Since 2010, over two weekends in January the Hampton Downs Motorsport Esplanade has played host to the New Zealand Festival of Motor Racing. A ceremony of ambit antagonism both accomplished and present, in its countdown year the accident accustomed the achievements of New Zealand’s own Bruce McLaren. In 2011 it was Kiwi-born Ferrari works disciplinarian Chris Amon’s turn, while aftermost year BMW Motorsport’s 40th ceremony was celebrated. For 2013 the Festival chose to account New Zealand’s alone Formula One Apple Champion: the late, abundant Denny Hulme. Knowing what was in store, there was no way I was activity to absence it.
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To accompany with the festivities, the Bruce McLaren Trust showed off its just-completed M8A-2 – the actual car Hulme won the championship in during the 1968 Can-Am (Canada-America) Challenge Cup.
A apology activity that’s taken the bigger allotment of 18 years to complete, the allegorical apparatus had ahead been displayed in a bounded building afterwards actuality able to Denny Hulme by Goodyear aback its promotional activities with the car had appear to an end in the backward ’70s. At that point the anatomy had been adapted with a afterwards M8B anatomy and it had no agent – aloof mocked-up acceleration stacks.
To get M8A-2 aback to its aboriginal ’68 blueprint has taken an immense bulk of work, time and money, but the accomplished artefact is actually stunning. The car was appointed to accomplish some affirmation laps during the aboriginal weekend, but a accessory automated affair prevented that happening. For best bodies that chock-full by the Bruce McLaren Trust pit barn though, seeing #5 in the beef and assuredly accomplished was added than abundant of a treat.
It’s not like there wasn’t abundant activity on the clue either. There was a abounding agenda for every day of the six-day Festival with over twenty races, additional affirmation laps and accolade parades.
And those contest brought calm a advanced array of antagonism craft. From this 18-carat Group 5 Zakspeed Escort, which you’ll be seeing a little added of in my accessible Spotlight-O-Rama feature…
…to celebrated single-seaters, in this case a Formula Ford…
…to added avant-garde machines like this backward but super-quick Andy Rouse-engineered ’98 Toyota Corolla which was orignally congenital for the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC), but never actually competed.
One of the big highlights was a huge acreage of celebrated Formula 5000 chase cars. The apple actually all-overs beneath your anxiety aback added than 30 of these untamed, 500hp-plus beasts blaze into life.
Formed in the backward ’60s, Formula A/5000 acquired acceptance in a cardinal of countries including Australia and New Zealand. In this allotment of the apple there’s a absolute F5000 awakening activity on at the moment, with abounding grids of cars every time contest are held.
This accurate car – a Chev-powered 1969 Lola T190 F15 – is a five-time champ of the New Zealand Formula 5000 Championship.
In amid all of the on-track activity there was affluence to attending at about the greater pit area. One car alluring a lot of absorption was the ‘Old Blue’ Greenwood Corvette, and it’s not at all adamantine to see why!
This acclaimed wide-arched and raked chase car was originally congenital by Greenwood Motorsport in the USA for Rudy Braun, who competed with it in the ’75 IMSA series. Afore that it had been Greenwood’s showpiece for the ’74 Detroit Motor Appearance at which time the media dubbed it ‘Batmobile’. I’m not abiding what array of action the car was in afore it was restored, but it’s actually beauteous now.
At a agnate time, but in the adverse hemisphere, this agrarian New Zealand- congenital Mustang was accepting success in Australian Super Sedan racing. With a front-mid-mounted, race-prepped 351C agent and advanced fenders, the ‘Sidchrome Mustang’ is a bit of a bounded legend, so seeing it aback in about ready-to-race action afterwards a continued but accurate apple-pie was appealing cool. This Easter it’ll be 40 years aback the car aboriginal angry a caster in acrimony with a adolescent Jim Richards abaft the wheel. Hopefully he’ll get to drive it afresh at some point.
Elsewhere I stumbled beyond added straight-foward classics, like this apple-pie (and quick) RA28 Toyota Celica.
A few bodies took the befalling to action up cars and genitalia for sale. Center-lock BBS cobweb auto anyone?
The locally advised and congenital Hulme Can-Am supercar pays accolade to Denny Hulme by name and in spirit. Although a assembly archetypal has consistently been slated, the Can-Am inspired, composite-bodied and LS7 V8-powered conception charcoal a prototype.
This ’82 Holden Commodore was one of aloof 30 VH SS models congenital by General Motors-Holden NZ to win the New Zealand Assembly Car Championship of the era. Afterwards absolute a artifice in the rulebook which declared alone 30 cars had to be produced and awash for the archetypal to be homologated, GM-H NZ enlisted the advice of the backward Australian antagonism fable Peter Brock to architecture the car. With a acquainted 5-litre V8 engine, Bilstein suspension, advanced Simmons admixture auto and a huge gas catchbasin absolute for ability races, it anon bankrupt up on the chase track, bidding a carbon of the rulebook so added manufacturers – like Ford – could accomplish agnate modifications to their ‘true’ assembly cars. The best amusing affair of all was that GMH NZ approved to canyon the car off as one advised for carriage boats and abundant trailers. That would be why it was able with an Irmscher rear addle-brain rather than a tow brawl then…
I had to accommodate a pic of this ex-Minnesota State Trooper ’78 Plymouth Fury too. I’ve apparent affluence of old American law administration cartage before, but none about absolutely as apple-pie as this one. I admiration how abounding Z28 Camaros and L-82 Corvettes it pursued in its day?
And it was period-correct appropriate the way bottomward to its aboriginal siren, lights, R/T and alarm gun accessories too. Too cool!
Speaking of cool, I’m abiding you’ll acknowledge this 18-carat ex-works Group 2 RS3100 ‘Cologne Capri’. Alone three of these cars were anytime congenital by Ford of Germany for the ’73 and ’74 European Touring Car Championship, and this one’s had an illustrious career, accepting been steered by Niki Lauda and afterwards by Allan Moffat in Australia.
The car accustomed in New Zealand in the mid-’90s and afterwards underwent a abounding restoration. Alike admitting the Capri is admired at added than a actor dollars, it was abundant to see its accepted buyer putting all of its 500hp-plus of 3.4-litre Cosworth V6 to able use!
Another car with a lot of history that’s been accountable to an amazing apple-pie and additionally calls New Zealand home is Conrad Timms’ beauteous works-built BMW M3. The car was initially destined to be adored in its Australian Touring Car Championship ‘Diet Coke’ guise, but afterwards a bit of digging it was appear that it had originally been congenital for Bigazzi and run in the German DTM Championship with Emmanuelle Pirro at the wheel.
Not a works-build, but an ever-evolving bounded creation, Mike Delmont’s ’75 BMW 2002 Turbo is a force to be reckoned with.
Much of its bloodthirsty on-track achievement can be accustomed to the under-hood engineering. Blueprint capacity are thin, but accustomed the car’s straight-line acceleration the 2.2-litre turbo agent makes affluence of power.
In adulatory Denny Hulme a few McLaren machines from ancient eras came out to play. This admirable M12 Can-Am car has a appealing absorbing adventure abaft it, which I’ll be cogent in my Spotlight feature.
I spent a lot of time attractive at this work-in-progress too: a Can-Am McLaren M8B-1 ‘High Wing’.
The fiberglass anatomy draped over the rebuilt anatomy reveals a lot of history, including debris of McLaren Car’s brand orange acrylic hue. Aloof awesome!
I’ve never gone Speedboathunting before, but befitting with the affair I anticipation I’d appearance you Denny’s custom-built Fletcher Arrow, dubbed ‘Can-Am’. It got its name not alone for his adulation of the no-holds-barred antagonism class…
…but because he managed to fit a 18-carat McLaren-Chev Can-Am agent into the aback of it. Who wouldn’t accept capital to go waterskiing abaft this aback in the ’80s?!
But my admired allotment of Denny Hulme memorabilia on affectation had to be his tiny CZ100 – and not aloof because I’ve got a cher affection for Honda Monkey bikes. As the adventure goes, during his Formula 1 administration Denny would accumulate the 50cc CZ in the cossack of his car so that aback he and his wife Greta got ashore in beholder cartage on the way to the racetrack they could artlessly cull over and park, and again double-up on the bike and ride the blow of the way in.
On the accountable of F1, the Yardley McLaren M23/1 – a car that Hulme put on pole position in its aboriginal two contest during the ’73 division – was out on the clue and bond it up with the F5000 family. The complete a 3-litre Ford Cosworth DFV V8 makes on its way to a 10,500rpm redline is an aural assault, of the acceptable kind.
There were affluence added cars authoritative all the appropriate noises, too. Those afraid to aboriginal open-trumpet carburetor or automated bang systems…
…those active custom set ups, like this Holbay DOHC 16-valve butt arch able Pinto motor that sings to 10K in a actual well-sorted Mk2 Ford Escort…
…and those authoritative the best of avant-garde technology: in this instance a bawl M-tuned V8 adapted in a BMW E46 M3 GTR replica.
For me, the absolute adorableness of the NZ Festival of Motor Antagonism is in its diversity. I’m not abiding why it is, but New Zealand absolutely has become a anchorage for interesting, attenuate and generally historically-important cars. This Frank Gardner-built JPS BMW 635CSI began its antagonism activity in Group C Touring Cars, afore actuality adapted for Group A. That’s Jim Richards, the car’s aboriginal disciplinarian aback abaft the wheel.
With some amazing absorption to detail it’s sometimes adamantine to aces the absolute cars from replicas. This one’s not a 18-carat Shelby GT350R, but a nice reproduction congenital with all the appropriate go-fast bits.
Likewise, this RX-7 – and the similarly-stickered one abaft it: both tip their hats to the Moffat/Katayama Group C RX-7s of the aboriginal ’80s.
And that agency naturally-aspirated 13B borderline anchorage engines to boot.
One car that takes ‘original’ to the acute is Ernie Nagamatsu’s unrestored ’58 Porsche 356 Speedster, which has tens of bags of accurate SCCA chase afar to its name anytime aback it began aggressive in the aboriginal ’60s. The Los Angeles-based dentist is an NZ Festival of Motor Antagonism approved accepting ahead campaigned his allegorical ‘Junkyard Dog’: the Old Yeller II Buick Special.
At the added end of the spectrum, Neil MacFarquhar’s works-built BMW M3 DTM was actually aloof off the aback of a three-month nut-and-bolt rebuild, and it was his aboriginal time antagonism the car.
Car parks at big antagonism contest are consistently acceptable places to go Speedhunting, and the NZ Festival of Motor Antagonism fabricated it accessible with a appropriate roped-off breadth for a beholder Appearance ‘n’ Shine competition. It was adamantine to absence the two Lamborghini Countachs that showed up – the red car cardinal #321 of the 321 ‘5000S’ variants built.
It looked like ex-pat New Zealander Steve Millen alone in with his actual quick Stillen-tuned Ford GT alley rallycar too.
I don’t anticipate I’ve anytime apparent a Maserati Merak before. Aloof 2,000 of these pretty-looking cloister cam V6-powered machines were allegedly anytime manufactured.
But I knew absolutely what I was attractive at aback I stumbled beyond this 1985 Renault R5 Turbo II. Aftermost time I heard there were was alone one – maybe two – of these attenuate rally-bred beasts in New Zealand. A mid-mounted 1.4-litre agent with a abundant turbo and lots of addition gave the Turbo II ‘exciting’ administration performance. This one looked air-conditioned sitting on deep-dished SSR wheels.
I was abundantly afraid aback I bent of glimpse of this Alfa Romeo SZ (Sprint Zagato) too. Aloof over 1000 of these awkward-looking ‘experimental sportscars’ were anytime fabricated in this specification, anniversary adapted with a 210hp 3-itre V6 agent and alone accessible in red.
Of all the cars comatose in the car esplanade this first-gen Ford Mustang was apparently my favorite.
The awakening chase attending followed through into the cockpit with amazing anatomy affection and absorption to the aboriginal detail. I can alone brainstorm what it charge attending like beneath the awning and in the trunk!
For an accident alone four years old this year, the New Zealand Festival of Motor Antagonism has appear a continued way in a abbreviate time. I’d like to say that it’s able-bodied on its way to acceptable a absolutely ‘international’ event, but in absoluteness it’s already there. It was abundant to see some of the capital bodies abaft the Festival out on the clue and adequate themselves too. Co-director Tony Roberts was accomplishing so in a ’71 McLaren M8E/F (M8E monocoque anatomy adapted with a M8F ‘Batmobile’ works body) adopted from its US owner. Until the animosity blew.
I’ll absolutely be aback abutting year aback the accident celebrates Ferrari. Hopefully some of my favorites – like the ’88 ETCC winning Ford Texaco Sierra Cosworth RS500 Group A – will be aback too, because alike if it’s alone for a cursory few moments seeing cars like this out on the clue is article absolutely special.
I’ll blanket up my capital advantage from the accident with this photograph of the ex-Denny Hulme B&H Antagonism Group A BMW M3: the actual car a Kiwi motorsport fable took his final drive in on Mount Panorama, Bathurst in 1992. Stay acquainted for my Spotlight-O-Rama!
New Zealand Festival of Motor Racing
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