GT-R is the King of the Hill

GT-R wins su­per­car and mod­i­fied su­per­car ti­tles at Si­mola Hill Climb with sub-40 run

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING -

ROSSLYN — The Nis­san GT-R re­mains the fastest su­per­car at the Si­mola Hill Climb near Knysna over the week­end, as proved by Wil­helm Baard, Reghard Roets and the R35 Nis­san GT R.

Baard re­peated his suc­cess­ful 2011 Si­mola King of the Hill win by shat­ter­ing the 40-sec­ond bar­rier on the last shootout-run for a time of 39,892 sec­onds. It is the first time in the his­tory of the com­pe­ti­tion that a su­per­car man­aged to break this psy­cho­log­i­cal bar­rier on the moun­tain road.

“I ded­i­cate this win to all of the Nis­san team mem­bers who have put so much ef­fort into pre­par­ing our R35 GT-R for this com­pe­ti­tion. What we achieved to­day is thanks to many months of prepa­ra­tion and prac­tice,” says Baard.

Baard was a firm favourite to win the 2017 Si­mola Hill Climb, es­pe­cially af­ter he recorded a fi­nal qual­i­fy­ing time of 40,099 sec­onds. This was faster than any winning GT-R of pre­vi­ous years and faster than the time with which he won the race in a GT-R in 2011.

“To­wards the end of the day our setup was op­ti­mal and we had a fairly new set of tyres that we could fit. I knew that if I ran a clean race up the hill we could shat­ter that 40-sec­ond bar­rier,” says Baard, who added that the speeds on the fi­nal run “scared” him.

Com­ing a close sec­ond was Des­mond Gutzeit with his very pow­er­ful R32 GT-R. Gutzeit recorded the fastest time in the B2 class shootout for mod­i­fied sa­loon cars with four-wheel drive and forced in­duc­tion.

Each rac­ing class com­petes against the other for the class win, be­fore the 10 fastest cars across all the classes com­pete for the King of the Hill (KOTH) ti­tle. This year there were sep­a­rate KOTH races for the stan­dard pro­duc­tion su­per­cars and mod­i­fied su­per­cars.

For the class win, Gutzeit raced up the hill in 40,312 sec­onds, while Baard com­pleted it in 40,502 sec­onds. In the King of the Hill shootout, Gutzeit recorded a time of 40,114 sec­onds, the fastest time for him on the day and fast enough for the sec­ond spot on the mod­i­fied su­per­car podium.

In the class for stan­dard pro­duc­tion su­per­cars, Roets com­pleted the shootout on Sun­day with a time of 44,766 sec­onds. This time beat var­i­ous other su­per­cars and his fel­low Nis­san GT-R racer, Jaki Scheck­ter, to the top step of the podium. Scheck­ter ended the day with a shootout time of 45,171 sec­onds on the 1,9 km hill climb, which earned him the third po­si­tion.

For Roets the win was par­tic­u­larly sweet af­ter he dam­aged his GT-R on day one and had to work past mid­night to get his car race-ready.

“We man­aged to find re­place­ment con­trol arms for a GT-R in Port El­iz­a­beth and the team drove through to pick them up. The car was back on its wheels just af­ter mid­night and we set the wheel align­ment ... at 5 am,” said Roets.

Apart from the rear sus­pen­sion parts, which Roets dam­aged by run­ning wide of the road on an ear­lier qual­i­fy­ing round, his GT-R per­formed with­out fault.

“With ev­ery launch, we man­aged to gain some time and to­wards the end of the day we were lead­ing the su­per­car class.

“Our King of the Hill ti­tle cer­tainly makes the sac­ri­fices worth­while. I pushed so hard at the start of the fi­nal KOTH shootout that I spun all four wheels, but a sec­ond later I man­aged to re­gain my com­po­sure and fin­ish the run,” said Roets.

For Nis­san South Africa, the two 2017 King of the Hill ti­tles are an­other high­light in a busy year dur­ing which the com­pany launched the MY17 GT-R.

“The MY17 model is the most ad­vanced and pow­er­ful GT-R yet. With over 400kW in stan­dard guise, an up­graded sus­pen­sion sys­tem and a 0-100 km/h time of less than three sec­onds, it is no sur­prise that the GT-R is one of South Africa’s most pop­u­lar su­per­cars,” said Xavier Go­bille, di­rec­tor for sales, mar­ket­ing and af­ter­sales at Nis­san Group of Africa.

PHOTO: SUP­PLIED

Com­ing a close sec­ond was Des­mond Gutzeit with his very pow­er­ful R32 GT-R.

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