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.
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.
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.2012 Mt Alma #2012 Mt Alma photos #Evo #GTR #Mt Alma Hillclimb #Mt Alma Mile #Pilatus #R35 #rally #Southern Districts Car Club #Willall