2012 Willall Pilatus Mt Alma Mile Hillclimb

The 2012 Willall Pilatus Mt Alma Mile hillclimb was held on March 31 and April 1. Run by the Southern Districts Car Club (the same club who run the excellent Adelaide Hills Tarmac Rally) for the past few years, Mt Alma really has redefined the hillclimb experience here in Adelaide.

The only other hillclimb within easy driving distance of Adelaide is Collingrove, which is really a whole different type of course. Not only is it far smaller and more technical, it’s more of a ‘picnic lunch’ type of venue – very much geared toward driving your MG and then enjoying a picnic from your wicker basket in the shade whilst watching the classic cars race up the hill. Don’t get me wrong, that’s fantastic and I really enjoy Collingrove, but Mt Alma is a completely different scene.

Mt Alma is about high tech, high horsepower cars. And it’s more geared toward proper competition as opposed to just having fun. Mt Alma uses a unique scoring system whereby the winner of the event is not the driver with the fastest time, but the driver with the fastest accumulated time over the two days worth of runs. The final results are determined by a shootout – at 3pm on Sunday the top 12 leading cars each have a shootout run. From this, 6 are discarded and the other 6 fastest cars run again. The three fastest cars from this shootout make up the podium, and then they run again. The fastest driver from the final top 3 shootout is then the winner.

It’s an interesting system – throughout the event it rewards consistency, as a spin or a mechanical breakdown will ruin your chances of winning the event. But then the dynamic completely changes in the shootout, and to win requires the outright fastest time and often causes people to push a little harder than they probably should.

Coming from someone who spent an entire day walking up and down the track, it’s an extremely steep hill. I achieved mountain goat status.

For 2012 the winner was Kevin Mackrell in his 260Z, who also set a new course records of 41.71sec. There’s not really a not of 260Z left in it… it runs an ex- V8 Supercar spec Chevrolet V8 coupled to a Toyota Hilux 4WD drivetrain. New additions for this year was that front spoiler, looking rather similar to that of a VY Commodore V8 Supercar. It’s a big brute of a thing, and perfectly suited to Mt Alma.

A lot of people hate on them, but I’m a fan of the Porsche 914.

This one was highly modified for racing. It’s left hand drive, so I wouldn’t mind betting this one is an ex-SCCA racer from the USA.

It’s just like a 911 but it’s lighter and has the engine in the right spot. What’s not to like?

Seb was out there in his GTR, but was struggling with traction issues for most of the weekend.

The new livery looks fantastic though!

The level of the cars really has stepped up several notches in the last few years. From Jap spec time attack cars…

… tarmac rally prepared Evo’s…

… Lotii…

… fast modern Porsche’s….

… and fast older Porsche’s.

Julian Newton did well to finish 6th outright in a stock R35.

This Camaro sounded wild. Further inspection revealed it was fitted with a twin turbo charged L27 – that would explain the rather rapid rate of acceleration.

Howie had great fun running up and down the hill as an official course car.

Genuine 22B. Oh yea.

It’s almost impossible to pick a favourite car from the weekend, but this 6.5 Makkinen would be pretty close if I had to. For my tastes the 6.5 Makkinen is THE evo to have, and this one adds a cage and a few subtle modifications without completely ruining the character of what I’m sure will become a highly collectable car one day.

Check back for more photos in the next few days. I managed to get several shots of just about all cars competing, so email me if you’d like to see samples of your car.

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  1. mark mills May 1, 2012 Reply

    hi was wondering what you had of car 90 @ mt alma (white corona). thanks

    • Andrew Coles May 2, 2012 Reply

      Hi mate, I'm sure I've got a few good shots. I'm a little busy right at the minute, but I'll have a look get some samples to you via email by the end of the week. Cheers, Andrew

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