The scene at the 2015 Jaguar Simola Hillclimb was electric. The pits roared to life as a fine selection of classic cars, road cars and modified race cars lined up to do battle up Simola's renowned hill in a bid to set the fastest time possible. More than 12 000 spectators dotted the Simola hillsides to catch a glimpse of machinery going full-tilt in a show of power, screeching tyres and thumping engines. This was a car lovers paradise.
Range Rover Sport SVR and Jaguar XE Shown
Apart from all the racing action taking place at the Jaguar Simola Hillclimb, the event also presented the perfect opportunity for Jaguar Land Rover to present new and exciting products directly to the public. The new Range Rover Sport SVR wowed spectators with its supercharged 5.0-litre V8 petrol engine offering 405 kW and 680 Nm. The SVR is the most powerful Land Rover ever made and is capable of accelerating to 100 kph in 4.7 seconds before reaching a top speed of 260 kph with the help of a 8-speed ZF automatic transmission.
Jaguar also showed the new XE sports sedan to the public for the first time, who had a chance to interact with the vehicle in person. Both diesel and petrol derivatives will be offered when the XE is launched later in the year. The top-of-the-range XE S will be powered by a 3.0-litre supercharged V6 petrol engine that puts out 250 kW and 450 Nm of torque which, translates into a 0-100 kph in 5.1 seconds.
Simola Hillclimb Highlights
Although each car brought a level of interest to the spectacle that is the Jaguar Simola Hillclimb, there were cars that simply stood out from the rest. The first of these standout cars was Micheal Forsyth's AC Cobra Race Car, which was arguably the loudest piece of machinery to hit the tar at Simola while the McLaren MP4-12C driven by Ernst Du Preez was possibly the quietest car to climb the hill. The new Range Rover Sport SVR showed off its power with Peter Lindenberg behind the wheel, which was impressive to watch as it launched off the line at blistering pace.
A Lamborghini Aventador is always a special sight and this specimen was spectacularly fast off the line with Greg Parton rocketing the supercar up the hill. Kyalami owner and Porsche South Africa CEO, Toby Venter, fired up his 911 GT2 race car which was insanely quick from take-off, leaving the crowd cheering in awe. There was also a good-looking 1972 Porsche Carrera 964 RS4 in Martini colours which put on a good show. The 2014 Simola HillClimb 'King of the Hill' winner, Franco Scribante took to the course once more in his Chevron B19 and managed to take the class win in a time of 41.891 seconds as well as fourth overall.
Desmond Gutzeit was the man to watch as he revved up his Nissan GT-R R32. Desmond Gudzeit and sons, Shane and Jade, were racing hard all weekend providing thrilling entertainment for the crowds. In the final run to determine the King of the Hill, Desmond Gudzeit had a perfect start off the line and went on to smash a new Simola Hillclimb record of 40.148 seconds.
Ashley Oldfield Wins Media Challenge
Cars.co.za motoring journalist and road test editor, Ashley Oldfield competed in the Jaguar Simola Hillclimb in a Jaguar XF as part of the media challenge. At the start of the practice sessions, Ashley was achieving times in the region of 59 seconds and steadily improved after every session, eventually achieving a best time of 54.4 seconds. The media competitors were judged on the basis of a 'Performance Index' which meant that drivers needed to consistently match or improve on their previous lap times. In the end, Ashley came out on top to secure the win. This is not the first time Ashley has taken top spot, as he also won on the media challenge at the 2011 Simola Hillclimb event.
Here are some of Ashley's thoughts from this years event, "The Jaguar Simola Hillclimb is only a club event but judging by the seriousness with which the drivers take it and the incredible machinery on show you would think it's the halo motorsport event on the South African calendar. The crowds can get extremely close to the cars, smell the rubber and get drenched in tyre smoke. The event gets a little bit better every year but it's a shame it only comes around once a year, it would be awesome to have a series of hillclimbs around the country. We wait in hope."
Ashley was up against Stuart Grant from Classic and Performance Car Africa, Jesse Adams from Star Motoring, Mark Jones from The Citizen and Dieter Losskarn from GQ Magazine. Cars.co.za would like to congratulate Ashley on his achievement at the 2015 Jaguar Simola Hillclimb and we look forward to seeing Ashley racing up the hill again next year.
Jaguar Simola HillClimb - King of the Hill Results1. Desmond Guzeit: Nissan GT-R R32 - 40.148 seconds
2. Sav Gualtieri: BMW 335i - 41.659 seconds
3. Darron Gudmanz: Nissan GT-R - 41.763 seconds
4. Franco Scribante: Chevron B19 - 42.015 seconds
5. Shane Gudzeit: Nissan GT-R R32 - 42.983 seconds