Ormula 1 has been turning heads and winning hearts since 1950, but never before has a full field of cars raced in New Zealand. That’s all set to change in early 2017 when, for the first time, a grid full of Formula 1 cars will line
up at Taupo’s Bruce Mclaren Motorsport Park.
Around 15 rare and expensive classic Formula 1 machines have been confirmed to compete at the event, with the hope being to relive the action that the sport provided during the 1960s and 1970s.
While a similar historic event takes place in Monaco each year and draws crowds from around the globe, this is likely to become the first time most New Zealanders will have such easy access to the vehicles.
Understandably, Taupo resident and racing legend Chris Amon — who drove Formula 1 vehicles during the period — is excited about seeing the cars so close to home. Adding to the Kiwi Formula 1 connection is the name of the venue, with the late Bruce Mclaren being one of Amon’s teammates.
Both drivers were part of the historic Ford GT40 Le Mans win, which took place 50 years ago this coming weekend — see the current issue of NZV8 for a full article.
The event that the vehicles will compete in will take place over January 28–29, 2017 and will pit the Formula 1 vehicles against the equally historically significant Formula 5000s, which are the pinnacle of open-wheeler racing locally.
Despite the values of the vehicles, we are sure that drivers won’t hold back — they will all be keen to take home the title and bragging rights that would go with becoming a country’s first-ever Formula 1 champion.
One of the vehicles coming from abroad to compete at the event is a Mclaren M26 now owned by Frank Lyons, president of the Historic Sports Car Club, which is responsible for plenty of historic racing events in the UK. The car was driven by 1976 world champion James Hunt, making it extremely valuable and historically significant. It’s not alone, though — the vehicles scheduled to compete all boast varying degrees of historic pedigree.
We’ll bring you more on the event over the next few months.
Make sure you book an appointment on the couch for 2pm each Sunday until the end of July — TV3’S where you want to be to catch a load of NAC Car Culture. See, hear, and experience some of the coolest cars we’ve had on our pages and get an inside view of the best events, sheds, and workshops our small country has to offer. Don’t worry if you’ve missed a few episodes, because you can watch them all — completely free — at themotorhood.com. Just search ‘Car Culture’ for back episodes.