News > Nissan GT-R takes it all at Simola
You can easily call the Nissan GT-R the most successful supercar at the Jaguar Simona Hill Climb after it claimed its place as champion in both the Modified Saloon and Supercar Categories in the 2019 edition of the competition.
Franco Scribante won the Modified Saloon category, dominating both days with his Nissan GT-R, to set an unofficial new record of 38.551 seconds during the qualifying round. Scribante was also the only participant to break the 40 second barrier in a production vehicle when he won the shootout with a final time of 39.342 seconds on the 1.9-kilometre track.
Reghard Roets took the win in the category for Road Cars and Supercars with a final time of 44.094 seconds, and claimed a hat trick of wins with this result.
For the last three years running, the Nissan GT-R has won production and modified classes, and took the King of the Hill title for the seven of the ten years that the competition has been running. With eight of the nine contenders choosing to race a GT-R, the car was the most popular in the Modified Saloon category this year as well!
“The final day proved to be very tough, with several delays and a final run at dusk. Despite this, the Nissan competitors showed their mettle and beat contenders from Jaguar, Ferrari, Lamborghini and several other brands,” says Janus Janse van Rensburg, Chief Marketing Manager for Nissan Premium and Performance Cars.
Reghard Roets really held his own during the competition and pushed the 2018 GT-R from Melrose Nissan to set a new personal best of 43.840 seconds during the qualifying round, and not only winning with a time of 44.092 seconds but breaking his 2018 time of 44.832.
“On Saturday, the cool weather suited the turbocharged engine of the GT-R perfectly, and I could really push it harder than ever before. We couldn’t quite match those times on Sunday, but the car remained faultless”, says Roets.
Wilhelm Baard, the defending champion in the Modified Saloon Car category, had a tough day on the track with very little time. Despite this, he still managed to fix a faulty sensor by the end of the day and then raced hard for his final time to secure a second place overall with 40.349 seconds.
Scribante on the other hand, had no issues with his GT-R and winning was never a challenge for him.
“The team set up our car perfectly and it was very fast, with some turbo boost to spare”, says Scribante, who already broke through the 40-second mark during qualifying.
Scribante is also rewriting the record books with this win as being the only person at the Jaguar Simola Hill Climb to win the race held on Friday, the Classic Conqueror race, as well as the Modified Saloon Series over the weekend on three separate occasions.
“The GT-R kept surprising me for the ease with which it delivered its power. It is a very rewarding supercar to drive,” says Scribante.
Without any functional headlights to save weight, Scribante and Baard raced the final Top 10 Shootout as the sun was setting.
Some other GT-R drivers also wowed the crowds on Sunday, with Kyle Mitchell surprising everyone with his incredible time of 40.862 seconds! This time is even more impressive when you consider that his car is still road legal, and has all the creature comforts like its BOSE sound system and climate control still in the car.
Martin van Zimmeren’s Nissan Skyline was also a crowd pleaser with his final time of 41.605 seconds, backed by an engine roar that echoed off all ‘the walls. His son, Wade van Zummeren, in a 2002 Nissan Skyline with GT-R VR38 engine and 1000 horsepower on his rear wheels secured his place in the Top 10 with a time of 44.499 seconds.
In a Nissan Navara that was initially built to compete in the Dakar Rally, Terence Marsh took his first hill climb trophy in the B9 class for unlimited SUVS and pick-ups.
“It felt odd to race in the Hill Climb, where the emphasis is on speed and repeatability, with a Navara that was built to handle races where everything changes all the time. Still, it was a great experience and we had a lot of fun racing up the hill”, says Marsh, who showed an improvement with every hill run.
With the only drop-top in the competition, Graham Mcleod held his own in the A5 class for naturally aspirated six-cylinder sports cars, in his Nissan 370Z cabriolet. Mcleod is also the Nissan GT-R and Z Club chairman, and had his first outing on the Simola Hill.
“This year, the number and range of Nissan GT-Rs, with power that ranged from 560 to 2000 horsepower, showed the quality of engineering of this supercar. It is no wonder that it is the most popular supercar at Simola, and we look forward to seeing what it can do at the 2020 race,” says Janse van Rensburg.