High performance and innovation the hallmarks of Road Car and Supercar category

  • JP van der Walt set to defend his triple King of the Hill crown in Road Car and Supercar category in Porsche 911 Turbo S
  • Official entries from Suzuki, BMW and Mercedes-Benz feature the latest petrol, hybrid and alternative energy-powered vehicles
  • Category covers everything from hot hatchbacks to muscle cars and high-powered supercars – from Audi, Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, McLaren and Shelby
  • 14th edition of the Simola Hillclimb takes place in Knysna from 2 to 5 May 2024


One of the most appealing and fascinating aspects of hillclimb events is the diverse range of cars competing, and this is especially true of the Road-going Saloon Car and Supercar category at the Simola Hillclimb, which takes place from 2 to 5 May 2024.

With a line-up featuring everything from hot hatchbacks to super saloons and top-end supercars, there truly is something for everyone at the Simola Hillclimb, which is widely considered South Africa’s premier motoring and motorsport lifestyle event.

“The Road Car and Supercar category has always been popular, as it comprises standard production cars that everyone can relate to and aspire towards,” says Geoff Goddard, sporting director for the Simola Hillclimb.

As one of the world’s most iconic automotive brands, Porsche has been exceptionally well represented by local circuit racer JP van der Walt who has dominated the Road Car and Supercar category over the past three years in a series of 911 models. He will be back in action this year in the 2021 911 Turbo S that he powered to victory last year, and remains the man to beat.

“It’s a bit of unfinished business for me, as last year the car was running in a ‘safe fail’ mode the whole weekend, which prevented me from going faster,” Van der Walt says. “It was also damp last year, which I don’t mind as the 911 Turbo S is very quick in wet conditions with its four-wheel drive system. But hopefully it will be dry this year so we can push for the new class record.” The fastest time of 44.094 seconds is currently held by Reghard Roets, achieved in 2019 in a Nissan R-35 GT-R.

Van der Walt will also be competing for class A4 honours (for all-wheel drive force-fed machines up to six cylinders) against the likes of Feroz Ebrahim in a 2014 911 Turbo S, Graeme King in a 2019 Audi RS3, and the official BMW South Africa-entered M4 Competition xDrive driven by Christiano Verolini, head instructor for the BMW Driving Experience

There’s a trio of rear-wheel drive Porsches in class A5, comprising rally ace Enzo Kuun’s 2015 911 Carrera, Dayaan Padayachee in a 2014 Cayman GTS and Simola Hillclimb regular Sean Mackay in his 2000 911 GT3.

Class A6 for naturally aspirated eight-cylinder engines and above will be hotly contested by Simola Hillclimb regular Gordon Nicholson in his 2017 Audi R8 V10 Plus, a 2012 Ferrari 458 driven by former rally driver Jon Williams, Farhaad Ebrahim’s 2020 Toyota Supra and Shiraz Bawa’s revered 2005 BMW M5.

Garth Mackintosh will once again be a leading contender for the class A7 title (eight-cylinder and above turbocharged/supercharged cars) as well as the overall King of the Hill battle in his rapid 2017 McLaren 720s. He will be up against a formidable contingent of supercharged Mustang Super Snakes from Shelby South Africa / Lindenberg Racing, including Paige Lindenberg, James Temple, Deon Smit, Anton Pommersheim and Joshua O’Callaghan. Masterdrive’s Eugene Herbert will also be in contention in a supercharged Mustang.

Class A3 for two-wheel drive turbocharged/supercharged cars up to six cylinders will feature Piet Potgieter’s 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, while A2 (four-cylinder all-wheel drive) incorporates Nico Nel in his privately entered 2021 BMW M135i xDrive.

The battle of the Swift Sports will resume in class A1, with three entries from Suzuki Auto South Africa which remains a Tier One sponsor for the 2024 Simola Hillclimb. Advanced driving instructor Wesley Greybe will be joined by motoring journalists Thomas Falkiner (Sunday Times) and Brendon Staniforth (Maroela Media) in a trio of 2023 models, along with the privately entered 2020 model driven by Giles Missing.

New energy vehicles

“What has been fascinating in recent years is the growing number of electric and hybrid vehicles being entered, reflecting the trends within the new car market. We will see more of these ‘new energy vehicles’ in 2024 thanks to some exciting new cars from BMW and Mercedes-Benz that will make their South African debut at the Simola Hillclimb this year,” Goddard says.

After competing with the rapid A45 AMG and CLA 45 AMG in 2023, Mercedes-Benz South Africa is stepping up its game with three exciting but vastly different AMG models – all of which push the boundaries in terms of modern technologies and performance.

Headlining its line-up in class A8 is the mighty AMG GT 63 SE Performance, which will be driven by Clint Weston, head of the AMG Driving Experience. This four-door super saloon features a twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 incorporating F1-derived hybrid technology that delivers 640 kW of power and an astonishing 1 470 Nm of torque.

At the same time, the South African-built Mercedes-AMG C 63 SE Performance is expected to make its local debut at the Simola Hillclimb with AutoTrader SA motoring content producer Chad Lückhoff behind the wheel. It also features an F1-inspired hybrid system along with 4MATIC all-wheel drive to contain the combined 500 kW power output and 1 020 Nm of torque.

Natalie Weston will be flying the electric vehicle flag for Mercedes-AMG, driving the cutting-edge EQE 43 AMG that delivers an instantaneous 350 kW and 858 Nm through its twin electric motors and 4MATIC all-wheel drive.

After competing previously with the i4 M50, BMW South Africa is aiming to set a new unofficial Simola Hillclimb EV record with its freshly launched 442 kW i5 M60 xDrive, with racing legend Deon Joubert in the driver’s seat. The German manufacturer is also planning to premiere its innovative hydrogen fuel cell-powered EV, the 295 kW iX5, at the Simola Hillclimb, although the driver is yet to be confirmed.

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