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The 2021 Simola Hillclimb, the annual racing event hosted by the Knysna Speed Festival, is going virtual.
On 9 March, the festival revealed it had partnered with local esports company Monarch to create a virtual racing event.
The event will take place from 8-9 May. The in-person festival, originally scheduled for that date, will now take place in September.
COVID-19 cancels event year-on-year
The event traditionally takes place in the hills above Sedgefield and Knysna in the Garden Route. Professional and semi-professional drivers race to achieve the best times in a variety of vehicles. They compete for the title of ‘King of the Hill’.
The idea for the Virtual Simola Hillclimb came about when the event was first cancelled in 2020.
“It was starting to feel like the complete loss of the Hillclimb experience – and we have more than a decade’s worth of excitement and special competing intensity to protect, said the festival’s managing director, Ian Shrosbree.
“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.”
A simulated Simola Hillclimb for 2021
The event will feature a digital rendition of the Hillclimb track developed by Monarch. It will be available to the public to play on the popular racing simulator Assetto Corsa on 17 March.
“We are thrilled to bring the iconic Simola Hillclimb to the esports arena and bring ‘sim racing’ to a wider audience,” said Monarch CEO, Warren Barkhuizen.
“We look forward to showcasing the first-ever virtual rendition of the Virtual Simola Hillclimb and trust it will receive an incredible reception among established and aspiring sim racers coming in as a fresh and innovative esports event.”
The opening round of the virtual Hillclimb will take place from 22 to 27 March. Round Two will happen from 29 March to 3 April and Round Three from 5 to 10 April.
Round Four, the final qualifying round, will happen from 12 to 17 April.
The top 10 competitors from the qualifying rounds will compete on 8 and 9 May. The winner will be crowned Virtual King of the Hill.
The announcement of the Virtual Simola Hillclimb was accompanied by a trailer on YouTube.
You can check out the trailer below: