Ford Ranger Raptor Clinches Class Win at Simola Hillclimb Debut; Nine Shelbys Fill the Podium, Including Two Overall Victories

After three full days of riveting motorsport action at the 13th running of the Simola Hillclimb, both Ford and Shelby South Africa came away with silverware, and in some classes the overall win. 

Lindenberg Racing, who have participated in the event since it began, and Team Shelby who followed in 2016, were held in good company thanks to the Next-Gen Ranger Raptor, which made its local motorsport debut at the event.

With renowned circuit and off-road racing driver Anthony Taylor at the wheel, the Ranger Raptor quickly became a crowd favourite as it carved its way up the hill over various runs. Despite intermittent showers on the final day which resulted in slippery conditions, Taylor had enough confidence in the Raptor’s all-wheel drive and Fox suspension to deliver one of his finest performances.

The Raptor notched up a debut victory in its class - an achievement made all the more impressive by the fact that the Raptor was a completely standard road-going vehicle with no modifications.

“Although the Raptor’s greatest virtues lie in its off-road ability, we are delighted to demonstrate that its incredible performance also extends to the tarmac” says Minesh Bhagaloo, Director for Communications at Ford South Africa.

“This event is further evidence that the Raptor’s motorsport DNA is genuine and faithfully follows a lineage of other thoroughbred Ford Performance vehicles. The 292kW/583Nm Raptor performed flawlessly throughout the event and set a new benchmark time for a standard production bakkie in one of the country’s premier motorsport events. At the same time, it endeared itself to thousands of South Africans, either at the event, or watching the live stream. We would like to thank Anthony for embracing this unique challenge and showing such passion for the Blue Oval,” concludes Bhagaloo.

For Lindenberg Racing, experience and consistency once again proved key characteristics behind their success.

With nine cars running at this year’s event there was plenty of variety on display, with the event also coinciding with 100 years of Carroll Shelby. The Shelby Mustangs, consisting of Shelby Super Snakes, a Mach 1 and a Terlingua, were immediately on the pace. All these cars drove to and from the event, highlighting the Mustang’s versatility as both a practical road car as well as a race car.

As the competition heated up, the Shelbys climbed the timesheets with two class wins and a third place in the class final. James Temple took the win in his category (H6) with Paige Lindenberg notching up another third. Clayton Kimber in his immaculate Daytona Coupe took the win in H4 of Classic Car Friday by a few thousandths of a second!

The momentum carried through to the class finals with Josh O’Calaghan placing second in A6 in his Mustang Mach 1, James Temple coming home in second in A7 at the wheel of his Super Snake, and Paige Lindenberg close behind in third in the Terlingua in King of the Hill.

“We’ve had a great Simola Hillclimb and are happy to be going home with silverware and all the cars in one piece,” says Paige Lindenberg, GM of Shelby South Africa. “Congratulations to all our drivers and pit crew, – we could not have done it without you!”