Gamers can get behind the virtual wheel for the Simola King of the Hill title. Picture: SUPPLIED
Gamers can get behind the virtual wheel for the Simola King of the Hill title. Picture: SUPPLIED

With the postponement of 2021’s Simola Hillclimb in Knysna to September due to Covid-19, the organisers are giving gamers the opportunity to race up the hill virtually between March and May.

Knysna Speed Festival has partnered with esports eventing company Monarch to launch the 2021 Virtual Simola Hillclimb. It will consist of a series of four qualifiers, culminating in final virtual shootouts on May 8 and 9 — the originally scheduled dates of the real 2021 Simola Hillclimb.

Ian Shrosbree, MD of Knysna Speed Festival, said that competitors and fans were disappointed by the postponement of this year’s hillclimb and cancellation of 2020’s event.

“We realised that while the pandemic continues its impact on our lives we would have to create a meaningful substitute to run up till and through that original Hillclimb Weekend,” he said.

“We are going to be able to offer our competitors and fans a great experience that is extremely close to the real thing and at the same time introduces a whole new audience to the Simola Hillclimb.

“This virtual version also allows anyone who has dreamt of competing in the Hillclimb to now have a shot at racing against not only other players, but also the record times set in real life by real drivers, and do all of this virtually.’

Here it is, the first Simola Virtual Hillclimb

The Virtual Simola Hillclimb starts with the opening round from March 22-27, followed by rounds on March 29 to April 3, April 5-10, and April 12-17.

The scores from all four rounds will produce the top 10 competitors qualifying for the finals on May 8 and 9, the winner of which will be crowned the Virtual King of the Hill.

Monarch developed a virtual rendition of the iconic track in great detail. Racer Mark Cronje, who has competed in the actual event, tried out the virtual version and commented: “The accuracy of the track and the thrill is fantastic. It will give the virtual competitors a great experience of the Simola Hillclimb.”

On March 17 the track will be made publicly available on the Assetto Corsa game, which is downloadable for R130.

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