Up-and-coming 26-year-old Michael Lyons dominated in his Hesketh 308E, and went on to win the much coveted F1 versus Formula 5000 Race of Champions Revival trophy.
However, there was more than F1 to entertain at the event. At the opposite end of the race spectrum and, sadly, dwindling in numbers, were the historic touring cars. Only six entrants made it to the final leg, but three BMW M3s, two Nissan Primeras and a BMW 325i still put on a show with their closeaction racing.
It should come as no surprise that Gianfranco Brancatelli, all the way from Turin, was out on track and pushing his car to the edge. The Italian certainly knew where the cameras were positioned and put on an array of dust-cloud, corner-cutting, and almost-two-wheel action. And that led to a crowd-pleasing show display of ’80s–’90s touring car action.
Given that I undertook the journey to the track in my BMW 318i, it’s no surprise that I show bias to the BMWS, but I think the livery of Conrad Timms’ 1992 BMW M3 has become my new life goal.
Life goals seemed to be an ever-mutating and -multiplying concept for many adoring fans throughout the weekend. If racing an irreplaceable piece of history around the Bruce Mclaren track wasn’t on your bucket list, then I’m sure many of the cars occupying the classic car show in the paddock would have been.
To name just a few: There were two flawless E-types — from ’63 and ’67 — and a 1967 Austin-healey 3000 MKIII for those looking to blow some wind through their hair as they travelled down nostalgia lane, plus a ’ 76 Corvette and ’ 72 De Tomaso Pantera for the muscle fans, and a rare and increasingly legendary 1990 Honda NSX E-NA1 for the Japanese domestic market ( JDM) fans in the crowd. However, special mention has to be made of the 1984 Audi Quattro coupé, as, even if you are not a rally fan, you will agree that there’s something about the look of a rally car that draws you in. The Audi, with its turbo 2.2-litre 179kw (240bhp) engine, was something else.
If none of the cars on that list floats your boat, then I guarantee the smorgasbord of attendee vehicles in the car park, ranging from Harleys to Corvettes to a Ferrari featuring ‘Vettel’ license plates, would most certainly have entertained you.
Altogether, a great day of historical motor sport was had, and here’s hoping we can add modern F1 to the New Zealand calendar at some point in the future.