New Zealand Classic Car - - Report -

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.

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