Showcasing South African BMWs and its passionate fans

SIMOLA HILL CLIMB 2023 with the E60M5

Posted on: 13 May 2023

In 2019 I attended this event as a media spectator. I remember it was wet and had to park the M5 in the muddy allocated parking space up the hill. Coming back down after the event wasnt fun at all with this lowered E60.


I have always loved the Simola Hill Climb which is held annually in the town of Knysna in the beautiful Garden Route of South Africa, around 470km from Cape Town.
This event is one of the best motorsport events in the country and it is very well organised. One would feel a sense of being at a European Motorsport event and it is absolutely fantastic.
Being in the pits and amongst the action really gave me an urge to join in this speed festival.


In 2021 i applied to be a race participant and with a joyous surprise my entry got accepted for the 2022 Simola Hill Climb with my E60M5.


Now this E60M5 was purchased in 2018 with around 185thousand kilometres on the clock. I really enjoyed this V10M5 with 2 trips to Joburg from Cape Town and back, and also plenty of drives all around the Western Province.


... so the 1.9km hill climb would be the highlight of enjoying this E60M5.


The M5 was prepared for the 2022 Hill Climb but alas on the day we were to leave Cape Town for Knysna, the crank of the S85 10cylinder motor of the M5 decided to have stage fright and kept hold of a bottom bearing which resulted in the motor not being able to turn.

bmw m5

This was a huge surprise for me due to the car actually being reliable for the last 40+thousand kilometres, and with all the proper services and maintenance done on time.

The M5 was then parked away for about 10 months, and new engine parts sourced from BMW South Africa to do a rebuild of the engine, and then hopefully make the 2023 entry list.


Entry was then accepted into the 2023 competition and with about a month away from the start of event we started building the motor and refitting the S85 engine.


Parts that were replaced in the V10 motor were :


Main Bearings 

Bottom end bearings 

Oil pump 

Oil nozzles 

amongst some other parts  

bmw m5

 After the motor was fitted and all checks done we drove to the Southern most point in Africa to Cape Aghulhas which is around 200km away from Cape Town. 



A week before the event we did our 2000km run in service and a fresh oil change, as well as the filter - searching for any steel flakes from the bearings hidden inside the oil filter. It all looked good though.  We then did another trip up the Gydo pass in Ceres.


We drove the M5 from Cape Town, 490km up to Knysna and the M5 moved flawlessly, not using a drop of the 10W60 synthetic oil. And it didnt skip a beat for the entire weekend.


Our official Knysna weekend started off at the TOTAL Fuel Station in Observatory filling up the m5s , with the full tank taking us into Mossel Bay, almost 400km out of Cape Town with still some fuel in the tank.


bmw m


 4 hours later, we entered Knysna and met with the BMWSA group 




The format for the Simola Hill Climb would be:- On Friday, take part in a parade lap in the town of Knysna for all the participating cars for King of the Hill

Then Saturday morning before lunch would be 4 or 5 practice runs with qualifying runs after lunch.

On the sunday after a fwarm up lap, qualifying would resume then the final shootout after lunch.

Through all this activity, the M5 still didnt use any more oil, considering the revs were running past 8000rpm.


bmw e60


While my first time up the hill wasnt as quick as i had hoped, i thoroughly enjoyed the experience and I am grateful that i could do this with the V10M5.





A huge shoutout goes to the engine rebuilder Mandre of M-Xecutive Auto for all the mechanical work 


bmw m5

 bmw m5

Back home safely in Cape Town with a boot full of stuff incl a gazebo and 2 tables - That the M5 way, a big comfortable saloon car with a supercar engine. 



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