Home / Social media / News / We do things different in SA - watch Dawie Joubert's Ferrari-powered Lotus assault on the Simola Hillclimb


Here in SA, there are a few families that are synonymous with racing, no matter what discipline you talk about, they have some or other connection to it. If you haven’t heard of the Joubert brothers from Pretoria, you haven’t been in racing long enough. There’s a trio of these guys and over the years they have been involved in drag racing, circuit racing and are now seen in hillclimb events - Simola Hillclimb in particular. There’s Dawie, Pieter and Charl Joubert and the cars they’ve campaigned have been properly fast, always amongst the best of their kind. Pieter’s current hillclimb special is a Lotus Exige that’s been widened and lengthened and features a modified Mercedes-AMG SLS powerplant. Charl’s weapon of choice is a widened and big-winged Lotus Exige that gets its power from a turbocharged V6 Honda powerplant, and then there’s Dawie and the Lotus Exige you see here. It has the same wide arch bodywork and big wings, but the engine transplant to this car features a healthy helping of Italian spice - this one is powered by a twin-turbocharged Ferrari 488 lump, and it’s called the Lotari. Back in his drag racing days he also had an Exige powered by a Honda K24 with silly amounts of boost, and it claimed a record for a streetcar over the standing kilometre back around 20 years ago when it clocked 323 km/h. TWENTY YEARS AGO! Expectations for the Lotari are high, and it performs as expected. The car has been seen at the Simola Hillclimb twice now, and it’s had some technical gremlins holding it back from its full capability. We’re sure it will be back in 2024 and we have faith that all issues will be sorted.

In the current spec, the 488 lump produces in the region of 640 kW (870 hp) with a hefty 900 Nm of torque, and when that’s in a package that tips the scales at a mere 950 kg. That widened bodywork was designed by Andrew Brilliant from the USA/Japan-based AMB Aero, an outfit responsible for the properly tested aero on many winning racecars around the world, including another car we’ve previewed on SXdrv before, the monster Toyota MR2 piloted by Pieter Zeelie. The Lotari also competed in the class that everyone loves to watch at Simola, the Modified Saloon class, and Dawie managed to get it to the top of the 1.9 km-long stretch of winding road in picturesque Knysna in a best time of 43.888 seconds in the race to secure a 5th place overall. The car didn’t run as smooth as it could have in the race, the best time up the Simola hill in 2023 was timed at 41.355 seconds during the 3rd qualifying session. The winning time of the day in the same class was a fast 39.877 by the Scribante Racing Nissan GT-R R35. Thanks to the folk at HillClimb Monsters, you can now see the Lotari’s attack on the hill from both outside the car and from an in-car view, the latter showing just how fast the car is and how short it makes the almost 2km road. The final run is documented with a hood-mounted camera, and it’s brilliant. If you watch the link on a big-screen smart TV it’s like you’re playing a lifelike video game. Check it out and let us know what you think. We’re patiently waiting for the 2024 instalment of this prestigious race to see if the Lotari can drop under the 40-second barrier. We think it can manage it. We also think there should be a dedicated Lotus class for all these mad conversions we’re seeing. Ok, that won’t happen, but it’s a cool thought.

Take a look at the YouTube video from when the awesome crew from HillClimb Monsters visited SA to cover the annual Simola Hillclimb in Knysna. Luckily we have some rather insane purpose-built hillclimb cars that attend the event meaning we get to see amazing race footage for days. One of the cars the crew focused on over the race weekend was one of a few Lotus Exige cars that feature a wide body, insane aero and bonkers engine swaps. This Exige hails from Pretoria and features a Ferrari transplant: 870Hp LOTUS w/ FERRARI 488 TwinTurbo || ONBOARD & Insane AERO | HillClimb Monsters

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