Manfeild’s NZ Grand Prix
Spitting fire! That’s how the 60th New Zealand Grand Prix rolls this weekend – with fireworks and a Spitfire. A real one. It’s V for Victory on V for Valentine’s Day. The World War II-era Supermarine Spitfire, flown by Feilding’s RNZAF Squadron Leader Sean Perret, is owned by Manawatu aircraft enthusiast Brendon Deere. The historic 1944 fighter willl roll over the course right before the start of Sunday’s big race.
The Spitfire’s 27-litre V12 engine has roughly the equivalent power of 10 Toyota Racing Series GP-contesting cars, and is potentially three times as fast.
‘‘Flying the Spitfire is a great thrill and a huge privilege for me,’’ Sean says. ‘‘I always think about all the young fellows during the war. I get to fly a Spitfire on a really nice day without anyone shooting at me – they did it as 19-year-olds and went to war in it.’’
The former RAF pilot who has been a member of the prestigious Red Arrows’ display team, has flown 350 displays in 20 countries.
The New Zealand Grand Prix weekend opens to the public at 6pm this Friday night. Featuring will be another of Brendon’s restored WWII aircraft, a Grumman Avenger torpedo bomber.
The public also have an opportunity to meet and greet the Toyota Racing Series drivers, who this year hail from 13 countries.
As well as the firewworks spectacular, there’s live music, a choreographed shadow-dance routine by the Dean McKerras School of Dance, a pair of giant screens, sideshows, displays and free ice cream for those on a chil- dren’s ticket .
One lucky family will get to enjoy Friday night’s fireworks from the passenger seat of a ‘Heli Solutions’ helicopter – similar to the model that features in the latest James Bond movie. The winner will be drawn from entrants to a competition being run on the Manfeild Facebook page, where there’s also a chance to win free admission.
Another draw offers laps of the circuit in a selection of exotic vehicles in return for a donation to charity.
NZGP tickets are available at Ticket Direct, with prices and more information at manfeild.co.nz.
Squadron Leader Sean Perrett with the fastest machine that’ll be seen during the New Zealand Grand Prix meeting on February 12-14, a World War II Supermarine Spitfire.