The hills of Knysna are soon to echo with the revving engines of the Suzuki Swift Sport with the company having announced its participation in this year’s Simola Hill Climb, scheduled from May 2.

This marks the third consecutive year that Suzuki will compete in the King of the Hill competition in class A1, and its second year as a Tier One sponsor of the event.

Brendon Carpenter, Brand Marketing Manager of Suzuki Auto South Africa, shares: “There is a beautiful symmetry between our brand ethos and that of the Simola Hill Climb. Since its inception in 2010, it has strived to be accessible to every motorsport enthusiast. Similarly, Suzuki Auto aims to make fun and reliable motoring accessible to all.”

For the 2024 attack on Simola Hill, Suzuki is entering three Suzuki Swift Sports, driven by Wesley Greybe, journalist and track racer Brendon Staniforth and fellow journalist and track racer, Thomas Falkiner.

Falkiner, the most accomplished hill climb racer in the team, says: “In the world of accessible sports cars, the Swift Sport has no equal. I cannot think of another car that offers this level of performance and fun at the price.”

He adds: “While my previous cars at Simola were much more powerful, the Swift Sport has one major advantage: weight. It follows the age-old principle of matching its power to a lightweight body, making it the perfect car for a short and twisty mountain track like Simola.”

Staniforth, eager to compete at Simola, comments: “Over the past two years, Suzuki has shown that you cannot beat the classic sports car formula of low weight, a great chassis, and sufficient power. It has put many more powerful cars in the shade. I look forward to continuing that tradition this year.”

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The third teammate, Greybe, a precision and stunt driver, has led the charge for Suzuki over the past two years. In 2023, Greybe battled the elements to set a best time of 54,395, beating several V8 racing cars and other specialized track machines to reach the podium in Class A1.

Greybe commends Suzuki for putting together a strong racing team for the 2024 Simola Hill Climb. He says, “Between Thomas, Brendon, and I, we have all raced in track or other national formulas, and it will be a completely different discussion around a few beers after the race.”

“With all the accumulated expertise in this year’s competition, I have no doubt that we will compete for the top spot on the Class A1 podium and scare a few much larger cars in the process.”

This is the second-generation Suzuki Swift Sport that has been available for sale in South Africa.

Unlike the previous generation, this model uses forced induction to offer 103 kW and 230 Nm of torque from its 1,4-litre petrol engine. The engine is mated to a choice of six-speed manual or automatic transmission.

Of equal importance is the vehicle’s weight, which is only 970 kg.

The result is a vehicle that perfectly epitomises the spirit of motorsport. Light weight, good power and a chassis that ‘speaks’ to the driver and that can be steered by the throttle as well as it can be steered by the steering wheel.

“One thing that we did not anticipate when we first entered the Simola Hill Climb is the reception that we would receive from the fans. People cheer for the Suzuki Swift Sport and celebrate its racing times, perhaps because it is one of the few cars at the event that represents and is accessible to the average South African.

“We hope to live up to this hype in 2024, and we believe that our three racing drivers – Thomas, Wesley and Brendon – are perfectly suited to the task,” says Carpenter.

Colin Windell