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The Ford oval and the famous Shelby brand will have a large presence at this year’s Simola Hillclimb as they set their sights on tackling their respective categories in a variety of high-performance machinery.

The recently launched Next-Generation Ranger Raptor is set to be a highlight at this year’s event as it proves that it is equally capable and exhilarating on-road as it is off-road. The most powerful standard production bakkie in South Africa is powered by a 3.0-litre V6 EcoBoost engine punching out 292kW and 583Nm. The Raptor’s performance is further enhanced by its bespoke suspension with Ford Performance-developed FOX 2.5-inch Live Valve internal bypass shock absorbers, a wider track, seven selectable drive modes, as well as selectable settings for steering response to optimise performance in all areas.

The Ranger Raptor will be in the very talented hands of renowned South African racing driver Anthony Taylor. Taylor brings extensive circuit and off-road experience to the event, which makes him the perfect choice to showcase the Raptor’s breadth of abilities.

“Simola Hillclimb is the ideal setting for motorsport fans to see and hear the Next-Gen Ranger Raptor racing up the hill,” says Minesh Bhagaloo, Director for Communications at Ford South Africa. “Entering a completely standard version of the Ranger Raptor at one of the country’s most prestigious motorsport events will be a testament to its capability and Ford Performance DNA. We thank Anthony for joining the team for this event, and we are confident he will set a new bakkie benchmark for the class, while entertaining fans over the weekend,” says Bhagaloo.

The action doesn’t stop there, with a pantheon of Shelby cars hoping to repeat the success they enjoyed in 2022. Lindenberg Racing has competed in the Simola Hillclimb since the event’s inception, with Shelby South Africa making its debut in 2016. This year Shelby isn’t holding anything back with a total of nine cars representing their greatest participation to date.

The familiar favourites competing in Classic Car Friday will include Paige Lindenberg’s 1968 Ford Fairlane and two Shelby Cobra Daytonas piloted by James Temple and Clayton Kimber. These icons of motorsport history are proudly built at Hi-Tec Automotive in Gqeberha, and are highly sought after by car collectors from around the world.

Underneath the sleek aerodynamic bodywork of Temple’s car is a powerful 5.8-litre (358 cubic inch) Ford V8 engine capable of 390kW, while Kimber’s Daytona Coupé makes similar power from its larger 7.0-litre (427 cubic inch) V8. A Cobra from that same era will round up the field for Classic Car Friday.

Team Shelby’s modern muscle car ensemble that will be competing in the King of the Hill challenge on Saturday and Sunday is equally diverse with the Shelby Terlingua (named after the Terlingua Racing Team) ready for battle, with Paige behind the wheel. The Shelby Terlingua’s supercharged V8 is rated at 626kW with the rest of the package comprising Brembo brakes, stiffer sway bars, adjustable coilover suspension as well as upgraded cooling.

A trio of Shelby Super Snake Mustangs will be joining the action, driven by, James Temple, Jonty Needham and Anton Pommersheim. There will also be Joshua O’Callaghan’s limited-edition Mustang Mach 1 which pays tribute to the original, iconic 1969 Mustang Mach 1.

“We are proud to race what we sell, and we are so pleased that our Shelby clients get to take part in the Hillclimb and live the Shelby lifestyle with us,” says Paige Lindenberg, GM of Shelby South Africa.

Now in its 13th year, the Simola Hillclimb takes place from 5 to 7 May 2023.

Published by:  Andrew Leopold – Meropa Communications

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