[dropcap]J[/dropcap]aguar South Africa, Thursday, reaffirmed its commitment to the Jaguar Simola Hillclimb, announcing that it would remain the headline sponsor of the popular event for three more years.
“The Jaguar Simola Hillclimb has been incredibly successful for us, and we have so much more we want to achieve,” said Richard Gouverneur, Managing Director of Jaguar Land Rover South Africa and sub-Sahara Africa. “Over the next three years we will move closer to our vision of making this the must-attend racing event on the South African social calendar.”
The Jaguar Simola Hillclimb has seen remarkable growth since Jaguar came on board as the headline sponsor in 2014. Attendance has reached record numbers, with the 2016 event seeing 14 206 spectators pack the stands along the 1.9km road course for three spectacular days of racing. Event logistics and infrastructure have both evolved to cater to larger crowds, to offer spectators an unforgettable fan experience that will have them returning year after year.
Demand for event entries has also started to exceed supply and event organisers have had to rethink the entire entry system. For 2016 a new mechanism was implemented to allow all competitors a fair chance at participating, effectively turning the event into an invitational. Despite this, organisers still received 201 applications of interest for the 145 available seats – a record numer of participants, and up 46% from 2013.
More racers than ever are taking part – and the level of competition has resulted in tense final moments during the King Of The Hill shootout. Historic cars, sports cars, supercars, single seaters and purpose-built hillclimb racecars all feature, driven by South Africa’s most famous race drivers. The country’s top motoring media get to demonstrate their mettle in a selection of Jaguar’s premium sports sedans, and VIPs can experience the high-speed thrill of racing up the hill as a passenger in a Jaguar.
“We are delighted that Jaguar South Africa has extended its partnership with the Jaguar Simola Hillclimb,” said Ian Shrosbree, Managing Director of Knysna Speed Festival, the event owner. “Thanks to the efforts over the past three years, the event has transcended from a motorsport gathering into a social and lifestyle highlight. Jaguar shares our vision and over the next three years we will continue to build the Hillclimb into an internationally recognised and in-demand motorsport lifestyle event.”
With huge crowds attending to see the top names in South African racing, the Jaguar Simola Hillclimb has become a highlight on the local motorsport calendar. However, since the inception of the Jaguar sponsorship it has also attracted media, celebrities and VIPs outside of motorsport. This year Jaguar ambassador and locally-grown Hollywood star Sharlto Copley attended, along with Maps Maponyane, Zelda La Grange, and players from the DHL Stormers rugby team. For them, and many others who travelled from across the country to attend a weekend of speed and thrills, the experience is made all the more exclusive thanks to Jaguar VIP hosting areas and luxurious accommodation at the five-star Simola Golf and Country Estate.
“We truly mean it when we say that racing is in our blood. The Jaguar Simola Hillclimb represents inextricable parts of Jaguar’s DNA – the thrill of performance and the seduction of speed,” says Gouverneur. “But the Jaguar brand is also about exclusivity and luxury beyond the track. To that end, we’re looking forward to taking this world-class event to the next level in the coming years.”
The 2017 Jaguar Simola Hillclimb will kick off with the Classic Car Friday town parade and Charity Golf Day on Thursday 4 May 2017. Racing will commence with Classic Car Friday, on Friday 5 May, while King of the Hill competitors excite the townsfolk with a parade and display. The thrilling King Of The Hill shootout revs up on the morning of Saturday, 5 May 2016, and continues until the afternoon of Sunday, 6 May 2017. The competitor entry application process will go live in October 2016.