Fortunately, it can be quite simple to derive from the name what Hillclimb racing is all about. It’s a truly fun event that is a preferred option for modern racing vehicles to classic sports cars. It’s a way to truly test your mechanical expertise and navigate the course towards victory.
So, what is it exactly?
Hillclimbing, sometimes known as “speed hill climbing”, is where drivers race to beat a specific time established with each track. It’s also considered one of the oldest motorsports out there to this day and has become a global classic as you can find events throughout the United States and Europe, and as motorsports continue their expansion towards the east, more motorist clubs are seeing themselves doing hillclimbing events as well.
How old are we talking about? The first recorded event was in Nice, France, at La Turbie, all the way back in 1897. It was as if the minute cars became mainstream; it was time to race them! Until this day, the oldest Hillclimb in existence, dating back to 1905, is in Worcestershire, England, held at the Shelsley Walsh, which has a current speed record of 22.37 seconds. Of course, the original cars to what they are using today are much different, but the course itself is as it has been since its original run back over a century ago.
Many hillclimbing competitions today are done with more F1 racing types and attract some of the biggest names in the motorsports industry to show off their latest in mechanical engineering and how excellent their race car drivers are.
Why is it so popular?
There are several reasons why Hillclimbing continues to be so popular as it’s more of a race against oneself and can be quite difficult to manage the fastest speed, going uphill, and handling all those corners. Other types of racing are based on laps in a fixed design. Hillclimbing feels more akin to naturally racing and navigating different course types at the same time. These corners are also quite tight, and the tracks themselves are a lot smaller, so the cars that can be on these tracks need to have the right punch and the right sizing.
It’s also an excellent way to recreate some of the classic car events that have occurred with hillclimbing. Those that are collecting motorsport cars, either from a classic era or vintage era, want to show off their mechanical prowess and knowledge of the vehicles through this type of racing. After all, these are sports cars, with engines meant to be pushed to the fastest speeds possible.
One thing about Hillclimbing is that it can be dangerous at times, and that’s why those that perform it need to be trained properly in many cases. For highly competitive hillclimbing events, they’ll need to wear the proper flame-retardant clothing just in case. This is a full suite setup from shoes to gloves to a driver suit specially designed. This is also the case when partaking in exhibition events where the majority of classic car hillclimbing events can occur.
Another reason to be safe is to protect the car itself. After all, while they tend to have the right horsepower for an event like this, it can be quite difficult to handle additional repairs due to rare parts needing to be found and the fact that these cars are simply much older. The best part is that as long as you’re part of the right type of club, you should have access to the components, the knowledge, and the expertise to bring your classic cars back to racing levels and take on the next hill climbing event.