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11w ago

The Knysna hillclimb was full of surprises this year. Franco Scribante's monstrous GTR was cursed with issues whole weekend and this let Pieter Zeelie in his underdog MR2 to leave with the big King Of The Hill win.

After watching +- 12 hours of livestream action throughout the weekend I started thinking about what car I would build if I had an unlimited budget for one purpose - Winning King Of The Hill at the Knysna Hillclimb. I then mentally listed pros and cars of the cars that competed and won in past years to try and come up with a basic layout for my vehicle. I then expanded further onto what kind of engine and gearbox I would use and into what car specifically I would use. The track layout is below for information on corners.

Copyright © 2021 - Simola Hillclimb | Speed Festival

Copyright © 2021 - Simola Hillclimb | Speed Festival

The layout of the car must be as follows:

Front Engine and 4 wheel drive. Here are my reasons.

1 - 2021 was the first year a mid-engine car won so I see that as a sign that front engined cars can still dominate in a short length high speed course.

2 - There have only been two cars (excluding single seaters) to win with rear wheel drive; 2009 (Mustang "Ashley V8" / V8 Supercar in the very first event) and this year 2021 (Toyota MR2). All other victors were 4 wheel drive cars in the form of an Mitsubishi Evo 8 and Nissan GTR's (x1 by a R32, x1 by a R34 and x4 times by a R35). This proves to me the 4 wheel drive cars work better due to them having an advantage off the line and through the high speed corners. The hillclimb is usually held in May which is winter in South Africa and Knysna is a coastal town. Since it is held on a public road, there are bumps and some dust on the surface. 4 wheel drive is a huge advantage on this surface, especially if the cold or rain sets in like in 2019.

Engine & Gearbox combo

Here is where it gets a little tricky. I want over a 1000hp naturally aspirated. I want to avoid turbo lag, problems with building boost on launches and just have less stuff. Turbo engines need some sort of intercooler or charge cooler, they need oil lines from the engine and they generate more heat under the bonnet of the car. Superchargers aren't perfect either. They rob power from the engine, sometimes break belts (if they aren't gear driven) and their boost pressure can't be controlled as much as a turbos since it is driven by directly from the crank, their boost level increases linearly with engine RPM. Not only are there more parts to go wrong, these items add quite a bit of weight. Another reason is in 2019 Franco Di Matteo was only 1 second slower in his aspirated V8 which produces around 700hp (also only has rear wheel drive and a 4 speed gearbox) than a 1400hp GTR. It is his black Jaguar V8 supercar that gave me the idea and seeing aspirated Judd V8's rule European hillclimbs. If Franco's car had an extra 100hp and maybe a 6 speed sequential gearbox, it could be the next King Of The Hill. Like I said before, Knysna is a coastal town. Naturally aspirated are in their prime here and because the hillclimb is so short, it doesn't have a noticeable elevation change where the air gets thinner at the top like at Pike's Peak.

The engine I would choose is a 727 cubic inch (12L) Sonny Leonard Hemi which produces 1400hp on 93 octane pump fuel. If a top fuel dragster and Judd V8 had a child, this is it. With all the options selected it is US-$66100 which is more than the baseline Corvette C8. This engine will push any car up any hill plus it comes with power steering and air-conditioning. How great is that! I would run E85 fuel to keep engine temps down during hard usage like to be safe. I would then have a custom 6 speed sequential made to fit this engine and a transfer case for the four-wheel drive system.

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© Copyright 1969-2021 Sonny's Racing Engines. All Rights Reserved.


Then I would need a body. I would either go Gen 4 Camaro or C4 Vette. They are cheap, have good track and wheelbase dimensions for circuit racing and decent aerodynamics. There are a lot of carbon body panels on the market for them as well making the development of the aerokit a lot easier.


I would try and copy the bodykit that was used on Wilhelm Baard's GTR in 2018 when he won. Nismo Japan has given them a Super GT 500 kit and the car has gone severely backwards since and I think it is due to the aero-package. It had ground-effect style channels on the massive front spoiler instead of canards which created more downforce on the front wheels and a good ol big wang on the back paired with a huge diffuser for rear downforce. I would then get the best tires that work from the first corner and let it eat.

All together this should be able to do sub 39 second runs up the hill and destroy everyones hopes in theory at least.

Please comment what you think of my analysis and though process. What would you build?

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Comments (7)

  • +1400 HP, naturally aspirated, and on pump gas! God bless Sonny Leonard!

      2 months ago
  • Wow, awesome post! And great idea as well!

      2 months ago
    • Thank you. What would you build for the hill?

        2 months ago
    • Phew, honestly, if I had the skills and money, then a Hoonicorn xD

      But honestly, I would do a Datsun 510, swapped with an SR20DET, I would use E46 control arms, E36 M3 breaks, a few other parts off of some BMW's, and then add some Carbon fibre...

      Read more
        2 months ago
  • That is just a monster dude wth. That much power, NA and pump fuel as well. Nice one, Brannas!

      2 months ago