the SuperCar Shootout last year that we have taken this concept further for the 2017 Hillclimb. There are now three individual categories for the broad types of cars competing at the Hillclimb, comprising road-going saloon cars and supercars; modified saloon racing cars; and single-seater and sports racing cars.
"Splitting into the three categories allows a more representative like-for-like structure allowing competitors to compete more fairly for a Jody trophy. We expect this to spice up the competition even further, and add to the excitement leading up to each one of the three Top 10 Shootouts on the Sunday afternoon.”
Classes for the event
Class A groups all standard road cars and supercars into one category, with a total of nine smaller classes encompassing everything from hot hatchbacks to the sports and supercar elite. There’s also a class for hybrid, electric and solar-powered vehicles. No aerodynamic modifications or aids are allowed, and only street-legal tyres are permitted.
Modified saloon racing cars fall into Class B, spanning B1 to B7 for various engine capacities, naturally aspirated or forced induction, and two or four-wheel drive.
All single-seater and sports racing cars compete in Class C, with these finely tuned racing thoroughbreds expected to once again set the benchmark on the challenging 1.9km Hillclimb course.
As before, each King of the Hill competitor will have five open practice runs on Saturday, followed by their first two qualifying runs. Sunday commences with a warm-up, then a further four qualifying runs. Only the three fastest competitors, based on their qualifying results, progress to their respective class finals with single-run shoot-outs to determine the podium positions for each individual class.
The action is then dialled into the red, with not one but three Top 10 Shootouts for the first time. The 10 fastest competitors in classes A, B and C will face off in their respective all-or-nothing shootouts, which are run in reverse order from 10th place.
It’s guaranteed to be nail-biting stuff as the times tumble with the last-ditch efforts to claim King of the Hill glory, and one of the three highly prized Jody trophies.
Motorsport enthusiasts can secure their places for the 2017 Jaguar Simola Hillclimb here, an online portal where all Day, Weekend and Pit Access tickets can be purchased.