Si­mo­la Hill is wai­ting

Who will be ‘King of the Hill’ in 2018?

George Herald - Auto Dealer - - Voorblad -

The batt­le for the King of the Hill tit­le has been step­ped up se­ver­al not­ches in the Single Se­a­ter and S­ports Car ca­te­go­ry for the 2018 Ja­guar Si­mo­la Hil­l­climb, which ta­kes pla­ce in Knys­na from 3 to 6 May.

Alt­hough t­he­re are just two clas­ses this y­e­ar, the com­pe­ti­ti­on is mo­re in­ten­se than e­ver. Class C1 ca­ters for tur­bo­char­ged or su­per­char­ged four-cy­lin­der cars, as well as tho­se na­tu­ral­ly as­pi­ra­ted with fi­ve cy­lin­ders or mo­re.

Reig­ning King of the Hill André Be­zui­den­hout will be back to de­fend his tit­le. Ho­we­ver, t­he­re’s a bit of a twist as he won’t be be­hind the w­heel of his spec­ta­cu­lar Dal­la­ra F189 For­mu­la One car with which he set the out­rig­ht hil­l­climb re­cord last y­e­ar, com­ple­ting the 1,9km run in 37,695 se­conds at an a­vera­ge speed of 181,5km.

He has so­mething po­ten­ti­al­ly e­ven fas­ter li­ned up for the n­inth e­di­ti­on of the Ja­guar Si­mo­la Hil­l­climb.

“The Dal­la­ra is out of ser­vi­ce as the en­gi­ne needs a bit of a re­fresh, but I ha­ve been very for­tu­na­te to obtain a Gould GR55 for the Hil­l­climb,” Be­zui­den­hout says. “This is a pur­po­se-built single se­a­ter de­sig­ned spe­ci­fi­cal­ly for hil­l­climb e­vents.”

As a spe­ci­a­list ra­ce car ma­nu­fac­tu­ring and en­gi­neer­ing com­pa­ny ba­sed in England, Gould has been a do­mi­nant for­ce in hil­l­climb com­pe­ti­ti­ons for ma­ny y­e­ars, with no less than 19 tit­les not­ched up in the pres­ti­gi­ous B­ri­tish Hil­l­climb C­ham­pi­ons­hip be­t­ween 1998 and 2016.

Be­zui­den­hout’s GR55 is po­we­red by a Ni­chol­son-M­cLa­ren 3,8-lit­re V8 en­gi­ne and com­pe­ted with gre­at success in the B­ri­tish Hil­l­climb C­ham­pi­ons­hip sin­ce it was built in 2004, ha­ving sco­red nu­me­rous vic­to­ries in this highly com­pe­ti­ti­ve se­ries.

“I ex­pect that the Gould will be fas­ter than the 1989 Dal­la­ra F1 car as it is a fit-for-pur­po­se ra­ce car with mo­dern at­tri­bu­tes, in­clu­ding much mo­re do­wn­for­ce and mo­re ad­van­ced techno­lo­gies such as pad­d­le shift and tracti­on con­t­rol. I’m con­fi­dent that we will be a­ble to set a new Ja­guar Si­mo­la Hil­l­climb re­cord with this car,” Be­zui­den­hout says.

Whi­le his fier­cest chal­len­ger, pre­vi­ous Ja­guar Si­mo­la Hil­l­climb win­ner Fran­co S­cri­ban­te, has e­lected to ta­ke his fig­ht to the Mo­di­fied Sa­loon Car ca­te­go­ry this y­e­ar, Be­zui­den­hout will still fa­ce a stern c­hal­len­ge for the tit­le – most no­ta­bly from Ro­bert Wolk.

As a mul­ti­ple cham­pi­on in For­mu­la Ford and For­mu­la Volks­wa­gen, Wolk is un­doub­ted­ly one of the fas­test and most ex­pe­rien­ced sing­le­se­a­ter dri­vers in the field. Af­ter two y­e­ars trying his hand with a For­mu­la Re­nault V6 en­try, this y­e­ar Wolk is al­so step­ping up his ga­me by fiel­ding a mo­re mo­dern ma­chi­ne in the form of an A1 GP car.

The ill-fa­ted A1 GP se­ries was bran­ded as the “Wor­ld Cup of Mo­tor­sport” and fe­a­tu­red na­ti­ons com­pe­ting a­gainst e­ach ot­her in i­den­ti­cal cars ba­sed on the 2004-era Fer­ra­ri F1 car. Po­wer is de­ri­ved from a 4,5-lit­re Fer­ra­ri V8 en­gi­ne, de­li­ve­ring a­round 450kW, which has been fit­ted to an A1 GP chas­sis that has ne­ver been ra­ced be­fo­re.

“On pa­per, I should be qui­te a bit fas­ter in the A1 GP,” Wolk says. “This car has 50% mo­re po­wer than the Re­nault V6, much bet­ter a­e­ro­dy­n­a­mi­cs and the be­ne­fit of launch con­t­rol, which will help op­ti­mi­se the start. A quick pull-off is cri­ti­cal to set a fast ti­me on this short cour­se.”

Two For­mu­la Re­nault V6 en­tries will re­main in the mix, dri­ven by Mark Lauth and S­tu­art W­hi­te.

Knys­na re­si­dent Mi­cha­el Ver­rier will al­so be in the class C1 fray with a 3,5-lit­re V6po­we­red S­hel­by CanAm s­ports car, al­ong with two ra­pid lig­ht­weig­ht ma­chi­nes com­pri­sing An­to­ny Ash­ley’s tur­bo­char­ged Hon­da-en­gi­ned A­riel Atom and Way­ne P­lit’s for­ce-fed Lo­tus 2 E­le­ven.

Class C2 fe­a­tu­res the na­tu­ral­ly-as­pi­ra­ted four-cy­lin­der single-se­a­ters, com­pri­sing the two For­mu­la Vee en­tries of S­ha­ne Hel­berg and Siy­a­bon­ga Man­konkwa­na, al­ong with the For­mu­la VW car of Garth de Vil­liers. Ian S­cho­field will be li­ning up in a 2018 For­mu­la Ford en­try, al­ong with Fran­cis Cu­sens in a Toyo­ta-po­we­red Lo­tus 7.

For mo­re in­for­ma­ti­on on the e­vent, vi­sit www.ja­guar­si­mo­la­hil­l­climb.com

Way­ne P­lit in acti­on in a Lo­tus 2 E­le­ven.

Ro­bert Wolk ta­kes on the Si­mo­la Hill.

Garth de Vil­liers in a For­mu­la Volks­wa­gen.

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