Category: Motorsport

What we can expect at the 2017 Jaguar Simola Hillclimb

2017 Jaguar Simola Hill Climb

Jaguar Simola Hillclimb 2017

Where there is a hill to be climbed, someone at some point will endeavor to climb it. Humans do this, it must be in our nature to choose a thing that’s bigger than us and then scale it, only to poke a flag in it once the summit has been reached. One step further than this, though, is racing another human to the top, conquering not only the hill, but your competitor too!

2017 Jaguar Simola Hill Climb

Now in its eighth edition and the fourth to be sponsored by Jaguar South Africa, the Jaguar Simola Hillclimb 2017 promises to be the ultimate showcase of people racing up a hill, as we like to do. Considered by many to be the most prestigious motorsport event in South Africa, the Hillclimb has grown exponentially from its humble beginnings back in 2009 to the local equivalent of the iconic Goodwood Festival of Speed, having had over 14 000 motorsport fans grace the hill in 2016.

2017 Jaguar Simola Hill Climb

The cream of the motorsport crop are to be found at the Hillclimb with legends such as Ian Scheckter, Mike Briggs, Deon Joubert, Leeroy Poulter and Sarel van der Merwe having taken part over the past 7 events. Of course, the cars are important too – nobody would fly all the way to Knysna to bear witness to a running race between Mike Briggs and Franco Scribante…

Porsche 917 and 956, Ariel Atom, various Lotus’, countless Ferraris and the usual brigade of supercars such as the McLaren 650S, Lamborghini Aventador and Jaguar F-Type have all taken part, as well as a handful of Formula 1 cars from a bygone era.

2017 Jaguar Simola Hill Climb

The 2017 programme sees a slight tweak with the King of the Hill event being split into three categories – SuperCar Shootout, Sports Cars and Single Seaters and Modified Saloons.  This ensures that competition is fair and that each competitor stands a chance against the other hillclimbers. The fastest cars in each category will then go head to head in a shootout to crown the King of the Hill.

2017 Jaguar Simola Hill Climb

We look forward to seeing all the action from the Jaguar Simola Hillclimb – if the hype and success of the previous years is anything to go by, this year’s event promises to be quite the spectacle!

Is This The Hottest BMW M4 Yet? The BMW M4 CS

The Hottest BMW M4 Has Arrived in South Africa: The BMW M4 CS

Since the beginning of the compact sports coupe, the BMW M3, now called the M4 in its Coupe variant, has been the yardstick and the go to car for all that is good in that segment. Over the years, it’s faced competition from Mercedes, Audi, Jaguar and now recently, Alfa Romeo but it’s still widely regarded as the king in this segment.

The gap, though, between the BMW and its peers has shrunk in recent times and upon seeing this, the Bavarians have launched a special, limited and rare as an honest politician version, and it’s headed to South Africa. This new or updated M version, dons the name M4 CS. Not CSL, CS. This car is meant to slot in between the M4 Competition Package and the GTS, of which there are only 25 units in South Africa. So for all intents and purposes, this will be the hottest M4 that you can now buy in South Africa. That’s discounting the rare GTS DTM Champion Edition which is due in SA imminently. Can BMW make up their minds already?!

Power comes from the same 3.0 litre twin-turbo straight six, delivering no less that 339 kW and 600 N.m of torque. This translates to a 3.9 seconds 0-100 km/h and a top speed of 280km/h. Visual changes will be easy to spot for the BMW die-hard fans. From the revised rear spoiler and rear diffuser at the rear to the classic mix of leather and alcantara in the cabin with M colours adorning to seat belts, seats and steering wheel, you’ll know that this M4 is special. The biggest change is found at the rear where the OLED lights from the GTS form part of the CS standard equipment. The CS gets special light weight alloys that are wrapped in Michelin Pilot Cup 2 semi slick tyres which no doubt, will help set a blazing time around “the green hell” of 07:38”, a full 14 seconds faster than a standard M4, and we all know that in the world of track driving, 14 seconds is a lifetime.

So in our opinion, BMW has made sure that it has enough variations of the M4 to ward of attacks from different manufacturers for the Sports Coupe title which it so deservedly owns, and from what we are reading, it seems as though they have bought themselves more time. Question is though, how long can they keep this up?

 

 

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Lets get excited: Formula One 2017

There is always lots of talk in the months and weeks leading up to the start of the F1 Calendar and for the past 3 years, the talk always seemed to focus on Mercedes-F1 – will they dominate again and who can stop them?

Sadly for the sport, over the past few years this question was answered at the first weekend and resulted in another season of Mercedes’ domination.

In the build up to the 2017 season though, the same sort of questions floated around the media  but this time, they had a little more backbone. This was as a result of some major technical changes to the cars which meant that all teams had the same starting point, when it came to aerodynamics at least anyway.

A brief overview of the changes including much larger tyres – 25% percent larger to be correct. Added to this, the cars are wider, more aggressive and lower, changes which mean that the 2017 Formula One cars should be able to lap up to 4 seconds quicker.

Ferrari were very fast in testing prior to this season, but they were also very fast during testing in 2016 so we can never really get a full understanding of who is performing and who isn’t. The cars might be running lower power settings or higher fuel loads, perhaps even both, often in order to bluff their competitors.

 

Qualifying, however, is where we can start to see who is performing and as expected, Ferrari has really upped their game for the 2017 season. It seemed as though Mercedes still lead the way in terms of outright pace with the team taking two places on the grid, but Ferrari were not far behind, a 300th of a second behind to be exact.

This past Sunday’s race was a clear indication as to which manufacturers have improved and which have fallen behind, qualifying is one thing  but race pace is something totally different, something which the Melbourne GP demonstrated.

Ferrari’s woes of last season seemed long forgotten as Vettel followed hamilton around the Albert Park circuit for around 25 laps with a gap of less than 2 seconds, only then for Hamilton to try the undercut, but on his return to the track, he found himself stuck behind Max (the hooligan) Verstappen. Those few laps until Verstappen pitted proved vital as Vettel closed the gap, pitted and exited the pit lane a few car lengths ahead in front of both the Mercedes and Red Bull.

From then on it was pretty simple, Vettel cruised ahead in what looked a very comfortable car while hamilton struggled to generate enough pace from his soft tires and at one stage even had his new team mate clipping at his heels.

What happened this weekend may have just saved Formula One, I am a big fan of Lewis Hamilton, but I have to admit that watching that Ferrari cross the line in 1st place for first time since 2015 made me very happy for the sport. It seems once again that we have two legendary teams competing for the Driver’s and Team World Championships.

At times, the Mercedes seemed like it was less comfortable while driving in the turbulence of other vehicles, while the Ferrari seemed to make Vettel’s life very easy. So, we have a championship battle on our hands and four drivers with the chance of winning it. Red Bull Doesn’t seem like they are in a position to compete unless they make some drastic changes and bring big upgrades – they have a strong driver partnership and it would get fans frothing at the mouths to see 6 drivers all aiming for the world title. For now though, many seem excited with the prospect of a 4 time world champion in the shape of Sebastian Vettel and a three time world champion by the name of Lewis Hamilton battle it out with cars that seem on a very similar level. Lets not count Raikkonen and Bottas out though, they could cause a bit of a stir!