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By Mark Jones

Road Test Editor


VW Golf R and Toyota GR Corolla geared for hot hatch battle

Simola Hillclimb will see electric cars, supercars and hot hatches fight it out.


Speed and thrills this year at the 2023 Simola Hillclimb are expected to deliver an adrenaline buffet that includes charged up electric cars, supercars ranging from Porsche to McLaren and hot hatches the Toyota GR Corolla and VW Golf 8 R.

Leading the battle for this year’s Road Car and Supercar King of the Hill challenge is the reigning double champion JP van der Walt, who will be driving a 992-generation 2021 911 Turbo S after taking the title in a 2016 version last year.

Shelby onslaught

There will be numerous rivals after his crown, including last year’s runner-up, Farhaad Ebrahim in a Toyota GR Supra and third place man Gordon Nicholson in his screaming Audi R8 V10 Plus.

A surprise entry will see BMW South Africa entering the all-new BMW M2 in the hands of Rob Gearing.

ALSO READ: VW Golf R be afraid! Toyota confirms GR Corolla for South Africa

Shelby South Africa is bringing an impressive contingent of customers and their Ford Mustangs to the 2023 Simola Hillclimb.

Their entries include two naturally-aspirated V8 Mustangs along with three supercharged Shelby Super Snakes and the rare Shelby Terlingua.

They will be joined by MasterDrive’s Eugene Herbert in another Ford Mustang, with the driver training company supplying the Knysna event’s safety cars for the third year in a row.

VW Golf R vs GR Corolla

The hot hatch battle will present an intriguing battle between the official Volkswagen South Africa entries. The company’s top racing drivers – Jonathan Mogotsi and Daniel Rowe will each pilot a VW Golf R.

Toyota has joined the party with an exciting new challenger – the highly anticipated turbocharged four-wheel drive GR Corolla.

The hot hatch will be seen for the first time in South Africa at the Simola Hillclimb and will be driven by Toyota Gazoo Racing’s young GTC driver, Nathi Msimanga.

ALSO READ: Dynamic new VW Golf R is not taking any prisoners

Purchase your tickets online

Tickets can be purchased on the event website, with the prices for General Entry remaining unchanged from last year. Upgrades are available for Pit Access, Turn 2 Grandstand seating and VIP Parking.

For the ultimate VIP experience, the Le Mans Hospitality Lounge provides mouth-watering catering, an unbeatable viewing point overlooking the start line, as well as General Entry and Pit Access.

The 13th edition of the Simola Hillclimb takes place from 4 to 7 May 2023.