Battle of the Speed Demons set to resume at 2024 Simola Hillclimb


  • Andre Bezuidenhout remains the man to beat in Single Seaters, Sports Cars and Sports Prototypes category with six consecutive King of the Hill wins
  • Robert Wolk will be Bezuidenhout’s fiercest title rival once again, driving a Pillbeam MP58 powered by an Infinity V8 Indycar engine
  • Formula Ford and VW single-seaters joined by Lotus 7-based entries, Shelby Can-Am and Cobra in the various classes
  • 14th edition of the Simola Hillclimb takes place in Knysna from 2 to 5 May 2024


The Single-Seaters, Sports Cars and Sports Prototypes category at the Simola Hillclimb may make up the smallest portion of the field, but these thoroughbred racing cars are the undeniable masters of speed.

Six-time winner Andre Bezuidenhout remains the man to beat for the King of the Hill title once again. He claimed his first win in 2017 with the 1989 Dallara F189 Formula 1 car, then returned the following year with the 2007 Gould GR55 – a purpose-built hillclimb race car which has dominated the class with five consecutive victories.

Bezuidenhout currently holds the Simola Hillclimb record, which was achieved in 2022 with an astonishing time of 34.161 seconds for the sprint up the 1.9 km Simola Hill. He recorded an average speed of 200.228 km/h – from a standing start! To put that into perspective, Franco Scribante’s outrageously powerful, multi-winged and carbon-fibre bodied (yet still much heavier) Nissan R35 GT-R is a fraction under four seconds slower up the 1.9 km Simola Hill, holding the Modified Saloon Car record of 38.129 seconds at an average speed of 179.391 km/h.

Based on last year’s times, which were ultimately hampered by rainy conditions on the final day, a sub-34 second time is definitely on the cards for the 2024 event if it’s dry, with Bezuidenhout exuding calm confidence, as always. “The Gould is a well-sorted car. The two weeks running up to the Simola Hillclimb are the most important from a preparation point of view. We only run this car once a year so I cannot wait to get the testing underway,” he says.

Last year Bezuidenhout became only the second driver to win both Classic Car Friday (in the 1976 Lola Cosworth T460) and a King of the Hill title in the same year, emulating Scribante’s impressive achievements in 2014, 2016 and 2019. Accordingly, it will be fascinating to see if he can do the double once again against a formidable line-up of previous Classic Car Friday winners, including Scribante (1970 Chevron B19), Charles Arton (1979 March 79A), and Ian Schofield (1977 March 77B). “Amongst the hundreds of entries, such an outcome only happens when everything falls in line,” Bezuidenhout says. “As always, I will try my best, but this year will be tougher than ever.”

Back to the contemporary era in King of the Hill, Bezuidenhout’s most serious challenger for the overall title (and class C3 for unlimited single-seaters, five cylinders and above) will once again be single-seater and saloon car racing driver Robert Wolk. Having competed previously with a Formula Renault V6 and A1 GP car, since 2022 Wolk has driven the 1989 Pillbeam MP58 – also a specially designed hillclimb car, albeit from a different era compared to Bezuidenhout’s 2007 Gould.

The Pillbeam’s original Ford 3.5-litre V8 was replaced with a modern 4.0-litre V8 Nissan Infinity Indycar engine, which makes it arguably the loudest car in the field, and also one of the quickest. Despite still relying on an antiquated four-speed manual gearbox, Wolk powered his way to runner-up position in 2022, and looked set to repeat the feat last year until the engine blew on the final qualifying run.

“The car hasn’t run since the hillclimb last year, and we’ve had many delays in sourcing parts to rebuild the engine. The parts are now in the country, and the engine is finally going back together,” Wolk says. In an effort to make up the roughly two-second deficit to Bezuidenhout, the team tried to source a sequential gearbox for the car, but they couldn’t find one at a reasonable price for this year.

“We are hoping to install a new rear wing and diffuser to give the car more downforce, but I’m not sure we will get a chance to test it before the Simola Hillclimb,” Wolk adds.

In class C2 for naturally aspirated four-cylinder cars there’s sure to be a close battle between the pair of 2.0-litre machines, comprising the 2023 Forza Formula VW car driven by Theodore Vermaak and the 2018 Formula Ford Mygale SJ driven by Ian Schofield.

Class C4 (four-cylinder sports cars/sports prototypes) features three Lotus 7-based entries, made up of Tom Barrett in his Toyota 2.0-litre powered 2006 car, Bill Annetts in a 2023 model that uses a 2.0-litre Ford Zetec engine, and Josef Kotze behind the wheel of his 2016 Birkin S3 with a 1.6-litre Toyota engine.

The big guns in class C6 comprise Rui Campos in the superb-looking and sounding Ford 5.0-litre V8-powered 1990 Shelby CanAm, along with Heinrich du Preez in a 7.0-litre V8 Cobra KCC.


The 14th edition of the Simola Hillclimb takes place from 2 to 5 May 2024.


More information and online ticket sales are available on the Simola Hillclimb website: