One of the readers of this website who I keep in touch with is Darryl Hurter of Durban, South Africa. Darryl has sent me part one of the story of his planned participation in this year’s Jaguar Simola Hillclimb in Knysna, South Africa. This is the first event of this nature that he has taken part in and as such he has the expected excitement and nervousness as he prepares for this hillclimb.
The following is part one of Darryl’s Jaguar Simola Hillclimb adventure:
The following is a reproduction of the above-mentioned screenshot mentioned by Darryl:
THE HILL IN DETAIL
The Jaguar Simola Hillclimb starts off at an elevation of just 60 m above sea level, with a short and sharp blast from the start arch through a gentle right-left S-bend that sets the cars up for the first turn.
Already within this initial 200 m sprint the quick cars will be reaching over 140 km/h before hitting the brakes and sweeping into the long, progressively opening right-hander that leads into the crucial 800 m straight where top speeds of over 200 km/h are reached.
This section gives the powerful, big-engined cars such as the mighty 1 000 hp-plus GT-Rs a chance to claw back time against the lighter entries that may be slower in a straight line but are able maintain higher average cornering speeds.
The correct line and speed is crucial for the ensuing left bend under the bridge, as turning in too early will compromise exit speed, while carrying too much momentum threatens to send you veering off course into the barriers.
Then it’s a fast right-hander and a short 200 m straight, followed by a series of two difficult right-left S-bends that start below Jaguar’s VIP clubhouse. Entry speeds into this section exceed 140 km/h, with well over 1.0 G of lateral force experienced by the fastest competitors in the first of the left-handers.
Several drivers have been caught out by this complex series of bends over the years in an attempt to maintain a decent average speed, so it’s a precarious balancing act as you sweep through this deceptively difficult stretch of asphalt.
“It’s crucial to get the lines right for this sequence of corners, effectively straight-lining them in order to give you maximum speed for the short final blast over the finish line,” says Geoff Goddard, Sporting Director for the Jaguar Simola Hillclimb and himself a former South African production car racing champion.
Assuming you’ve managed to keep it clean, the 1.9 km course, ending at an elevation of 220m, will be dispatched in a respectable time of under 50 sec for most of the entrants.
The top three contenders for last year’s King of the Hill all blitzed the track in under 42 sec, with Scribante topping the timesheets in a new record time of 41.159 sec. That translates into a standing start average speed of 166.185 km/h – an astonishing result for a 34-year-old race car powered by a mere 1.9-litre naturally aspirated engine!
I look forward to reading the rest of Darryl’s story as he takes on this hillclimb. I have included a photo the two classic cars that Darryl has – the small-grille Triumph TR-3 and the Triumph Chicane that Darryl will use for the Jaguar Simola Hillclimb.
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