Will Dezzi Gutzeit de­fend his King of the Hill ti­tle at the Si­mola Hill Climb in Knysna? Check his plans on PAGE 8.

Gutzeit’s mighty 1 400 hp GT- R eyes sec­ond Si­mola Hill­climb win in a row

The Witness - Wheels - - FRONT PAGE -

KNYSNA — “Big­ger and bet­ter” may be an overused mar­ket­ing catch­phrase, but it’s a per­fectly apt de­scrip­tion of the adren­a­line- charged, heart- racing scene that is set to un­fold when the King of the Hill ex­plodes into action at the 2016 Jaguar Si­mola Hill­climb on May 7- 8.

The line- up for the sev­enth edi­tion of SA’s premier motorsport event, ac­knowl­edged as one of Knysna’s top award- win­ning at­trac­tions, is in­deed more spec­tac­u­lar and com­pet­i­tive than ever. Fea­tur­ing no less than four past win­ners, along with an as­ton­ish­ing array of cars ei­ther pur­pose- built to take on the daunt­ing 1,9 km Si­mola Hill or mak­ing their highly an­tic­i­pated de­but, there re­ally is noth­ing bet­ter for mo­tor­ing en­thu­si­asts and com­peti­tors alike.

As the reign­ing King of the Hill, Des Gutzeit has no in­ten­tion of hav­ing the ti­tle wres­tled out of his hands, and could in­deed be­come the very first dou­blewin­ner at this year’s event. He boldly an­nounced from the top step of the podium last year that he would com­ing back to break the 40- sec­ond bar­rier in his highly mod­i­fied 1993 Nis­san Sky­line R32 GT- R — and the wise money will be on him do­ing ex­actly that. “My GT- R is go­ing to be stronger than last year, as we’ve done some work to lighten it and make it han­dle a bit bet­ter,” Gutzeit said in his typ­i­cally ca­sual man­ner.

“We ran about 1 400 hp last year, and hope­fully the en­gine will pro­duce a bit more now, but horse­power isn’t ev­ery­thing for the hill­climb. You need a car that han­dles prop­erly and it has to be driven well.”

Hav­ing es­tab­lished a new lap record of 40,148 sec on his fi­nal run for the King of the Hill Top 10 Shootout in 2015, Gutzeit cer­tainly knows what it takes to win.

From a stand­ing start, he charged through the course at an av­er­age speed of over 170 km/ h, and reached a top speed on the main up­hill straight of 250 km/ h — eye- wa­ter­ing num­bers in­deed! Yet he is more con­fi­dent than ever of es­tab­lish­ing a new lap record.

“Go­ing un­der 40 sec is def­i­nitely pos­si­ble, and I cer­tainly won’t be the only one aim­ing to break the cur­rent record,” Gutzeit says.

“Franco Scrib­ante will be ex­tremely fast in his new Chevron B26, and he’s a very good driver, but I reckon that there will be at least 10 com­peti­tors that could win King of the Hill this year.”

Two of Gutzeit Se­nior’s ri­vals may well come from the home front, with sons Jade and Shane po­ten­tially among the front- run­ners too. Jade won the event in 2012 and was one of the fastest com­peti­tors last year, but suf­fered me­chan­i­cal prob­lems with his Mit­subishi Lancer Evo 9 that was com­pleted just be­fore the hill­climb. With the mat­ter of car se­lec­tion still in the bal­ance, they both could be at the sharp end of the field.

2014 win­ner Franco Scrib­ante has made his in­ten­tions clear. “I’ve en­tered the Chevron B26 for King of the Hill, and my aim is to win,” he stated.

“This year we’re def­i­nitely go­ing to break the 40 sec bar­rier. It’s go­ing to be re­ally hot at the top, es­pe­cially with all these Nis­san GT- Rs com­pet­ing with over 1 400 hp.”

The 1972 Chevron B26 mono­coque sports car was pro­duced as a suc­ces­sor to the B19 with which Scrib­ante dom­i­nated the 2014 event. This car was com­pletely re­built in the UK to Scrib­ante’s spec­i­fi­ca­tions for hill­climbs and en­durance racing.

In its cur­rent form, it is pow­ered by a rad­i­cal 2,9- litre en­gine, which is ba­si­cally two Suzuki Hayabusa mo­tor­cy­cle engines mated to­gether to form a V8.

“It pro­duces about 450 hp, and the car weighs just 580 kg, so the power- to-weight ra­tio is very im­pres­sive,” Scrib­ante added. “It’s amaz­ing how ad­vanced the tech­nol­ogy was for the time, de­spite how prim­i­tive it looks. The chas­sis and han­dling of the B26 are as good as any­thing you’ll find to­day, and it feels like a 250 Su­perkart,” he said.

And Scrib­ante knows what he’s talk­ing about, hav­ing led the first hour- anda- half of the Welkom 6- Hour en­durance race with this car on its first out­ing in Fe­bru­ary.

And, as they say in the clas­sics, “that’s not all, folks!” While this epic clash be­tween these mighty men and their re­mark­able ma­chines un­folds, spec­ta­tors will also be treated to the spine- tin­gling sights and sounds of the first- ever For­mula One car to com­pete at the 2016 Jaguar Si­mola Hill­climb. The burn­ing ques­tion is, could it trounce them all?

En­tered and driven by An­dre Bezuiden­hout, this 1989 Dal­lara F189 has true F1 pedi­gree, hav­ing fin­ished third at the 1989 Cana­dian Grand Prix with An­drea de Ce­saris be­hind the wheel, as part of the BMS Scud­e­ria Italia team.

Bezuiden­hout has cer­tainly proven its po­ten­tial on the track, and holds the lap record of 58,839 sec at Zwartkops Race­way, set in March 2008.

“I know the car very well, but I’ve never raced it on the road and I’ve never been to the Jaguar Si­mola Hill­climb, so all of this will be com­pletely new to me,” Bezuiden­hout says. “The key will be get­ting the sus­pen­sion setup right to cope with the bumpy sur­face, but I’m re­ally look­ing for­ward to the race.”

For more in­for­ma­tion on the event, visit www.jaguar­si­mo­lahill­climb.co.za

Press ser­vice pro­vided by Con­ti­nen­tal Tyre SA. — Sup­plied.

PHOTO: FILE

The wise money is back­ing King of the Knysna Hill, KZN’s Dezzi Gutzeit, to keep his ti­tle in his highly mod­i­fied 1993 Nis­san Sky­line R32 GT- R.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.