BMW Group South Africa revs up for another round of celebratory activities at the 2023 Knysna Simola Hillclimb

This year marks the 13th edition of the Knysna Simola Hillclimb, to be held in the Garden Route town of Knysna from 4 to 7 May.

An exhilarating showcase of local motorsport, it attracts global competitors, spectators, and broadcast viewers. BMW Group South Africa will participate in this year’s running of this premier motorsport lifestyle event as a Tier One partner, fielding entrants in its Classic Car Friday and King of the Hill events.

Iconicism of BMW at Simola.

BMW Group South Africa’s presence at the 2023 Knysna Simola Hillclimb will be a celebration of its unique heritage and automotive product history in South Africa. Amid the company’s “50 Years an Icon” anniversary activities, it is only fitting that some of its iconic local cars will be put out to play.

BMW Group South Africa will showcase its proud heritage in a parade at the Fan Fest grounds on Thursday, 4 May, and Classic Cars on Friday, 5 May.

Friday’s event features the following models and drivers:


BMW 530 MLE Bradleigh Boshoff
BMW 333i Rob Gearing
BMW 745i Neil Botha
BMW 325iS Oliver Broome

Attendees to this year’s Knysna Simola Hillclimb will be treated to some very special BMWs, painstakingly prepared by the technical and engineering teams at BMW South Africa. The rare BMW 530 MLE – the first BMW to carry the M designation in its name - and BMW 333i will be seen in their original, standard road car guises. The BMW 745i is one of only two BMW South Africa-supported versions of the BMW 7 Series race cars, another first in the world. Raced by the late Tony Viana, and owned by Paulo Cavalieri, the Group 1 version will be competing in Classic Car Friday. The BMW 325iS is an original BMW South Africa-supported Group N race car built and successfully campaigned in 1992 by Shaun van der Linde. Now owned and driven by classic car collector and restorer Oliver Broome, this is sure to be a firm favourite among fans, too.

The line-up for Saturday and Sunday’s King of the Hill contest comprises:

Model Driver
BMW iX3 Bradleigh Boshoff
BMW i4 M50 Thomas Falkiner
BMW XM Ashley Oldfield
BMW M2  Rob Gearing

All systems go!

A final test of the BMW vehicle entrants for the 2023 Knysna Simola Hillclimb was conducted recently. Ahead of the day’s testing, Rob Gearing, General Manager of Customer Support at BMW Group South Africa and enthusiastic weekend racer, led with some insight: “The main goal for today, particularly from a classic car or heritage fleet perspective, is to check that the cars are ready for Knysna. The Hill is quite challenging, and it is important that we do not leave any room for error.”  

Gearing referenced the highly-anticipated BMW XM, too, that while in unfamiliar territory is expected to uphold the behaviour of a typical ‘M’ vehicle. The BMW XM is only the second model, after the BMW M1, created as a standalone BMW M vehicle. As expected, the BMW M2 achieved the quickest test time of the day, fuelling great eagerness for its official participation in Knysna while whetting prospective owners’ appetites. The BMW XM’s South African introduction is imminent, while the BMW M2 will follow later in the second quarter of this year.

The 2023 Knysna Simola Hillclimb will see the second, consecutive running of the BMW i4 M50 in the event. The current electric vehicle record holder, which happens to be the best-selling M-badged model in the world, the BMW i4 M50 is expected to again attract more than its fair share of attention.

Road to Knysna Simola Hillclimb.

In the year of BMW Group South Africa’s 50th anniversary celebrations, the company is excited to have its vehicles competing for positions on the Knysna Simola Hillclimb podium, while reinforcing the BMW Group stance to provide its customers with “The Power of Choice”.

Gearing commented in his concluding remarks after a successful shakedown session: “At the end of a gruelling day and after having driven all the vehicles, I am excited! We are happy with how the cars performed. I cannot wait for everyone to see the BMW M2, because it will look quite different come 4 May. I am looking forward to seeing plenty of BMW fans in Knysna!”

BMW Group South Africa’s 2023 Knysna Simola Hillclimb efforts will be supported by the local BMW George retailer, as well as the BMW Car Clubs from Cape Town and Johannesburg.