Home / Social media / News / South African-built 850 hp Toyota MR2 represents at 54th International Osnabrück ADAC Hillclimb


You get people who are so passionate about motorsport that they attend as many local events as possible, these are the guys that make the sport interesting and keep it action-packed. Then you get motorsport fanatics that will go above and beyond to race, and that’s where Pieter and Retha Zeelie come in. Pieter is no stranger to the country’s racetracks, most recently honing his skills to be competitive in Hillclimb events, so much so that he’s a regular on the podium of the annual Simola Hillclimb in Knysna. The Toyota MR2 that Pieter and his team have created is a precision tool built with the best of the best parts, powered by a turbocharged V6 with in excess of 850 hp on tap. Pieter has competed with the car for a few years now, every event seeing tweaks and changes to the aero and setup. The car and driver combo has kicked plenty local ass, and the team has just added a whole load of internationally-kicked asses to that list after competing in the 54th International Osnabrück ADAC Hillclimb that took place on the Uphöfer Berg in Borgloh in the southern district of Osnabrück, Germany. 

The public street becomes the 2.03 km battleground and the Zeelie Race Team proved just how deep their motorsport passion lies by accepting an invitation extended to them by the race organisers. The original invite happened just before Covid shut things down, but with things getting close to the normal we all know, it was time to head to Europe and take up that offer to compete.

Pieter tells it better: “Many months of arrangements are starting to materialise now! It has been a long journey with many years of R&D and constant development to get the car where it is today. In addition, we had to get the car FIA approved, and I personally had to pass some tests including to see if I can turn my small toe 90 degrees (lol). 

Thank you to Bernd Stegmann, Marcel Leifer, Christian Schleicher, and the other organisers and assistants of the Osnabruck FIA International Hillclimb Cup event, Rodrigo (Hillclimb Monsters), Peter Schmidt-Loffler (Leshaco and staff), Heinz Bose of ATS, and numerous others who assisted to make this possible. A special thanks to my wife Retha who made most arrangements, Freddie Pretorius (FAST) and MSA with FIA approval, and then Johann van der Linde, Philip van Niekerk, and Charles Nkosi for their hard work to get the car ready and loaded.

The invitation from the organisers of the Osnabruck FIA International Hillclimb Cup event for 2021, (which followed on my King of the Hill results at the Knysna Hillclimb event) could not be taken up by us due to Covid-19, and when the invitation was extended to 2022, we decided to grab it with both hands. As far as I am aware, it will be the first time a South African driver will compete abroad in a Hillclimb event, and especially in an FIA-approved international cup event (PF1 Class). It takes place with SASCOC's "permission to start", meaning it is approved by the Olympic Committee, with a possibility of National Colours applying.

The series is the only international Hillclimb series, and it appears that 26 countries will be represented. Hillclimbs are becoming more and more popular, even in South Africa, and I am sure I will not be the last South African who will compete abroad. The organisers have gone out of their way to assist us, including with accommodation, costs and practical arrangements, invited us to some media and social events and really made us feel very welcome so far. I hope I will not disappoint them, or those who support me in this endeavour. I promise to give it my very best effort...

The car is arriving in Osnabruck tomorrow, together with tyres, fuel, and other parts which had to be sourced from various parts of the world. Hillclimb tyres, as an example, are unavailable due to the Covid and then Ukraine issues, and we had to approach manufacturers (thank you ATS and Damian Bradley - UK!).

Retha and I are relaxing in Europe at the moment before our technical team arrives early next week. Then it is racing time.

Live your dreams!”

On the weekend of the 8th of August Pieter and his MR2 attacked the hill and pushed all his skills to the limits and managed to bag a 2nd in class as well as an absolutely awesome 3rd overall in the FIA Production & GT Classes. The results are amazing on a personal level, but Team Zeelie’s efforts also go to show that SA has some serious talent by way of drivers, racecar builders and tuners. Results like this in another country on an unfamiliar stretch of tarmac in unknown conditions are mind-blowing. Pieter and Retha Zeelie, Johann van der Linde and Phillip van Niekerk operated like a well-oiled machine. Well done guys, you’ve set the bar for every Hillclimb competitor and fan on SA soil! 

Take a look at the YouTube video from Berg Fränky that shows a lot of the action and cars seen on the famous German hill. If you skip to 22:12; 34:10 and 36:50 you'll catch a glimpse of the monster MR2 in action: Bergrennen Osnabrück 2022 Best of//Highlights//Amazing Sound. | Berg Fränky

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Team Zeelie's monster MR2 can also be seen in the Top 10 from the 54th International Osnabrück ADAC Hillclimb. Great coverage showing why HillClimb Monsters is the best in the business. 

Our mates over at Cars.co.za recently got up close and personal with Pieter and the MR2. If hillclimb is your thing, then this is a must-see. You'll see the aero has changed a fair bit, and we're sure that power has eclipsed the 850 hp mark. 

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