Man­feild’s NZ Grand Prix

The Tribune (NZ) - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

PHOTO: SUP­PLIED

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.

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