- Castrol celebrates fifth year as official lubricants partner of Simola Hillclimb
- Suzuki Auto South Africa enters fourth year in 2024, continues as Tier 1 sponsor
- Volkswagen’s second year as Tier 2 sponsor, will feature ex-WRX Polo again
- Other key sponsors include Hyundai, XPEL and PG Glass
- 14th edition of the Simola Hillclimb takes place in Knysna from 2 to 5 May 2024
The excitement is rapidly building for the 14th edition of the Simola Hillclimb, which is less than three months away and takes place in Knysna from 2 to 5 May 2024. While the competitors and the dazzling array of cars being enthusiastically driven up the 1.9 km Simola Hill are the main attraction, it also creates a fantastic marketing opportunity for sponsors and partners that play a vital role in its success.
The Simola Hillclimb is regarded as South Africa’s premier motoring and motorsport lifestyle event, and the sponsors that have come on board are active participants in this spectacular showcase – whether it’s headline branding, competing with a fleet of cars, showing off their latest products with displays and demonstration runs, entertaining guests in VIP hospitality, providing shuttles to get people around, equipping the marshals with essential safety gear or hosting the media.
“Last year’s Simola Hillclimb really raised the bar, and genuinely placed our event on par with the best hillclimbs in the world,” says Ian Shrosbree, MD of the Knysna Speed Festival which organises the Simola Hillclimb. “This was made possible thanks to the mix of the extremely high standard of the cars and drivers entered, the close competition throughout the three days of action, and the entertainment and activities on offer to visitors to the event.
“The stature of the Simola Hillclimb continues to grow both locally and internationally, and our enthusiastic sponsors and partners have been an essential part of lifting this event to new heights,” Shrosbree says. “Along with the obvious branding and marketing opportunities, the Simola Hillclimb provides an exciting platform for companies to engage and interact with the public while helping us raise the calibre of this event. We therefore want to acknowledge and thank them for partnering with us over the past few years, especially those who helped us get through the tough COVID-19 years.”
The 2024 Simola Hillclimb will be Castrol’s fifth year as the exclusive lubricants partner, and it is once again also sponsoring the Simola Hillclimb’s Media Centre which will house the contingent of journalists, photographers and video crews covering the event.
“At Castrol, we believe in innovation. As the automotive industry has evolved, we have been at the forefront, adapting to new challenges and leveraging technology to cater for the evolving needs of our customers,” says Jenny Heyes, BP Castrol’s Marketing Director for Africa.
“The appeal for us being a sponsor of the Simola Hillclimb is the courage of the competitors to place their vehicles under pressure to showcase the best they can offer,” Heyes says. “This is a great partnership for Castrol as our heritage as a reliable and trusted brand comes from the faith our customers have placed in us over the years, and they get to see us at one of the most fast-paced and exciting events of the year.”
Castrol will be giving away branded merchandise to the spectators at the event, and will be streaming live with two influencers, Thabiso and Primo. Additionally, as a sponsor of the Hyundai N motorsport team, it will have branding on the i30n driven Hyundai SA’s Joshua Lowe.
Suzuki’s high-profile involvement in the Simola Hillclimb enters its fourth year in 2024, taking a prime spot as a Tier 1 sponsor.
“The Simola Hillclimb holds a unique charm that resonates with Suzuki Auto South Africa. Its iconic location, passionate community and thrilling atmosphere align with our brand commitment to turn everything into a fun adventure,” says Eileen Gengan, PR and Events assistant manager, Suzuki Auto South Africa.
“Over the past three years, our partnership has not only showcased Suzuki’s vehicles in an adrenaline-fueled setting, but has also allowed us to connect with a dynamic audience who share our values of adventure and performance. We eagerly anticipate our fourth year, and we look forward to continuing this exciting journey with the Simola Hillclimb,” Gengan says.
Suzuki will again be competing in King of the Hill with three vehicles, and will also feature in the Knysna Parade at the Waterfront on the Friday afternoon leading up to the main event.
Volkswagen will be back at the 2024 Simola Hillclimb as a Tier 2 Partner following a very successful and exciting 2023.
“This event is iconic and couldn’t be in a better place, Knysna! It provides us with a platform to engage with the fans who love Volkswagen,” says Mike Rowe, Head of Volkswagen Driving Experience. “We use it as an opportunity to entertain important guests and bring some exciting cars for the elite motoring fanatics to enjoy.
“The Volkswagen line-up will include the Polo WRX car which will be seen in action for the very last time as well as the powerful Polo SupaCup race car. We also have a surprise which is an interim plan ahead of something very exciting for 2025,” Rowe says.
For the 2022 and 2023 Simola Hillclimb, Hyundai South Africa provided the official media shuttles, a supporting role that the company is continuing this year to facilitate the efficient movement of photographers and video crews to designated points along the 1.9 km Simola Hill course.
The brand is also planning to compete in King of the Hill with the mildly tuned i30n for the second consecutive year, with Hyundai Motorsport and N Product manager Joshua Lowe behind the wheel.
“The Simola Hillclimb is a world-class event, and we are proud to be a part of what is one of, if not the biggest motorsport events in South Africa,” Lowe says. “Hyundai N is rooted in Motorsport and although the N brand is young in South Africa, we have a large owner’s presence and N enthusiast drivers community forming across the country that are actively involved in motorsport.”
XPEL is a leading global brand in paint protection films, and has been participating in the Simola Hillclimb since 2017, first as an exhibitor and thereafter as a partner sponsor for some high-profile teams including Franco Scribante Racing, Andre Bezuidenhout and Cars & Chronos (Feroz Ebrahim).
This year XPEL is sponsoring the marshals’ overalls and gazebos, while also taking some pitlane branding. “The Simola Hillclimb is the ideal event for us to create awareness for the XPEL brand and reinforce our commitment to motorsport, while also giving something back by making events like this a success for our fans and those that love the sport,” says Meyer Pheiffer, managing member and co-founder of Custom Protection Products, the South African distributor for the XPEL range.
PG Glass is continuing its support for the Simola Hillclimb for the second consecutive year by sponsoring the apex markers placed along the 1.9 km hillclimb course. The company is also providing free shuttles for the public from the designated parking areas to the main entrances, and from Gasoline Alley to the pits.
“The Simola Hillclimb is a premier motorsport event, and its layout along with the excellent spectator areas and fantastic VIP areas make it a wonderful event where we can be entertained, and we are able to interact with our customers and the motoring public,” says Steven Lurie, Commercial director for PG Glass.
“We have aligned our partnership with the Simola Hillclimb with our company’s values and service mission. We offer convenience to customers who have glass problems with our network of 180 fitment centres and our mobile offering. Our sponsorship of the shuttles is to provide convenience for spectators at no additional cost to them,” Lurie says.
“PG Glass technicians are trained and accredited according to international standards – we always put our customers’ safety first,” Lurie adds. “Our sponsorship of the apex markers is part of the safety measures at the hillclimb making the track limits clearly visible to the drivers. In addition, it means none of the competitors get an unfair advantage by cutting corners.”
Valued sponsor partnerships
“We have always worked hard to offer our partners an effective, value-for-money platform that makes business sense for them as, at the end of the day, it’s the return on investment they receive that counts. It therefore gives us a great sense of pride that so many of our sponsors have been with us long-term and want to continue partnering with us, as ultimately the success and sustainability of the Simola Hillclimb is built on our sponsor partnerships,” Shrosbree says.
The Simola Hillclimb has a wide range of sponsorship opportunities available for brands that may be interested in partnering with the event this year or in the future.
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: www.simolahillclimb.com