JAGUAR PULLS SIMOLA TITLE SPONSORSHIP

Off the back of a record-breaking 2019 Jaguar Simola Hillclimb, the owners Knysna Speed Festival and Jaguar South Africa have today announced the transformed business model which will be inclusive of other motor vehicle brands in South Africa as it moves South Africa’s leading motorsport spectator attendance event to the next level. 

This change in strategy sees the Knysna Speed Festival, as owners and organisers of South Africa’s premier motorsport lifestyle event, are bringing on board a neutral non-vehicle brand to take up the title sponsorship, clearing the way for multiple vehicle brands’ participation and a higher profile role in the event going forward.

“We have enjoyed an incredible six-year journey with Jaguar as our title sponsor and we can’t thank the team at Jaguar enough for their support, enthusiasm and partnership over the years,” says Ian Shrosbree, managing director of Knysna Speed Festival. “Jaguar has assisted us in lifting the standard across all levels of the event, and played a key role in helping us build it into the globally recognised Hillclimb that it is today. We will forever be grateful for this incredible support.

“Jaguar’s commitment was never more in evidence than when we went to them with our new vision, which will grow the event into the future to become one of the premier Hillclimbs on the global calendar, and they immediately gave us their full support. Pursuing this goal will demand a lot more resources and, to allow for this and make the event sustainable over the long term, the business model had to be adapted to be more inclusive of the other motor manufacturing brands.

“We are eternally grateful to Jaguar management for backing us in this quest and for its continued support going into the future as one of the top tier manufacturers,” Shrosbree adds.

“Jaguar is proud that its name has been associated with the premier motor racing event in South Africa as title sponsor for six years,” says Lisa Mallett, Marketing Director of Jaguar Land Rover South Africa. “Together we have elevated the status of the Simola Hillclimb, and the event has helped cement Jaguar as a leader in premium performance vehicles. We wish the organisers well in their mission to take an already world-class event to the next level.”

While the Simola Hillclimb will welcome all brands to the event from 2020, it has structured a top tier manufacturer partnership package that will be focused on five brands that will enjoy access to live stream branding, track branding, hospitality, track time, VIP runs, exhibition space and race entries.

“We are in discussions with a number of potential title sponsors and have already engaged with a many of the other vehicle brands, and their support for our strategy has been supportive and encouraging,” says Shrosbree. “Several indicated that they had hoped this would materialise at some point as it allows them certain freedoms that have naturally not been possible with Jaguar as the exclusive motor brand title sponsor. We already have a number of commitments and anticipate that the top tier will be over-subscribed very soon.”

The 10th edition of the Jaguar Simola Hillclimb in 2019 saw just over 17 200 people from around the globe come through the gate. Drivers from the USA, UK and Germany participated and added to the international reach of the Hillclimb, while spectators from Australia, the DRC, Germany, Hong Kong, Namibia, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the UK, and USA (in addition to SA) purchased tickets via the online system.

From a media perspective, once again the event trended at number one on Twitter over the May 2019 weekend with over 250 000 impressions, activity on Facebook delivered well over 150 000 shares reaching more than 2 million users, and other social media was at an all-time high. Traditional media also granted the event significant coverage pre- and post-race, including multiple live crossings on eNCA news.

The Simola Hillclimb’s dedicated media team accredited 144 media personnel from around the country and abroad. To date the YouTube video views number over 7.3 million, while our live stream boasted over 252 000 views delivering 1 373 million minutes of thrilling action. The average viewing time was 25 minutes, which is excellent by international standards. The event’s website attracted 46 559 users during May alone.

STORY WRITTEN BY COLIN MILEMAN ON BEHALF OF THE SIMOLA HILLCLIMB

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