Motorsport preview: Taupo Historic Grand Prix this weekend
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Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park has its major event of the summer this weekend with ‘‘old school’’ Formula 5000 single-seaters and Historic Muscle Cars as the drawcards at the annual Taupo Historic Grand Prix.
Two days of racing at the Taupo circuit are headlined by the second round of the 2018-19 SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series which began in November at the Pukekohe Supercars event and saw veteran Ken Smith sweep the weekend in his Lola T332.
Smith’s nearest rivals this weekend are expected to be Christchurch racer Michael Collins (McRae GM1), Australian Paul Zazryn (Lola T332) and former series champion Brett Willis (Lola T330) from Rotorua. Regular British visitor Greg Thornton has brought his ex-Peter Gethin Chevron B24 to New Zealand this summer.
Also celebrating a similar late-1960s and early-1970s era with V8-powered ‘‘big banger’’ machines is the popular Historic Muscle Car class which boasts a strong field of period-correct Ford Mustangs and Falcons, Chevrolet Camaros and similar.
The Historic Muscle Cars are in action at Taupo's Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park this weekend. Picture/Colin Smith
It’s a varied programme for the Historic GP with other categories including Historic Formula Ford, Sports Sedans and Allcomer Saloons, Historic Saloon Cars and a grid of Formula Junior, early Formula 3 and small displacement sports racing cars.
The Formula Ford grid boasts cars from 1968 through 1984 vintage and includes drivers from the UK and Ireland, Australia, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland who are competing in a series of summer events at New Zealand tracks.
There’s also two-wheel racing this weekend with a 40-rider entry for the Carl Cox Motorsport Hyosung and Ninja Cup Series that will contest two six-lap races on Saturday and a one-hour endurance race on Sunday.
Track activities begin with qualifying at 9.15am on Saturday followed by preliminary races in the afternoon. Sunday’s programme starts at 10.05am with two races scheduled for each of the historic racing classes.
General admission adult prices are $15.00 Saturday, $20.00 Sunday and $30.00 for a weekend pass. The souvenir programme featuring comprehensive histories of the categories racing, costs $5.00.
Included in general admission is car-parking (including to the Main Straight embankment) and access to the Pit Lane complex first floor Tauhara Suite and rooftop viewing areas, pit/paddock and all usual GA spectator areas.
A number of Saloon Car and Sports Sedan drivers from the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s will be attending the race meeting to chat to spectators and autograph souvenir programmes and posters in the Tauhara Suite.