'One of a kind experience' for NZ motorsport fans — but now minus Patrick Dempsey
Kiwi motorsport veteran Rod Millen brings together a unique motorsport event at this weekend's Leadfoot Festival on the Coromandel Peninsula.
The mix includes classic cars, vintage motorcycles and motorsport legends such as four-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon, international rallycross and drifting champion Tanner Foust and international rally ace Alistair McRae.
American actor and race car driver Patrick Dempsey of Grey's Anatomy fame had been scheduled to drive a Porsche during the festival, but has had to withdraw because of conflicting commitments.
The festival takes place on Millen's coastal estate, just outside Hahei, beginning on Saturday.
It is modelled on the famous Goodwood Festival of Speed, providing a relaxed but entertaining weekend of motorsport with almost unprecedented access to drivers and their vehicles.
The motorsport action takes place on a 1.62km driveway that winds its way up through the middle of the property, which is designed to be the perfect hill-climb.
There will be virtually non-stop motorsport action throughout Saturday and Sunday as competitors vie to be among the fastest up and down the course.
Millen will be joined by Pikes Peak Championship drivers Rhys Millen (his son) and Paul Dallenbach, and six-time national motorcycle road racing champion Mike Pero.
Competitors are personally invited by Millen to compete in the event, and guests can watch the motorsport action from various vantage points on the property.
Dixon will have his hands full driving Millen's 110-year-old, 14-litre Darracq Grand Prix car. It was built to run in the first Grand Prix at Le Mans and was bought earlier this year by Millen.
Driven at previous Leadfoot festivals by its last owner, Anne Thomson, it is described as the world's "oldest surviving" Grand Prix car.
There will also be a collection of static but celebrated vintage cars and motorbikes.
Leadfoot Festival event director Shelly Campbell, says the weekend is designed for men and women, boys and girls.
"Visitors are invited to dress in period-style clothing, stepping back in time and making the Leadfoot Festival an incredible family experience and a true celebration of motorsports and all things automotive," she says.
Festival guests will be given a "one of a kind" experience with unparalleled access to the drivers.
In addition to the two days of motorsport action there would be a food, wine and beer garden, and trade displays.
The Warratahs will perform during a concert on the property on Saturday night.
• Tickets are available at leadfootfestival.com. A two-day pass is $85, whch includes the festival, the Warratahs concert and the final Shoot Out on Sunday. Saturday-only tickets cost $50, including the concert, and Sunday-only tickets are $40.