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Drifting attracts new breed of driver - 17/04/2014

Drifting attracts new breed of driver


Ask a V8 Supercar driver where he got his start on the motor racing ladder and more often than not the answer will be karts.

Ask one of the drifters gathered at Christchurch's Mike Pero Motorsport Park this weekend for the fifth round of the National Drifting Championship and the answer will invariably be anything but.

Championship points leader Mike Whiddett, arguably the country's best known drifter and whose YouTube video drifting the Crown Range has had almost three million hits worldwide, was a top freestyle motocrosser before discovering drifting.

Leading South Island competitor, Christchurch's Chris Jackson, was a top skateboarder and is a former South Island Under 15 wakeboard champion.

The winner of the national championship two years ago, Curt Whittaker, admits to doing some karting as a kid. But fellow Auckland-based international Daynom Templeman got his competition start in an Off-Roader. And series guest driver, V8 Supercar ace Shane Van Gisbergen, first came to notice competing in ATV motocross.

Others have absolutely no conventional (motorised) competition background at all. Instead they spent their formative years riding skate and/or snowboards, off-road motorcycles or downhill mountain bikers.

It's the adrenalin hit they are after and they believe there is no better way of getting it (on four wheels at least) than sliding sideways round a corner in a billowing cloud of tyre smoke, only millimetres away from their battle partner at speeds of between 120 kmh and 170 kmh.

"It's actually really hard to explain, or at least it is until you can get someone in the car with you and show them," says one of the drivers expected to feature this weekend, Christchurch drainlayer Phill Sutherland. A larger-than-life character, the 31-year-old, who drives a 700 horsepower turbocharged Toyota 2JZ-powered Nissan Cefiro sponsored by his business, Drains & Developments Ltd, got into the sport through friends and says he is having the time of his life.

Interestingly, one of the things he likes best about the new sport is the short, sharp, speedway-style elimination format.

"I'm too busy with work for something like rallying," he says. "Drifting is relaxed and easy-going when you're out of the car but it's all on when you're in it."

As it has been with so many other action sports, New Zealand was both quick to grasp and put its own distinctive stamp on drifting, the by-product of late-night Touge (or canyon) racing in Japan in the early 1970s packaged into a slick stadium-style sport by driving great Keiichi Tsuchiya and magazine entrepreneur Daijiro Inada.

The D1NZ championship is in its 11th year and a South Island-only series - Drift South - has been contested since 2006.

Though still just 24, Blenheim-born Christchurch refrigeration and air-conditioning specialist Chris Jackson is a four-year veteran of the local scene, having done a couple of rounds in a friend's car before finishing ninth overall in his first season, second the next before winning the title outright in the third.

The latter result got him thinking about dipping a toe in the D1NZ water this season. After an encouraging reception at the first round at Hampton Downs in November last year he and girlfriend Nikla decided to commit to doing all six rounds.

Taking Whiddett to a ‘One More Time' (where the judges can't pick a winner after the first two battles and ask the drivers to go One More Time) at the most recent round at Taupo has been the highlight of an impressive rookie season so far, with Jackson lying ninth in the series points standings.

He's done it the hard way too, paying the lion's share of the bills for the modification and maintenance of his Nissan S14 out of his weekly wage packet while gratefully accepting support and assistance from fellow members of the Christchurch drift community.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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Tribute to Kiwi race ace - 12/04/2014


Motorsport: Tribute to Kiwi race ace

By Eric Thompson

New Zealander Howden Ganley in the F1 Williams car.
New Zealander Howden Ganley in the F1 Williams car.

The Festival of New Zealand Motorsport's sixth annual event next year will run over its two traditional weekends - January 16-18 and January 23-25 - and will have probably the largest collection of F5000 cars ever assembled in one place.

Held at Hampton Downs, the festival will be celebrating the career of another of New Zealand's great drivers of bygone years, Howden Ganley.

Previous festivals have paid tribute to Bruce McLaren, Chris Amon and Denny Hulme as well as acknowledging BMW's and Ferrari's contribution to motorsport.

Ganley, now 72, was born and raised in Hamilton, and at an early stage in life decided he wanted to be a racecar driver. He started his racing career in New Zealand, but it wasn't long before he realised that to get a leg up the international racing ladder he'd have to go to Europe.

McLaren was in the UK so Ganley pitched up and was soon working for the flying Kiwi. McLaren took him under his wing and it was in a F5000 car that Ganley turned a few heads.

After finishing second to fellow McLaren M10B driver Peter Gethin in the 1970 European Formula 5000 championship, Ganley was offered a Formula One drive with the BRM team in 1971.

In his first year in F1 Ganley was named best newcomer with a top finish of fifth, and in 1972, again with BRM, his best finish was fourth.

In 1973 Ganley moved to Frank Williams' new Iso-Marlboro team, but the car was uncompetitive. The following year he moved to March for a brief stay before his F1 career ended after a spectacular accident in the Japanese-built Maki in practice for the German Grand Prix at Nurburgring later in that year.

Howden Ganley (left) with British F1 star Graham Hill (above) Pictures/Terry Marshall
Howden Ganley (left) with British F1 star Graham Hill (above) Pictures/Terry Marshall

He then went into partnership with another Grand Prix racer, Tim Schenken, to form the Tiga (Tim/Ganley) racing car business but eventually sold out in 1987 and went into business outside racing. He also served for a period as secretary of the British Racing Drivers Club, but then moved to the United States.

The organisers of the Festival of Motor Racing at Hampton Downs are hoping for a record lineup of cars at next year's event.

Close to 300 cars were built to contest Formula 5000 (Formula A in the United States and Canada) series around the world between 1968 and 1982.

New Zealand F5000 Association chairman Tony Roberts believes as many as 60 can be found for the two-round F5000 World Series.

"What we'd like to see is the biggest gathering of Formula 5000s ever competing under the banner of the F5000 World Series," he said.

"There are at least 40 here, a similar number in Australia plus at least 20 each in regular use in the UK and the US.

"The regular series guys will obviously be the starting point, but what we would really like is enough cars to create two grids [Hampton Downs has a limit of 32 cars a grid].

"We'll have one for those who want to compete for MSC series points and the other for those who just want to be part of the meeting and drive the car round the track at their own pace."

Formula 5000 was New Zealand's premier motor racing category from 1970 to 1975, and interest in it was revived around 12 years ago.

Key to the attraction of the cars for drivers and fans is the practical, if rather brutal, combination of their tubular steel space frame (early cars) or aluminium monocoque (later ones) chassis and stock-block 5-litre V8 engines.

In their heyday they were as quick as, if not quicker at some tracks, the Formula 1 cars of the era, yet they could be built at a fraction of the cost.

The McLaren M10B Ganley drove to second place in the 1970 European Formula 5000 Championship has been restored and is now owned by a Swiss enthusiast. Roberts hopes to reunite Ganley with it at the first festival meeting.

Organisers are working on getting guest cars to provide more flavour on and off track.

Support classes confirmed include the historic muscle cars, historic Formula Ford, saloons and Formula Junior. Several others are yet to confirm.

NZ Herald

For this article and more by the NZ Herald click here


"Survive the Slide" - 9/04/2014

What to keep your teenage driver safe this winter?


On May 30th, Formula Challenge are running a "Survive the Slide" Skidpan programme at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park. This is aimed at allowing the kids to learn how to recognize, understand and correct a slide in a car. This training programme is about skid awareness and not skid control. The emphasis is on the driver being able to recognize the imminent onset of loss of control and vary there driving to reduce or eliminate the risk of loss of control and to prevent a crash.
By using the Hampton Downs skidpan, it allows us the opportunity to let the kids experience a slide at slow speed with out having to teach them how to first create a slide.
The instructors will guides the students through a series of situations where they will simulate understeer, oversteer, aquaplaning, snow and icy conditions at much slower speeds than are necessary to induce loss of control in an attempt to teach the student what it feels like, and how to avoid it, in a safe environment.
For more information click here or contact Elton at for more information or to book a place now as we only have 18 place available on the day.




The organisers of the annual New Zealand Festival of Motor Racing at Hampton Downs are eyeing a record line-up of cars as they firm up plans for the Gulf Oil-backed 2015 event which celebrates the career of Formula 1 driver Howden Ganley and the category - Formula 5000 - which helped springboard his career.


"What we'd like to see is the biggest gathering of Formula 5000s ever competing under the banner of the F5000 World Series," says the chairman of the New Zealand F5000 Association (and co-founder of the Hampton Downs circuit), Tony Roberts.


Close to 200 cars were built to contest the various Formula 5000 (Formula A in the United States and Canada) series around the world between 1968 and 1982 and Roberts believes that as many as 60 can be found for the two-round 'Formula 5000 World Series' which will be part of the Festival next year.


"There are least 40 here, a similar number in Australia plus at least 20 each in regular use in the UK and the US. The regular series guys will obviously be the starting point, but what we would really like is enough cars to create two separate grids (Hampton Downs has a limit of 32 cars per grid), one for those who want to compete for MSC series points, the other for those who just want the opportunity to be part of the meeting and drive the car round the track at their own pace." 


Feature driver Howden Ganley, now 71, was born and raised in Hamilton and after resolving to become a professional racing driver after a brief start to his career here, travelled to the UK where he worked for compatriot Bruce McLaren. 

McLaren took him under his wing and after finishing second to fellow McLaren M10B driver Peter Gethin in the 1970 European Formula 5000 Championship Ganley was offered a Formula 1 drive with the BRM team.


In his first year in Formula 1 in 1971 Ganley was named best newcomer with a best finish of fifth, and in 1972 - again with BRM - his best finish was fourth. In 1973 he moved to Frank Williams' new Iso-Marlboro team but the car was uncompetitive and after a short stay at March in 1974 his career in Formula 1 ended with a serious accident in the Japanese-built Maki in practice for the German Grand Prix. 


Formula 5000 was New Zealand's premier motor racing category from 1970 to 1975 and interest in it was revived around 12 years ago. Key to their attraction - for both drivers and category fans alike - is the practical if rather brutal combination of their tubular steel spaceframe (early cars) or aluminium monocoque (later ones) chassis and stock-block 5-litre V8 engines.


In period they were as quick as if not quicker at some tracks than pukka Formula 1 cars yet could be built at a fraction of the cost.


The McLaren M10B Ganley drove to second place in the 1970 European Formula 5000 Championship has been restored and is now owned by a Swiss enthusiast and Roberts says he hopes to reunite Ganley with it at the first Festival meeting.


The Festival itself will run for its traditional two weekends in January 2015, with the first weekend January 16, 17 and 18 and the second weekend January 23, 24 and 25. Organisers are already working on a number of 'guest cars' that will help provide the flavour on and off track that has helped establish the Festival as the premier historic motorsports event in New Zealand which attracted a genuine 23,000 spectators over both weekends of its Ferrari-themed event earlier this year.


The new-look branding for the Gulf-supported 2015 event has also been launched today on the Festival web site and Facebook sites. Details of advance ticket offers will also be published on both on-line sites, as well as in the event's e-newsletter.


Support classes already confirmed for 2015 include the Historic Muscle Cars, Historic Formula Ford, Saloons and Formula Junior with several exciting announcements to come during the next few months on support categories for the event.

2015 will be the sixth edition of the New Zealand Festival of Motor Racing with the event having celebrated Bruce McLaren, Chris Amon, BMW, Denny Hulme and Ferrari since the Hampton Downs circuit was opened.

For more information go to

Global adventure challenge comes to New Zealand - 8/04/2014

Media release
Friday 28 March, 2014
Global adventure challenge comes to New Zealand
It’s with every intention of turning the rolling green hills to Mudder mud, that Tough Mudder makes its epic Kiwi debut. Sprawled around Auckland’s fastest racetrack, New Zealand’s maiden Mudder is sure to be marred in madness and mayhem. Mark our words: the City of Sails will soon turn into a city of wails.
This large-scale obstacle mud run designed by former British Special Forces agents is landing in Auckland this April.
Tough Mudder demands its ‘Mudders’ grind out a 20km course littered with obstacles including mud, ice-water, a greasy quarter-pipe and live electrical wires. Rather than being a race it is a challenge designed to test all-around strength, stamina, mental grit and teamwork.
Calling itself “Probably the Toughest Event on the Planet,” Tough Mudder has seen more than a million participants across three continents muddy up and complete the challenge. The Tough Mudder phenomenon has exploded across the world in the past three years; 2014 will see more than 60 Tough Mudder events taking place globally. Hundreds of New Zealanders have already completed a Tough Mudder event overseas.
“Kiwis have a reputation for being hard core so we thought it was about time we got down here, organised an event and let them prove what they're made of,” says Drew Ward, Tough Mudder’s Senior Vice President – Asia-Pacific.
“In many ways New Zealand is the home of adventure sport but Tough Mudder is something completely different. Our events are not just for die-hard adventure sports fanatics – they’re for anyone who has the will to train and the guts to take it on. We’ve seen Mudders ranging from veterans to business executives, and beauty queens to 81-year-old grandfathers.
“At the end of the day, Tough Mudder is about teamwork and camaraderie – you simply won’t get to the end of the course without it. Completing a Tough Mudder unlocks a true sense of accomplishment,” Ward says.
And it’s not just a day for the participants. Family and friends can spectate for only $20 if pre-purchased online, or pay $40 on the day. Kids under 10 years old are free.
Tough Mudder are also looking for Volunteers to help create unconventional life-changing experiences for its Mudders out on course. There are a myriad of Volunteer roles available; from Registration to Mudder Village to out on Course and anyone is welcome to apply. As an added perk for doing so, Tough Mudder Volunteers get 90% off registration, see all the details at
Tough Mudder’s inaugural New Zealand event takes place in at Hampton Downs, Waikato on 26 and 27 April and registrations are now open on the Tough Mudder website at
For more information, images and interviews, please contact:
Siobhan Waterhouse, Tel: 0-9-918 5547, Mob: 022-126-4149 email:


Greg Murphy's new screen vehicle - 3/04/2014


Greg Murphy's new screen vehicle

By Louise Smith

One of New Zealand’s favourite sporting sons calls a spade a spade and likes to win, discovers Louise Smith.


Greg Murphy at Hampton Downs Racetrack. Photo / Jason Dorday
Greg Murphy at Hampton Downs Racetrack. Photo / Jason Dorday

They say those born under the sign of Leo love the centre stage. They're talented, have a flair for the dramatic, known to be fearless and strong, they're life's high achievers, but boy, do they have fun on their way to the top. If you need someone to lead the charge, call a Leo.

No surprise to hear that Greg Murphy, born August 23, 1972, is a Leo - and Murph, as he's lovably known around the traps, has never been afraid to let us hear his roar.

"Am I a hot-head? I do have a bit of a short fuse. I'm incredibly impatient, I don't suffer fools - my wife reminds me of this all the time - and I like to think I'd be quite happy sitting around doing nothing for hours and hours, but I just can't do that.

I get scratchy.

"But if I show The Hulk, it just means I'm not fake. I don't like to cover things up to maintain a persona, that's just not me."

New Zealanders cottoned-on to his spade-a-spade, up-front attitude pretty quick.

Murphy is a favourite sporting son - he won the Bathurst 1000 four times and is one of the best-known V8 Supercar drivers - and during this interview in a bustling Auckland cafe, people interrupt to shake his hand, quietly tell him in a bloke-to-bloke way how much they admire him and what he's done.

His famous 2005 crash, then an out-on-the-track dust-up with fellow Bathurst competitor Marcos Ambrose, is a motorsport YouTube favourite. He still gets asked about it at every speaking engagement.

But suggest to Murphy that he's a legend then prepare for a rising of the hackles.

"I don't like that word. You've got to do some pretty incredible things to be labelled a legend or a sporting hero. Sportspeople shouldn't be labelled heroes. We just do what we love doing and are bloody fortunate to be doing so."

Nevertheless, this much-admired racing driver has had a Big Ben pie and a Burger King burger named after him.

And now he has his own motorsport TV show, #Skyspeed. It debuts this Thursday on Sky Sport 3 at 7.30pm and is touted as the fastest 30 minutes on television.

The weekly show will be filmed at various motorsport hotspots and include the petrolhead delights of F1, Nascar, IndyCars, V8 Supercars and Superbikes, to name a few.

Co-host and Sky stalwart Stephen McIvor can vouch for the speed aspect of the show. "We were shooting the promo in the car at Hampton Downs and Murph cheekily pointed to the speedo, which was at 236km/h."

McIvor was fine with that. "It was when we went right up the bumper of the promo car shooting in front of us that I just about wet my pants. But Jeez, it demonstrated exactly how much control Murph had over that vehicle."

Yep, Murphy takes control. As a young driver across the Tasman in the V8 SuperCar Championship he had the foresight and good entrepreneurial advice from a "couple of Aussie blokes who I've always trusted" to help guide his career on the racetrack. He became a pin-up boy for Holden.

"I could see things were starting to steamroll, after winning Bathurst and I knew it was important for me to grow my profile. It was a bit different in the motorsport industry then. There was money, we were making ads with big marketing budgets and it really was awesome."

He laughs at some of the kids these days, who approach him and say, "my Dad's a fan of yours, but my Mum loves you". Does he mind that?

"It's funny," he says wryly, indicating that he doesn't mind in the slightest. "But those mums are probably my age now and they probably remember me because of the profile back then."

Murphy severed ties with the fulltime V8 SuperCar Championship at the end of 2012. He didn't want to give up the drive and admits he went through a stage of being bitter and twisted. "I wasn't happy. The team was struggling and proposing to change manufacturers and I didn't want to do that." He could have hung up the keys for good. "I was scared, it was a big change. I was wondering how I was going to pay the bills but 
I was focused. I secured a drive with an enduro team, [he co-drives again at Bathurst this year]. I was always going to come back and see what New 
Zealand was offering."

That was the V8 SuperTourer Championship. He won the title last year and is currently way ahead on the table of this year's event with eight wins from nine races. There's one more V8 event over the long Anzac Weekend, then it falls to some serious winter downtime, snowboarding with the kids at Ruapehu and enjoying the new bach at nearby Taupo.

He is also eyeing up property in his home digs of Havelock North. Born there and schooled there, it's now where he wants his three children to grow up.

"I struggle with the word permanent," says Murphy. "We've been back two months and we're renting at the moment, so we really want to find the perfect spot."

The somewhat cramped inner-city suburbs of Melbourne have been home to Murphy, his wife of 11 years Monique and children Ronan, 12, Cormac, 10, and Neve, 6, for years.

He's not afraid to admit that their third child was a little unplanned.

"Complete and utter laziness on my behalf. I was shocked," he says, shaking his head, "But Neve has turned out to be the biggest amount of fate that will ever guide me. She is hilarious, crazy and fantastic entertainment for us."

There is big Irish ancestry in the Murphy clan - hence the children's names. Monique, a Wellingtonian, is also of Irish descent. "Maybe the next cuisine they name after me will be a spud," Murphy laughs.

It was Monique who, during the clean-out and box-packing from Melbourne, discovered Murphy's school reports. "I certainly won't be showing those to my children," he says shrinking down in the chair.

"They all say the same thing, year after year, 'Greg would achieve a lot more if he wasn't continuously acting the class clown'. I wouldn't say I was the most popular kid at school but I managed to make some lifelong friends."

His eldest son Ronan is already a regular on the local Hawke's Bay karting scene - right where Murphy started his career with his father Kevin by his side. "He's obsessed, to my dismay, but hey, what did I think was going to happen?

"I was late getting started in the big cars. I was 19.

I won a scholarship at Manfeild. Had it not been for that, I might never have had a career in racing.

"Dad and I just thought it was going to be karting. It wasn't even worth talking about anything bigger because it was like a dream that was never going to happen. But he knew that was what I wanted."

And so the dream came true. Murphy can't yet put a date on when he'll stop racing. "I still love to compete."

He's yet to see Rush, Ron Howard's movie detailing the fierce Formula One rivalry between Austrian Niki Lauda and playboy Brit, James Hunt.

"I refuse to watch that one on a plane but what a great story. The passion, the rivalry and two people with the very same goal, yet doing it completely differently."

Murphy is no stranger to great rivalry himself. Just ask what happens when he pulls up next to a Ford at the traffic lights, behind the wheel of his incognito white Holden.

"It's funny. Some will jokingly give you the fingers; others squirm in their seats and look the other way or it's just a general hoo-ha and shout out the window."

He is new to social media. Follow him on Twitter if you like, @gmracing51, but don't expect too much interaction. "Twitter. . ." ponders Murphy. "As an information tool it's brilliant but I don't want to get into reacting to the nutbags. It would wind me up."

Murphy continues to get wound up about road safety in New Zealand. He is the face of the Motor Trade Association's in-school safety programme and he wants new drivers to have professional driver training and the skills to cope with New Zealand's unique roading conditions.

"The training side of things is absolutely critical. I can guarantee that if people had the skills and training to start with, we would be in a much better situation, where a lot of these crashes that happen would have a chance of not even happening."

He has cautionary tales of his own, writing off his beloved first car, a Datsun 1200SSS. 
"I got charged. I was 18. It's probably the least proud moment of my life. I injured my passenger and I was someone who knew how to drive. You think these things aren't going to happen to you and it's naive."

He uses this incident as a tool to resonate with young hearts and minds as far as road safety goes.

That model of Datsun is now back in Murphy's personal garage. "I literally haven't owned a car for years, but I'm starting to now. Mainly early-70s muscle cars."

Favourite car of all time? "Definitely the 69 Dodge Charger. I've got one. It's a project between me and a few very passionate men in Auckland."

But don't expect to see it painted in the flashy, loud Dukes of Hazzard colours. "Daisy Duke in the front seat maybe," he giggles, with a wink.

No denying this motorsport maestro has no intention of slowing down just yet.

Join Greg Murphy and co-host Stephen McIvor on #Skyspeed, this Thursday, 7.30pm, Sky Sport 3.

Herald on Sunday

Aging rocker sells stunning Lambo - 3/04/2014


Aging rocker sells stunning Lambo

Lamborghini made just 338 of the sports car model owned by Rod Stewart - being sold for just under $1.9 million.
Lamborghini made just 338 of the sports car model owned by Rod Stewart - being sold for just under $1.9 million.

A rare Lamborghini once owned by rocker Rod Stewart is being sold for nearly £1 million ($1.9 million) in the UK.

The singer bought the two-door Lamborghini Miura P400S new in 1971, when it did 0-100km/h in 6.7 seconds with a top speed of 275 km/h - the fastest road car of its kind in the world at the time.

The pristine four-litre blue sports car with silver trim has recently undergone a £100,000 restoration and is being sold on AutoTrader for £899,999.

It is one of only 338 produced between December 1968 and March 1971. One was owned by Frank Sinatra and Miles Davis also had one, which he crashed in October 1972 after reportedly taking cocaine, breaking his ankles.

The Miura garnered worldwide appeal when it featured in the opening sequence of the Michael Caine classic The Italian Job in 1969. Stewart owned his for five years until 1976, when it was sold to a private buyer.

An AutoTrader spokesman said: "An old classic like this is rarely seen on the market now and particularly in such good condition for its age; all the love and attention has clearly kept it performing."


For this article and more by the NZ Herald click here

Tough Mudder - Pure pain party - 30/03/2014


Fitness Challange: Pure pain party

Each week Rachel Grunwell tries out a different exercise to bring you the lowdown.


Rachel Grunwell is trained by Pua Magasiva. Photo / Michael Craig
Rachel Grunwell is trained by Pua Magasiva. Photo / Michael Craig


Tough Mudder training


What is it? About 5000 Kiwis have signed up for this hardcore, military-style, 20km obstacle course. It started overseas in 2010 as the brainchild of a former terrorism specialist in the British Special Forces, the idea being his Harvard Business School project. It's an event, not a race, so leave your competitive crazy streak behind.

It's about reaching the finish line, not the finish time, and it's for the camaraderie.

What's needed? Mongrel grit. Decent fitness.

The experience: When asked to a training session to help readers prepare for New Zealand's first Tough Mudder, I considered hiding under my desk. But I harden up and say, heck, sign me up. The offer to train with the event's ambassador, Pua Magasiva, who plays buff nurse Vinnie Kruse on Shortland Street, didn't sway me. Honest. So I meet Pua outside the Shorty St studios for the workout and ask: "How crazy will this get?" He replies: "I'm gonna push you hard - and build it up." Then giggles.

I wince and say, "I see," then ask, "What do you tell people who think this event is kind of crazy?"

He says: "It's better to be crazy with other people than by yourself."

It will be tough, but fun, he promises.

Rachel Grunwell is put through a Tough Mudder training routine. Photo / Michael Craig
Rachel Grunwell is put through a Tough Mudder training routine. Photo / Michael Craig

The Tough Mudder obstacle course is kept a secret. But participants are warned there may be ice-baths, walking a plank, swimming through ditches or under cages with only inches to breathe, climbing insanely high, slippery walls, crawling through small, dark tunnels, scaling dizzy heights - even electrocution. And all over 20km.

So how do you train for this pain party?

Pua recommends strength work, pull-ups, rope-climbs, stair-runs. And expect climbing, crawling and shoving. "It's an anaerobic workout with an aerobic component." Cross-fitters and circuit trainers might do well but pure weightlifters may struggle.

Pua hints that the running part should be used as "recovery" even though it will feel like aerobic stress. He wants people to help their mates. And he'll be there to make sure that last person pulls through.

So Pua gives me a taste of how to prepare: running hard for several minutes, hard-out drills such as star-jumps, push-ups and repeatedly hauling my weight over a concrete wall. The session is intense, but when I want to stop, Pua spurs me on and, being a mate, gives me a nudge over a concrete wall.

Rachel is put through a training routine by Pua Magasiva. Photo / Michael Craig
Rachel is put through a training routine by Pua Magasiva. Photo / Michael Craig

I'm beat and bruised, but when we reach the end and high-five it's a feel-good adrenalin rush. Or delirium, perhaps.

Meanwhile, I ask Pua, 34, what his fitness secrets are. He's a regular boxer and circuit trainer - and runs around after daughter Jasmine, aged 3. "Being fit is a lifestyle. It makes me happy," he says.

He went through "a bit of depression" in 2007 and was "hitting alcohol and getting angry at the world". He credits his wife Kourtney for pulling him out of these trenches and urging him to get a personal trainer's qualification "and it turned my life around". It also led to being the Tough Mudder ambassador. He loves events like this one because it spurs people to get fit and happier.

How much? Final entry $209.

Worth it? You'll get grubby, tired and swear a lot. Be prepared for people to call you crazy. But that's part of the appeal, right?

Try it: April 26 and 27, Hampton Downs Motorsport Park, Waikato,

Rating: 9.5/10

Rachel wears: adidas: Seven-Eighth tights $140; Graphic tank $95, Techfit moulded bra $45,

Follow Life & Style on Twitter and Facebook.

Herald on Sunday

For this article and more by the NZ Herald click here






Unique event will be marking spinal injury - 13/03/2014


Unique event will be marking spinal injury

  • 12 Mar 2014
  • Matamata Chronicle
‘‘On September 11, 2004 I had a race fall and broke three vertebrae in my back.
I was extremely close to one of the vertebrae going through my spinal cord and I had to spend six weeks without moving in hospital.’’
Sobering words from Matamata’s Gemma Sliz who was thrown off her horse after she became boxed in and her horse was clipped.
‘‘I will always remember jockey Mark Sweeney just talking to me while I was lying on the track,’’ Gemma said.
The 32-year-old recognises how fortunate she was to have walked out of hospital and wants to give back, so is participating in the Wings for Life World Run.
She is also encouraging other Matamata residents to get involved.
The Wings for Life World Run is raising funds for research to cure spinal cord injury.
One hundred per cent of money raised will go to the Wings for Life foundation.
The event will be held on May 4 at 9pm and will begin at Hampton DownsRaceway.
The entry fee is $75 and participants must be aged 18 and over.
The Wings for Life World Run is a never before seen event, encompassing up to 40 locations worldwide, in which everyone runs at the same time.
On this day the world will run as one, for those who can’t. The event is for runners of all levels. The race route will be clear but runners will not be completing a set distance as the finish line will be chasing them.
Half an hour after the race begins, official catcher cars will simultaneously set off in pursuit of the runners.
The speed of the catcher cars will accelerate at determined intervals and when the catcher car passes runners; their race is over and they will catch the shuttle back to the start.
The catcher cars will eliminate competitors as they pass them, until there is one man and woman left running in each location.
Champions in each location will receive invitation to race in one of the 40 courses of their choosing in the next Wings for Life World Run.
The global champions will receive a once in a lifetime, round-the-world trip.
Gemma is aiming to run 10 kilometres in one hour and ten minutes. She is training twice a week. ‘‘I think it is a pretty good cause. More needs to be done in these sorts of injuries. I’m lucky to be able to race and raise money for those who can’t and can’t live a life basically,’’ Gemma said.
‘‘I think there is a treatment out there with all the new technology and science that is becoming available.’’
Gemma had to undertake a lot of rehabilitation and had to learn how to walk again after her accident.
‘‘I still suffer from it. I have to go for MRIs every few years to check bones haven’t moved or changed and there has been a lot of change over the years,’’ she said.
For more information about the Wings for Life event, go to wingsforlife

Carter eyes club footy return - 12/03/2014

Rugby: Carter eyes club footy return

Crusaders' coach must wish he could have access to All Black's experience and skill now after rough start.

Wings For Life World Run ambassadors Daniel Carter and paralympic sailor Andrew May. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Wings For Life World Run ambassadors Daniel Carter and paralympic sailor Andrew May. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Dan Carter's last act as a rugby player was to hobble off Twickenham with yet another Achilles injury in his 100th test. His next is likely to be an appearance for his Southbridge club as he works his way back to fitness following his sabbatical.

Carter confirmed yesterday that he wants to play for the Crusaders after the June test break; first, though, he is keen to play a match or two in the blue and white hoops of his Southbridge club.

He has played only one senior match for his club: in 2009 against Hornby when his comeback from another Achilles injury - and sabbatical - drew thousands of spectators to Christchurch's Denton Oval.

The Crusaders play three matches after the test series against England - against the Hurricanes, Blues and Highlanders.

Carter's plans will be a boost for his country club and, potentially, the town of Leeston where it is based, but how Crusaders' coach Todd Blackadder must wish he could have access to Carter now after a torrid start to the season in which they have lost to the Chiefs and Blues and got out of jail against the Stormers.

The Crusaders' attack has been extremely poor, their lack of penetration showing in the fact their backs have scored only three tries in three matches. They have scored five in total. Colin Slade could earn a starting spot at No 10 against the Rebels in Melbourne on Friday, with Tyler Bleyendaal and Tom Taylor used at first-five with varying degrees of success.

Speaking in his role as an ambassador for the Wings for Life World Run event, which will raise money for spinal injury research, Carter said he was using his break to spend time with his family and work on his injury problems in order to extend his playing career. He had surgery on his Achilles tendon after his most recent problem during the All Blacks' victory in London in November.

"The training I've been doing has been pretty basic, just getting on top of a few things that have been holding me back for the last couple of years," he said.

The list is becoming extensive and is centred around his legs - calf, Achilles tendon, hamstring and groin. He also broke a hand before the France tests in June last year and injured a shoulder when dumped in a tackle by Springbok Bismarck du Plessis at Eden Park in September.

Carter reached a deserved 100-test milestone against England, but he limped there to a certain extent. His various ailments meant he played only six tests last year. "The beauty of this break is that you can train harder than you would if you were playing. When you're playing week in, week out, it's more about recovery and you don't get gains. It's more about maintaining [the body].

"I'm pretty keen to play a couple of Crusaders games after the test series so that's what I'll be working towards, [and] potentially a club game or two before then." Aaron Cruden will be the All Blacks No 1 first-five while Carter is away but the 32-year-old said he wasn't thinking about the June tests or how he might feel as he watched from the grandstand.

As for the Crusaders, he also gave little away, saying he had seen only their results. "It's a pretty stock standard start by the Crusaders, to be honest - typically slow. They'll be fine, I'm sure they'll get a lot better as the competition goes on."



Accident at vintage motorsport event - 9/03/2014

Accident at vintage motorsport event
Saturday 08 Mar 2014 3:32p.m.
A 68-year-old man died after his 1961 Cooper open-wheel formula car failed to negotiate a sweeping bend and collided with a wall during a race at Waikato's Hampton Downs Motorsport Park.
Police were called to the race venue about 1:25pm, Waikato district road policing manager, Inspector Freda Grace, said.

"Because part of the management of the event involves having emergency crews in place at the track, medical aid was available to the man straight away. However, he died at the scene," she said.

Though the incident occurred on a race track and is therefore not a road fatality, police are investigating the matter on behalf of the coroner.

An organiser told NZ Newswire that no other car was involved and a medical event may have affected the driver.

Police and ambulance attended the park on Hampton Downs Road near Te Kauwhata.

Vintage car races are scheduled to take place this weekend as part of the Roycroft Trophy.


Read more:

Roycroft Trophy this weekend - 7/03/2014


8-9 MARCH 2014

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Race ace red-lights NZ drivers - 4/03/2014


Race ace red-lights NZ drivers

By Morgan Tait

Kiwis are 'terrible' motorists, but a few simple changes could save many lives.


Greg Murphy says road safety isn't taken seriously in New Zealand. Photo / Dean Purcell
Greg Murphy says road safety isn't taken seriously in New Zealand. Photo / Dean Purcell

Champion motorsport ace Greg Murphy says New Zealanders are "terrible" drivers and the country has a culture where road safety isn't taken seriously.

The four-time Bathurst 1000 winner is calling for a law change to make professional driver training compulsory for anyone trying to get a licence - a move he says will save the lives of more New Zealanders.

"We are 100 per cent not taking it seriously enough. Knowing that we could have a lot more young Kiwis, and New Zealanders as a whole, still with us if we just changed a few simple things - it's really quite ridiculous," Murphy told the Herald.

"This could change lives and I find it disturbing we haven't changed things earlier and saved people going through the pain and damage of losing someone they love on the road," he said.

"We need to make some changes sooner rather than later."

Changes in 2011 that raised the minimum driving age from 15 to 16 and applied a zero-alcohol tolerance to all drivers under 20 had started addressing some issues, but more were needed.

When testing was restructured in 2012 to make it harder to obtain a restricted licence, the concept of professional driver training was left off the safety checklist, he said.

Transport Authority figures for that year showed 61 Kiwis aged from 15 to 24 were killed on roads here, and a further 3378 were seriously injured.

"The issue here is driver training," Murphy said.

"Drivers these days, and their parents, came up in generations where there was no compulsory training and there still isn't."

Murphy, who is also the face of the Motor Trade Association's in-school safety programme, wants new drivers to have the skills to cope with New Zealand's unique roading conditions.

"The training side of things is absolutely critical. I can guarantee that if people had the skills and training to start with, we would be in a much better situation, where a lot of these crashes that happen would have a chance of not even happening."

He said safety features of cars compensated for human error and increased the chance of survival, but nothing compensated for a lack of knowledge and skills.

"The level of skills in New Zealand is just terrible, the culture that we have got, and as long as there is no skills training we are going to stay very bad drivers.

"If people had a little bit more understanding of what they were doing and the risks associated with what they were doing and had the training, they wouldn't make those errors."

Waikato University transport psychologist Dr Robert Isler said raising the driver age to 18 could also have a positive impact on road safety.

"We have done lots of research on young people and I think 16 is still too young.

"We have proof that the licensing should be made harder and more challenging so that people train more and have more supervised driving from their parents and can take up professional training as well - there should be more focus on coaching," Dr Isler said.

New Zealand was one of the worst-performing countries in the developed world when it came to young people dying on the roads, he said.

Associate Transport Minister Michael Woodhouse said the government's changes, part of its Safer Journeys 10-year road safety strategy, were working and he did not see a need to raise the minimum driving age or implement compulsory training.

"Four years in, and we're seeing some positive results," he said. "2013 was the lowest road toll in 60 years. The number of 16- to 24-year-olds seriously injured on our roads in 2013 was 37 per cent lower than four years ago.

"This downward trend is pleasing to see, but there are still too many young people - particularly young men - involved in serious crashes, and this age group will continue to be a focus for the Government."

NZ Herald

For this article and more by the NZ Herald click here


Mahindra back North Island Endurance Series - 3/03/2014

Mahindra back North Island Endurance Series

The new North Island Endurance Series has today confirmed global automotive manufacturer Mahindra as the title sponsor for the inaugural three round series which takes place this year.

The sponsorship is the first for Mahindra in New Zealand, although the company is a major sponsor in NASCAR and Moto GP amongst its motorsport projects, and has its own team in the forthcoming Formula E series - a global championship around city-based street circuits for electric powered single seater racing cars that will go from standstill to 100kph in approximately 3 seconds. As well as having title sponsorship of the new endurance series and a presence at each of the three events, Mahindra will also provide the official safety car for the events.

The Mahindra North Island Endurance Series dates are the 6th and 7th of June at Pukekohe, the 5th and 6th of July at Taupo and 25th and 26th of July at Hampton Downs.

The sponsorship of the endurance series by a brand fresh to New Zealand is welcome news for organisers. "Even though everyone involved in the new series has experience of running and promoting motorsport events, we all know how difficult it is for any level of the sport to secure worthwhile sponsorship these days," explained series board member Kel McBeath. "Mahindra want to be involved with the series right from the outset and are as enthusiastic as the organisers about making it a success. We couldn't ask for a better and more willing partner."

The Taupo rouud will include a 1 hour and 3 hour race, while the Hampton Downs and Pukekohe events will include 1, 3 and 6 hour races. Class 1 will be for vehicles powered by engines of 3501cc and over, Class 2 for engines between 2001cc and 3500cc, Class 3 1601cc to 2000cc and Class 4 up to 1600cc. There will also be a GT class for the more exotic cars. Equivalence factors will be Forced Induction x 1.7 and Rotary Engine x 1.8.

A brand recently new to New Zealand, the Indian-owned Mahindra operation nonetheless has a long history involved in many aspects of the automotive industry. It was founded in 1945 as steel trading company and entered automotive manufacturing in 1947 with the iconic Willies Jeep. Today the company spans 18 key industries including Aerospace, Agribusiness, Automotive, Components, Construction Equipment, Defence Vehicles, Energy, Farm Equipment, Finance, Industrial Equipment, I.T. and Logistics to name just a few.  Mahindra employees 180,000 employees in over 100 countries across the globe and has an annual turnover in excess of US$16.2 billion. Today, its focus is utility, light commercial and passenger vehicles."

Consistent racing puts Tang in front - 4/02/2014


Motorsport: Consistent racing puts Tang in front

By Eric Thompson

Singaporean misses out on wins but grabs top spot through steady performance

Martin Rump won the New Zealand Motor Cup. Photo / Geoff Ridder
Martin Rump won the New Zealand Motor Cup. Photo / Geoff Ridder

Singaporean driver Andrew Tang was grinning from ear to ear as he left the Hampton Downs racetrack last night as the points leader in the Toyota Racing Series. Tang grabbed another fistful of points at the fourth round of the series to knock Jann Mardenborough off the top perch.

Tang, who contested the championship last year, has been Mr Consistent over the 12 races so far and is justifiably sitting at the top.

"It's a great feeling to be leading the championship but there are still three races to go," he said.

Tang missed out on standing on the top spot at the weekend with the race wins going to Mardenborough, Steijn Schothorst and Martin Rump. Estonian Rump won the feature race for the New Zealand Motor Cup to emulate his mentor and fellow Estonian Sten Pentus, who won the same trophy two years ago. He headed home Tang and Egor Orudzhev.

"It was very good to get the win in the feature race," said Rump. "Especially after my race on Saturday when I went off the track and went some laps down and finished at the back of the field."

Schothorst made up for a nightmare third round at Highlands Motorsport Park the previous weekend where he was unable to bank any points by wining the Sunday morning race from Kiwi Damon Leitch and Orudzhev.

Winner of race one, Mardenborough, had a fraught start and was swept up by the pack, ending back in 11th but clawed his way back to 10th at the finish. Tang started off third spot and initially dropped back, then closed up on Orudzhev and harried him all the way to the flag.

Mardenborough started the next race from pole and despite two safety car episodes, the Brit controlled the restarts and comfortably won from Tang and Orudzhev.

The TRS championship heads to Manfeild next weekend for the New Zealand Grand Prix.

NZ Herald

Odd man out on a learning curve - 3/02/2014


Motorsport: Odd man out on a learning curve

By Eric Thompson eric thompson@nzherald co nz

Ryan Tveter took up fulltime racing only last year. Photo / Bruce Jenkins
Ryan Tveter took up fulltime racing only last year. Photo / Bruce Jenkins

Each year the annual Toyota Racing Series throws up a driver who hasn't followed the normal path to wings-and-slicks racing.

Last year it was Brit Jann Mardenborough who won the Nissan Sony PlayStation Gran Turismo gaming competition (beating 116,000 others), which gave him the opportunity to attend the GT Academy.

Being the best driver on a real track gained him a season of British GT racing in 2012 and last year he raced just about everything and nabbed a third place at the Le Mans 24 Hour in the LMP2 class.

There's been much debate about video games and their relationship with the actual activity of racing on track.

Sure, a Formula One simulator is about as close to the real thing as you can get, but they cost more than an actual F1 car and are definitely not a video game.

This year's TRS championship has thrown up another anathema to the generally regarded natural progress of karting, Formula Ford and then junior formula, like the TRS, before stepping up to drives like GP3 and GP2.

American Ryan Tveter is this year's odd man out. He's only been in a kart on his birthday and took up fulltime racing last year.

What does appear to be increasingly apparent is that racing digitally is a good foundation for doing it for real.

The 19-year-old has been a passionate follower of motorsport since he can remember and has spent many hours engaging with simulated racing. Quite possibly this is the new trend in driver development, especially now that motorsport is dependent on computer data. "I've only raced a kart on my 11th and 13th birthdays," said Tveter.

"I raced three times in 2011 and did a partial season in Star Mazda the next year.

"My parents said my education was a priority and I think that's helped a lot.

"I've always been passionate about the sport and studied it a lot, especially Formula One.

"To me it's about what you can learn and how quickly you can learn it and apply it in the car.

"It's all about the data from the car now and how you learn and interpret it. It all came together pretty quickly for me and I was able to progress quickly. The data is always there and you can't sugarcoat it. You have to be honest, keep learning and work hard."

The Oyster Bay, NY resident has just signed a deal with Josef Kaufman Racing to campaign the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup this year after impressing the team in his first full season of any form of motorsport in the Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup.

Being able to spend five weeks contesting 15 races in New Zealand is like an intense training camp for the young man.

"It's the perfect place to get a really good workout before I go to Europe for this year's season," said Tveter. His form after three rounds and nine races so far indicates the American has come to grips with the TRS car and sits just inside the top 10 and has already notched his first podium finish - in any form of motorsport with a third place at Highlands Motorsport Park.

"That was an amazing result but I've made a few mistakes that have cost me valuable points.

"There have been a few races that haven't really gone my way but I'm relatively happy I'm in the top 10."

Round four of the TRS is this weekend at Hampton Downs with one race today and two tomorrow.

NZ Herald

For this article by the NZ Herald please click here









  • Sunday 26th January, 2014 7:33pm
  • Author: SpeedCafe ©
Jann Mardenborough leads Andrew Tang in TRS feature at Highlands 2014 344x228 Martin Rump clings to TRS lead

Jann Mardenborough leading Andrew Tang in the feature. Pic: Euan Cameron

Estonian Martin Rump’s lead in the Toyota Racing Series has been slashed to two points after a mixed round three at Highlands Motorsport Park.

Rump finished the round just ahead of British driver Jann Mardenborough even though he did not start the final race after his car had been damaged by contact with the wall in the morning race.

That low followed yesterday’s high when Rump scored a clear-cut victory, his first of the championship, and opened a big points lead in the 22-strong field.

For Mardenborough it was the other way round – he crashed out of yesterday’s race but won the feature, the 20-lap Denny Hulme Memorial Trophy, in wet conditions.

“I was annoyed with myself in race one but other people have had issues of their own,” Mardenborough said after narrowly beating Andrew Tang.

“I’m glad I got the win today but for lap after lap I couldn’t get away from Tang in second.

“He got a bit close, especially on the last lap when I couldn’t get second gear at the hairpin.

“I was having to drive through the water to cool the rear tyres and the car was moving around quite a lot.”

Tang was pleased with his fourth podium finish of the championship, which includes two victories.

“Another couple of laps and I might have got him,” he said. “But second is still good and I think we won the round overall.”

Invercargill driver Damon Leitch completed a great weekend with third in the final, following a fourth and a second in the first two races.

Brazilian Gustavo Lima was fourth.

New Kiwi star James Munro remarkably came all the way from the back of the grid to finish fifth.

The Christchurch 17-year-old had stalled on the grid at the original start, which meant he was sent to the rear for the restart.

The morning’s race saw a fantastic display of wet-weather driving by Russian Egor Orudzhev.

Much faster than the rest of the field, he opened a big gap and then pulled away again at the restarts after safety-car periods caused by crashes.

Orudzhev said he actually did not like racing in the rain, but he reckoned bravery was the key.

“In the rain you don’t have to be afraid you will slip away,” he said.

“I had about five moments, especially on the last lap. It’s a new track and where there’s water there’s no grip.”

Leitch passed several drivers on his way to second.

“The restarts were good because the field bunched up again and you could have a go at someone,” he said.

Lima was third, Tang fourth with Swiss Levin Amweg fifth and Munro sixth.

The championship continues next weekend at Hampton Downs and concludes the following weekend with the New Zealand Grand Prix at Manfeild.

For this article and more by Speedcafe click here




Birthday boy Michael Lyons (Lola T400) has extended his MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival series winning streak with another lights-to-flag victory at the second New Zealand Festival of Motor Racing meeting at Hampton Downs today. But celebrations are on hold until tomorrow night.

"Yes," said the young British driver who turned 23 day today."While it's great to be able to win a race on your birthday I won't be doing much partying tonight. I've got two more races to try and win tomorrow!"

Series young gun Lyons, who won all three races and lowered his own outright track lap record at the first of two NZ Festival meetings at Hampton Downs last weekend, claimed pole for today's race with the only sub one minute (59.585) qualifying lap and won the 8-lap race from the turbocharged 1985 Ferrari F1 car of special event and MSC F5000 series guest Guido Belgiorno-Nettis. 

Andrew Higgins (Lola T400) was the best of the local MSC series drivers in third place with Tony Richards (Lola T332) fourth on his category return and Lyons' father Frank (Gurney-Eagle FA74) fifth.

After two storming 'through-the-field' drives at the first NZ Festival meeting last weekend Auckland driver Clark Proctor (March 75A) was again on form this weekend, joining Michael Lyons on the front row of the grid. However after running a comfortable second to Lyons early on he was a late retirement when his detected something not quite right in his car's driveline.

"I picked up a bit of a vibration and decided it was safer to pit rather than push on and potentially do something that might take us out of the weekend again," he said. 

After a best placing of sixth at the first NZ Festival of Motor Racing (which this year celebrated the Ferrari marque) Sydney businessman/racer Guido Belgiorno-Nettis (Ferrari 156/85T F1) showed the benefit of track familiarity today, qualifying fourth before spending the first two laps battling for third with Andrew Higgins and the last two closing in on Michael Lyons after Clark Proctor pitted.

"The Formula 5000s have so much torque it is hard to stay with them out of the corners but my car was better from the big sweeper onto the start/finish straight and at the end of the straight into Turn 1,
he explained. 

For his part Andrew Higgins said he enjoyed the unique opportunity of dicing with a genuine Formula 1 Ferrari but that in the end it came down to horsepower.

"That thing is just so fast in a straight line - and so it should be - from the hairpin to the end of the start.finish straight it is just gone!" he said.

With a three-lap yellow flag period bunching up the field the margins between cars remained close with plenty of action through the 18-strong field. 

Aaron Burson (McRae GM1) and Calven Bonney (Begg 018) enjoyed a particularly spirited dice as they disputed sixth place with Bonney, back in his car after a comprehensive rebuild which took over 18 months, positively beaming when he got back to the pits. 

"It's definitely good to be back and I'm doing better than I thought I would, "he said.. 

McRae GM1 driver Alastair Russell was another driver in a positive frame of mind, despite having to start from the back row of the grid after failing to post a qualifying time.

Russell spent the race stalking and finally getting the better of fellow McRae GM1 driver Peter Burson and said that - hopefully - he has sorted the oil foaming and pressure issues, that he has been struggling with over the past two seasons. 

Disappointed not to get to the flag, meanwhile, was Brett Willis (Lola T330), who had to pull off the track on the last lap with a fuel starvation issue.

Finally, in the MSC F5000 series' new 'battle-of-the-brothers' Christchurch-based Tony Richards (Lola T332) finished fourth his Auckland-based sibling Glenn (Lola T4000) tenth.

The MSC F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series is organised and run with the support of sponsors MSC, NZ Express Transport, Bonney's Specialized Bulk Transport, Mobil Lubricants, Pacifica, Avon Tyres, Webdesign and Exide. 

2013/14 MSC New Zealand F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series 
1. Michael Lyons (Lola T332) 59.585
2. Clark Proctor (March 73A) 1.00.022
3. Steve Ross (McRae GM1) 1.00.810
4. Guido Belgiorno-Nettis (Ferrari 156/85T F1)1.01.234
5. Andrew Higgins (Lola T400) 1.01.442
6. Tony Richards (Lola T332) 1.01.690
7. Frank Lyons (Gurney-Eagle FA74) 1.01.952
8. Aaron Burson (McRae GM1) 1.02.505
9. Calven Bonney (Begg 018) 1.03.091
10. Glenn Richards (Lola T400) 1.03.376
11. David Banks (Talon MR1) 1.03.498
12. Peter Burson (McRae GM1) 1.05.035
13. Warwick Mortimer (Surtees TS5) 1.08.657
14. Greg Thornton (March 75A) 1.11.899
15. Sefton Gibb (Lola T332) 1.12.409
16. Judy Lyons (Lola T332) 1.25.962)
17. Alastair Russell (McRae GM1) no time
18. Brett Willis (Lola T330) no time

Race 1 (Sat) 8 laps
1. Michael Lyons 1.00.024
2. Guido Belgiorno-Nettis +1086
3, Andrew Higgins +7.896
4. Tony Richards +12.052
5. Frank Lyons +12.535
6. Aaron Burson +18.580
7. Calven Bonney +19.142
8. David Banks +20.971
9. Sefton Gibb +24.156
10. Glenn Richards +27.843
11. Alastair Russell +31.053
12. Peter Burson +31.054
13. Warwick Mortimer +38.669
14. Brett Willis + 1 lap
dnf Clark Proctor, Judy Lyons, Steve Ross, Greg Thornton

Want a Ferrari? Queue here - 25/01/2014


Want a Ferrari? Queue here

By Ben Selby

NZ buyers warned famous marque's cut in car production will make it harder to get one


Ferrari sales will be more exclusive in New Zealand
Ferrari sales will be more exclusive in New Zealand

'Seeing a record 141 cars from various eras on the track at the same time last weekend was great.'A new version of the Ferrari California is tipped to be the marque's first turbocharged road car since 1987.

Want a Ferrari? Queue here ...

If you want to buy a new Ferrari, you're going to have to prove you're a red-blooded fan of the prancing stallion.

That's the message from Continental Car Services, the Maranello marque's distributor in New Zealand.

It follows Ferrari president Luca Di Montezemolo's announcement last year that the company will reduce production of road cars in a move to make the brand more exclusive.

Continental divisional manager Mark Bycroft explained what this means for would-be Ferrari buyers in New Zealand.

"Ferrari is probably the only carmaker in the world actively reducing its production," he said.

"Ferrari will become more exclusive, not only in New Zealand, but around the world. With the exception of dealer demonstrators, every new Ferrari model sold in New Zealand will be to customer order."

Ferrari is still in demand in New Zealand, with the mid-range 458 leading the charge in sales.

"Since its launch in 2010, the 458 Italia has been our best-selling product, followed by the entry-level California tourer," Bycroft said. "With a new California due out this year, it is a very exciting time for the brand."

Reported to have a turbocharged 3.8-litre V8, similar to Maserati's new Quattroporte, the new California could be the first turbocharged Ferrari road car since the legendary F40 of 1987.

The Ferrari-themed NZ Festival of Motor Racing at Hampton Downs Raceway is proving a great success. "The Ferrari festival has seen a massive response from both New Zealand Ferrari owners and fans." Bycroft said.

"Seeing a record 141 cars from various eras on the track at the same time last weekend was great."

The festival runs again today and tomorrow. It features three Formula One cars and the ex-Ken Wharton 750 Monza Sports racing car alongside models from all eras.

NZ Herald

Ferrari fans are treated to a rare sight at Hampt - 23/01/2014

 Ferrari fans are treated to a rare sight at Hampton Downs


A display of the limited production run hypercars including an F40, F50 and Enzo was a highlight of the festival. Pictures / Ben Selby
A display of the limited production run hypercars including an F40, F50 and Enzo was a highlight of the festival. Pictures / Ben Selby

Lovers of all things Ferrari converged on Hampton Downs Raceway over the weekend for a NZ Festival of Motor Racing dedicated to their favourite machines.

The celebration drew a large crowd, with tifosi - as Ferrari fans style themselves - dressed from head to toe in Maranello merchandise and memorabilia.

"Every year we alternate between celebrating a famous driver or a particular marque," said chairman Jim Barclay. "We started with Bruce McLaren, then Chris Amon and BMW Motorsport. Last year was Denny Hulme, so this year we decided to celebrate Ferrari."

The big attraction was three Ferrari Formula One cars. Two 156/85s from the 1985 season, driven by Michele Alboreto and Stefan Johansson, paid tribute to one of the most memorable eras of Formula One.

"The 1985 Formula One season is widely considered by the F1 community to be one of the best and most exciting of all time and to have two of the most iconic cars from that era of Formula One at a NZ track, and at our event, is obviously very exciting," said Barclay.

The two turbocharged V6 cars from Australia, owned by Guido-Belgiorno-Nettis, were accompanied by an ex-Gerhard Berger 1994 412T.

"Having a V12 Formula 1 Ferrari screaming round Hampton Downs is really exciting for Kiwi Ferrari fans."

Both cars performed demonstration runs and the 156/85 competed in the F5000 class against Clark Proctor's March 73A and the Steve Ross McRae GM1.

A display of the limited production run 288 GTO, F40, F50 and Enzo hypercars was another highlight. A Kiwi-built replica of the rare 250 GTO completed the five-car line-up, each of which was driven around the track.

"Apart from the newest LaFerrari, which has only just been made, the representation of all five flagship cars is something you would not see in many places," said Barclay.

Thanks to the New Zealand Ferrari Owners Club, a record 141 Ferraris, covering every era, attended the first weekend of the festival, smashing the previous club record of 76. They ranged from a 1954 250 GT Europa, to the newest production F12 Berlinetta.

Former Ferrari ace Chris Amon in the Ferrari 412T F1 car.
Former Ferrari ace Chris Amon in the Ferrari 412T F1 car.

As a former Ferrari Formula One driver, New Zealander Chris Amon made an appearance for the parade of Ferrari road cars.

The impressive convoy was led by a pre-war Scuderia Ferrari Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Monza.

British driver Michael Lyons completed a winning trifecta in the F5000 Tasman Revival series class in his Viceroy Lola T400, while the BMW open and Muscle car classes made for great racing. Two Nascar Nextel Cup stock cars also made an appearance.

The festival will run for a second weekend from January 24-26.

NZ Herald

For this article and more by the NZ Herald click here


Ferrari Festival - Weekend Two another thriller.. - 23/01/2014

 Ferrari Festival - Weekend Two another thriller...

Weekend two of the 2014 New Zealand festival of Motor Racing promises to be as good as the first, with several new classes running this weekend to compliment the best of the first weekend’s categories.

New classes for the weekend are the Historic Formula Libre and the Formula Junior/Formula Three classes, along with the ever popular BMW E30 series.

The Historic Formula Libre boasts one of the biggest entries for a Libre event in years in New Zealand, with Ken Smith heading the 18 car entry in his Formula Atlantic Swift. Three other examples of the iconic DB4 Swifts are down to run – with Andy Higgins, Lyall Zohs and David Heron behind the wheels. Martin Lucas’ 1982 Ralt RT4, another iconic racer from the period, is another Atlantic runner. 

No fewer than three CanAm cars are in the field, including Roger Williams fearsome McLaren M8E/F (pictured), Paul Halford’s McLaren M1A/B and Warwick Mortimer in his M8 E/F. Three Formula Holdens will also run, as will the unique 1995 RFX, and F5000 driver Greg Thornton in the one-of-a kind ex-Tony Trimmer Titan MK10 BDA powered Atlantic machine.

New Zealand Festival of Motor Racing Chairman Jim Barclay gets behind the wheel in the combined Formula Junior and Formula Three class, pedalling his lovely red Gemini MK3A once again, and look out for F Junior regulars John Holmes (Lotus 18) and Roger Herrick (Lola Mk2). John Rapley is another notable runner in the ex-Denny Hulme Brabham BT2/6.

The Historic Muscle cars are back for more, as are the Formula 5000 cars in the final weekend of their festival mini-series, and they will be joined once more by intrepid Ferrari pilot Guido Belgiorno Nettis in the fabulous turbocharged Ferrari 156/85 Formula One machine. The F1 demonstration runs, which proved such a huge hit on the first weekend, are on again on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with Richard Carter driving the other Ferrari 156/85 and Robert Borrius Brock joining the fun on Saturday and Sunday aboard his breathtaking ex Gerhard Berger 412T V12 car from 1994.

Watch out also for the historic sports sedans field which will feature the return to the race tracks of the iconic Sidchrome Mustang, newly restored and a late entry to run with the Addis Charger and several other ‘big name’ sedans making rare appearances to the track. 

The Festival once again celebrates the Ferrari mark, with around 85 cars expected this weekend and the Supercar paddock being joined by the gorgeous ex ‘works’ 1955 Ferrari 750 Monza sports racing car.

This Ferrari Monza was one of two Monzas racing in New Zealand in 1957. It was brought to New Zealand by British driver Ken Wharton to race at the NZIGP meeting held at Ardmore in January 1957. It was said the car had been driven by ‘works’ driver Eugenio Castelotti in the tragic 1955 Le Mans 24 Hour race and driven by to win at Rouen in France, and to third places at Targa Florio in Sicily and the Swedish GP. Sadly, Ken Wharton was killed when driving the car in a sports car race at Ardmore in 1957.

Aucklander Ken Harris purchased the wrecked car in 1957 and rebuilt it to race condition. He finished third in the first Ken Wharton Memorial Trophy race held at Ardmore in January 1958, and first in the sports car race held that year at the Lady Wigram Trophy meeting. In 1959 Harris won the Ken Wharton Memorial Trophy at Ardmore and finished 12th in the 1959 NZIGP. 

Fellow Aucklander Bill Thomasen purchased the Monza in late 1959 and raced it throughout 1960 before he sold it to John Riley in 1961. Riley fitted a Chevrolet Corvette 4600cc V8 engine when the 2999cc 260hp four-cylinder Ferrari engine blew up. By now the six-year old car was uncompetitive but Riley did score a win in a sports car race at the 1963 Levin International meeting. He also finished second in both the 1963 Beach Racing championship held at Muriwai and a race meeting at Pukekohe. 

A number of other people owned the car after John Riley; Sir Leonard Southward, of the Southward Car Museum, purchased the car in the later 1960s from an owner in the South Island. Len had the Corvette engine removed and the car was on display in an unrestored condition in the Museum until a complete restoration was undertaken in the mid-2000s. 

Tickets for each day and for the weekend are available on the Hampton Downs gate and there will once again be a Show and Shine where you can bring your pride and joy and enter the competition, and the infield as the driver, for just $20.

Check out the video to see how weekend one went...

To pre-buy tickets for this weekend go to or just buy on the gate!



A record gathering in New Zealand

Estimated reading time: 1 minute

It’s not every day you see 140 Ferraris of every type and from every era brought together on the grid of a race track and it’s even more sensational if the unusual gathering takes place almost a pole apart from the country where the cars were built, in other words in New Zealand.

The gathering took place last weekend as part of the New Zealand Festival of Motor Racing, at the Hampton’s Down circuit. The Ferraris set a record for the largest gathering in the land of the long white cloud: from the Enzo to the F40, three Formula 1 cars, an F50, as well as cars from the current range, it all made for a great show on the main straight of the track, which is around 60 kilometres to the south of Auckland.

The event confirms the great popularity of the Prancing Horse in New Zealand and was organised in collaboration with the local Ferrari Owners Club. Thousands of spectators were thrilled by the spectacle, which is to be repeated next weekend.

For this article please click here




Visiting British driver Michael Lyons (Lola T400) completed a winning trifecta of the MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series races on the second day of competition at the first New Zealand Festival of Motor Racing at Hampton Downs today (Sunday Jan 19). 

In the continued absence of veteran Kiwi ace Ken Smith (Lola T332) who blew an engine while leading Saturday's 8-lap encounter, 23-year-old second-generation racer Lyons ran away with both Sunday races, underlining his superiority by lowering his own outright track record from the 59.840 he set in 2012 to the 59.483 he set in the eight lap race in the morning. 

In that race Lyons lead Kiwi counterpart Andrew Higgins (the pair in almost identically liveried 'Viceroy' cars) from start to finish, crossing the line just over five-and-a-half seconds in front with defending series champion Steve Ross in his newly-liveried (now blue) 'Quicksilver' McRae GM1 third and 2012/13 series race winner Clark Proctor (March 73A) making it from the back of the grid (after crown wheel and gearbox problems meant he didn't start Saturday's race) to fourth. 

Like Saturday's race Sunday morning's one had to be re-started, in this case after just the one lap thanks to a coming together between Michael Lyons' father Frank (Gurney-Eagle FA74) and Grant Martin (Talon MR1A) as the field streamed into the first corner. Lyons was able to continue but Martin couldn't (damaged rims) and the race was red flagged and re-started. 

Class A (for older cars) standout Michael Whatley (Surtees TS8B) again ran third early on before eventually being caught and passed by both Steve Ross and eventually, Clark Proctor. Brett Willis (Lola T330) again ended up best of the mid-field battle-pack in sixth place, ahead of Ian Clements and Frank Lyons, however another coming together saw both Aaron Burson (McRae GM1) and UK visitor Greg Thornton (March 75A) out of the race. 

In the 15-lap feature final Michael Lyons was able to further stretch his advantage though this time Clark Proctor made it all the way to second place from P14 (out of 16) on the grid with Steve Ross third and Andrew Higgins slipping back to fourth by the time the flag came out. 

Ross went back several places after a half-spin at Turn 1 but was able to gather it up and work his way forward again before the chequered flag was unfurled. 

There was disappointment for Michael Whatley, however, the visiting British veteran slowed and eventually stopped as his engine lost power. Brett Willis and Sefton Gibb also failed to finish, the former thanks to a broken throttle linkage, the later a battery issue. 

The weekend's races were the first of a total of six MSC series races which will be contested at Hampton Downs this season with another three at the second New Zealand Festival of Motor Racing meeting celebrating Ferrari next weekend. 

.The MSC F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series is organised and run with the support of sponsors MSC, NZ Express Transport, Bonney's Specialized Bulk Transport, Mobil Lubricants, Pacifica, Avon Tyres, Webdesign and Exide. 

2013/14 MSC New Zealand F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series 
1. Ken Smith (Lola T332) 59.445
2. Michael Lyons (Lola T400) 59.514
3. Andrew Higgins (Lola T400) 1.00.685
4. Steve Ross (McRae GM1) 1.00.844
5. Guido Belgiorno-Nettis (Ferrari 156 85T V6 F1) 1.02.063
6. Michael Whatley (Surtees TS8) 1.02.661
7. Ian Clements (Lola T332) 1.02.763
8. Aaron Burson (McRae GM1) 1.03.245
9. Brett Willis (Lola T330) 1.03.245
10.Greg Thornton (March 75A-1) 1.04.039
11. Sefton Gibb (Lola T332) 1.04.117
12. Frank Lyons (Gurney-Eagle FA74-01) 1.04.595
13. Grant Martin (Talon MR1A) 1.05.173
14. Calven Bonney (Begg 018) 1.05.538
15. Glenn Richards (Lola T400) 1.06.441
16. Peter Burson (McRae GM1) 1.07.334
17. Warwick Mortimer (Surtees TS5) 1.10.490
18. Judy Lyons (Lola T332) 1.27.115
19. Clark Proctor (March 73A) (no time)

Race 1 (Sat 8 laps)
1. Michael Lyons 8.44.887
2. Andrew Higgins +1.793
3. Michael Whatley +6.652
4. Brett Willis +7.167
5. Ian Clements +7.285
6. Steve Ross +9.273
7. Frank Lyons +11.795
8. Aaron Burson +12.016
9. Sefton Gibb +13.151
10. Greg Thornton +14.339
11. Grant Martin +17.721
12. Calven Bonney +20.263
13. Glenn Richards +21.881
14. Peter Burson +22.839
15. Judy Lyons +1 lap
16. Guido Belgiorno-Nettis + 2 laps
17. David Banks + 7 laps
dnf. Ken Smith, dns Clark Proctor

Race 2 (Sun 8 laps)
1. Michael Lyons 8.07.893
2. Andrew Higgins +5.675
3. Steve Ross +10.474
4. Clark Proctor +10.916
5. Mike Whatley +18.334
6. Brett Willis +24.704
7. Ian Clements +26.119
8. Frank Lyons +40.501
9. Guido Belgiorno-Nettis +40.679
10. Calven Bonney +40.838
11. Sefton Gibb +57.070
12. Glenn Richards +59.794
13. Peter Burson +60.392
14. Judy Lyons + 2 laps
dnf. Greg Thornton, Aaron Burson, Warwick Mortimer
dns Grant Martin 
New lap record: Michael Lyons 59.483

Race 3 (Sun 15 laps)
1. Michael Lyons 15.18.332
2. Clark Proctor +12.420
3. Steve Ross +15.264
4. Andrew Higgins +19.420
5. Greg Thornton +44.199
6. Guido Belgiorno-Nettis +47.875
7. Ian Clements +49.919
8. Frank Lyons + 1 lap
9. Glenn Richards + 1 lap
10. Peter Burson +1 lap
11. Calven Bonney +2 laps
dnf Brett Willis, Warwick Mortimer, Michael Whatley, Sefton Gibb, Judy Lyons

Ferrari Festival revs up - 17/01/2014

Motorsport: Ferrari Festival revs up

By Eric Thompson

The Ex-Gehard Berger Ferrari 412T
The Ex-Gehard Berger Ferrari 412T

The New Zealand Festival of Motor Racing organisers are rubbing their respective hands in glee this weekend as the Ferrari Festival revs up for the first of two back-to-back weekends of red fever gets underway.

This weekend at Hampton Downs gets the Ferrari treatment, which is repeated next weekend, January 24-26, so if fans of the great Italian manufacturer and the New Zealand 'tifosi' can't get along this weekend they have another a chance in seven days time.

To really wet the Ferrari fan's appetites, two of the most recognised Formula One cars of the mid-1980s will be at the track. The F156/85s, formerly driven by the late Michele Alboreto and Stefan Johansson, were the bellowing behemoths of a bygone era pumping out 750kW-plus of barely controllable power.

"The 1985 Formula One season is widely considered by the F1 community to be one of the best and most exciting of all time," said Festival chairman Jim Barclay.

"It is the season that saw new names in Formula One really emerge - Ayrton Senna and Nigel Mansell were just two of the up and coming stars and the likes of Alain Prost, Nikki Lauda and Keke Rosberg were still out there winning.

"To have two of the most iconic cars from that era of Formula One set to run at a New Zealand track, and at our event, is obviously very exciting and something we and the fans will look forward to hugely."

The cars' (chassis 079 and 082) owner Belgiorno-Nettis has owned both cars for some time and they get regular track workouts rather than sitting in some mausoleum collecting dust. He bought his first 156/85 in 1995, which was used in nine races. It was raced as number 27 when Alboreto drove it and as number 28 when Johansson drove it.

In 2006 he bought his second one and it was a new car in 1985 that Johansson drove in practice for the Belgian GP and at the Canadian and US Grand Prix in Detroit.

Also at the Festival is the 1994 ex-Gerhard Berger and Jean Alesi 412T1. This beast has a 3.5 litre V12 normally aspirated engine, and is regarded as one of the best sounding Formula One cars of all time, though perhaps not one of the most outright successful from the Italian manufacturer.

"What I'm looking forward to as a motor racing fan is being able to see and hear the last of what I reckon the real F1 cars," said Festival organiser Richard Gee. "The 412T1 had 3.5-litre V12 engine that sounded magnificent and I can't wait to hear it again."

If you think that's not enough to entice you along to the Festival, the ex-works 1955 Ferrari 750 Monza sports racing car will be on show at the second weekend of the Ferrari Festival. This Monza was one of two Monzas racing in New Zealand in 1957. It was said the car had been driven by works driver Eugenio Castelotti in the 1955 Le Mans 24 Hour race and won at Rouen in France and a third places at Targa Florio and the Swedish GP. Sadly, Ken Wharton, who bought the car to New Zealand, was killed when driving the car in a sports car race at Ardmore in 1957.

The ex-Johansson 156-85 chassis 082 in action in the hands of current owner Guido Belgiorno-Nettis Photo / Supplied
The ex-Johansson 156-85 chassis 082 in action in the hands of current owner Guido Belgiorno-Nettis Photo / Supplied

Ken Harris purchased the wrecked car in 1957 and rebuilt it to race condition and in 1961 John Riley got hold of the car and fitted a Chev Corvette 4.600-litre to it after the four-cylinder Ferrari engine blew up. Sir Leonard Southward, of the Southward Car Museum, purchased the car in the later 1960s had the Corvette engine removed and the car was on display in an unrestored condition in the Museum until a complete restoration was undertaken in the mid-2000s.

New Zealand's largest ever single gathering of Ferrari road and race cars is all set to wow fans and enthusiasts alike when more than 140 examples of one of motoring's most sought-after brands and the Festival organisers a hoping to set a record for the number of Ferraris gathered in one place.

The New Zealand Festival of motor Racing is the country's biggest historic motorsports event and 2014 is its fifth running, A huge grid of Formula 5000 cars, Historic Muscle Cars, historic Formula Ford, Classic Trials, BMWs and classic saloons will keep all manner of fans happy.



Kiwi Super-vet Ken Smith (Lola T332) showed a stunning turn of speed to dominate the opening round of the 2013/14 MSC New Zealand F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series at Manfeild late last year. But the evergreen 72-year-old will have his work cut out to repeat the feat at the second and third rounds this and next weekend at the two New Zealand Festival of Motor Racing meetings at Hampton Downs. 

The reason is the return, after a season's absence, of young UK gun Michael Lyons (Lola T400). 

The last time Lyons was here (for three rounds of the 2011/12 MSC series) the 23-year-old second-generation racer from Falsted in Essex set a new outright circuit lap record (59.840) as he completed a rare clean sweep of the (six) MSC F5000 races at the two New Zealand Festival of Motor Racing meetings. And he returns on a high after multiple wins in the 2013 FIA Historic Formula 1 championship and finishing sixth in class in the International GT Open European sportscar series behind the wheel of a semi-works Ferrari 458.

"Michael will be the one to beat, that's for sure," admitted Smith this week. "He's very quick and he's got a lot of experience for his age. I rate him very highly." 

With his father Frank (Eagle FA74), mother Judy (Lola T332) and fellow UK Historic Racing series regulars Mike Whatley (Surtees TS8B) and Greg Thornton (March 75A) Michael Lyons will be one of four MSC visitors to take on top locals Smith, Andrew Higgins (Lola T400) and Clark Proctor (March 73A) from Auckland and defending and now two-time series champion Steve Ross (McRae GM1) from Dunedin. 

Lyons Jnr is not the only member of the visiting UK contingent with serious recent Northern Hemisphere historic racing credentials either. Greg Thornton is the current FIA Masters Formula 1 Champion in the Post-1978 class! 

It's three-time former series champion Smith who heads into the Hampton Downs double-header with the lead in the series points standings however, with fellow Manfeild podium finishers Andrew Higgins and Roger Williams (Lola T332) second and third respectively.

Neither Steve Ross nor Clark Proctor were at that meeting, though, and Smith says both also have the ability to take the battle to young gun Lyons this and next weekend, making for what could well be a four-car battle for supremacy - and a new outright track lap record which Smith says could well end up in the high 57/low 58 second bracket. 

There will be at least 20 Formula 5000 cars on the grid at each event over the next two weeks which see the return to the MSC series of former Truck racer Calven Bonney in the ex Jim Murdoch Begg 018 and the debut in the Lola T400 initially driven by former Mini and Shellsport ace Reg Cook of car owner Glenn Richards. 

Joining Richards on the grid will be his Christchurch-based brother, Tony Richards, and fellow Lola drivers Ian Clements from Christchurch, Sefton Gibb from Napier and Russell Greer from Blenheim (all Lola T332) and Brett Willis (Lola T330) from Rotorua. 

Lola will be the best represented marque with 10 cars entered with McRae (Steve Ross, father and son Peter & Aaron Burson, and Alastair Russell in their GM1s) next with four followed by Surtees (Mike Whatley and local man Warwick Mortimer) and March (Greg Thornton and local man Clark Proctor) on two and the New Zealand-made Begg (Calven Bonney) and the US-made Talon (David Banks from Auckland) and Eagle (Frank Lyons) one each. 

This year Ferrari is the featured marque at the two New Zealand Festival of Motor Racing meetings with more than 130 examples - including three Formula 1 cars. The trio will be demonstrated on both days and though he hasn't - so far - been asked, Ken Smith says he'd be happy to put one through its paces. 

"Nobody's said anything about it so far," says Smith, the original ultimate lap record holder at the track,"but yes, if they were handing out rides it would be nice to have a steer." 

There will be three MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series races at each New Zealand Festival of Motor Racing rounds at Hampton Downs with qualifying sessions on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, the first race on Saturday afternoon and two more races on Sunday, one in the morning and the weekend feature in the afternoon.

Ferrari festival showcases the rare and wonderful - 15/01/2014


Ferrari festival showcases the rare and wonderful (+WIN)

Ex Gehard Berger Ferrari 412T
Ex Gehard Berger Ferrari 412T

Lovers of all things Ferrari will be gathering in Waikato this weekend for the Ferrari-themed New Zealand Festival of Motor Racing at Hampton Downs Raceway north of Hamilton.

The festival will run over the next two weekends, and will feature some of the rarest and most desirable Ferrari road and race cars.

Highlights include demonstration laps by three factory Ferrari Formula One cars including an ex-Gerhard Berger 412T1 that featured in the 1994 season (pictured).

A New Zealand record gathering of Ferraris organised by the New Zealand Ferrari Owners Club will be attempted on Sunday.

Driven has two six-day family passes to give away. Email the subject line "Ferrari", and include your name, address and phone number by tomorrow to enter the draw.

For this article and more by the NZ Herald click here

The Ferrari Festival is here! - 15/01/2014

 For the latest update click here

Ferrari Formula One Machinery - Malaysia - 14/01/2014

Fancy seeing Fernando and Kimi in action this year in the very latest Ferrari Formula One machinery? And how about doing it in Malaysia? This season should be one of the most exciting in Formula One with new engines, a host of aero changes ...and lots of team and driver interest. If you fancy a great trip to Malaysia for the Grand Prix and a lot more besides, we can recommend Fuzion Travel's amazing package. Check it out! More





  • Tuesday 7th January, 2014 11:42am
  • Author: SpeedCafe ©
1955 Ferrari 750 Monza photo at Manfeild 344x229 Ferrari fest set for Hampton Downs

1955 Ferrari 750 Monza

A record gathering of Ferrari race and road cars are set to headline the latest edition of the New Zealand Festival of Motor Racing at Hampton Downs.

Staged on consecutive weekends from January 17-19 and January 24-26, up to 130 exotic machines will almost double the previous record for New Zealand.

Up to three F1 Ferraris are confirmed along with several over racing examples from the Maranello marque with the majority drawn from New Zealand-owned machines and from the Ferrari Owners Club of NZ.

A spread of models ranges from the 250 GTO, 288 GTO and the celebrated F40 and F50 versions along with the Enzo supercar.

Making an appearance on the second weekend will be a 1955 Ferrari 750 Monza from the Southward Car Museum.

Two 1500bhp 1985 F1 Ferraris will be flown from Australia and will mark the first time single-seater Ferraris have competed locally since the Tasman series days when Bruce McLaren, Denny Hulme and Chris Amon took on the best the world had to offer.

Paul Halfords 1962 Ferrari 250GT NZFMR BMW Motorsport Festival 2012 Jim Barclay photo 015 344x191 Ferrari fest set for Hampton Downs

Paul Halford’s 1962 Ferrari 250GT

Another rare racer on show will be a 308 GTB Challenge car making the trip from the United Kingdom in the hands of colourful motorsport personality and racer Frank Lyons.

The fifth annual edition of New Zealand Festival of Motor Racing has grown into one of the country’s most significant motorsport events.

A huge grid of Formula 5000 cars, Historic Muscle Cars, historic Formula Ford, Classic Trials, BMWs and classic saloons are also on the program.

For this article and more by Speedcafe click here

Charlett leading the way - 17/12/2013


Charlett leading the way

By Staff Reporter, Andy McGechan

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Wanganui's Richard Dibben (Honda CRF450 No1), followed by fellow Wanganui rider Hayden Sherman, leads the Super Moto class after the second round of the Suzuki Series at Manfeild on Sunday. PHOTOS/ANDY McGECHAN, BIKESPORTNZ.COM
Wanganui's Richard Dibben (Honda CRF450 No1), followed by fellow Wanganui rider Hayden Sherman, leads the Super Moto class after the second round of the Suzuki Series at Manfeild on Sunday. PHOTOS/ANDY McGECHAN, BIKESPORTNZ.COM

Canterbury's Dennis Charlett is back where he feels he belongs, on top of the Suzuki Series Formula One class standings.

The 2012 defending champion found himself third overall after the first round at Hampton Downs a week ago, but after a first and third placing at Manfeild's round two on Sunday he is now on top of the rankings.

In the other classes, Wanganui's Jayden Carrick is now off the pace, sitting fifth in the Formula 2 (600cc) series after Manukau's Toby Summers took his Yamaha to a first and second placing to extend his series lead, while Auckland rising star Daniel Mettam had a great weekend to take over second spot.

However, Summers could not dominate the Super Moto class. Wanganui's Richard Dibben, the 2012 champion, left him behind to battle with British visitor Malachi Mitchell-Thomas for the second-place crumbs in the first race, with Summers hitting the tarmac and getting black-flagged because he did not return to the pits after his spill.

Dibben also won the second race, beating Summers and Mitchell-Thomas respectively to take a three-point lead into the final round at Cemetery Circuit on Boxing Day.

There were plenty of thrills and spills in the headline Formula 1 races, with the day being categorised as delightful or disastrous, depending on your point of view.

Hamilton's Nick Cole had been leading the series on his Kawasaki, but suffered engine troubles and had to use a back-up bike, finishing sixth and fifth in his two races to drop behind Charlett by three points in the standings.

Australian Linden Magee (BMW 1000RR) crashed spectacularly soon after the start of the opening F1 race, which forced proceedings to be stopped.

He was not seriously injured but his bike was a mess.

Wellington Suzuki rider Sloan Frost, who had been second overall on the table, crashed just a handful of laps after the restart.

The casualties kept mounting at Feilding. Suzuki ace Craig Shirriffs was forced to give up his lead and pull out of Race One when the bracket holding his brakes in place came loose.

At the beginning of Race Two, Taupo's Scott Moir (Suzuki GSX-R1000) had to withdraw when his bike suffered a malfunction on the start line, which dropped him back to fifth in the standings.

New Plymouth's Hayden Fitzgerald (Suzuki GSX-R1000) could sympathise as he had electrical problems and also pulled out, leaving him seventh in the class standings.

Frost won Race Two from the also-returning Shirriffs, with Charlett third.

But because the Cantabrian Charlett had avoided any dramas it really was his day.

"My Suzuki GSX-R1000 performed brilliantly," he said.

"To win this series for a second year in a row would be great, and I'm not taking anything for granted because there's still a round to go.

"But, regardless of how it all works out for the Suzuki Series, it has still been great in terms for getting myself set up for the national championships [starting January]. I feel like I'm in a good position."

Despite having surrendered his series lead to Charlett, Cole remains optimistic.

"It is still a pretty close competition. I'm just glad that the back-up bike, straight out of the crate from the factory, is a very good machine. Bring it on at Wanganui, I say.

"I have a very good chance of winning the series there, looking at my past results on the Cemetery Circuit, and I'm feeling confident."

But Frost, now 11 points back in third, said he may not race at Wanganui next week.

"There's not a lot of point in me risking myself for a series I can't now win. I've got to think about the nationals coming up.

"It has been a mixed day for me, a DNF and a win. It's frustrating because if you drop one out of six races, you really haven't got a chance."d


For this article and more the New Zealand Herald click here





  • Saturday 7th December, 2013 9:45am
  • Author: SpeedCafe ©
pedro piquet skb piquet jr mania2 313x299 Piquet signs up for 2014 Toyota Racing Series

Pedro Piquet, the 15-year-old son of triple F1 World Champion Nelson Piquet signs up for the TRS

Pedro Piquet, the youngest son of Brazil’s triple F1 champion Nelson Piquet, has been signed up to contest the 2014 Toyota Racing Series.

The 15-year-old Piquet will move into the defending champion team, M2 Competition, ahead of the season-opening race next month.

He has emerged from the karting ranks and more recently F3 in his homeland and is looking forward to the challenging TRS which has become a vital stepping stone for rising open-wheel stars ahead of their European campaigns.

“My goal for TRS 2014 is to be competitive against the other drivers and gain more experience driving formula cars,” young Piquet said.

“Nowhere else in the world can you do 15 races in five (consecutive) weeks, so the TRS is the best championship for drivers who are looking to further their knowledge and experience,” he said.

Piquet’s older brother Nelson jr, now 28, was at the centre of the infamous ‘crash-gate’ controversy where he was given orders to deliberately crash to help his Renault team-mate Fernando Alonso who went on to win the Singapore F1 Grand Prix in 2008.

He later was to win a defamation case against the Renault F1 team for which he parted company in 2009.

The Auckland-based TRS is expecting another bumper Championship as it celebrates its 10th year.

Nelson at Spa 344x230 Piquet signs up for 2014 Toyota Racing Series

Nelson Piquet in the Brabham at the Belgium GP in 1983

Series organisers are preparing for an onslaught of young rookie talent as well as several drivers who will return for their second season in the one-make series.

The 2014 championship starts at Teretonga, the southernmost race track in the world, in Invercargill on January 10.

Toyota Racing Series category manager Barrie Thomlinson says the series has earned a strong reputation over 10 years.

“It has taken a consistent well managed approach over the years to firmly establish the series on the radar for young up and coming racing drivers.

“Attracting our second Formula One World Champion father and son (after Damon Hill’s son Josh’s TRS inclusion in 2011-2012) is further proof of the respect this series now enjoys the world over.

The championship uses a single chassis supplied by Tatuus and are powered by a production based 1.8 litre four cylinder Toyota engine.

Russian Daniil Kvyat who raced in the TRS in 2011 as a member of the Red Bull Junior driver programme won the GP3 championship this year.

Kvyat becomes the first TRS graduate to be promoted into F1 with Red Bull’s Toro Rosso team for 2014.

2014 Toyota Racing Series calendar

1 January 10-12  Teretonga (Invercargill)
2 January 18-19 Timaru
3 January 25-26 Highlands Park (non MSNZ event
4 February 1-2 Hampton Downs
5 February 8-9 Manfeild (NZ Grand Prix)

For this article and more by SpeedCafe click here

Get set for sizzling skirmishes - 12/12/2013

Motorsport: Get set for sizzling skirmishes

By Andy McGechan

Road-racing season starts with a roar, writes Andy McGechan


Dennis Charlett (Suzuki GSX-R1000) is the defending Suzuki Series champion in the premier formula one class and knows he's got his work cut out defending his title this year. Pictures / Andy McGechan
Dennis Charlett (Suzuki GSX-R1000) is the defending Suzuki Series champion in the premier formula one class and knows he's got his work cut out defending his title this year. Pictures / Andy McGechan

It's official, the Kiwi motorcycle road-racing season is off to a flying start. There was a huge buzz in the air as the popular annual Suzuki Series got under way at the undulating Hampton Downs race circuit near Meremere at the weekend, but there is no time for riders to catch their breath with round two set for Manfeild this coming weekend.

If the handlebar-tangling action at Hampton Downs is any indicator, it is sure to be a sizzling hot summer of racing ahead.

This three-round Suzuki Series threatens to rival the New Zealand Superbike Championships in terms of rider numbers and prestige. This competition is traditionally the first real chance for national championship hopefuls to put to the test all their pre-season fine-tuning, gym training and on-track practice sessions before the nationals proper begin in January.

The third and final round of the Suzuki Series is the legendary Boxing Day public street race on Wanganui's famous Cemetery Circuit.

The four-round national championship series follows immediately afterwards, so the Suzuki Series is the perfect time for national title hopefuls to be finding their pace.

Christchurch's Dennis Charlett (Suzuki GSX-R1000) is the defending Suzuki Series champion in the premier formula one class and he knows he has his work cut out again this season, with fellow Suzuki riders Sloan "Choppa" Frost, from Wellington, Taupo's Scott Moir and Te Awamutu's David Hall among those who threaten to take the Suzuki Series' formula one trophy for themselves.

Hamilton's Nick Cole, in particular, and New Plymouth's Hayden Fitzgerald are also contenders in the formula one class.

Feilding's Craig Shirriffs and James Smith of Christchurch are also extremely quick, but these men have opted not to contest the Wanganui street race, making it virtually impossible for them to win the series.

Wellington's Sloan "Choppa" Frost had the most F1 wins last season, but a crash robbed him of outright victory.
Wellington's Sloan "Choppa" Frost had the most F1 wins last season, but a crash robbed him of outright victory.

Frost celebrated the most formula one wins in the Suzuki Series last season, but was denied outright victory by an unfortunate crash at Hampton Downs.

He is determined not to settle for the overall runner-up spot again this time around.

"I won three of the six formula one races last year but crashed while leading one of the races at Hampton Downs," said the 32-year-old.

"That one DNF last year cost me a lot and I just have to be a little more consistent," said Frost, who finished the day runner-up to Kawasaki ace Cole at Hampton Downs on Saturday.

"But, if I can knock half a second off my times, I think I can win the Suzuki Series."

However, Frost will first have to fend off the threat presented by Cole, who won the day at Hampton Downs with 1-2 results, putting Cole three points ahead of Frost (who managed 3-1 results) as they head to Manfeild, and 11 points ahead of defending champion Charlett (who finished 2-6 on Saturday).

With more than $36,000 in prize money, the Suzuki Series attracts the cream of New Zealand's road-race talent, but also lures a blend of international stars, although Britain's Isle of Man legend Guy Martin (Suzuki GSX-R1000) will arrive to contest only the street races at Wanganui on Boxing Day.

The Australians have arrived in force this season, with Chris Seaton, Craig Trinder, Linden Magee and father and daughter pair Phil and Sophie Lovett leading the charge.

Popular German racer Thomas Kreutz, his friend from Dresden, Steve Mizera, and Britain's Malachi Mitchell-Thomas add European flavour to the mix.

A record number of sidecar entries lined up at Hampton Downs and the spectacle of the F1 sidecar rigs swapping paint will again have the crowd on their feet at Manfeild and, no doubt, on Wanganui's streets too.

Racing at Manfeild this weekend should again be fierce in the F2 600cc, F3 sportbikes, post classics, Bears (non-Japanese bikes), and Super moto classes, with huge entries in all categories.

Friends but race rivals - 5/12/2013

Friends but race rivals

By Iain Hyndman

Mal Mitchell-Thomas (left), Richy Dibben and mechanic Jonny Bagnall will be rivals on the track in the Suzuki Series Super Moto class.  Photo/Bevan Conley
Mal Mitchell-Thomas (left), Richy Dibben and mechanic Jonny Bagnall will be rivals on the track in the Suzuki Series Super Moto class. Photo/Bevan Conley

Defending Suzuki Series Super Moto champion Richy Dibben has plenty of close mates - but he is keeping his enemies closest.

The Wanganui-born racer has returned from England to defend his title this year after an eight-month stint as a mechanic for the Silicone Engineering Racing Team that sponsored top British rider Malachi Mitchell-Thomas.

Dibben and Mitchell-Thomas became bossom buddies flatting together just outside Manchester while the Brit competed in the Super Moto class of the European championship.

"Mal just about had the European championship won, but crashed in the last race in France," Dibben said yesterday.

Mitchell-Thomas and his mechanic Jonny Bagnall are staying with Dibben at his parent's home in Okoia and will compete against Dibben in the Suzuki Series Super Moto class this season for the first time.

The 2013 three-meeting Suzuki Series begins at Hampton Downs this weekend, followed by round two at Manfield a week later and culminating in the legendary Cemetery Circuit street races in Wanganui on Boxing Day.

"I didn't have a job to go to when I went to England, but I got in touch with the Silicone team and they hired me as a mechanic. In fact, team manager Paul Iddon raced on the Cemetery Circuit back in the 1970s. I ended up flatting with Mal and toured with him during the European championship," Dibben said.

"Because of the work I'd done for them, Silicone are also sponsoring me in the Suzuki Series this year. I rode a few races when I was over there, but only in events that weren't important to Mal - and, yes, he beat me."

Mitchell-Thomas will certainly be a serious threat to Dibben on the Hampton Downs and Manfield track circuits, but it is yet to be seen how he handles street racing on Boxing Day.

"I haven't really raced on streets before but, since arriving in Wanganui, we have driven the circuit and it looks okay," Mitchell-Thomas said.

The Brit will be riding the purpose-built TM450, an Italian brand especially designed for track racing and a popular machine on the European Super Moto circuit. Dibben will race a CRF450 Honda and is eagerly awaiting round one this weekend.

"There isn't much to do to either of these machines when coming from track racing to streets, just the gearing really," Dibben said.

While the pair have become good mates, there will be no love lost on the track.

And while Dibben knows he will have his hands full holding out his British rival, he will be keeping a watchful eye on fellow Wanganui rider Glenn Haden who finished down the points table last year after crashing out in the first round at Hampton Downs.

Dibben went into the final round of the 2012 Super Moto Series with a narrow 11-point lead after dominant performances in the first two legs at Hampton Downs and Manfield. However, a late charge from Duncan Hart on the Cemetery Circuit made the race for the title go right down to the wire.

While Hart was the dominant one, winning all Motard races on his Yamaha YZF450, Dibben kept in touch finishing just behind on his Honda CRF450 on each occasion.

The consistent placings meant Dibben won the title narrowly from Hart.


V8 SuperTourers: Pride in prototype - 29/11/2013

V8 SuperTourers: Pride in prototype

Garry Pedersen's company, Pedersen Wholesale, was fundamental in setting up V8 SuperTourers


Craig Baird driving the United Video Falcon at Hampton Downs. Photo / Lance Hastie 
Craig Baird driving the United Video Falcon at Hampton Downs. Photo / Lance Hastie

What do you love about V8 SuperTourers and why?

The prototype car was the brainchild of myself, Mark Petch, Wayne Anderson and Paul Ceprnich and we love the result.

Why did you decide to get involved with the V8ST this year?

We just carried on from our first season with our car, which is the first car built and chassis number one.

How long have you been involved with V8STForever ... we won four titles in previous New Zealand V8 cars.

What are some of your highlights/success stories for V8ST 2013?

Watching the class grow and become the best ever sport sedan class in the country. What do you and your business bring to a motorsport fan?

Race car preparation and running our own V8ST car, No27.

This is a New Zealand car designed for New Zealanders, it is a brilliant concept and it needs to be left alone and only reliability issues attended to. Too many people want to mess with it.

Who will you be supporting in the last round of the V8ST?

The United Video, Mad Butcher, "the Sound" Strait Shipping, Redline Sign Writers, Puke Coal, Ferndale Farms, BOC Gasses, Ford, Michael Morton and our dedicated team.

Polishing the silver

Greg Murphy on the podium at the V8 SuperTourers round in Taupo . Photo / Supplied
Greg Murphy on the podium at the V8 SuperTourers round in Taupo . Photo / Supplied

V8 SuperTourer sponsor John Rennell, from Ellerslie Jewellers and Engravers, explains his

What do you love about V8 SuperTourers and why?

As exclusive suppliers of awards to the V8 SuperTourers, we have enjoyed a close relationship since its inception. And how could you not love watching the V8 fun?

How many years have you been a sponsor of the V8ST?

This is our first year as the sponsor of the Overall Round Winner Awards.

What are some of your highlights/success stories for V8ST 2013?

At round 6 at Hampton Downs I presented another cup to Greg Murphy (pictured)
and said, ''This is becoming a habit'', to which Greg replied, ''It's a habit I love!''

What changes would you like to see in the V8ST?

More rounds equals more winners which means more cups!

For this article and more by the NZ Herald click here

Hampton Downs November Newsletter - 29/11/2013




Former champ aces first drift event - 23/11/2013

Former champ aces first drift event, writes Shane Conza


Gaz Whiter smokes the competition at the opening round of D1NZ at Hampton Downs. Picture / Blake Lewis
Gaz Whiter smokes the competition at the opening round of D1NZ at Hampton Downs. Picture / Blake Lewis

Three-time Cody's D1NZ Championship series winner Gary "Gaz" Whiter, started the 2013/14 drifting season last weekend with a flawless victory at Hampton Downs raceway. Fellow veteran and closest rival "Fanga" Dan Woolhouse was campaigning a fresh LS3 engine in his newly painted VZ Commodore.

Unfortunately limited hours driving the new powerplant proved to be Woolhouse's undoing when he made a few minor errors getting familiar with the set-up and handed Whiter the pole position heading into the Top 16.

After qualifying in first place, Whiter proceeded to be a clear crowd favourite, showing how comfortable he is behind the wheel of the Nissan Silvia he has driven throughout most of his D1NZ career.

As Whiter devoured his first two challengers on the way to the day's final, spectators were treated to a formidable challenge from D1NZ rookie, Jodi Verholst.

The judges called a re-run which Woolhouse won.

Verholst later commented she was "pretty chuffed" with her performance.

As the Top 16 filtered down to the Top Four, Whiter was paired with Andrew Redwood. With both drivers opting to power their mid-sized Japanese coupes with LS series small block V8s, this was technically a fair fight. After an aggressive chase, Redwood's Mazda RX7 looked like it might get in the way of Whiter's return to the top of the D1NZ podium. But Whiter continued his faultless journey toward the final battle to go head to head with drifting icon "Mad" Mike Whiddett.

Whiddett and his Red Bull/Speedhunters RX7 endured a hydraulic leak that deemed the Mazda's entire braking system useless during his Top 16 battles. Unable to remedy the problem on site, Whiddett was forced to reduce his speed in to the entry point, giving Whiter a considerable advantage.

This became evident as Whiter led Whiddett into the first finals run.

After demonstrating a near perfect entry, Whiddett was covered in a cloud of smoke the entire chase up until the moment his Mazda's rear wheels left the track on the final corner heading into the back straight. That left him not only with a nil score, but also a detached rear bumper. The second run went much the same for Whiddett, and Whiter claimed the win.

Winning this season's opener is a testament to the Whiter family and the team behind the Tectaloy Nissan Silvia. Considering the car was almost destroyed in what was technically a "backwards entry" into an unforgiving concrete barrier during a Tauranga event last year, the outcome was a fantastic reward for their efforts over the last year.

By Shane Conza

For this article and more by the NZ Herald click here

Racing returns to glory days - 21/11/2013

Racing returns to glory days

By Iain Hyndman

1 comment
Last year's Suzuki Series F1 winner Dennis Charlett (15) is back for more in Wanganui on Boxing Day. PHOTO/SUPPLIED
Last year's Suzuki Series F1 winner Dennis Charlett (15) is back for more in Wanganui on Boxing Day. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

The countdown is on for what is being billed as the most competitive Cemetery Circuit motorcycling Boxing Day event Wanganui has seen since the 1970s.

Allan "Flea" Willacy, promoter of the Suzuki Series which culminates with the Wanganui street circuit, said only the Marlborough Series from the '70s could rival this year's Boxing Day event.

"We have one of the biggest and best contingents of top international riders arriving to compete against the cream of both New Zealand and Australia," Willacy said yesterday.

"There's already 30 registered to start on the F1 (Formula 1) grid, including last year's Suzuki Series winner Dennis Charlett and Nick Cole, who won both F1 races here last season. But they will have to contend with top German rider Steve Mizera who is bringing out his BMW. Mizera is a regular on street circuits in his homeland.

"Then there's the father and daughter combination of Phil and Sophie Lovett from Australia. As far as I know it will be the first time a woman has raced F1 at Wanganui and Sophie is no slug.

Guy Martin will be the star attraction of the Wanganui races. The British closed-road specialist is a truck mechanic by trade, although is better known for his UK television shows and his lead role in the 2011 movie, TT: Closer to the Edge.

With a huge $36,550 available in prize money, the Suzuki Series attracts New Zealand's top motorcycle racers.

The three-round Suzuki Series will be staged at Hampton Downs on Saturday, December 7; Manfeild on Sunday, December 15 and at Wanganui's famous Cemetery Circuit on Boxing Day, where Martin will be racing a Suzuki New Zealand-supplied Suzuki GSXR1000.

The Cemetery Circuit recently made it into the top 10 street circuits in the world, rated by the top European motorcycling magazine.

Although Martin is yet to score an Isle of Man TT win, the outspoken 31-year-old has made the podium on 13 occasions since 2004.

Martin recently made the podium on a GSXR1000 in the prestigious Le Mans 24-hour race.

All eyes will focus on Martin when he takes to the Cemetery Circuit but he will not have it all his own way. Charlett has been training hard through the off-season to be sharp for the Suzuki Series, and this year he will be running Suzuki's traction control.

He plans to go fast from the start but knows he is not the only rider wanting to win.

"I think whoever grids up on a 1000 will be competition, but definitely Craig Shirriffs, Sloan Frost will be on a Suzuki, Nick Cole, Hayden Fitzgerald, all those top runners will be fast."

Hamiltonian Cole dominated both 2012 races at Wanganui on his Red Devil Racing Kawasaki ZX-10R, and seemed certain to win the prestigious Robert Holden Memorial feature - if it wasn't cancelled due to a heavy downpour. Martin will have his high-speed hands full if he has ideas about crossing the line in front of Cole this year.

"Our goal is to get in sync for the nationals, but because Guy Martin is coming over it would be awesome to show him a few lines around Wanganui. The main thing there is to get a good start, and hopefully it'll be hot, like it has been in the past," Cole said.

The support card is also shaping as a real clash of talent with 20 F1 sidecars booked to start, including last year's winners Adam Unsworth and passenger Stu Dawe. Unsworth and Dawe are former hometown racers now based in Auckland.


Veteran sill full of fire - 13/11/2013

Veteran sill full of fire

By Eric Thompson

Kenny Smith outpaced the rest of the field in a Lola T332 to claim three out of three races. Picture / Fast Company/Lyall Chinnery 
Kenny Smith outpaced the rest of the field in a Lola T332 to claim three out of three races. Picture / Fast Company/Lyall Chinnery
Kenny Smith takes over the Manfeild meeting in 56th season, writes Eric Thompson


Super-veteran and racecar king Kenny Smith proved there's a hell of a lot of life left in the old dog yet. Smith began his 56th consecutive season in motor racing over the weekend at the 40th anniversary meet at the Manfeild circuit, where he competed when it was first established.

Smith owned the meeting by setting pole and taking three wins from three and setting a lap record to boot. You think he would have been satisfied with his performance at the opening round of the latest F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series, but no.

One of the reasons Smith has had such a highly successful motor sport career is the drive he has to go faster. And at 72 there's no sign he's ready to take the easy road just yet. By setting the lap record he's finally beaten the time lifelong friend and original rival Graeme Lawrence set in 1976.

While chuffed with getting one over his old mate, Smith reckons if and when the conditions are right again, he could go even quicker.

Smith says Lawrence's original F5000 category benchmark of a 1.01.900 was set in his then new Lola T332 at the third Manfeild International meeting (a round of the Peter Stuyvesant Series Smith went on to win) in 1976 and was the benchmark for all classes at the 3.033km Feilding circuit until Simon Wills bettered it with 1.01.457) in a Reynard Formula Holden in 2000.

By recording a 1.01.770 in the second MSC Series race of the weekend on Sunday morning, however, Smith finally bettered Lawrence's long-standing category benchmark and was bullish about his prospects of going even quicker.

"I think there is a minute flat in that car. It was just magic today and the track was nice and grippy this morning. If it had stayed that way we might have been able to do it in the afternoon, but it didn't so that's a job for another day," said Smith.

Although both Smith and Jonny Reid have gone considerably quicker during demo runs (Smith has done a 57 second lap in the Leyton House March Formula 1 car he owned and Reid went under the minute in a demo behind the wheel of A1 Team New Zealand's A1GP car), neither time has been recognised, meaning Wills' ultimate record is safe for now.

Smith and the ex-Danny Ongais' Lola T332, rebuilt and run by a crew headed by Smith's long-time crew chief Barry Miller, was the class of the 13-strong field with Andrew Higgins qualifying second quickest and following his mentor home in each race in his ex-Vel's Parnelli Jones team-owned Lola T400.

Each race followed a broadly similar pattern with Smith getting the jump on Higgins before establishing and maintaining a sizeable gap. Higgins, who at early rounds of the Australian series this year has matched and at times been able to better Smith's race pace, in turn had the edge over third quickest qualifier Ian Clements and his fellow Lola T332 drivers Roger Williams and Russell Greer.

In the first two races Williams got the jump on Clements with the order at the flag Smith, Higgins, Williams, Clements and Brett Willis.

Russell Greer, driving the Lola T332 in which Graeme Lawrence set the original class lap record in 1976, was running with Williams and Clements early in the first race before stopping with gear selection issues while Sefton Gibb (Lola T332) had to work his way from the back row of the grid in the first race after breaking a half-shaft when qualifying.

Gibb then worked his way from the back row of the grid to eighth in the first race, finished seventh in the second, then parlayed a strong start in the 12-lap feature final to cross the line in a weekend-best fourth place behind Smith, Higgins and Roger Williams.

The feature race was the best from a spectator's point of view with Williams, Gibb, Ian Clements and Russell Greer battling for third through seventh places until the final lap when, as Clements tried to find a way past Gibb for fourth, Greer ran into the back of Clements' car at the hairpin as he made a bid for fifth.

That put Clements' car off the track where it stayed, but Greer was able to continue and take the flag half a lap later, albeit back in seventh behind Gibb, Willis and Aaron Burson.

After a break of a month and a half, MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series action will return at the two New Zealand Festival of Motor Racing meetings at Hampton Downs over consecutive weekends in late January.


Get drifting with the Gis (+Win) - 8/11/2013

Get drifting with the Gis (+Win)

2:10 PM Friday Nov 8, 2013
Shane van Gisbergen will be showing one lucky winner how to get drifting on Monday at Hampton Downs.
Shane van Gisbergen will be showing one lucky winner how to get drifting on Monday at Hampton Downs.

Things can happen pretty quickly in the motoring world - and this wee comp is no exception.

Here it is, your chance to learn how to do the ultimate burnout from the master, V8 Supercar and SuperTourer ace Shane van Gisbergen.

The catch is that it's all happening this Monday, so we'll be picking a winner on Sunday afternoon and the winner will have to get to Hampton Downs on time to have some burnout fun with the Giz.

That's right. In association with the Cody's D1NZ National Drifting Championship, Driven is giving YOU the chance to get behind the wheel of New Zealand's ultimate burnout machine, the Federal Tyres-backed V8-engined Ford Falcon they call "The Rattla", and learn the basics of the burnout with the drivers who will share the car at Hampton Downs next weekend, Shane Allen and Van Gisbergen.

This season, the two Shanes will be sharing "The Rattla" at all six rounds of the 2013/14 Cody's D1NZ National Drifting Championship.

For your once-in-a-lifetime chance to say you smoked the Federal bags too, all you have to do is like us on Facebook at and comment on this photo.

The winner will be messaged on Sunday.

For this article and more by the NZ Herald click here

Good 'ol boys head to Ferrari Festival - 7/11/2013

Good 'ol boys head to Ferrari Festival

NASCAR will make its first ever appearance at the New Zealand Festival of Motor Racing in 2014 when the ultra-successful 1998 DuPont Chevrolet Monte Carlo of series champ and NASCAR icon Jeff Gordon runs a few demonstration laps over both weekends of the Ferrari Festival on January 17-19 and 24-26.

The car - now owned by Bert Dove - has been displayed at the CRC Speedshow event but this will be the first time it has been run at a public circuit racing event in New Zealand.

By the end of 1998, this car and its driver had staked a claim to a major slice of NASCAR's history books. Gordon opened the year with a very modest 16th place finish in the Daytona 500 but the following week at Rockingham, he battled a poor-handling car to win. He won again at Bristol four weeks later and went on to win a total of 13 races, a modern-era record.

This included victories at Charlotte, Richmond, Sonoma, Pocono, Indianapolis (which provided at the time the largest amount of prize money in auto racing with $1,637,625),Watkins Glen, Michigan, New Hampshire, Daytona, Rockingham, and Atlanta. Gordon won the 1998 championship with a massive 364-point lead over Dale Jarrett.

It is arguable that in the modern era  of NASCAR, Gordon's 1998 season is one of the very finest achieved. Compared with Richard Petty's stellar season in 1975, both drivers won a phenomenal 13 races, though such a quantity is unrivalled since.

Tickets for the event are available at
Picture shows the 1998 Monte Carlo enjoying the limelight at the CRC Speedshow. It will run laps at Hampton Downs in January.


Have a laugh for charity - 2/11/2013

Have a laugh for charity

12:30 PM Saturday Nov 2, 2013
Comedian will ensure event tickles your funny bone


The Show 'n' Go prize-giving ceremony at Hampton Downs should be a laugh a minute with comedian and Variety ambassador Ewen Gilmour acting as MC.Picture / Supplied
The Show 'n' Go prize-giving ceremony at Hampton Downs should be a laugh a minute with comedian and Variety ambassador Ewen Gilmour acting as MC.Picture / Supplied

Comedian Ewen Gilmour will be guest MC at the Show 'n' Go car and bike fundraising event for the children's charity Variety at Hampton Downs tomorrow.

Gilmour will be at the GT Radial-sponsored event in the role of presenter and giving out prizes.

Show 'n' Go will offer participants the chance to display their cars, drive controlled laps of the Hampton Downs race track and watch the Thoroughbred and Classic Cars Owners Club compete on the track with all proceeds going to the children's charity.

The event will start at Bellagio Cafe on Plunket Ave, Manukau, at 9.30am where a cruise for registered participants will take place. Then all cars will head out in convoy to Hampton Downs south of Auckland for a Show 'n' Shine at 10am.

The day's activities will run until about 2pm, when Gilmour will hand out the prizes and enjoy some socialising with the public.

Registration is $20 per car including driver and one passenger. Additional passengers are $5 each and motorbikes are $10, which covers bike and rider.

Organisers are asking that people bring cash as there is no Eftpos available at Hampton Downs.

Spectators are welcome to the event and admission for them will be a gold coin donation.

For this article and more by the NZ Herald click here

Sidecar team on a roll - 1/11/2013

Sidecar team on a roll

8:28 AM Friday Nov 1, 2013

A Hamilton-based sidecar race team won all four of their modern sidecars category races at Hampton Downs last weekend. And it puts them in good stead for other national championship meets during the next six months.

Driver Aaron Lovell and teammate Dennis (Denny) Simonsen topped the field of more than 20 sidecars, including some of Australia's best. The races were part of the Barry Sheene Oceania Challenge.

Racing a slick new Louis Christen Racing (LCR) bike from Switzerland, Lovell and Simonsen say they have one of the best purpose-built sidecar bikes at their disposal. Each LCR bike is badged a limited edition. Parts are aircraft quality; the bodywork is tough, but light carbon Kevlar. The 225kg machine puts out about 200hp and can reach straight-line speeds of up to 280kmh.

And while the bike itself is top notch, so must be the communication between Lovell and Simonsen. There's no verbal communication via radio with microphones so the men rely on being able to read each other and the track.

And that obviously paid dividends at Labour Weekend. The four wins at Hampton Downs bode well for the rest of the season which includes the Tri Suzuki Series (Hampton Downs December 6 and 7 and Manfeild December 14 and 15), the Boxing Day street race at Wanganui, January 4 and 5 at Christchurch, January 11 and 12 at Timaru, and the Paeroa street race on February 16.

LP Racing, under which Lovell and Simonsen race, is looking for more sponsors to help carry them through the season. If you're interested in being a sponsor, call Aaron Lovell on 021 325 968.

- Hamilton News

By Danielle Nicholson

For this article and more by the NZ Herald click here

Hampton Downs October Newsletter - 31/10/2013




Plenty of zap in Stealth bikes - 24/10/2013

Plenty of zap in Stealth bikes

By Mathieu Day

5:30 AM Thursday Oct 24, 2013
Mathieu Day loved testing NZ's first performance electric bikes

 The Stealth Fighter is one of New Zealand's first performance electric bikes. Photo / Gary Richards

The Stealth Fighter is one of New Zealand's first performance electric bikes. Photo / Gary Richards

Pedalling towards the steep hill, and adrenalin pumping, I twisted the throttle on one of New Zealand's first performance electric bikes, the Stealth Fighter, and shot up the hill with the speed that before now I thought you couldn't achieve on anything short of a full-blown motocross bike.

They're Stealth by name, Stealth by nature, that is until you arrive at the top of the hill to see the curious gathering crowd.

Looking like a cross between mountain bike and a motocross bike, the Stealth performance e-bike will be launched this weekend in three models - the Fighter, Bomber and Hurricane.

Behind the alloy monocoque isn't an engine but a series of lithium-ion batteries powering a silent 3.5-4.5 kilowatt electric motor, which on a lightweight frame makes for a dynamic ride.

Arriving at Manukau's Totara Park mountain bike park and with the entry-level Fighter on a novice-friendly setting of 300 watts, I jumped aboard, hoping not to make a fool of myself and break a bike that had been in the country only three days.

Handling just like a pushbike, the Stealths were light at 34kg for the Fighter, and 53kg for the Bomber and Hurricane, and flexible due to the all-alloy construction and light batteries hidden within the frame.

I twisted the throttle at the insistence of the Stealth team, and the bike shot off at a pace that came as a surprise for a low power setting.

With New Zealand importer David Claridge astride the motocross- styled Hurricane, and the Fighter at full power, we hit the trails.

The excellent hydraulic brakes the Stealths are all equipped with showed their worth, pulling me up fast enough to avoid ploughing into the back of my fellow rider at the bottom of the hill.

After bombing around the tight corners of the park, we turned back to the daunting hill we had just made our way down.

On a normal push bike, I'll admit I'd have stopped halfway up the hill to regain a bit of composure, but not on a Stealth. With the electric motors able to coast us up the hill and with the added input of pedalling, the Fighter flew up the hill almost as quickly as it had descended it.

Testing the Hurricane, I noted immediately that it was by far the most comfortable of the Stealth bikes thanks to its padded seat. With an extra kilowatt over the Fighter's 3.5kw max, the Hurricane's 4.5kw and lack of gears made it by far the easiest bike to get into the mix with.

The Stealth Bomber performance electric bike has a 4.5kw DC electric motor. Photo / Supplied

Last up was the top-of-the-range Bomber, with the full list of optional upgrades from Stealth including bigger shocks and brakes. With the same 4.5kw DC motor as the Hurricane but with a nine-speed sequential gearbox, it's by far the biggest and meanest Stealth bike available.

Sadly, after blasting about for three hours, we finally managed to run the batteries flat, and knowing they would have lasted longer if we had used the KERS-like [kinetic energy] recharge system and pedals, my test of the Stealth bikes came to an end all to soon.

Starting from $13,800 for the Fighter, $15,700 for the Hurricane and $16,500 for the Bomber, the Stealth Bikes are available in a range of colours and are custom-built to order in Melbourne.

Stealth Electric Bikes are launching the range at the Barry Sheene Oceania Challenge at Hampton Downs this weekend and are truly worth a thorough look.

The range can be ordered at

For this article and more by the NZ Herald click here

Woolhouse primed for championship - 22/10/2013

Woolhouse primed for championship

By Cameron Leslie

6:00 AM Tuesday Oct 22, 2013
Dan Woolhouse (lead car) will be putting his national title on the line when the D1NZ National Drifting Championship Series kicks off next month. Photo / Supplied
Dan Woolhouse (lead car) will be putting his national title on the line when the D1NZ National Drifting Championship Series kicks off next month. Photo / Supplied

In just under a month, Northland's - and New Zealand's - best drifter will begin to defend his crown as the Cody's D1NZ National Drifting Championship Series revs into gear.

Whangarei's Dan Woolhouse, aka Fanga Dan, has been tinkering with his new drift machine over the off-season and will be looking forward to the November 16 start date.

Woolhouse will also be looking forward to the second round, which sees drifting return to Whangarei over December 14 and 15.

Before Northlanders get their drift fix though, the series heads to Hampton Downs. After the Hampton Downs round the title chase heads to Whangarei in December, Mount Maunganui in January, Taupo in February and Christchurch in April before returning north for a gala series finale at Pukekohe Park Raceway in May.

Lack of suitable dates means the usual season-opener at Feilding's Manfeild circuit is missing from this year's schedule.

The series roster has a host of internationally known and fan-friendly drivers to continue the large crowds experienced last year.

Joining Woolhouse on the roster is fellow Whangarei driver, and three-time former series champion, Gary "Gaz" Whiter.

Back for more, too, after a successful toe-in-the-water exercise last year, will be V8 Supercar and Super Tourer ace Shane van Gisbergen.

He will again share the high horsepower Federal Tyre-backed Ford Falcon V8 dubbed "The Rattla" with its owner, Shane Allen from Waiuku, this time at all the series rounds.

This season's Cody's D1NZ National Drifting Championship kicks off at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park with Pro-Am and D1 Pro practice on Saturday, November 16, with the main competition day on the Sunday.


By Cameron Leslie

For this article and more by the NZ Herald click here

Murphy/Perkins nab Race 1 win at Hampton Downs - 19/10/2013

Murphy/Perkins nab Race 1 win at Hampton Downs

  • Saturday 19th October, 2013 6:40pm
  • Author: SpeedCafe
Greg Murphy V8 SuperTourers Jack Perkins Hampton Downs 344x206 Murphy/Perkins nab Race 1 win at Hampton Downs

Greg Murphy and Jack Perkins inherit race win at Hampton Downs. Pic: Andrew Bright

Greg Murphy and co-driver Jack Perkins recorded an unexpected victory in the opening race of the penultimate round of the V8 SuperTourers Championship at Hampton Downs.

With Murphy electing to start the 38-lap race, Perkins drove brilliantly to bring the Mike Pero Mortgages Commodore home ahead of main championship rival Ant Pedersen’s Ford while Shane van Gisbergen claimed third.

The podium reflected the championship positions of the top three with Murphy now extending his lead over Pedersen to 114 points.

While it was the perfect opening to the sixth round of the championship for Murphy, Richard Moore was left to lament what might have been after he seemed set for victory in the Kellands Real Estate Commodore.

Moore and co-driver Tim Slade had been dominant, both able to scoot away from the field during their respective stints.

With just under 10 laps remaining the gearbox failed in the Holden, preventing almost certain victory that was set-up courtesy of Slade’s inspired first stint.

“We had a slow change but we had a buffer,” Moore explained after squeezing out a commanding 10s lead before his gut-wrenching retirement.

“Straight away after I got in the car fourth gear was very noisy and then a few laps later it went completely and then the whole box was destroyed.”

Before Moore was forced to retire, Perkins slipped past Pedersen to claim second spot in a key move as the pair waged a tense battle.

Murphy was gutted for his M3 Racing team-mate Moore after admitting his Commodore had struggled to match the pace of the young gun and proclaimed himself an undeserving winner.

“I’m just disappointed for Richard and Sladey,” Murphy said. “They had the fastest car and were leading by a country mile.”

“We’ve struggled with the car and we clearly didn’t have the pace for the Moore car or Mostert.”

Simon Evans and Jonny Reid were fourth ahead of the third M3 Racing Commodore of Paul Manuell and V8 SuperTourer debutant Nick Percat.

Dan Gaunt and Andrew Waite were sixth in the Tasman Ford ahead of Craig Baird and Matt Lockwood in the United Video Falcon.

Lee Holdsworth produced an inspired drive in the Chesters Commodore, making up many positions before handing the car over to regular driver Tim Edgell inside the top 10 before the latter brought the car home in eighth position.

The #1 Supercheap Auto Commodore was forced into retirement  early with Jono Webb bringing the Holden he shares with Scott McLaughlin into the pits in the opening minutes, continuing the horror run of the defending championship-winning team.

The round will be decided from twin 56-lap races tomorrow.

See below for full results of Race 1

1 Murphy / Perkins 42:20.979
2 Pedersen/Mostert 42:21.673
3 van Gisbergen /Davis 42:27.008
4 Evans/Reid 42:27.599
5 Manuell/Percat 42:28.940
6 Gaunt/Waite 42:41.236
7 Baird/Lockwood 42:41.444
8 Edgell/Holdsworth 42:42.565
9 Bell/Owen 42:48.946
10 Booth/Davies 43:04.078
11 Jacobson/Russell 43:07.180
12 Heimgartner/Morris 43:08.214
13 McIntyre/Lester 43:13.045
14 Fogg/Wood 43:14.234
15 M.Cunningham/D’Alberto 43:16.025
DNF Moore/Slade 29:03.953
DNF Storey/Gibson 20:48.858
DNF McLaughlin/Webb 02:48.787


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Van Gisbergen to race SuperTourers - 18/10/2013

Van Gisbergen to race SuperTourers

11:59 AM Friday Jan 18, 2013
Kiwi driver Shane van Gisbergen has cut short his brief break from motorsport by confirming his intention to race in the V8SuperTourer Championship this year. Photo / Getty Images.
Kiwi driver Shane van Gisbergen has cut short his brief break from motorsport by confirming his intention to race in the V8SuperTourer Championship this year. Photo / Getty Images.

Kiwi driver Shane van Gisbergen has cut short his brief break from motorsport by confirming his intention to race in the V8SuperTourer Championship this year.

Van Gisbergen shocked motorsport fans on both sides of the Tasman last month by quitting the Australian V8 Supercars series in which he had driven since the age of 17.

The 23-year-old, regarded as one of the rising stars of the series, left Stone Brothers Racing saying he wanted to have "some fun and do different stuff".

But van Gisbergen did not last long away from the sport and will now race in Corkery Motorsport's Ford Falcon V8ST in the New Zealand-based touring cars championship.

"I have kept an eye on the series in its first year and came along to a couple of the races last year, as well as testing the car a couple of times, and it's a series which really excites me," van Gisbergen said. "There's a close field of competitive drivers in evenly matched cars and I'm looking forward to getting into the mix and hopefully getting some good results."

Van Gisbergen will take on New Zealand's top V8 drivers in the series, which begins at Hampton Downs over the weekend of February 16 and 17, including Greg Murphy, John McIntyre, Craig Baird and Andy Booth.

He also spent many of his early racing years competing against current SuperTourer drivers such as Andrew Waite and Simon Evans in go-karts, and he is looking forward to getting out on the track against some of his old mates.

"I'll be taking no prisoners on the track, though."

V8 SuperTourers managing director Mark Petch was delighted to have a driver of van Gisbergen's calibre join the series.

"It's fantastic to have yet another champion join the V8 SuperTourer Series, as we move forward to official recognition as the country's premier touring car championship," he said. "Shane is really going to put the cat among the pigeons, that's for sure."

The young driver already achieved that late last year, walking away from a lucrative career across the Tasman to pursue other interests. Van Gisbergen dispelled talk he had retired from motorsport and instead said he simply intended to take a break.

"It's been worse because people have put the word retirement out there," he told TV3. "I never said retirement. That means final. I just said I was leaving for a bit. That could be a week, a year, who cares?"

He said he was looking forward to getting back to the basics in the SuperTourers series, rather than get caught up in the politics which plagued his experiences in the Supercars.

"We weren't happy last year," van Gisbergen said. "We had won races the year before and we didn't even really come close last year. And all the changes that were happening for this year just wasn't something to look forward to."


For this article and more by the NZ Herald click here

Suzuki Series a blitz of thrills - 17/10/2013

Suzuki Series a blitz of thrills

By Andy McGechan Email Andy

5:30 AM Thursday Oct 17, 2013
World's superbike aces are fired up to put on exciting displays


Taranaki's Hayden Fitzgerald (Suzuki), is expected to be among contenders for the F1 title again this season. Pictures / Andy McGechan
Taranaki's Hayden Fitzgerald (Suzuki), is expected to be among contenders for the F1 title again this season. Pictures / Andy McGechan

The tarmac is set to blister and sizzle again in New Zealand this summer.

Yes, it will surely be another scorcher on at least three of New Zealand's favourite motorcycle road-race circuits starting in December. International superstars will be signing up in even greater numbers this year to race the traditional pre-nationals warm-up competition, the Suzuki Series.

Once called the Suzuki Tri Series, it remains a three-rounder for now, but expectations are high that it will soon expand, such has been the competition's growing popularity since its inception in 2008.

The Suzuki Series is NZ's pre-eminent road-race competition, aside from the national championships proper, with the schedule this season set for Hampton Downs on December 6-7 and Manfeild on December 14-15, the series winding up, as always, with the Cemetery Circuit races on Wanganui streets on Boxing Day.

"The entries are really starting to flow in," says organiser Alan "Flea" Willacy. "We have seen a huge amount of interest from overseas again this year, too, with Englishman Guy Martin entered for Boxing Day, Italian supermotard ace Malachi Mitchell-Thomas arriving for the series, Germany's Thomas Kreutz is returning this year and Australian brothers Craig and Steve Trinder, among others, have indicated their intention to race here.

"I'm particularly excited about Guy Martin. He's a real entertainer. He'll have a Suzuki F1 superbike, generously supplied by Suzuki NZ, and he's sure to be a real crowd favourite.

"What you see is what you get with Guy Martin. He's a straight-talker and a fine racer."

Martin was the central character in the movie Closer To The Edge shown here in 2011, a frank, behind-the-scenes film about racing the legendary Isle of Man circuit.

With the Isle of Man track, Wanganui's Cemetery Circuit was recently named one of the world's top 10 street circuits by Dutch publication Motor Magazine, no doubt a factor in enticing Martin Downunder.

Christchurch's Dennis Charlett (Underground Brown Suzuki GSX-R1000) won the Suzuki Series Formula One class last season and will be among the favourites to win this time, plus other leading Kiwi superbike riders such as New Plymouth's Hayden Fitzgerald, Wellington's Sloan Frost, Hamilton's Nick Cole and Feilding's Craig Shirriffs.

Anyone who goes online - - to buy an "early-bird" ticket to the Cemetery Circuit races will go into a draw to win a Suzuki GSR750 bike.

By Andy McGechan

For this article and more by the NZ Herald click here

Manuell ready to hit the track - 16/10/2013

Endurance racers raring to go for SuperTourers, says Eric Thompson


The three M3 racing cars with Paul Manuell in front of Richard Moore and his car and Greg Murphy's further back.
The three M3 racing cars with Paul Manuell in front of Richard Moore and his car and Greg Murphy's further back.

Round two of the V8 SuperTourers series within a series roars into action this weekend at the north Waikato Hampton Downs circuit.

Round one a few weeks ago saw a number of mechanical issues raise their ugly heads but the teams are convinced the gearbox and related issues have been solved.

The three-round endurance component of the overall Hankook Super Series will see several Australian V8 Supercar drivers return and some will be hot from last weekend's yahoo around Mount Panorama. There were also a number of Kiwi drivers racing in the Bathurst 1000 who will be suiting up to resume battle in the local series.

Earlier in the season, four-time Bathurst winner Greg Murphy took out the sprint title from local driver Ant Pedersen and Australia-based Tekno Autosport pilot Shane van Gisbergen.

He won the opening endurance round with a series of solid finishes to sit third on the overall series points table behind Pedersen and Murphy, who retained the series lead despite a DNF.

There are a couple of bits of good news for a long-time combatant and supporter of New Zealand V8 racing. Paul Manuell, who's part of M3 Racing with Murphy and Richard Moore, has just re-signed Orix as his car's sponsor.

Orix Leasing and Finance, long-time supporter of Manuell, recently announced their continued backing for the 2014 V8 SuperTourer season.

Manuell will again be driving a Holden Commodore-skinned car prepared by M3 Motorsport, who also prepare the cars of Murphy and Moore. M3 have established themselves as serious championship contenders with all three cars inside the top 10 - Murphy first, Moore in fifth and Manuell ninth.

"Orix remain extremely pleased with the exposure and resultant business benefits we receive from our involvement within the sport and we are delighted to have the opportunity to continue our association with Paul and our family of loyal partners," said Orix New Zealand operations manager Glenn Middleton.

"Orix will continue to deliver our familiar family-focused hospitality product which we consider to be as important as our on-track performances. Hospitality provides us with a unique platform to thank our existing clients throughout New Zealand and also network new opportunities."

The pair have been linked for several years and Orix is one of New Zealand's long-serving sponsors of the sport.

"The relationship has been built up over 12 years and, obviously, I'm grateful for the relationship we have built up," said Manuell. "Orix finds it a good way to network with people in the industry and get exposure for their business.

"They are a fantastic company to deal with and the culture within their corporate environment is also fantastic."

The other good news is Manuell will have a new co-driver for the weekend's racing.

Bathurst 1000 winner Nick Percat will compete in the final two endurance rounds after signing to co-drive alongside Manuell. The 25-year-old Australian will replace John Penny for this weekend's round at Hampton Downs and the Pukekohe 500 in November.

Percat, who won the opening Carrera Cup race at Bathurst, will bring a wealth of experience to the Orix team. Manuell is confident the acquisition of the two-time Australian Formula Ford champion will lift him up the V8 SuperTourers standings.

Percat was Garth Tander's co-driver at last weekend's Bathurst 1000 where they finished fourth.

The first two endurance events consist of one sprint race and two races each 200km in length. The Pukekohe 500 features two 150km races followed by one of 200km. In each race teams have to make at least one stop and a driver change.


1. Murphy - 2722
2. Pedersen - 2648
3. Van Gisbergen - 2584
4. Gaunt - 2001
5. Moore - 1927
6. Heimgartner - 1868
7. McLaughlin - 1613
8. McIntyre - 1431

By Eric Thompson

For this article and more by the NZ Herald click here

DAlberto in belated SuperTourer enduro call-up - 15/10/2013

D’Alberto in belated SuperTourer enduro call-up

  • Tuesday 15th October, 2013 4:42pm
  • Author: SpeedCafe ©
Tony DAlberto Mitch Cunningham 344x227 D’Alberto in belated SuperTourer enduro call up

Mitch Cunningham will welcome Tony D’Alberto as his new co-driver at Hampton Downs

Former Development Series champion Tony D’Alberto has answered a last minute call-up to join Mitch Cunningham for the second leg of the V8 SuperTourers series this weekend.

D’Alberto is among a swag of V8 Supercars drivers involved in the sixth round of the BNT V8 SuperTourers Championship which will see the 2013 series conducted for the fourth time at the Hampton Downs circuit.

“I’m looking forward to getting back into it again. I ran in the co-driver races last year with Andy Booth and I thoroughly enjoy the series,” D’Alberto said.

D’Alberto, the 2007 Dunlop Series champion, comes in to replace Wade Cunningham in the Falcon.

The signing comes after it was announced last weekend during the Bathurst 1000 that Nick Percat will link up with M3 Racing Commodore driver Paul Manuell.

Percat, the 2011 Bathurst 1000 winner, and D’Alberto are two of 15 drivers who competed in The Great Race last weekend who will make the journey across the Tasman for the second leg of the Hankook Super Series.

Greg Murphy will resume his battle in the Mike Pero-backed Commodore and heads up the points standings on 2722 ahead of Hamilton’s International Motorsport driver Ant Pedersen with Shane van Gisbergen (Koba Batteries Falcon) third on 2584.

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V8 Supercar stars flock to New Zealand - 14/10/2013

V8 Supercar stars flock to New Zealand

Two more V8 Supercar stars have signed up to drive in New Zealand’s top motor racing series this coming weekend.

Nick Percat, who won Bathurst as a rookie in 2011, will co-drive with Aucklander Paul Manuell for the sixth round of the BNT V8 SuperTourers championship at Hampton Downs and should help Manuell advance higher than his current eighth place in the championship.

Supercar regular Tony D’Alberto joins Auckland driver Mitch Cunningham for the 400km Kiwi endurance race, which is also the second in three rounds of the endurance championship run within the overall championship as part of the Hankook Super Series.

Percat, 24, is a double Formula Ford champion in Australia, currently concentrating on racing his Porsche GT3. However his Supercar successes have again earned him a place at Bathurst, co-driving with Garth Tander for the Holden Racing Team.

D’Alberto shared his Holden Commodore at Bathurst with Kiwi Jonny Reid, the former A1GP star.

Altogether 15 of the drivers in the Bathurst 1000 will be racing in New Zealand this weekend. Greg Murphy currently leads the BNT V8 SuperTourers championship from Hamilton’s Ant Pedersen and Aucklander Shane van Gisbergen.

Mitch Cunningham

For this article and more by the V8STclick here

Hampton Downs September Newsletter - 30/09/2013




Murphy/Perkins take Race 1 at Hampton Downs - 29/09/2013

Murphy/Perkins take Race 1 at Hampton Downs

  • Saturday 28th September, 2013 5:39pm
  • Author: SpeedCafe ©
Jack Perkins Greg Murphy V8 SuperTourers 344x229 Murphy/Perkins take Race 1 at Hampton Downs

Jack Perkins takes victory to help Greg Murphy extend his championship lead at Hampton Downs. Pic: Andrew Bright

Greg Murphy and Jack Perkins produced a blistering performance to win the opening heat of the Waikato 400 V8 SuperTourer endurance race at Hampton Downs.

After an early altercation with fellow Holden driver Scott McLaughlin, the four times Bathurst 1000 champion Murphy was able to put in another masterful performance in the Mike Pero-backed Commodore.

Perkins was given the duties to bring the car home in the second stint, putting in a flawless display as he able to stay clear of trouble on a track where patches of oil brought several drivers unstuck.

Richard Moore and co-driver Tim Slade were second after Moore staged a late race fightback overtaking the Tasman Motorsports Group Falcon of Andrew Waite.

The NZ Utes champion Waite, sharing the drive with Dan Gaunt, was able to hold onto third place ahead of the Scott McLaughlin/Jono Webb Holden after McLaughlin was shuffled back to eighth in the incident with Murphy.

Shane van Gisbergen, who is sharing the Koba Ford with Alex Davison, also produced a flashing finish to cross the line in fifth place.

Perkins was able to repeat his top form in the Kiwi series after taking out the opening race of the enduro series with young Nick Cassidy (who replaced a sidelined Murph) at Taupo last year.

It is the fourth win for Perkins in the V8 SuperTourers and the 10th for Murphy.

The fifth round of the V8 SuperTourers Hankook Super Series continues with twin 56-lap races tomorrow.

Jono Lester, who was took over from John McIntyre to do the second stint in the Blackwoods Protector Falcon, was forced into retirement after turning only a few laps with clutch failure, classified in 15th, seven laps down.

See below for full results of Race 1 

1 Murphy / Perkins  
2 Moore / Slade 10.852s
3 Gaunt / Waite 14.426
4 McLaughlin / Webb 14.652
5 Van Gisbergen / Davison 16.627
6 Edgell / Holdsworth 24.489
7 Booth / Davies 29.885
8 Heimgartner / Morris 43.369
9 Manuell / Penny 57.788
10 Jacobson / Emery 01:01.542
11 Storey / Gibson 01:01.550
12 Bell / McBride 01:03.684
13 M.Cunningham / W.Cunningham 1 lap
14 Evans / Reid 3 laps
15 McIntyre / Lester 7 laps
16 Pedersen / Mostert 11 laps
17 Baird / Lockwood DNF
18 Fogg / Wood DNF

For this article and more by Speedcafe click here

Calling all Ferrari owners! - 26/09/2013

Calling all Ferrari owners!

The 2014 New Zealand Festival of Motor Racing in conjunction with the Ferrari Owners Club of New Zealand will attempt to set a New Zealand record at the event by gathering more than 100 Ferraris, including F1 cars, for a static grid display.

The two weekends of January 17-19 and 24-26 will be packed with action on the track and off it. As well as the unrivalled selection of historic racing classes that grace the Festival at Hampton Downs each year (Including the biggest annual gathering of Formula 5000 machinery),  there will be demonstration runs by at least three Formula One Ferraris and other superb circuit-focussed Ferrari racers including historic vehicles and contemporary endurance racing machinery. An Italian-themed off track environment will also ensure it is a  ‘must do’ weekend for all enthusiasts and fans of the Ferrari brand.
The record attempt will take place on the first Saturday (18th). On-track demonstrations are planned but will be limited to vehicles owned by Ferrari Club of New Zealand members, though all Ferraris are welcome to be part of the event and the record attempt. Ferrari owners can join the club in advance of the weekend by contacting the Club President to secure their opportunity to drive the circuit.
“It will be an amazing opportunity to have your car in an exclusive gathering which will no doubt be photographed by thousands at one of the biggest Ferrari themed events ever held in the country,” explained club President Chris Hogg. “It’s a great time to be part of the club.”
If you own a Ferrari (or you know of someone who does) and would like to be part of the record attempt and/or the daily on-track demonstrations, please contract Chris Hogg, President Ferrari Owners Club of NZ

For more information on the Ferrari Festival go to



Thursday, 26 September 2013 15:47


Planning and teamwork will be critical for success at the first 'enduro' round of this year's BNT V8 Super Tourer NZ Series at Hampton Downs this weekend.
The round is the first of three which make up the 'long-distance' second half of the 2013 BNT season and the first to see the regular drivers joined by a co-driver.
The unique series format sees three different two-driver races on the programme this weekend, each with its own challenges.  

The first is over 38 laps of the 2.7km north-Waikato circuit on Saturday afternoon and is expected to take 50 minutes. The second and third are on Sunday, both over 56 laps, one in the morning, one in the afternoon, each expected to take an hour and 10 minutes.
Top New Zealand team International Motorsport is running sprint series race winner and runner-up Ant Pedersen and fast-rising young Australian driver Chaz Mostert in the #96 J.A.Russell Ford Falcon and team manager Nick Williamson likens what fans see at the track or on television to the tip of an iceberg.
"It's the bit you see. What you don't see is all the work that goes on behind the scenes."
International Motorsport will have a team of eight supporting Pedersen, Mostert and the J.A.Russell Ltd Falcon at the track with the weekend officially beginning on Friday.
"It's the day we set everything up. It's also the day our race engineer Mark Johnstone will do his track work with Ant and Chaz," says Williamson.
With practice, qualifying and the first race squeezed into just one day there will be an early start on Saturday with a team meeting at 7.00am in the pit garage and the first practice session over 45 minutes starting at 9.00am.
The practice session for the second driver starts a little later (at 11.30am) but then there is just 45 minutes until the first qualifying session (for the co-driver) which lasts just 20 minutes then only another 40 minutes before the qualifying session for the car's regular driver.
Not a lot of time to make any changes to the set-up of the car and one of the reasons, says Williamson, pre-planning an event like this one is so important.
"Realistically you can make tweaks but that's about it," he says. "If you are not there or thereabouts when you roll the car off the trailer it's going to be a long weekend."
Then there are the races.
Because the BNT V8 Super Tourers run in standard spec (with no modifications to fuel tanks or fillers) there are no fuel stops in the races. But there must be a driver change in each, from lap 17 in the first race on Saturday and from lap 26 in the longer races on Sunday.
Teams are also allowed to change a wheel or wheels, though they are limited to using only two wheel guns.
At the final enduro round of the 2012 BNT V8 Super Tourer series in Christchurch Ant Pedersen qualified the J.A.Russell Ltd Falcon third and with co-driver, Australian V8 Supercar ace Alex Davison, finished second overall.
This year Pedersen has already won races and finished second overall to Greg Murphy in the sprint series and his goal for the second half of the series is the same as it was at the start of the season.
"The number one goal is still to win the 2013 title," he says.

Ant Pedersen HD2

For more information and to buy tickets go to

Racers seek end to daft shunts - 26/09/2013

Racers seek end to daft shunts
By Eric Thompson

12:30 PM Wednesday Sep 25, 2013 ✩Save 

Top drivers demand better controls

Greg Murphy took out the sprint title in Taupo last weekend. Picture / Geoff Ridder

Greg Murphy took out the sprint title in Taupo last weekend. Picture / Geoff Ridder
The second V8 SuperTourers series within a series cranks into action this weekend at the Hampton Downs circuit while the three-round endurance component of the overall Hankook Super Series will see a number of Australian V8 Supercar drivers making their debut.

Four-time Bathurst winner Greg Murphy took out the sprint title from local driver Ant Pedersen and Australian-based Tekno Autosport pilot Shane van Gisbergen. Defending V8 SuperTourers overall series champion Scott McLaughlin recently hinted he'd had enough of the poor driving standards in the category and was sick of being punted off by other drivers for no other reason than bad decision-making.

Two weeks ago, team director Wayne McLaughlin said there was a need for those running the category to take a hard line on race regulations after having to foot a bill for $30,000 of damage during race three in Taupo.

After McLaughlin senior's concerns, others in the category have mentioned the need for greater support in tighter controls of rules, and penalties for rule breakers.

"Taupo was tough. There have been some difficult considerations for us to tackle collectively alongside sponsors, but our determination to be here and be at the top hasn't changed," said Scott McLaughlin.

"I think there's some residual frustration from us as well as others that needs to be addressed if racing at the highest level of competition in New Zealand is going to remain sustainable for V8ST teams."

McLaughlin is sharing driving duties with Van Gisbergen's Tekno teammate Jonathon Webb.

Another young gun making waves in the Australian V8 series, and also a race winner, is Chaz Mostert who's buckling up with sprint series runner-up Pedersen.

Mostert is delighted with the opportunity to broaden his experience with international events. "I've been watching the series for the last year or so and it looks like it's pretty close and obviously Ant is doing really well this year so I'm excited to be involved," he said.

Another V8 Supercars regular crossing the Tasman is Erebus Mercedes team driver Tim Slade, who's linking up with Christchurch driver Richard Moore.

Jack Perkins and Paul Morris are coming to co-drive with Greg Murphy and fast teenager Andre Heimgartner respectively. Both are now in the V8 Supercar Development Series though they have experience in the top category.

Mitch Cunningham is making it a family team as he brings older brother Wade back from the US to co-pilot with him and former A1GP driver Jonny Reid rejoins the SuperTourers to partner Simon Evans. Former NZV8 champion John McIntyre has snapped up the services of Jono Lester.

The endurance series starts this weekend with the Waikato 400 meeting, resumes at the same track on October 19-20 and concludes at Pukekohe on November 29-December 1. The first two events will consist of two races each 200km in length and the Pukekohe 500 features two 150km races followed by one of 200km. In each race teams have to make at least one stop for fuel and a driver change.


1 Greg Murphy - 2269
2 Ant Pedersen - 2095
3 Shane van Gisbergen - 2015
4 Daniel Gaunt - 1642
5 Andre Heimgartner - 1470
6 Richard Moore - 1361
7 John McIntyre - 1309
8 Paul Manuell - 1220

By Eric Thompson

For this article and more by the NZ Herald click here

SuperTourers order crackdown on driving standards - 25/09/2013

SuperTourers order crackdown on driving standards

  • Wednesday 25th September, 2013 5:28pm
  • Author: SpeedCafe ©
V8 SuperTourers Hampton Downs 344x181 SuperTourers order crackdown on driving standards

Driving standards crackdown for SuperTourers

The V8 SuperTourers Championship has vowed to introduce harsher penalties for poor driving after a series of costly shunts through the season.

On the eve of the championship’s opening endurance race at Hampton Downs this weekend, the Waikato 400, the category will mete out tougher punishment if driving standards do not improve.

Dangerous or careless driving that causes a collision, or was likely to cause such an incident, will now be punished by exclusion from the race or qualifying session.

As well, dangerous driving will result in a loss of 300 championship points and a fine of $3000, while careless driving will cost 200 points and $2000.

“This move is in response to criticism we’ve received from teams,” V8 SuperTourers chairman Ray Noonan said.

“We are trying to raise the bar, to set higher standards, and to reduce costs for the teams [in terms of crash repairs]. This championship has to be sustainable for the teams, and we take that very, very seriously.

“I’ll be spelling all this out at the drivers’ meeting on Saturday morning and I’ll be making it very clear that we are putting the focus on driving standards, and it’s not just a one-off.”

The poor standards this year were brought to attention when team owner Wayne McLaughlin told he would consider pulling out of the championship after a series of incidents involving his son, defending series champion and V8 Supercars star Scott.

The changes are spelt out in a bulletin issued by MotorSport NZ after discussions with V8 SuperTourers.

Punishments for lesser infringements include drive-through penalties and time penalties.

At the rolling starts drivers will not be allowed to break their two-wide formation till they have crossed the start line.

For this article and more by speedcafe click here


Car and driver prepare for 2k Cup - 20/09/2013

Car and driver prepare for 2k Cup

By Eric Thompson

Friday Sep 20, 2013


The Driven 2k cup Corolla. Affectionately known as 'The Purple People Eater'.
The Driven 2k cup Corolla. Affectionately known as 'The Purple People Eater'.

We're well on the road to getting both driver [me] and car ready for the big 2K Cup adventure at the end of the month. It's been a few weeks since I last updated the progress of the Driven Albany Toyota purple people eater Toyota Corolla race preparation.

I can confidently say the car will be in better shape than the driver. It's been cleaned and liveried up and has now been sent off Lyall Williamson's International Motorsport outfit to have a 'ruler run over it'. Apparently this is to check all the nuts and bolts, fluids, exhaust, compression ratios, etc, etc to make sure it's not going to fall apart, or some strategic and very important component doesn't fail and fire me off into a barrier.

I'm actually quite confident if, god forbid, something does fail it won't be a car component - it's more likely to be a failure of driver skills. And, because the car is a 1996 hatchback 1.6 litre Corolla, I doubt it'll be able to go fast enough to get through the gravel traps to actually hit a wall. I reckon it'll get beached well before then.

The main object of getting Williamson to cast his vastly experienced eye over the car is to ensure something isn't about to let go and cause chaos and carnage to anyone slower than me following behind.

Yes, I can hear the derision and laughter, but I just might not be the slowest driver on the track.

I did in fact manage to coax Jono Lester out of driver training retirement and spent a morning with him recently at Hampton Downs, so there. Surprisingly enough, he didn't seem that scared, but I stopped breathing when he drove the damn thing. I had no idea a purple Corolla could go that fast. However, I don't think the rest of the 46-car field should be too bothered as it will in fact be me in charge of the wheel and pedals, so not too much of a threat I imagine.

More of the driver training later and now back to car prep.

It is strongly suggested for anyone wanting to enter this new series, organised by the New Zealand Racing Drivers' League, and the Historic Racing Club in particular, that you do get the car looked at by a mechanic.

Williamson has been fiddling with race cars since Noah was a teenager and so knows his way around things, and the stresses put on a car being punted around a race track. The 2K Cup rules don't allow for any modifications to the car other than upgrading the brakes and only to the point of replacing the standard disc pad material to a race compound.

This is a nod to safety as standard pads cease to work after about five laps as I found out to my own dismay - and the smell of hot brake fluid is not pleasant at all. John Arkley of Race Brakes in Auckland have come to rescue and have supplied a set of standard pads re-surfaced with Mintex race compound.

Now the car is being fettled by International Motorsport, I've had a bit more time to try and digest what Lester was saying about the art of racing. I learned two very important things that morning; the first is I'm a crap driver and not in fact the reincarnation of Juan Manuel Fangio. The second is that this racing lark is bloody hard - there's a hell of a lot of things to remember all at the same time.

Even at the snail's pace I was going, if you get it wrong the car can give you a nasty nip in the but checks. I'm not going to give too much away here, as some as my competitors may be reading this, but suffice to say Lester told me one very important thing to always keep in mind.

Put simply, he said to get all the stopping and gear changing done heading into a corner before starting to turn the car in. After that it's all about 'hitting your apexes', or something, and then apparently 'letting the car unwind' on the exit. Undoubtedly it's the correct advice but some bad habits are hard to kick.

By the end of the morning I was getting the hand of it, and had according to Lester, got one corner just about right. Only another nine to go, then. What's slightly worrying me, is that while I may have a rough idea where to point the car now, there'll be another 45 cars also trying to find their way through the same corners.

Check back for a further update before the day out at Hampton Downs as a support class at the opening round of the V8 SuperTourers endurance series, September 28-29.

By Eric Thompson

Sweet V12 music of F1 Ferrari set to ring around t - 20/09/2013

Sweet V12 music of F1 Ferrari set to ring around the Downs

The 2014 New Zealand Festival of Motor Racing celebrating Ferrari has secured a third Formula One racer from the marque for the event which runs over two weekends next January.

The car – a 1994 ex-Gerhard Berger and Jean Alesi 412T1 - has a 3.5 litre V12 normally aspirated engine, and is regarded as one of the best sounding Formula One cars of all time, though perhaps not one of the most outright successful from the Italian manufacturer.
The car will be running fast demonstration laps over both January 17-20 and January 24-26 weekends at the Ferrari Festival. It was the second-to-last of six 412T1 chassis and was used from the Canadian Grand Prix onwards. It was driven by Jean Alesi to third place at the Canadian Grand Prix, and to second place at the British Grand Prix. Team mate Gerhard Berger used it to finish second at the season-closing Australian Grand Prix on the Adelaide circuit.
The 412T1, particularly when the 65-degree V12 configured engine was replaced with the development 75-degree V12 from Hockenheim onwards (where Ferrari won), was a competitive and good-handling proposition on all but the tightest of circuits. What it lacked was the mechanical reliability required for a serious assault on the World Championship title.
There’s no questioning the car’s historical significance, however. It was the Ferrari F1 team’s second-most used chassis during the turbulent and tragic 1994 F1 season. Michael Schumacher won his first F1 title in a Benetton-Ford F1 but the entire season was overshadowed by a string of serious accidents and the deaths of Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger at the San Marino Grand Prix in May at Imola.
This chassis – 154 – has been brought to New Zealand by a group of enthusiasts led by Christchurch’s Steve Weeber and is the third Ferrari Formula One car to be confirmed for the 2014 New Zealand Festival of Motor Racing celebrating Ferrari. Two 1985 turbocharged 156 cars will also be running at the event.
“This will be the first public running in New Zealand of an iconic V12 Ferrari Formula One car,” explained Festival Chairman Jim Barclay. “It’s iconic for many reasons given that it was the Scuderia’s car for 1994, but the design took a race win as well as carrying Gerhard Berger to third in the drivers’ championship and Alesi to fifth. It’s going to be a real privilege and hugely exciting to watch it put through its paces around the Hampton Downs track. The music of the V12 engine will be reason alone to come along to look and listen.”

Tickets for the event are available at

Win a double passes to Round 5 of the BNT V8 Super - 19/09/2013

12:00 PM Tuesday Sep 17, 2013

Round 5 of the BNT V8 SuperTourers is coming to Hampton Downs on September 28 - 29 2013.

To celebrate this occasion Driven has 8 double passes for the Saturday to give away to our lucky readers.

Competition closes Wednesday 25 September at 5pm. The winners will be notified Thursday.

For this article and more click here to go to NZ Herald

Mason storming home - 11/09/2013

Mason storming home

By Gary Caffell

ON FIRE: Richard and Sara Mason display the spoils of victory from their success at the Possum Bourne Memorial rally.
ON FIRE: Richard and Sara Mason display the spoils of victory from their success at the Possum Bourne Memorial rally.

Richard Mason's victory in the Possum Bourne Memorial Rally over the weekend was notable on two fronts.

Firstly it meant the Masterton ace has now won more New Zealand Rally Championship events outright than any other driver, his 23 edging him one ahead of the legendary Neil Allport.

And, secondly, it took Mason and his co-driver wife Sara to within five points of the lead in the 2013 NZRC with just the one round, the Rally of Wairarapa, on October 5 to come.

Leading on 100pts is gun Geraldine driver Hayden Paddon with Mason on 95pts and so the national title will be up for grabs on a local circuit which invariably brings out the best in the Masterton duo.

"Yes, it's exciting, not just for us but for all of those who put so much time into organising the rally here," Mason said yesterday as he displayed the spoils of victory in the Possum Bourne to pupils at St Patrick's School. "It's like a grand final showdown now, Hayden will be going flat out and so will we."

The fact the Masons are still in with a chance of winning what would be their third successive NZRC title speaks volumes for their ability.

Lady Luck has not been kind to them through most of this year's championship with a host of issues like punctures, gearbox failures and other mechanical hassles confronting them in round after round.

And she didn't exactly smile on them in the Possum Bourne either, problems ranging from a major misfire in the engine, to no power steering at one stage and then the need for a gearbox change after losing third gear.

"We had our issues but, fortunately, we were able to keep going and get to the finish in one piece," Mason said. "Rallying is like that. You can have some trouble, overcome it and still come away with a result."

Making the end outcome even more pleasing for Mason was that it came on the 10th anniversary of an event named in memory of a rallying icon.

"Possum? He'd be jumping up and down right now if he were in our shoes - it is a great honour to win this event and in the same brand of car he was so passionate about," Mason said.

Covering roads through Waikato's Maramarua forest, the Hampton Downs and Pukekohe Park race circuits, and a section of sealed road east of Auckland's Papakura, the Possum Bourne featured some very testing terrain but the Masons were equal to the task, winning six of the stages and having a winning margin of 2mins 7secs over Ben Hunt at the finish.

Paddon was fourth.

For this article and more by the NZ Herald click here

Toyota 86 fever spreads to the NZRDL - 6/09/2013

Toyota 86 fever spreads to the NZRDL 

The exciting new one-make Toyota TR 86 Championship series has released its inaugural calendar, and the category's first season will include one round with the New Zealand Racing Drivers' League at its Hampton Downs event on May 3 and 4, 2014.
League events are open to any class which would like an extra date in their championship calendar, or need dates at a choice of circuits to form a basis for their own series.
Picture shows: Toyota’s TR86 in action in testing
"It's really great news for the League in its first year to be able to host the Toyota TR86s and there's no question they will be a big draw card for the event next season," said League co-organiser Chris Watson.
"They have a varied and interesting calendar that will give variety to the drivers and the teams and that's great news for motorsport. That Hampton Downs meeting is shaping up to be quite an event, with Toyotas, NZ Sports Cars, Motul Honda Cup, the RRE rotary class, Superkarts, 2K Cup and Formula Ford already on the starting line-up and plenty of interest from other categories. Our motto for the League is a simple one – It’s Just Racing – and these great little cars will be a big hit in that environment."
The TR 86 race car build programme is well advanced with all 20 cars being assembled at Toyota Racing’s Mount Wellington facilities. The cars will be delivered to their new owners in a handover at the Manfeild circuit near Feilding on the October 10 at the first official test day. the televised seven-round series will start at the Highlands Motorsport Park circuit at Cromwell in November before making its way north. Granted official championship status in its inaugural year, the series has recently confirmed a $20,000 cash prize fun for its inaugural season.
The League kicks off with the first of its four events over the next season with a massive fixture at Hampton Downs on September 28 and 29 that will see the BNT V8 SuperTourers lend its considerable weight to the launch event with the first round of its endurance series. Manfeild (March 1 and 2 2013), Taupo (April 5 and 6) and the finale at Hampton Downs on May 3 and 4 complete the schedule.
For more information go to

NZ Sports Cars will join the New Zealand Racing Dr - 6/09/2013

NZ Sports Cars will join the New Zealand Racing Drivers League for two events

NZ Sports Cars will join the New Zealand Racing Drivers League for two events for the 2013-2014 and will be one of the classes provided by the NZRDL for the second round of the BNT V8 SuperTourers endurance championship at Hampton Downs on October 19 and 20.
The big Hampton Downs V8 meeting in October will open the season for the category, and it will have a calendar that will include fixtures at Manfeild on March 1 and 2 and Taupo on 5 and 6 of April with the New Zealand Racing Drivers League.
Photo: NZ Sports Cars in action at Pukekohe earlier this year. Their 2013-2014 season will include two rounds with the NZRDL and the category will also be one of the categories provided by the NZRDL for the October 19 and 20 BNT SuperTourer meeting at Hampton Downs.
Sports cars are one of the fastest growing and most spectacular classes of racing in the world today with manufacturers like Radical, Juno and former-F1 constructor Ligier all developing the pocket Le Mans-style racers for a growing market. The cars are light, generate huge downforce and are powered by a variety of lightweight and powerful motors including hi-revving motorcycle engines and powerful road car engines like the Honda K20A. Most utilise advanced sequential gearboxes like their bigger Le Mans cousins and the result of all of that technology is that they are amongst the fastest of all racing cars in New Zealand.
“I cannot tell you how excited we are to have secured the NZ Sports Car Club as a category which we will run at NZRDL events,” said NZRDL organiser Chris Watson.
“The cars are amazing and the category is growing – which makes it a very rare animal in NZ motor racing. There’s no question that at the bigger meetings we will be involved with like the BNT V8 SuperTourers, they will be a big hit with the crowds.”
Race classes like the Motul Honda Cup, the 2K Cup, Rotary Race Enthusiasts, North Island Formula Ford, Formula Libre and Superkarts will all run their core series as part of the NZRDL. The new Toyota TR86 series will also be on the bill at the season finale event at Hampton Downs next May.
For more information go to

The Bourne legacy - 5/09/2013

By Eric Thompson

5:30 AM Thursday Sep 5, 2013
Rally Champs feature Possum tribute, writes Eric Thompson

 Possum Bourne and co-driver Craig Vincent in the Subaru that will be used as the zero car this weekend. Picture / Jeff Crow

Possum Bourne and co-driver Craig Vincent in the Subaru that will be used as the zero car this weekend. Picture / Jeff Crow

For the first time in its decade-long history, the Possum Bourne Memorial Rally will be part of the New Zealand Rally Championship.

The event this weekend is also in celebration of 50 years in motorsport for Pukekohe and the Franklin district and will incorporate a few tarmac-only stages.

Bourne won seven Australian Rally Championships, three Asia-Pacific Rally Championships and a New Zealand Rally Championship before his fatal crash in 2003.

Keeping the family name associated with rallying in New Zealand is Taylor Bourne, Possum's oldest son, who is racing this weekend as his tribute to his dad - as his mum, Peggy, did when she drove at the Race to the Sky event in 2005.

Taylor has been to the Dale Perry Rally Drive School in Maramarua Forest and with his brother, Spencer, started competing in club autocrosses and motokhanas this year. He enjoyed it so much the family bought a Subaru Impreza, which is being prepared by Possum Bourne Motorsport.

Taylor will have stepfather Mark Mitchell - MP for Rodney - as his co-driver for the rally. Mitchell has just obtained his MotorSport New Zealand competition licence and co-driving qualifications for this event.

They will start as the final car in the rally with the number 62, the competition number Possum had for the Production World Rally Championship in 2003.

"It's an honour to be involved in the special celebrations this year, we're so grateful for the effort that Pukekohe Car Club and the New Zealand Rally Championship put into keeping Possum's memory alive," said Peggy Bourne.

Several of Bourne's old sponsors have come onboard to help make this possible - Subaru New Zealand, Chicane Racewear, Caltex, CRC, Standox plus others.

The rally is a one-day event with its dual-surface stages encompassing the Maramarua Forests - where Bourne cut his teeth - as well as Hampton Downs Motorsport Park and Pukekohe Park Raceway.

"This year is special to everyone who had a connection to Possum, not just in a sporting capacity but it's also special for his home town of Pukekohe," said New Zealand Rally Championship director Peter Johnston.

"We're really keen to make this event something that the whole community can be involved with, celebrating the memory of just how much a special guy Possum is to this country.

"People who make the effort to take a look at any of the stages this year will be treated to some purely magnificent driving, from a diverse pool of talent which we have here.

"Anyone who comes out will surely appreciate the adventure they'll be exposed to, and the amazing field of teams and vehicles which span the course of rallying history in style."

Pukekohe Car Club president Chris Klitzen said: "We're very excited for what this event will offer not only competitors but to spectators also.

"The majority of stages will be easily accessible to public and being a stone's throw away from Auckland and Hamilton it's the perfect opportunity for people to come and see how Possum used to do it."

In a ceremonial start, the rally will leave from King St, Pukekohe, in front of Bourne's recently unveiled memorial statue at 7am on Saturday. Rally teams will leave the township in one-minute intervals.

Spectators can then follow the event over the course of the day with the first viewing point in the Maramarua Forest where stage one starts at 7.45am.

Tarmac stages are at Hampton Downs from 2pm and then at Pukekohe for the final stage of the rally at 5pm and both are free entry.

Cody Crocker (Possum's former co-driver) will drive Bourne's WRC hill climb car as a zero car (used to sweep the course as a first run before competitors enter the field) on all stages.

To close the event, a function will be held at Pukekohe and will include Bourne memorabilia, supper, the screening of a specially produced documentary on Possum, speeches from previous crew members and family. This event will be open to the public, and tickets can be purchased from Pukekohe Car Club for $35 per head.

By Eric Thompson

For this article and more by the NZ Herald click here

Hampton Downs August Newsletter - 30/08/2013




NEW - Hampton Downs Hot Laps - 26/08/2013

NEW - Hampton Downs Hot Laps

In celebration of this new experience there is a FACEBOOK COMPETITION go in to win a hot lap experience in a NZV8 Ford Falcon

Experience the Adrenaline Rush as you blast around the 2.7km Hampton Downs race circuit in the passenger’s seat of a current NZV8 Race Car with a 5Litre V8 engine reaching speeds of up to 230km/h.

The winner will get 3 laps on 20 September 2013!

Draw closes on 29 August at 12pm.


Get racing on a budget - 22/08/2013

Get racing on a budget

Competition puts emphasis on fun in cars under $2000

Eric Thompson puts the Driven 2K Cup Toyota Corolla through its paces at Hampton Downs under the watchful eye of Paul Radisich.

The New Zealand Racing Drivers' League, and the Historic Racing Club in particular, have come up with a great idea to get people to dip a toe into the waters of racecar driving without breaking the bank, having to work three jobs or sell their children.

The 2K Cup is designed to provide the lowest price race entry category in New Zealand and will have a firm emphasis on fun. Cars must cost $2000 or less and are only allowed safety modifications, if desired.

This is the best motorsport news for the growth of the sport in years so Driven is entering the championship in a purple 1999 five-door Toyota Corolla from the used-car yard of Albany Toyota - who just happen to also be the team owners.

The idea was not to crawl through every second-hand listing to find some MR2, tweaked Toyota Levin or other two-door sports car, but to do it with something mum's abandoned after 10 years of use and with 245,000km on the clock.

A weekly report will appear in the motoring section of that will expand on more details of the category and how you too can go about getting involved in motorsport.

I'll be documenting how to prepare the car and how - as a former international motorcycle racer - I'm going to learn to race on four wheels before the first round, September 28-29.

The driver training began last Saturday at the Hampton Downs circuit for a Paul Radisich's Ultimate Drive Day put on by the HRC.

Radisich, the two-time World Touring Car champion and V8 Supercar driver among many other things, was on hand to oversee the day with three other high-quality instructors. Their combined task was to try to get the 20-plus enthusiastic novices and part-time racers to learn the art of getting a car around a purpose-built racetrack quickly.

During the full day of track time, we had one-on-one training with an instructor in the car, and some classroom time when the finer points of cornering were explained. Some even opted for the instructor to drive their car to show just how quickly it was possible to get it round the north Waikato track.

It soon became evident that stock brakes and pads were good for about five laps, but I discovered I could chop off around two seconds a lap because the car went around corners faster than I thought possible.

However, next time I'm taking a couple of seasick tablets before I go out, and trying to stay in the standard seat was a good workout for my abs.

I thought I was beginning to get it until Radisich buckled up next to me. We've all had our share of back-seat drivers and their advice (and Radisich's was outstanding), but I was mortified when he grabbed the wheel as I was peeling into turn two, stopping me from turning until I almost closed my eyes hoping the airbags would work as we ploughed into Armco railing.

All of a sudden he reefed the wheel hard right and the car pitched, wallowed and rolled its way through the corner, hitting the apex properly for the first time all day.

Just as I began to settle down Radisich started to pull the wheel toward him and we started heading rapidly to the outside of the track, "unwinding the car" apparently.

"There are two big things people forget to do when they first get on a race track," said Radisich. "Use all the tarmac, because they are used to driving on the road and only being able to use half, and getting all the braking and gear changing done before beginning to turn into the corner."

Oh sure - there was a tonne more stuff to learn but these are the fundamental tenets of driving a racecar, along with getting your seat position right so you're not hanging on to the steering wheel for dear life.

"Get those three right and then you can concentrate on the finer points of hitting all the apexes, how to carry more speed mid-corner, exiting under power and a host of other things," he said.

You cannot overestimate how valuable a day's coaching and practice under professional eyes can help the novice. For those wanting to explore the 2K Cup and go racing, get down to Hampton Downs, or wherever, and get some lessons from the professionals.

You'll soon realise just how much of a crap driver you really are, no matter how good you might be on the PlayStation.

Check the website, for regular updates and more explanations about the category, driver tips and racecar preparation.

By Eric Thompson

For this article and more by the NZ Herald click here

Early Birds tame a Prancing Horse! - 20/08/2013

Early Birds tame a Prancing Horse!

Early Bird tickets are now available for the Ferrari Festival - the fifth edition of the New Zealand Festival of Motor Racing and the one all set to be the biggest and best so far!
If you book your tickets before November 1st - you can make turbocharged price savings of between 25% and 40% off gate prices.
With 1000 horsepower Ferrari Formula One cars lighting up the Hampton Downs track, a New Zealand record attempt for the largest number of Ferraris ever gathered in one place and the usual huge selection of jaw-dropping racing classes – January 17-19 and 24-26 next year are going to be petrolhead heaven!
There are a number of ticket options for one weekend or for both and you can choose from basic GA right up to an all singing and all dancing (in Italian of course) two weekend pass with all of the trimmings! Just visit our new look web site at and click on ‘Buy Tickets’.
Over the past four years, the event has celebrated three great New Zealand racing drivers in Bruce McLaren, Chris Amon and Denny Hulme and one evocative automobile brand, BMW. For 2014 the theme is the mighty Ferrari and organisers have teamed up with the Ferrari Owners Club of New Zealand to thrill crowds of 30,000 plus at New Zealand's biggest circuit motorsport event outside of the Aussie V8 Supercars.
Amongst the stars of the back-to-back weekend motorsport extravaganza on January will be iconic racing Ferraris and mouth-watering road going machines.
The historic racing that is offered to the fans during both weekends is some of the best in the world and once again, the event will play host to the world's biggest annual races for the classic thundering V8 powered Formula 5000 machinery. In their day in the sixties and seventies these cars rivalled F1 machinery for speed and spectacle and they are still driven 'in anger' today by the drivers.

Kiwi motorbike legend Stroud retires - 14/08/2013

Kiwi motorbike legend Stroud retires

By Andy McGechan

4:59 PM Wednesday Aug 14, 2013
Andrew Stroud doing what he does best. Photo / Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ
Andrew Stroud doing what he does best. Photo / Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ

Hamilton's Andrew Stroud has this week announced his retirement from motorcycle racing, effective immediately.

The quietly-spoken 45-year-old father-of-nine - with he and wife Karyn expecting child No.10 in the New Year - is a record nine-time national superbike champion but he has finally decided to call time on the sport at the ultimate level after a long and illustrious career that could only be described as phenomenal.

The Suzuki stalwart has raced, and won, in a multitude of countries, in a glittering career spanning 27 years, and he signed off this week "with no regrets".

"I have been thinking about retiring for a couple of years now and played with the option of going again one more time this season. But it was just time for me to retire. It was completely my decision to retire and Karyn has been very supportive, as she has throughout my career.

"I have always been aware of the commitment needed to go racing and the focus needed and I just wasn't prepared to give it any more."

Stroud began racing motorcycles in 1986 and won his first national championship just two seasons later, in 1988, following a season-long battle with Masterton's Aaron Slight for the 250cc production class title.

He raced the United States endurance series and the Suzuka Eight-Hour endurance race in Japan that same year, teaming up with fellow Kiwi great Graeme Crosby.

It was there that he was recruited by a Japanese team and, for the 10 years that followed, he was fortunate enough to travel the world, racing full time for various superbike and Grand Prix teams, as well as winning national titles in the United States and also racing at the Isle of Man.

He was close personal friend of Christchurch inventor John Britten and he raced Britten's world-famous motorcycle to win major events in the United States, including winning the BEARS (British, European and American Racers) world championship in 1995.

As well as achieving a record nine New Zealand superbike title wins, Stroud made it four Formula One title wins in a row in the popular annual Suzuki Tri Series before a crash at Manfeild prematurely ended his 2012 campaign.

Stroud was full of praise for Suzuki New Zealand CEO Tom Peck and all the others who stood behind him throughout his career.

"Suzuki and Tom have been fantastic to deal with. He is such an honourable man and he knows what it takes to win and I suppose that's why Suzuki has won nine of the past 10 national superbike crowns," said Stroud.

"My suspension man Dennis Shaw stuck by me and Pirelli and Brother have been great sponsors, among the many others too. It is the people I am going to miss more than the racing."

Tom Peck also took the opportunity to thank Stroud for his many years of service to the Suzuki brand.

"He has done a fantastic job for us over a number of years. You could not find a better sportsman or ambassador. It is remarkable that he is such a mild-mannered guy off the track, but a fire-breather on it.

"We thought he might be going to go for one more round, to contest the nationals for a last time this season, but he has decided now is the time to retire. We respect that decision, support him and offer Andrew and his family all the best for the future."

By Andy McGechan

For this article by the NZ Herald click here

Reid deputises in Team 4 V8 at Hampton test - 13/08/2013

Tuesday 13th August, 2013 8:31pm

  • Author: SpeedCafe
IMG 0074 344x229 Reid deputises in Team 4 V8 at Hampton test

Jonny Reid emerging from pitlane in the Peak Oil Holden

Journeyman driver Jonny Reid was back behind the wheel at Hampton Downs, testing the Team 4 Commodore ahead of the final sprint round of the BNT V8 SuperTourers series.

With regular driver Simon Evans booked for a prior commitment at the Snow Farm near Queenstown, Reid flew from his base in Australia to put the Holden through its paces.

Reid, who started the season with the struggling DJR V8 Supercar outfit before being replaced by Chaz Mostert, undertook plenty of track time in the Peak Oil-backed V8ST.

Other teams to test included Tasman Motorsports, M3 Racing, Edgell Performance, International Motorsport and iSport.

Aussie Erebus V8 Superdriver Tim Slade was quickly up to speed in the M3 Commodore he is sharing with young gun Richard Moore while John Penny eased into the other M3 machine he will share with Paul Manuell.

Team boss Steve Horne was impressed with the return to the Tasman Falcon by Andrew Waite who broke his wrist several months ago.

D7K4124 53478 344x218 Reid deputises in Team 4 V8 at Hampton test

Refuelling set to be introduced to V8 SuperTourers

Key to the Hampton Down tests were the evaluation of a new softer compound Hankook tyre that is designed to spice up the racing and is likely to be introduced before the end of the season.

Although not widely telegraphed by the category, a new refuelling system will be in place for the first of the endurance races at Hampton Downs later next month.

The system was given a try-out on Ant Pedersen’s International Motorsport Falcon.

For this article and more by Speedcafeclick here



NZ fans to see 1000bhp plus F1 racers on home track for the very first time

Not one, but two iconic Ferrari Formula One cars from the legendary turbocharged era of the 1980s are set to wow the crowds at the 2014 two weekend Ferrari Festival at Hampton Downs.

The 1000-plus horsepower flame-spitting machines - 1985 model Ferrari 156/85s - were driven in their day by the late Michele Alboreto and Stefan Johansson in that season's Grands Prix, with Alboreto heading the points table for most of the year in his best season in F1.

He won the Canadian and German Grands Prix, and was on the podium eight times. Ferrari's results faded badly in the second half of the season as other emerging drivers took the fight to Alain Prost - but the cars remain amongst the most iconic of the turbo era.

Organisers of the event - which takes place on back-to-back weekends at the Hampton Downs race track on January 17-19 and 24-26 - are hoping that the machines will be demonstrated on both weekends by owner Guido Belgiorno-Nettis and one special guest driver.

"The 1985 Formula One season is widely considered by the F1 community to be one of the best and most exciting of all time," explained Ferrari Festival chairman Jim Barclay.
"It is the season which saw new names in Formula One really emerge - Ayrton Senna and Nigel Mansell were just two of the up and coming stars and the likes of Alain Prost, Nikki Lauda and Keke Rosberg were still out there winning. To have two of the most iconic cars from that era of Formula One set to run at an NZ track, and at our event, is obviously very exciting and something we and the fans will look forward to hugely."

Nettis has owned both cars (chassis 079 and 082) for some time – and they get regular track work outs – as he explained.
“I purchased my first 1985 Ferrari 156/85, chassis number 079, in 1995. As a 1985 Ferrari ‘works’ car, chassis 079 was used in nine races. It was raced as Number  27 when Alboreto drove it and as Number 28 when Johansson drove it.”
 The nine races, in chronological sequence, were as follows: - Alboreto drove 079 in the Brazilian GP (2nd) and Portuguese GP (2nd), Johansson in the San Marino GP (6th) and Monaco GP (Retired), Alboreto in the French GP (Retired), Johansson in the British GP (Retired), German GP (9th), Austrian GP (4th), Dutch GP (Retired).  The car then passed into the private collection of Alboreto’s supporter, Count Zanon, where it remained for ten years until Nettis purchased the car and took it to Australia.  Since then, he has demonstrated 079 at many Australian Historic meetings and now races in it Group R historic events in Australia.

“In 2006 when I bought chassis 082 it had done a Goodwood meeting in 1999 with Alboreto driving it, I believe,” he explained.  This was a new car in 1985 that Johansson drove in practice for the Belgian GP (that race was rescheduled) and at the Canadian GP (2nd) and US GP (Detroit) (2nd).

“Before I got 082 in 2006, the car had been mainly static for most of the time previously. When I got the car it carried number 27. I had my mechanics pull it down and prepare it for racing. Overall the car was in OK condition but not race ready. We re-numbered the car from 27 (Alboreto’s number in that season) to 28 which was the number that Stefan raced under.  Alboreto never raced this car so it would not have been 27 unless he was in it! This car has the original seat made by Ferrari with Stefan’s name engraved on it and to me it looks like it was moulded to his body shape. Conveniently it fits me very nicely as well.

“We have done a lot of racing in this car. It has a qualifying engine plus a different suspension package as well as a much bigger aero configuration than the # 27 car (chassis 079) that I also own. It is more set up for shorter tighter circuits and corners as it has more downforce overall. The fans will see this when they see the cars next to each other in 2014 at Hampton Downs.”

The two 1985 turbo cars are not the only Formula One cars organisers are hoping to secure for the event, and they expect to make further announcements in the lead up to the Ferrari Festival.  See further information about the Ferrari Festival on

The fleet of 156/85 F1 Ferraris being prepared for the 1985 season in the Ferrari factory

The ex-Johansson 156-85 chassis 082  in action in the hands of current owner Guido Belgiorno-Nettis

Construction:     Carbon fibre
Max length, width and height:    4292/2135/1080 mm
Wheelbase, front and rear:   2762/1781.7/1663 mm
Dry weight:      548 kg
Tyres:       25.0-10.0-13 front - 26.0-15 0-13 rear


Cylinders:     6-cylinders-V- 1 200
Bore and stroke:     81 x 48 4 mm
Displacement:     1496.4 cc
Crankcase and cylinder head materials:  Light-alloy, treated aluminium cylinders liners
Compression ratio:     7:.1
Max bhp race:      780 HP at 11000 rpm (race)
Max bhp qualifying:    950+ HP at 11000 rpm (qualifying)
Distribution:      4 valves per cylinder, twin overhead
Fuel system:      Supercharged: 2 lateral KKK turbos
lgnition:      Single, electronic capacitive discharge



Wednesday, 07 August 2013 21:33

The 2013-2014 Summer Season at Hampton Downs will blast off in the best possible way over the weekend of September 28 and 29 with the BNT V8 SuperTourers and their star drivers battling out the first round of their endurance season supported for the first time by classes from the New Zealand Racing Drivers League.

The SuperTourers were originally pencilled in for Pukekohe for the first of the 2013 enduros but will now run at the North Waikato track over the weekend of September 28 and 29. All of the star drivers like Greg Murphy, Scott McLaughlin, Shane van Gisbergen, Ant Pedersen, Johnny McIntyre, Andy Booth and Craig Baird- along with a significant number of Australian and International drivers that will be confirmed over the next few weeks - will compete and with refuelling set to make its SuperTourer debut that weekend, the event is certain to be of huge interest to race fans.

Organisers NZRDL are promising lots of track time for fans of the country's fastest V8 touring cars as new combinations get to grips with the longer distance races following the first four rounds of sprint format racing.

"Hampton Downs will host two rounds of the three round endurance series for the BNT SuperTourers so getting the cars and combinations sorted at the first weekend of September 28 and 29 is going to be absolutely critical for teams and drivers. If they get it right, then they could be set for two big points scoring weekends," explained the NZRDL's Chris Watson.

"It's just a fantastic way to kick off the summer season at Hampton Downs and we're genuinely thrilled that we will be able to showcase some of our young NZRDL classes such as the new Rotary Race Enthusiasts, the 2K Cup and the Motul Honda Cup. We'll also be running Formula Libre and Formula Ford at the event, so there should be something for everyone and non-stop action for the whole weekend."

The iconic Formula Ford 1600 class is on the bill at a BNT V8 SuperTourer event for the first time with the non-championship event a curtain raiser and shakedown for the new North Island Formula Ford Championship. The Motul Honda Cup hopes to field in excess of 20 cars, and the new Rotary class is also hopeful of fielding somewhere between 15 and 20 cars. The 2K Cup made its debut at Hampton Downs with 22 cars last month, and is hoping for a few more at the meeting, which will form the second round of its inaugural series.

Families attending on the Saturday of the event with youngsters will go free as they do at all BNT V8 SuperTourer Saturdays.

Hampton Downs

 For this article and more on V8 Supertourers click here

Motorsport: Veteran's skills add grunt to M2 team - 3/08/2013

Mechanic has worked with US greats, writes Eric Thompson
Mark Pilcher (left) says Lou Schollum fits the bill of head mechanic for M2 Competition "better than anyone".
Defending Toyota Racing Series team M2 Competition have just added more grunt to their brains trust in a bid to not only win next year's championship but also offer a better service to the drivers, their managers and at times the drivers' parents.

Team principals Mark Pilcher and Jonathan Moury have hired veteran open wheel head mechanic Lou Schollum, who's decided to settle back in New Zealand after many years of fettling cars in the United States.

Schollum has an enviable record in American single seater racing, having worked with some of the great teams over a 26-year IndyCar career in the US. He's been with Pacwest, Team KOOL Green and more recently Andretti Autosports winning championships with drivers such as J. R. Hildebrand, Dario Franchitti and Dan Wheldon, plus Indy 500 victories with Franchitti and Wheldon.

Pilcher is certain Schollum's input will add strength and depth to his team.

"I've known Lou for about 15 years or so and he came and visited me at Hampton Downs back in February," said Pilcher.

"He said he was back in New Zealand and so I got him on board.

"I identified last year that with six cars it was too hard not to have someone overseeing all the mechanics all at one time. Everyone was happy but I didn't think it gave me enough time to talk to the fathers and managers of the drivers.

"A chief mechanic was exactly what we wanted and Lou fitted the bill better than anyone."

Other team staff imports for the 2014 TRS season include a team of six engineers and three mechanics from Europe all currently working in DTM, GP3, Formula Renault and Formula 3.

"If you took 10 guys just from our team you'd have no problem in running at least a GP2 team. That's what I've always tried to do - get the best people I can and it will always end up paying off.

"You've got to remember these young drivers spend all their time on the internet and they pretty soon work out who's working for whom and that most of our guys are working for some pretty high-profile teams in Europe," said Pilcher.

"The drivers also realise that they gain an advantage on the return to Europe in the first third of their respective seasons because they are much sharper than the rest of the European fields."

Schollum believes the racing series is a great platform for up-and-coming young drivers to get more seat time in an open wheel racecar and it's a series he'd like to see more American drivers come and chance their luck in.

"Mark Pilcher runs a very good team," said Schollum. "They had a very successful championship last year and were clearly the dominant outfit of the series. However, the more successful you are, the more hard work you have to do to remain successful.

"It's a great opportunity for any driver - five weeks of very intense racing in the northern hemisphere off season, there is no better preparation really for their own home championships.

"I've done quite a bit in the States and been quite successful. On returning to New Zealand and after taking a bunch of time off, Mark called to see if I wanted to get involved and do the winter rebuilds on the cars."

It's turned out to be a good situation all around for the M2 crew as Pilcher can now concentrate on his other ventures comfortable in the knowledge a proven winner is looking after the team's numerous cars. With Schollum looking after the mechanicals now, M2 will avoid the mad rush later in the year trying to get all the cars ready in time for the first round next January.

Also joining the team will be successful open wheel and sports car racer Chris van der Drift, who acts as an engineer and driver coach for the squad.

M2 Competition plans to announce its 2014-driver line-up in the coming months with drivers from Europe, NZ and Australia expecting to compete under the M2 banner, including the possible return of Steijn Schothorst and Dennis Olsen.

By Eric Thompson

For this article and more by the NZ Herald click here

Right track for safety at wheel - 28/07/2013

Driver training days are invaluable for learning how modern cars respond under extreme circumstances. And they're terrific fun, too, writes Dan Stevens
One way to gain greater enjoyment from driving is to improve your skills. More control breeds confidence and, provided you remain considerate behind the wheel, switched-on passengers might come to regard you as "a good driver". That's quite an accolade in anyone's book.

Every manufacturer insists you'll enjoy driving more by buying their latest and greatest, but only a handful offer track-based driving days that allow you to experience the potential of their cars while honing your skills with professional instructors.

Courses range from introductory to advanced to motorsport-focused, but even experienced drivers will benefit from what's on offer at entry level. Having previously attended the revamped Audi Drive Experience at Hampton Downs, Driven returned for the BMW Driving Experience run by chief instructors Mike Eady and Martin Collins.

A racetrack is an ideal controlled environment for learning the correct techniques for braking, driving around corners and reading the road. The purpose of the BMW course is to equip drivers with the skills to make good decisions when faced with potentially dangerous situations. In our briefing, Martin Collins boils things down by pointing out that any driver's response to a problem is reflected in the grip (or slip) of four rounds of rubber.

Participants are paired up in sporty M-spec 3-series with front and rear tyres inflated to 40 psi. Instructors communicate via radio.

Collins says the first thing he does when finding an ideal seating position is to fully depress the brake pedal. He recommends adjusting your seat so there's still a slight bend in your right leg and your wrists rest comfortably atop the steering wheel. The idea is to brake with your strongest leg muscles, not with a flex of the ankle.

For optimal steering control, Collins says to grip the wheel with hands at quarter-to-three. "Your thumbs will rest comfortably in the indents by the crossbar and your forearms remain away from the wheel-mounted airbag."

Track-lapping exercises referred to as "ideal line lapping" book-end the BMW and Audi courses.

We get under way on a damp, slippery track that highlights the value of driving good lines (literally following the instructor's tyre tracks), completing braking before bends, turning in smoothly and exiting with measured throttle application.

Mike Eady says corner entry speed should be lower than exit speed, and acceleration gentle and controlled, avoiding the use of traction control.

"Correct observation is important, especially focusing on fixed exit points as you look through corners, and the steering angle can be released early on after exiting a bend."

In the safety of the track environment, it's clear to see the value in driving up to the limits of adhesion but maintaining full control of the car. Pushing a fraction too far causes the car's electronics to momentarily wrest control from amateur limbs and you can't help but register the stuff-up.

My passenger is a racetrack newbie who feels a little out of his comfort zone on the exploratory laps. His instinct is to brace himself while I work at applying the instructors' advice: approach bends out wide for maximum vision through the turn, steer to where you want to go, ease off the brakes as you turn into the apex, squeeze on the power upon exit ...

Once behind the wheel, the newbie finds himself without a benchmark, unused to driving with six times more road width than usual. He starts out turning into bends too soon without using the available space. Later the track dries and his lapping gets neater and quicker as he times his inputs well, drives optimal lines and carries more speed through bends.

The Emergency ABS exercises demonstrate the importance of maximum attack on the brake pedal to activate the ABS. This sees the brakes repeatedly lock and unlock in milliseconds to prevent you locking up and ploughing straight on. My driving partner recalls employing ABS twice at open road speeds - both times to avoid loads that had fallen from vehicles he was trailing.

"To stop a vehicle quickly at speed requires a lot of brake pressure," says Eady. "The most common error a driver makes is being too gentle on the pedal and not activating the ABS. In an emergency stop, maximum attack on the brakes is by far the best way to stop a modern car. And by having the ABS activated, the driver can also perform an avoidance manoeuvre."

I confess to being guilty of another common driving error - approaching a bend much too quickly. "If you approach too quickly, you have already made a big mistake," Eady notes. "But if you have ABS and some sort of traction control, you can apply the brakes and gently turn into the corner."

Whereas Audi runs a timed mini-gymkhana on its Drive Experience, the competitive part of the BMW course is a timed slalom run, which proves a test of smooth steering and acceleration and firm, precise braking. It teaches you to lift your eyes and focus on what's up ahead rather than following your nose and collecting cones. Each driver in our group gets progressively quicker over three runs but even the fastest effort is several seconds off a course best.

We're naturally all left wanting a few more runs to close the gap - and a few more track laps to boot. In fact I was still reliving my better manoeuvres and cone-breaking faux pas a week after completing each of the drive days. No wonder BMW and Audi have so many signing up for their advanced courses.

Prepare for the big day

Driving courses don't come cheap, but when you consider the cars, track facilities and professional instruction, it's obvious where your money's going. Better still, if the course helps you avoid even a minor accident, it could prove a fine investment.

To get maximum bang for your buck, Driven recommends a little preparation in the lead-up:

1 Use your eyes more Get in the habit of looking further down the road when driving and anticipate problems earlier. Look right through bends to where you want to go and your hand-eye co-ordination will take you there.

2 Know your own car Check whether your car is equipped with ABS and stability control, and make sure your tyres are correctly inflated. At the course, note whether you're in a petrol or diesel car, and which are the driven wheels. How does it differ from your own car?

3 Get familiar with the track If you haven't driven around the training circuit before, a little homework can pay off. Study a circuit map or watch an online video of a car
lapping the track.

4 Ask about the programme Find out which exercises you'll be undertaking and the course structure, so that you arrive with an idea of what you'll be trying to achieve and any driving weaknesses you can address.

5 Limber up beforehand The track is a controlled environment that's ideal for pushing a car hard. Mentally prepare to step outside your comfort zone and bear in mind that the braking exercises, in particular, place strain on the neck, abdomen and leg muscles.

More info

You don't need to be a prestige car owner to enjoy these courses:

Audi Drive Experience

BMW Driving Experience

Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy

Porsche Driver Training;

BMW driving instructor Mike Eady is full of tips on driving position and handling emergencies.

By Dan Stevens

For this article and more by the NZ Herald click here

Hampton Downs July Newsletter - 26/07/2013




Classic touch for revival series - 25/07/2013

Championship organisers respond to driver demands

Kiwi drivers racing in the F5000 revival series have put their feet down. They've convinced the organisers to focus the championship around key classic and historic meetings in this country and to give them the opportunity to start competing across the Ditch.

They've also told the organisers to pay more attention to detail - under the skins of the V8-powered single-seaters and the way the cars are turned out.

The NZ Formula 5000 Association voted in a new management committee at its annual meeting in May. Outlining the changes, chairman Tony Roberts says this season's MSC F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series will have an added twist.

There are four rounds carrying points in New Zealand and the option for Kiwi drivers to compete at four - or maybe five - non-scoring meetings across the Tasman organised by the Australian F5000 association.

"We were given a number of directives by our drivers at the annual general meeting," said Roberts.

"One that came through loud and clear was that we should support our key local historic and classic events."

Roberts was a founding member of the association in 2000, before combining with colleague Chris Watson to plan, build and manage the Hampton Downs circuit in northern Waikato.

He is joined on the new committee by regular competitors Aaron Burson, Ian Clements, Andrew Higgins and Tony Richards, and long-time category engineer and crew chief Barry Miller.

As well as a desire to focus on key rounds closer to home this season, members agreed the committee should make more of an effort to ensure all cars in the series - here and overseas - comply with the letter and spirit of the FIA Historic Regulations, which cover the category. "This means correct engines, correct aerodynamics, even correct period liveries. Engines will also be rev-limited this season, to keep costs down and maintain parity amongst competitors," said Roberts.

Since the first series at Pukekohe in September 2003, the New Zealand association has spearheaded a worldwide resurgence of interest in the stock-block, 5-litre V8, single-seater F5000 category. Although entries were down last season on their peak of three or four years ago, the number of cars being imported and rebuilt here in New Zealand continues to increase.

Last season the category had 88 owner/drivers with race-ready cars on its books. The majority are Kiwis (49 cars). Australia, with its domestic series now up and running, has 18 with 10 more from the UK.

Added to the Downunder contingent is former Lady Wigram Trophy winner Jay Esterer, from Canada. The rest are from the US.

More than 20 Kiwis are committed to contesting all four rounds of the local series with others set to do one or more. Four newcomers have cars on their way to being finished.

Four association members - three-time series champion Ken Smith (Lola T332), last season's runner-up Clark Proctor (March 71/A), Andrew Higgins (Lola T400) and Tim Rush (McLaren M22) - have entered the first two rounds of the Australian series in late August and early September.

Other drivers may ship their cars across the Tasman for the Phillip Island Classic in early March. The category may become a support class to the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne a week later.

2013-14 MSC F5000 NZ Calendar

Round 1 Nov 8-10 Manfeild

Round 2 Jan 17-19 Hampton Downs

Round 3 Jan 24-16 Hampton Downs

Round 4 Feb 1-2 Ruapuna

Australia Cup (invitation rounds)

Round 1 Aug 31-Sept 1 Sydney

Round 2 Sept 13-15 Sandown 500 (V8 Supercars)

Round 3 Nov 8-10 Sandown historic meeting

Round 4 March 7-9 Phillip Island classic meeting

Round 5 (TBC) March 14-16 Australian GP

By Eric Thompson

For this article and more by the NZ Herald click here

Toyota 86 RC: Making it personal - 1/07/2013

Shopping online is a way of life for my teenage children (and because of this my credit card is often on life support) so the idea of buying a car from a website doesn't faze them.

For Generation X and older, the idea that you can't literally kick the tyres of a prospective vehicle is abhorrent, but Toyota New Zealand reckons there's a market for sports coupe fans who want to create their own individualised car.

Toyota has just launched an online 86 RC (Race Competition) based on the popular 86 and GT86 coupe and priced from $33,986. It gives buyers the chance to personalise the car, adding accessories from the Toyota Racing Development (TRD) including a front spoiler, side skirt rear bumper spoiler and a high response muffler.

Buyers head to website and they can accessorise their 86 RC at the virtual showroom.

The base model comes with the standard 2-litre, flat boxer four cylinder petrol engine (147kW of power and 205Nm of torque) paired with a six-speed manual transmission.

Once you've added all the extras and put in your order, you have three working days to head to your Toyota dealership to sign a Vehicle Offer and Sale Agreement (VOSA). It then takes three to six weeks to build your personalised 86 RC.

And, unlike my kids' web purchases, don't expect your local courier to deliver the car. Instead when it's finished being revamped at Toyota NZ's Thames plant, it's trucked to your Toyota dealership who then rings you to collect your customised car.

Toyota NZ's general manager of product planning, Neeraj Lala, reckons the online process allows customers to "see all the options available, giving them the opportunity to create their own personal brand statement".

"While a lot of people still want to see, touch and feel the car in the showroom, a large group of 86 RC customers will do most of their research online before they even come into the dealership," says Lala.

"Our innovative website allows customers to build their perfect 86, add factory TRD performance parts and packages, choose a colour and Toyota NZ customised an 86 RC for us, with TRD 18in tyres, the TRD skirt, bumper, muffler system and sports metre in place of a stereo.

And, unlike my kids' web purchases, don't expect your local courier to deliver the car. Toyota 86 RC

design scheme or select the wheel and tyre combination that suits them best. At the dealership, more local customisation is available before taking delivery of their personalised 86 RC."

If needs be, potential buyers can go into a Toyota dealership and get help to design their vehicle.

"Sales teams will be equipped with comprehensive 86 product knowledge and touch-screen tablet technology to help guide customers through the 86 RC personalisation process if they prefer to follow the process in the comfort of the showroom," says Lala.

Toyota NZ let Driven test its first 86 RC but had customised it for us, replacing the standard 16in alloys with TRD 18in tyres, the TRD skirt, bumper, muffler system, sports metres on the dahs and the tight-fitting sports seats.

Added to it were attention-seeking 86 decals plastered across the body and to make extra sure the car turned heads, "media car" stickers on the side. For me, this extra attention meant no honking my horn at bad drivers or "gesturing" at fellow motorists.

The base online model does not have a stereo system (so I had to sing to myself), no air conditioning (hey it's winter time) and no spare tyre.

The six-speed manual takes a while to wake up in the morning - demanding you hit 4000rpm before letting you get to second gear and preferring to sit at fourth on the open road. But once into the groove, the car powers into fifth gear with sixth for over the 105km/h range.

Built to look like it belongs on the race track, I know from experience at the official 86 launch last year at Hampton Downs that the manual loves the revs and takes the back straight on the track in sixth gear with ease.

Toyota has also had some 86 owners' track days over the summer - so expect 86 RC to join them this summer to show off their wares.

That reminds me - I must hide my credit card from my kids, I don't want to them to get any ideas on the 86 website.

By Liz Dobson

For this article and more please go to the NZ Herald or click here

Motorsport: Toyota's new niche for clubmans - 12/06/2013

 TNZ announced late last week it's going to create a racing category for the 86 coupe that will make its debut on New Zealand tracks next summer using a locally developed Toyota Racing version called TR86.

The new series is planned to start at Highlands Motorsport Park, Cromwell, in early November. It will share billing at some rounds of MotorSport New Zealand's summer motor racing championship including the New Zealand Grand Prix weekend at Manfeild in February 2014.

"When the 86 first came through we had the idea that it would likely make a good race car," said Toyota general manager John Fowke.

"It looks like one. Having the RC [race competition] model already available and with a bit of work we could have a one-make series with it as well.

"Since the Porsche GT doesn't have a series anymore, there seemed an opportunity to have a class for a rear-wheel-drive car like this, and since we had one, why not?

"A lot of people are still racing the old 86 car and this is sort of the spiritual successor to that - it just seemed logical. It hasn't been an easy development but the car lends itself to being modified into a race car. It's small, it's light, it's rear-wheel drive and has a great chassis.

"Starting with the RC86 it's like starting with a blank canvas."

The inaugural 86 racing series will cover up to seven rounds over seven months, and the cars are being built with other opportunities in mind. The prototype TR86 was displayed at this year's five-round TRS international race series where it attracted a fair amount of interest.

"TR86 can also be adapted for use in Targa, endurance, hill climbs, sprints and other forms of motorsport events," said TRS category manager Barrie Thomlinson. "The TR86 platform lends itself to all forms of motorsport and we believe the car will have excellent resale value based on its versatility."

The car is fitted with a six-point FIA-approved roll cage, integrated MoTeC dash, Sparco Touring-car race seat and race steering wheel. They also have specially tuned adjustable suspension and a racing brake package and are fitted with 18-inch Speedline motorsport wheels running slick tyres. Each car is built to a low volume vehicle certification, which means the car can be driven on public roads provided the owner holds a Motorsport NZ competition licence.

The cost of the turnkey race car is $78,000 plus GST and includes the MoTeC data dash and an additional set of 18-inch alloy wheels. A deposit of $10,000 will secure the purchase of a TR86.

So as not to feel left out, and to remain the primary focus of TNZ's racing involvement, Fowke also announced a new TRS prototype is being constructed for the nine-year-old series, which will also see an entirely new aero package.

"The TRS is and remains our primary focus,"' he said. "The aim is to have all the design parameters settled before the next TRS series so we can show a prototype of what we are doing, and then introduce the car for the 2015 season."

Provisional race day calendar

November 9 to 11, 2013, Highlands Motorsport Park

November 30 to December 1, 2013, Pukekohe Raceway

February 1 to 2, 2014, Taupo

February 8 to 9, 2014, Manfeild (NZGP meeting)

March 8 to 9, 2014, Taupo

May 3 to 4, 2014, Hampton Downs

May 2014, Pukekohe 6-hour enduro (tbc)

By Eric Thompson

For this article and more by the NZ Herald please click here

Drift car modified for teenage cancer patient - 7/06/2013

Friday 7th June, 2013 3:42pm
Author: SpeedCafe ©

A modified V8-powered Lexus IS400 drift car will be driven by a young cancer patient at Hampton Downs later in the month.

Blenheim youngster Braden Mason will have a crack behind the wheel of the specially modified Lexus.

It will be the icing on the cake for the 14-year-old who had initially booked a passenger ride with top Kiwi drifter Cam Vernon. Braden will ride beside Ramarama (south-east of Auckland) contractor Vernon in his Skinny Mobile/Gull NZ-backed Nissan Skyline R32 drift car on June 29.

Braden suffers from a rare form of inoperable cancer which has spread from his brain to his spine which has confined him to a wheelchair.

The drive has materialised following a remark passed by Braden’s older brother Michael who wished there was somewhere people with disabilities could go and learn to drive.

“When I thought about it I realised he was right – and decided to do something about it,” Vernon said.

Vernon subsequently set up a Trademe auction – Drift for a Cause – offering hot laps in his Skyline.

WSL Engineering Ltd from Drury, created the special hand controls needed for the accelerator and brakes and Luxury Sports in Penrose for the special racing seats.

 Once Braden has learnt the finer arts of drifting in the car it will remain at the track under the eye of venue manager, and the man behind the Playday on Track track day company, Gary Sterling.

 Between them Vernon and Sterling will then be responsible for the next step – making the car available so that other disabled drivers can fulfill a dream.

 ”Which at the end of the day is what it’s all about,” Vernon.

 ”I still remember the sense of exhilaration and achievement I felt when I was starting out. It sounds corny saying it but it really did change my life. By building this car and giving anyone with a disability the opportunity to learn how to drift in it we might be able to change some more.”

For this article and more by Speedcafe NZ click here

TRACK TORQUE May Newsletter - 31/05/2013

For the latest TRACK TORQUE NEWSLETTER click here

Greg Murphy at CRC Speedshow - 30/05/2013

Greg Murphy Racing will have on display at this year’s CRC Speed Show as part of the Hampton Downs display an Ex Tasman Motorsport VE Commodore V8 Supercar that is now permanently based at Hampton Downs and used by Greg Murphy as a ‘Ride Car’ both for Sponsor’s and fans / public ride days.

The car was used during 2007 & part of 2008 by both Greg Murphy and Jason Richards in the Australian V8 Supercar Championship and in fact was 4th in the 2007 Bathurst 1000 driven by the pair and only missed out on 3rd place by less than 3/10th  second and was as high as 3rd with one lap to go...

The car runs the V8 Supercar sequential gearbox and same 5.0 Litre V8 Supercar engine.

The car is livered similar to Murphy’s NZ V8 SuperTourer to reflect his current New Zealand sponsor group.

Rides are available to be purchased at the CRC Speedshow for the next planned outing at Hampton Downs in mid-September and if purchased and paid for on the day will qualify for a 10% discount. You can also register your interest at the event for a future ride day and a newsletter advising of upcoming dates will then be sent closer to each outing.

The cost of a two (2) lap ride in the car with Greg Murphy is NZ$375.00 and a three (3) lap ride is NZ$500.00. All necessary equipment (Race Suits, Helmets and Gloves) are supplied and it is necessary to wear lace up footwear. There is the opportunity for photographs with Greg and access to free signed posters at the event. You are most welcome to bring family and friends along to share and witness the excitement of the occasion.

There is a height and weight restriction placed on ride participants from a safety prospective as well as an indemnity form to be signed by all passengers. This information is available on the paperwork provided at the Speedshow event.

There will also be a draw at 2:00pm each day at the Hampton Downs stand for a ‘free ride’ to one lucky Speedshow visitor present at the draw.

Should there be interest from people unable to attend the Speed Show, then feel free to register your interest via email at: 

Mini Paceman: it's the Mini Major - 20/05/2013

Mini Paceman: it's the Mini Major
 By Matt Greenop

How can you tell Mini's new sports coupe is aimed at guys? Could be the racy look. Could be the handling, especially in the wet. Or just that its size matters

The Paceman's handling is up to Mini's legendary standard, even in serious dampness, but the handbrake lever is a tad Goosey. Photo / Supplied
They call the Mini Paceman a 'sports activity coupe'. The difference between a sports utility vehicle and an 'SAC' seems to be boot space, more than anything else. The Paceman is the latest Mini to roll off its seemingly never-ending new model roster but this time it's more than just a lick of paint and a few variations on the tried-and-tested theme of a new generation Mini. It's a variation on the Countryman, Mini's SUV released here last year.
The Countryman manages to do something quite clever - it feels like a Mini, looks strangely familiar on the inside and even from the exterior - as long as there's no point of size reference - it doesn't seem to be that much larger. But it is.
The Paceman takes the Countryman's form-factor and drops the roof at the rear, giving it a racier look and giving Mini the chance to market it with a male skew. The SUV stablemate was aimed more at mums who just couldn't let go of the brand.
While underneath it's basically the same animal, Mini has recognised that it's filling a niche within a niche and will initially bring in only the two-wheel-drive version, with a view towards the All-4 model should the numbers stack up.
However, there will be a John Cooper Works (read: fast and angry version) edition further down the track.
The decision to opt out of the four-pawed model seemed a curious one when we were briefed at Hampton Downs on the very worst kind of Monday - torrential rain, howling wind and a very, very wet race circuit. But when given the opportunity to and try the vehicle in conditions not too far removed from what we should expect in the coming months, it didn't seem like such a bad call after all.
The first generation of Mini was renowned for its fear of water, but the Paceman spat it out quite happily, despite towering over the new-era Mini Coopers and Roadsters bought along for comparison.
The interior layout is fairly unique with a centre rail dividing the rear seats and some interesting tartan interior materials sorry, `hot cross' according to the fashionista. There's even a handbrake lever obviously inspired by jet planes, but you do feel less Maverick and more like a Goose when you're using it.
But it's the exterior that will win fans, sitting 10mm lower than the Countryman courtesy of the sports suspension that's offered as a standard option. It's slightly longer, the roof is much lower and has the option of either 17-inch star rims or very tasty 19-inch Y-spokes in all, it's a pretty good looking package, but whether it's going to attract the buyers from the smaller Minis remains to be seen. The rear lights have evolved: they now sit vertically as opposed to the more traditional horizontal setting, and Paceman is spelled across the boot.
Mini handling is, fortunately, retained and it still sticks like the proverbial sticky thing. Even when hitting the standing water on Hampton Downs at serious velocity the car mostly stayed on track, and when it didn't the chassis responded quickly to a bootful and tended to drive through any front-end slide and regain its footing before anything messy or upside down happened.
Power isn't up to the same grumpy levels of the JCW versions, but the twin scroll turbo helps the Paceman push out an acceptable 135kW, with a tabletop torque curve of 240Nm from 1600rpm up to near redline. This helps keep things predictable, and with a Sport button to back off traction control the car will quite happily spin its front feet out of corners without having to scrub too much speed. It worked well under the drowning
backblocks of Hampton Downs, and on the road gives that square chassis the front-drive feeling that Mini does so, so well.
Paceman went on sale yesterday with a $53,500 pricetag for the six-speed manual and a $3000 option for those who like the car to do the shiftwork.

Winning Mini fashion
Never one to shy away from pushing boundaries, Mini and the all-new Paceman will be making its New Zealand catwalk debut later this month as part of a bold collaboration
with Mini's brand partner, Stolen Girlfriends Club. The seventh member of the Mini family has been dressed in the new Stolen Girlfriends Club `Death Moth' print and will be rolling its way down the catwalk at the official release of the new season's fashion offering on May 29. If you'd like to check out the Paceman and some other models Driven and Mini have five double passes to give away to the show, to be held in Auckland's swanky Newmarket shopping district.

To enter, simply email with `Stolen Mini' in the subject line.

Tell us how many models are in the Mini line-up in New Zealand and we'll pick the winners. Don't forget to include your contact details.
 By Matt Greenop Email Matt

To view this article by the NZ Herald please click here


Community rallies help - 14/05/2013

Community rallies help

People are pitching in to help a keen sportswoman paralysed in a flying fox accident.

Mardie Lythe suffered terrible injuries in the Albany incident in March, including a severed spine which paralysed her from the waist down.

Now those around Matakana, where Mardie, husband former Warriors player Ben Lythe, and their four girls used to live for some years, are stepping in to raise funds to help the family cope.

The Rusty Pelican in Matakana will host a fundraising dinner and auction on May 21.

It will be held in the Rusty Tui Sports Bar from 6pm with auction items to include surf gear, a racing car ride at Hampton Downs, an archery lesson, wine, a coffee a day for six months, firewood, accommodation, beauty vouchers and much more.
All proceeds from the dinner, raffles, auction and drink sales go to the Lythe family.

More items for the auction are welcome.

Tickets $50, include a buffet meal, available from the Rusty Pelican, Nick’s Market Place and the Warkworth police station.

You can find this article in the Rodney Times


Brace yourself - fools are coming out in force - 13/05/2013

By Matt Greenop

9:30 AM Monday May 13, 2013

The simple act of putting headlights on warns other motorists that high level stupidity is possibly approaching at 100 km/h. Photo / Thinkstock
Weather, that great Kiwi conversation piece, got me thinking this week, as the second car launch in just a few days took place among what can only truly be described as utterly crap weather.
Monday saw a group of motoring writers let loose at Hampton Downs in the new Mini Paceman - quite pleasant as there wasn't much in the way of traffic.
Wednesday's Honda Accord launch, in contrast, kicked off in Auckland's CBD before heading for the country. It confirmed (yet again) what many of us already knew - a lot of people with little or no driving ability choose torrential rain as the time to hone their skills.
Firstly, please pass on our thanks to any of these people you know (obviously not Driven readers), and secondly, let them know that a grey/white/silver/cream/black car is quite invisible in near-dark storm conditions. The simple act of putting headlights on warns other motorists that high level stupidity is possibly approaching at 100km/h and gives us all time to prepare for the huge lane change, industrial strength braking for no apparent reason or - the most common - the move into a space that was previously reserved for safe following distance to compensate for wet roads and dangerous conditions.

Bad motorists aren't the only ones that thrive with a bit of rain - if it didn't make the lawn come back to life and the silverbeet grow, it'd be worth banning it entirely. The unfortunate spin-offs of bad weather include cyclists with no lights, miserable-looking joggers clad entirely in black like unusually active goths and the bane of any inner-city motorists - bus drivers even more aggressive and intolerant than usual because their rolling offices smell like a wet dog that's been rolling in an ashtray.
What other nightmares are you expecting to contend with on our roads this coming winter?

To view this article by the NZ Herald please click here.

Adrenaline rushes all in the aid of charity - 9/05/2013

Adrenaline rushes all in the

aid of charity

 Photo / Ted Baghurst
Photo / Ted Baghurst

Feel like life in the fast lane for a good cause? Then check out an upcoming fundraising event at Hampton Downs race track.

The Rotary Club of Auckland East is holding a hot laps day on May 26, from 10am to 4pm, where you can experience what it's like to be part of the BMW racing series.

For $59, people over the age of 15 can be a passenger in one of 20 BMW E20 race cars or BMW open class cars. All the cars will be on the track at the same time so you'll know what it's like during a real race. There will be a hot lap plus an in-and-out lap - taking you from the pits on to the track then back.

All proceeds are going to Rotary-sponsored charities Cure Kids and Life Education Trust.

Go to to book.












For this article from NZ Herald please click here

Racetrack round raises spirit - 6/05/2013

Racing down the back straight of Hampton Downs at an adrenaline pumping 250kmh would be a nerve-racking experience for anyone. But in Greg Murphy's hands, Shaun Vincent felt pretty safe.

"It's awesome, you certainly know you're alive when you're going that fast. It takes you into another level of sensories - it's surreal," Mr Vincent says.

He was provided the hot lap by the Franklin Silver Lining Trust on Tuesday after he and his family have faced a challenging time.

His daughter Nikita was re- admitted to hospital with brain cancer in 2009, after two years' remission and around the same time Mr Vincent was diagnosed with having a mildly aggressive prostate tumour.

Now recovered, he returned to work with the New Zealand Fire Service last month.

Ambassador of the Franklin Silver Lining Trust, Greg Murphy, believes it is important to help those who have had a rough time.

"Not everyone is as fortunate as you. People go through tragic things and to be able to give something back is an amazing feeling.

"Giving someone a ride in a race car and allowing them to feel different for a day is really special.

"Little stuff makes a huge difference in people's lives."

Trustee of the organisation Richard Graham agreed.

"It lets them know there's other people thinking about them. "Things that might only seem small to us can make a huge difference to a family that's going through a tough patch."

The main objective of the Franklin Silver Lining Trust is to provide Franklin families facing adversity with special breaks on a continuing basis.

This adversity could include anything from the loss of a loved one through suicide, to someone suffering postnatal depression, to a loved one with a brain tumour, to a family who has lost a baby to cot death or stillbirth.

For more details go to franklin

- © Fairfax NZ News

For this article please click here

Hampton Downs April 2013 Newsletter - 30/04/2013


April was a busy month with 28 days being booked! We had a range of launches, race events, filming, track days, pro-rider motorcycle training and today there are hot laps with Murphy!
Look out for Hampton Downs and Formula Challenge on Channel U over the next five Friday nights in the KFC challenge!
This Saturday Playday at Hampton’s has a driver training group. This is excellent for anyone wanting to do their first Track Day or just wanting to improve their car control & driving skills. You will learn a huge amount and have fun doing so. Helmet & Overalls required for the afternoon sessions, passengers allowed in the morning sessions.
The day starts with a short classroom session followed by laps around the track at low speed behind a lead car to show you the lines. Gradually the speed increases, no tail gating & no passing allowed.
The Trainer then discusses the session with you and the next session is similar but a little faster.
During the following sessions the Trainers will move from car to car to give you one on one training as you drive around the track.
Its $190 per car and you can pre-register
The Roycroft Trophy enjoyed another successful weekend over Easter!
A unique feature of this type of event is the opportunity for spectators to enjoy walking amongst the cars and mingling with the competitors. Star of the show was the magnificent 5 litre Stutz which placed third at the Indianapolis 500 in 1915 (and second in 1919). Other cars with a New Zealand racing history included the GCS Ford and Ryan McDonalds 1923 Chevrolet (2 wheel brakes and wooden wheels), the Northland Special, the Lycoming Special and the newly restored 1950 mid-engined RA Vanguard, a local special that was years ahead of its time, incorporating rubber suspension at the front and aircraft oleos at the rear. More recent arrivals included the sleek Le Mans Lagonda V12 conducted by David Brock-Jest and Rosemary Pearson in her 1934 Riley Lynx who had just received her racing license.
There were the usual suspects in 1930s MGs, Austin 7s, a 1954 500cc Cooper Formula 3, a Jowett Jupiter, a Jaguar XK 150 and an even more fearsome Jaguar, John Ure’s 1958 Mark 7 four door saloon.
Once again the NZ Classic Motor Cycle Racing register turned up to demonstrate some priceless, mouth watering machinery, including a Brough Superior, sundry Triumphs, a Bultaco, a Triton, a BSA, a Vincent Black Lightning and no less than four Manx Nortons. One of the more extraordinary bikes on display was created by the younger of the McNair dynasty, 15 year old Louie, who had built an immaculate vintage V twin Flyer in 2 months, as a school project. Meanwhile in the skies above father Rob entertained the crowd performing aerobatics in his Tiger Moth, the spare engine of which he has fitted in his 1937 Riley.
Not only were there some rare vintage cars and bikes but there was plenty of action provided by the classic side cars (as shown below).
Each year more entrants and spectators turn up in period dress and this, together with the jazz band, classic Midgets and car club displays gives this event its unique flavour.
The date for 2014 has already been set – mark 8 / 9 March 2014 in your diaries!
There are excellent articles in:
Vanguard springs to life at Roycroft Trophy meeting – click here for the article from Speedcafe
Pride and joy loose on the track - click here for the article from NZ Herald
Watch out for an article in the current Classic Car magazine
 For more outstanding images go to
We recently hosted Mercy Hospice – Race for Life event which is a "Living truly in the moment" day.
The proceedings began at 11 o'clock once the Helicopter arrived with two patients, accompanied by Lynda, their CEO. Needless to say all were spoilt to special coffees and a delicious morning tea.
There had been all sorts of testing and safety briefings for drivers before this all began. The committee had placed great importance on SAFETY, especially as this event just gets bigger each year.
At about 11.15, patients, along with their volunteer helper, had to make BIG decisions.
Was it going to be:
1. A helicopter ride
2. A racing car ride
3. A motor bike ride
4. A truck ride
They could as well choose to sit around and enjoy the ambiance and the delicious smells permeating from the All Day BBQ. The luxury or classic car rides were to come after lunch, so there were plenty of options.
The day was simply a stunner in every which way. It is nothing less than an honour to be a part of it all.
On Sunday 26 May is the opportunity to do hot laps in BMW’s for only $59 per person with all proceeds going to charity. For more information go to
2K Cup – is a new class to open doors to young budget racers and it is proving to be very popular! The 2K Cup is designed to provide the lowest price circuit motor racing in New Zealand and will have a firm emphasis on fun and low cost. Cars must cost $2,000 or less, are allowed only safety modifications.
The new category will form part of the New Zealand Racing Drivers League which will kick off at Hampton Downs on September 28 and 29 and will run five events during its first summer season.  It will include rounds at all of the major North Island circuits - Hampton Downs, Taupo, Manfeild and Pukekohe. "The races will be an hour long so the emphasis will not be on outright speed, but on driving skill and getting the basics right," explained Chris Watson, one of the NZRDL organisers and brains behind the new class. Tyres and brakes will need to be looked after and the track speeds will be quite slow, but, and it is a big but, the racing should be close and will favour the most skilful driver with the best overall strategy. There's no place for door banging or the wallet waving winner in this class and we very much hope it will attract new racers to the sport."
No modifications will be allowed on the engine or drive train of the car or the bodywork and the interior must be retained. The cars can run to minimum Motorsport New Zealand specification which means that although they are not a legal requirement, roll cages and harnesses are strongly advised as well as full safety gear for the driver. Racing seats are also permitted as are aftermarket brake pads (but not calipers) and aftermarket springs (which must be direct OEM replacements). On-board fire extinguishers are a must. Equally as importantly, the car must have a warrant of fitness and must have cost its owner $2,000 or less. A receipt of purchase or an AA valuation must be produced during documentation. Dot tyres are permitted but the car's original specification and diameter wheels must also be retained. For more information please got to
The annual Hampton Downs 12 hour race is on again on 27 July. We have changed the entry fee structure to make the entry fee all inclusive, so practice and pits are included. The 4 hour entry fee will be $500 and 12 hour $1000. You can enter a team of 3 cars for the 4 hour race or 4 cars for the 12 hour race. There will be a prize for the winning team in the 4 and 12 hour races, plus cups for the winning BMW and Honda teams. Start planning now!
Classes are 0-2000cc, 2001cc to 3500cc and over 3501cc. Separate classes for forced induction and also prizes for one team and multi car teams. This has got to be the best value motor racing available.
For more information and to pre-register please go to

Pride and joy loose on the track - 3/04/2013

Pride and joy loose on the track
By Peter Calder
Wednesday Apr 3, 2013
Owners of vintage and post-vintage wheels like to show their beasts are more than just polish and shine.

David Brock-Jest is proud of his 1938 LaGonda V12. Just don't ask him how fast he drives. Photo / Richard Robinson
The organisers playfully prescribed a cheesecutter and a cravat. The hat was no problem, but the cravat defeated me. I need not have worried. A few women were done up in their Roaring Twenties flapper dresses and cloche hats. But otherwise overalls seemed de rigueur.
One chap had a sparkling white pair with the cursive logo "Austin" handsomely embroidered on the back. "I expect you don't do much work in those," I said. "They're just for show," he said. "I've got some old, dirty ones if I have work to do."
Much of what happened over the weekend at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park, half way between Auckland and Hamilton, was for show. But there was a serious side to proceedings, too. At the third annual meeting of vintage and post-vintage cars, they were competing for the Roycroft Trophy. As one competitor told me, when you get behind the wheel of a car on a race track, the primal urge is to "pass the bugger in front".
The Saturday briefing for drivers set the antic tone. The track is equipped with state-of-the-art electronic signalling but, said Max Jamieson, the clerk of the course, "we're not going to have lights because that's too modern".
Instead, Jamieson explains the meaning of the three flags that will be displayed to racers.
Green and red are obvious and if a yellow flag is held up with your car number, he says, "it means that you are losing oil or there's a bit coming off your car".
"You're going to be a busy boy, then," one wag offers to the flag-waver.
In fact, of course, oil leaks and flappy bits are not easy to find among the cars arrayed as if on display. Their owners speak in welters of numbers - compression ratios, valve clearances, oil pressures - that make my head spin but every so often I'll hear a technical expression that even I can understand: "I'll bet she goes like stink," someone will say. One man who complains that "that bloody MG got past me" is advised by an old hand to let some of the air out of his (own) tyres.
The cars cluster together as if seeking safety in numbers: the Austins here, the Rileys there, the MGs further down (most are English marques). I find my mate Richard McWhannell beside the 1929 Austin 7 Dieppe Sports that he built with Joss Campbell. Theirs is one of 26 pre-1945 cars competing (there are pre-1960 and motorcycle classes too). It's part of the same family as the Baby Austin that was my parents' first car, which they had until I was at least 7. "It was the first car for a lot of people," McWhannell tells me. "Big enough for Mum and Dad, one kid and one piece of luggage."
Motorsport has always left me cold, but the devotion on display here is impressive. In the gleam of the spotless enamel paint or the dull sheen of cast-iron engine blocks you can see the tens of thousands of dollars and countless hours lavished on these vehicles.
The oldest is a 1915 Stutz White Squadron Racer, which came third in the Indianapolis 500 as a new vehicle, 98 years ago. It's the size of a king's tomb in a mediaeval cathedral and - as I later hear - accelerates away from the hairpin with a tractor-like growl so slow and low you can count the explosions in the chambers of the 4.8 litre engine.
Equally impressive is David Brock-Jest's 1938 LaGonda V12, in the darkest shade of British racing green. He tells me it's 17ft long and weighs a ton and a quarter - you speak in old numbers when talking about something of this vintage - and the long sweep of its lagged exhaust pipes make an impressive sight. In the first race of the day, it eats up the field, lapping half of it. I show my ignorance by asking Brock-Jest what speed he got up to. "I wouldn't have any idea," he says. "I never look at the speedo. It's the oil pressure and temperature I keep an eye on."
Once, and briefly, I get a contestant's eye view of the track, in a five-lap lunchtime parade open to any competitor or spectator. Wedged in somewhat undignified fashion into the Dieppe Sports, I look down the bonnet at the rare 1958 Austin A35 ute in front of us. And I'll be damned if I don't feel a primal urge to pass the bugger.
By Peter Calder
For this article and more by the NZ Herald click here 

Vanguard springs to life at Roycroft Trophy - 1/04/2013

Vanguard springs to life at Roycroft Trophy meeting

  • Monday 1st April, 2013 11:53am
  • Author: SpeedCafe ©

Rebuilt RA Vanguard in action at the Roycroft Trophy at Hampton Downs. Pic: Neville Bailey
An RA Vanguard that was inspired by the formidable Auto Union racers of the 1930’s was up and running again at the Roycroft Trophy meeting at Hampton Downs.
Originally built in 1950 by Hec Green and Jack Brewer, the Vanguard won the New Zealand beach racing championships in 1952 and held the national D class speed record of 188km/h. It nailed the quarter mile in 14.8s.
Along with Green and Brewer the car was also driven by Geoff Mardon and Les Moore, the latter suffering a fatal accident.
For many years what remained of the car was neglected before a rebuild was undertaken after thorough research and discussions with the car’s now deceased original constructors.
Some of the features of the car are fascinating including the front suspension which uses a trailing link design a la the Auto Unions, however the springs chosen were rubber bands or shock cords as used in vintage aircraft.
The rear suspension is similarly as interesting with the low pivot swing axles as used by Mercedes-Benz on the iconic W196 grand prix car of the mid 1950’s and was sprung by Oleo struts from the WWII Kittyhawks.
When it was first built the Vanguard used a Citroen gearbox but this was unable to cope with the power of the 2litre Standard Vanguard engine. So Green designed and built a transaxle 3-speed gearbox.
The engine is boosted by a supercharger, a Rootes type blower to 16psi and runs on methanol which develops up to 200bhp.

For this article and more by Speedcafe click here

Rookies try out for TRS drive - 25/03/2013

Monday 25th March, 2013 10:43am

Author: SpeedCafe ©

Mercedes-Benz F1 test and simulator star Brendon Hartley offering tips to Michael Scott ahead of his TRS test last year.

Three Kiwis and an Aussie will try out in an official Toyota Racing Series rookie test for the 2014 series at Hampton Downs today.
Among those trying out are Formula Ford ace James Munro and follow FF drivers Tom Alexander and Matt Williams.
MacCauley Jones will also try out in the wings and slicks open-wheelers at the north Waikato circuit.
He is the son of V8 Supercar team owner, the former AUSCAR and Touring Car champion Brad Jones.

For this article and more by Speedcafe NZ click here

March Newsletter 2013 - 21/03/2013


The D1NZ Drift Nationals at the start of March saw Crowd favourite 'Mad Mike' Whiddett (Red Bull/Speedhunters Mazda RX8) back on the top step of the podium, followed by Andrew Redward and Cole Armstrong.
To view a youtube video of the event go to -
At the NZ Superbike Championship last weekend Dennis Charlett cemented his reputation as New Zealand’s fastest granddad as he won the New Zealand Superbike TT.
Charlett won the 600cc Supersport championship the last two years and this season returned to the top class after a long break. He also finished third in the preliminary race, and stands third in the championship.
Other top riders were less successful in judging the conditions in the TT (Tourist Trophy) race.


Championship Leader Robbie Bugden and Craig Shirriffs Crashed.
Photo credit:
Defending champion and current series leader Robbie Bugden from Australia and second-placed Craig Shirriffs of Feilding both crashed their Suzukis at turn three on the third lap, and race-one winner Nick Cole from Hamilton lost control of his Kawasaki on lap six.
Wellington’s Sloan Frost brought his BMW home second in the TT, ahead of Hayden Fitzgerald (New Plymouth, Suzuki), Tony Rees (Whakatane, Honda) and Australian-based Kiwi Karl Morgan (Suzuki).
For further information go to
The bike community definitely have a sense of humour too!
Legends of speed + McLaren M8 Appearance!
Come and watch over 200 entrants compete in the following classes Alfas, AES/TradeZone, Superhistorics & Formula Suzuki, Historics, Production Muscle Cars, Classic Japanese, Honda Cup, Classic Trial, Formula Ford, Formula Junior, Advanced Adhesives Allcomers Saloons, ACES +Arrow Wheels and Radio Sport BMW Series.
This event is where the Historic Racing Club honours NZs many motorsport legends with a mix of races with Classic saloon cars and historic single seaters.
Plus there will be a ‘Shake Down’ of Denny’s McLaren M8!
The Trusts 1968 McLaren M8A-2 Can-Am Car will have its first ‘shake down’ runs during the lunch breaks of the Legends of Speed meeting this weekend.
The Bruce McLaren Trust M8A Can-Am car is a unique car as the only surviving M8A in the world. Denny Hulme won the North American Can-Am Championship title in this car in 1968.
In 1969, as the team’s spare car, it was driven by Brabham, Gurney, Amon and Bruce McLaren clinched the title after he crashed his main car. No other Can-Am car had so many significant drivers at the wheel.
With power of 640bhp, coupled with wider tyres and changes made to body aerodynamics these cars were the fastest track cars in the world.
The Bruce McLaren Trust has painstakingly restored the M8A over the last 15 years and its first run on the track is eagerly awaited and not to be missed.
$20 on the gate for the weekend.
Children under 12 are free.
Gates open at 9am
Roycroft Trophy – Vintage Festival – Easter weekend (30 / 31 March 2013)
This is racing from yesteryear, there are fields of Pre War & Pre 1960 Vintage Sports cars, Historic Single seaters, Sports Racing cars and Classic Saloon/ GTs joined by demonstrations from pre 1963 Vintage Motor Cycles and side cars.
In addition to the racing there are infield displays of Vintage cars, Vintage Speedway midgets, plus demonstrations of the Ralph Watson WW1 aero engine, Steam and Stationary engines and we heard a rumour that a Tiger Moth may also be present.
One of the stars this year is the 1915 Indianapolis Stutz Race Car coming up from the Southwards Museum. The Stutz was originally built as part of the famous “White Squadron” which consisted of three identical racing cars built for the 1915 Indianapolis 500. It has a 4 cylinder,5 litre O.H.C,4 valve Wisconsin motor and set a speed record covering the 350 Miles at an average speed of 102.6 MPH (1915). In NZ it won the N.Z. Motor Cup in 1926, 1927, 1928 (Bob Wilson) and 1931, 1932 and 1933 (Ces Southerland), it was also the Australasian Beach Championship 1929 and 1930 (Bob Wilson). The Stutz also has numerous successes in USA at Indianapolis and the Astor Cup San Francisco.
You will get to see this successful pre-war NZ car racing on the track for the first time since 1934. There is also a talk about the Stutz by John Bellamore from Southwards Museum in the evening to discuss the cars history and restoration undertaken by Sir Len Southward in 1976.
There will be lunchtime parades and people’s choice awards for any cars that are pre-1960. By paying your gate entry you will be automatically entered into the people’s choice show and shine and go into win a Turtle pack!
By voting on your favourite car spectators go in to win a double pass Auckland Jet Boat Tour. The Auckland jet boat adventure combines high-speed thrills with jet boat manoeuvres that include 180 and 270 degree spins with sweeping turns, as you travel up to an exhilarating 85 kilometres per hour! With amazing views of the Auckland City Skyline, and plenty of photo opportunities to capture some lasting memories of Auckland’s most famous and iconic landmarks. Valued at $85 per person.
In Hampton’s pavilion there will also be a live Dixie land entertainment and a collection of trade stands with antiques, vintage clothing, books, art work and delectable cuisine. In keeping with the theme drivers, riders and teams will be in period clothing and lots join in and dressed in this stylish era.
The special pre-1960 car price is $20 which includes 1 car and 2 passengers for the day
Lunchtime demonstrations are $10 per car
Saturday or Sunday – $15 early bird / $20 on the gate
Weekend pass - $20 early bird / $30 on the gate
Head to to purchase earlybird tickets or turn up on the day in your pre-1960 car and get the special entry price!
This is an ideal introduction to Motorsport – have a go on the track on Easter Monday!
Session One 10am -1pm- Just drive around the circuit in your own car at under 100km/h behind the safety car. This is a great way to experience driving around the circuit at a comfortable pace for $30 per car.
Session Two 1pm - 4pm- This part of the day will be for drivers who want to experience the track at a faster pace. Drivers will have to wear helmets and overalls (which are available for hire) to drive around Hampton Downs at a faster pace in small groups for $50 per car.
• There will be a gymkhana course on the Skid Pan for $20.
This day is for car enthusiasts to just have a go on Hampton Downs in a non competitive environment.
For further information, please contact Melissa Morgan at or Chris Watson at (09) 580 2085 or 027 482 7542.

Playday at Hamptons – for cars, prestige group, bikes and karts
Race Car Only testing – for race cars only
Type of Day
Fri 22March
Race Car Only Test Day
$135 or $150 on the day
Plus 1:22, minus 1:22 and open wheelers
Fri 29 March
Playday at Hampton’s – SOLD OUT
$135 for cars and $150 for bikes
Cars, medium bikes
Wed 3 April
Playday at Hampton’s – twilight session
$75 for cars or $125 for prestige
Cars and prestige
Saturday 6 April
Playday at Hampton’s
$135 for cars and $150 for bikes
Cars and prestige and fast bikes
Saturday 13 April
Playday at Hampton’s
$135 for cars and $150 for bikes
Cars, novice and medium bikes
Saturday 20 April
Playday at Hampton’s
$135 for cars and $150 for bikes
Cars, medium bikes and fast bikes

For more information and to pre-register please go to

Shake Down of Dennys McLaren M8 at Legends Meet - 19/03/2013

‘Shake Down’ of Denny’s McLaren M8 at Legends Meeting!

The Trusts 1968 McLaren M8A-2 Can-Am Car will have its first ‘shake down’ runs at the Hampton Downs Track at the lunch breaks of the Legends of Speed meeting this weekend.
The Bruce McLaren Trust M8A Can-Am car is a unique car as the only surviving M8A in the world. Denny Hulme won the North American Can-Am Championship title in this car in 1968.
In 1969, as the team’s spare car, it was driven by Brabham, Gurney, Amon and Bruce McLaren clinched the title after he crashed his main car. No other Can-Am car had so many significant drivers at the wheel.
With power of 640bhp, coupled with wider tyres and changes made to body aerodynamics these cars were the fastest track cars in the world.
The Bruce McLaren Trust has painstakingly restored the M8A over the last 15 years and its first run on the track is eagerly awaited and not to be missed.
Tickets are available on the gate for $20 per adult and kids under 12 are free,

Shake Down of Dennys McLaren M8 at Legends Meet - 19/03/2013

‘Shake Down’ of Denny’s McLaren M8 at Legends Meeting!

The Trusts 1968 McLaren M8A-2 Can-Am Car will have its first ‘shake down’ runs at the Hampton Downs Track at the lunch breaks of the Legends of Speed meeting this weekend.
The Bruce McLaren Trust M8A Can-Am car is a unique car as the only surviving M8A in the world. Denny Hulme won the North American Can-Am Championship title in this car in 1968.
In 1969, as the team’s spare car, it was driven by Brabham, Gurney, Amon and Bruce McLaren clinched the title after he crashed his main car. No other Can-Am car had so many significant drivers at the wheel.
With power of 640bhp, coupled with wider tyres and changes made to body aerodynamics these cars were the fastest track cars in the world.
The Bruce McLaren Trust has painstakingly restored the M8A over the last 15 years and its first run on the track is eagerly awaited and not to be missed.
Tickets are available on the gate for $20 per adult and kids under 12 are free,

It's adding up to an Aussie win - 13/03/2013

Andy McGechan welcomes the return of the high-velocity Superbike series this weekend

After winning at Teretonga, John Ross is in a commanding position for the championship.
Defending New Zealand superbike champion Robbie Bugden has stolen a march on his rivals this season and it will take a superhuman effort for any of the Kiwi contenders to catch and pass the likeable Australian.
Bugden (Suzuki GSX-R1000) is 24 points clear of his nearest rival, Feilding's Craig Shirriffs (Suzuki GSX-R1000), after three of five rounds and, with just 100 points still on offer and only four races remaining, the mathematics are chilling.
Even if Bugden is beaten into second place by Shirriffs in each of the remaining four races - two superbike class outings at Hampton Downs this weekend (March 16-17) and two more at Taupo on March 23-24 - the Brisbane man will still win the title by four points.
In the six superbike races run thus far - two each at Ruapuna, Levels and Teretonga - Bugden has won five of them, his only setback coming when Shirriffs snatched away a race win at round two in Timaru.
It's fair to say, with such a mathematical advantage, Bugden looks set to continue on and wrap up his fifth New Zealand superbike title.
But anything can happen in motorsport, a minor slip-up, a rare third-placing by Bugden, a flat tyre, fuel blockage or snapped chain, and an upset is on the cards.
Then there is the "spanner in the works" factor, with any of half a dozen riders capable of springing an upset win. Christchurch's Dennis Charlett (Suzuki GSX-R1000) is third, albeit a massive 39 points behind Shirriffs, and Hamilton's Nick Cole (Kawasaki ZX10R) is fourth, another seven points further back.
Meanwhile, in the fiercely fought 600cc Supersport class, Canterbury's John Ross (Suzuki GSX-R600) has stretched his advantage at the top of the standings.
Christchurch man Ross arrived at round three at Teretonga just five points in front of his nearest challengers for the title, Katikati's Rhys Holmes (Yamaha R6) and Christchurch's Jake Lewis (Yamaha R6), but ended the day 30 points clear at the top, ahead of new No2 rider Jaden Hassan (Yamaha R6).
Hassan, in pain after breaking a bone in his hand, finished third and second in the two 600 Supersport races at Teretonga to put his campaign back on track.
The 31-year-old Ross scored back-to-back wins at Teretonga to place himself in a commanding position for the championship.
But, even with such an advantage, Hassan remains a threat to Ross. "I hold the lap record at both these two North Island tracks," said Hassan. "Unfortunately John Ross can probably win the championship from here, even just by finishing second to me, if that's how it works out.
"Put it this way, I wouldn't wish ill-luck on anyone but, if I was to win every race from here on and he was to finish third or fourth a couple of times, I wouldn't be disappointed."
In the 125GP and 250cc Production classes, Australian teenagers Troy Guenther and Luke Burgess enjoy their leads, while Balclutha's Richard Newbery dominates the Superlite championship. Wellington's Hamish Murphy heads the Pro Twins 650 series, although Lower Hutt's Dean Bentley is catching up.

Please click here for this article by the NZ Herald

Women in uniform in control at the track - 12/03/2013

Women in uniform in control at the track

  • Tuesday 12th March, 2013 12:50pm
  • Author: SpeedCafe ©
Race Control is the heartbeat of a meeting that most fans do not get to see.
And the control room at Hampton Downs for the V8 SuperTourers meeting was ‘manned’ by a group of fanatical motorsport women.
It is indeed a rare time where the control room is run by an all-female crew.
Deborah Day, the Volunteer Coordinator for The Motorsport Club, is the Assistant Clerk of the
Course who manages a crew of approximately 150-200 people.
“We manage everything from flag marshals to the safety cars and everything in between,” Deborah explained to
“It’s a huge task but we love it.”
Alongside Deborah are her four colleagues; Haylee Wallace, Wendy Metcalfe, Angela Leech
and Alison Hogg who all play an important part to ensure an event is run smoothly.
So what’s the attraction?
“Because we love it as much as they (the men) do!” laughed Deborah. “But on a more serious note, I do this because it is the one way I can bring my A-game to the sport. I can’t drive near as well as what these boys can and this role allows me to help them enjoy what they do best.”
Her long-held love affair with motorsport began almost 25 years ago when her parents got her
involved when she was just 12.
Carrying on the family tradition, Deborah now has her 16 year old daughter involved as the dummy grid coordinator.
Adding to the family link and the female run operation is Deborah’s mother, who
acts as the chief flag marshall and has done so for many years.
Yet, these ladies don’t always sit on the sidelines. Wendy Metcalfe certainly gives the boys a run for their money on the track from time to time too.
Wendy drives in the Alfa Romeo Trofeo Series and says volunteering has helped improve her competitive driving.
“You notice a whole lot more and are generally more aware of everything that’s going on. It really
helps,” Metcalfe told
Alison Hogg, another dedicated volunteer with over 10 years’ experience asks when she’ll get her gold watch for services rendered much to the amusement of the rest of the women in the control centre.
“Get in line!” laughs Haylee Wallace, yet another passionate volunteer who has been working at at tracks for over 15 years.
Haylee is the voice behind the radio that keeps all of the safety cars, flag marshals and other key volunteers updated with proceedings. If a safety car is called, it’s Haylee who has authorised it.
This crew has got 36 weekends out of the year booked up and includes the V8 Supercars ITM Auckland 400 in Pukekohe from April 10-12.
“The V8 Supercars is a massive undertaking for us,” explains Deborah. “We’re going to need
approximately 400 people for that event.”
- Alana McIsaac



Category: d1nz blog
Published Date
Written by Brendon White

* 2012/13 CODY'S D1NZ National Drifting Championship Series
Rnd 4
Hampton Downs
Northern Waikato
March 01/02


Crowd favourite 'Mad Mike' Whiddett (Red Bull/Speedhunters Mazda RX8) was back on the top step of the podium at the latest round of this season's Cody's D1NZ National Drifting Championship at the Hampton Downs motor racing circuit south of Auckland on Saturday.
Revelling in an extra 200 horsepower thanks to a new Garret turbocharger set-up on the PPRE-prepared tri-rotor 20B engine fitted to his heavily-modified Mazda sports coupe, the Auckland-based international qualified third then after a bye in the Top 32 beat fellow Aucklander Daynom Templeman (debuting his new-look Toyota 2JZ-powered NAC Insurance-sponsored Mazda RX7) in the Top 16, Hamilton's Bruce Tannock (Achilles Tyre Nissan S13) in the Top 8 and Tauranga's Cole Armstrong (V Energy Nissan Skyline R34) in the Top 4 to meet Aucklander Andrew Redward (Achilles Tyre Mazda RX7 V8) in the final.
Redward didn't qualify as well (12th) but claimed some impressive scalps on his own run to the final, beating Sky Zhao (2 Degrees Nissan 370Z) in his first (Top 32) battle, championship series points leader Daniel 'Fanga Dan' Woolhouse (Castrol Edge Holden Commodore V8) in his second (Top 16), last year's North vs South Island title winner Troy Forsythe (Southern Drifters Nissan S13) in the Top 8 and three-time former New Zealand champion Gary 'Gaz' Whiter (Tectaloy Driftcorp Nissan 180SX) in the Top 4.
Having twice finished runner-up to former series champion Fanga Dan Woolhouse this year, Redward was again on top form heading into the final showdown with Whiddett, however on his chase run he literally got lost in the wall of smoke the Whiddett Mazda was producing and lost his drift, giving Whiddett the advantage and with it his first round win for the 2012/13 season.
Points-wise, however, despite an uncharacteristically early end to his day at the hands of Redward, former series champ Woolhouse still has a 50 point buffer over Redward with Whiddett now back up to third a further 33.5 points back in third.
Cole Armstrong was another driver heading in the right direction at the fourth series round held in hot, hiumid conditions at Hampton Downs, splitting top qualifier Nico Reid (Luxury Sport Nissan S15) and Whiddett in qualifying then after a bye in the Top 32 beating Waiuku's Jason Sellars (Wong's Kitchen 2JZ Nissan Laurel) in the Top 16, and new series force-to-be-reckoned-with Zak Pole (Bullett HD Nissan Skyline R33) from Auckland in the Top 8 before finally meeting his match in Whiddett in the Top 4.
That just left the battle for the final step on the podium which Armstrong also won, this time after a battle with Dargaville's Gary 'Gaz' Whiter.
Whiter's Tectaloy-sponsored V8-engined Nissan S14 was seriously damaged at the recent Tauranga round and though it was repaired in time for this weekend's Hampton Downs' one the engine threw a conrod just before qualifying.
Series judge Justin Rood was quick to offer Whiter his own 180 SX Nissan (which he had at the track to use in the Drift vs V8 lLgends' showdown later in the day) and with it Whiter showed his class by qualifying fourth, and winning his Top 32 (against South Islander Cody Collis), Top 16 (against top qualifier Nico Reid), and Top 8 (against defending Cody's D1NZ champion Curt Whittaker) battles before going down to a rampant Andrew Redward in their Top 4 encounter and Cole Armstrong in the final battle for third spot on the podium.
In the Pro-Am ranks meanwhile it was a matter of all-change with round one winner Matt Lauder (Shred Nissan 180SX) from Wellington and the winner of the second and third rounds, Darren Kelly (DKM Fabrication Nissan Skyline R32) from Auckland's North Shore displaced by first-timer Adam Hedges from Kumeu, north-west of Auckland.
Though he has been a regular at grassroots drift events for several years, Hedges was a last minute entry in the Pro-Am category after good friend Hugo McLean (Grabatool Toyota AE85) offered him the use of his car as a way of saying thank you for the work Hedges had recently done on it.
Hedges admitted that the wild, triple-rotor engined Toyota was not the easiest car to just jump in and drive but after qualifying ninth on Friday he went on to beat Pro-Am series regulars Troy Jenkins (Juice Nissan S15), Jacob Hakaraia (DTM Nissan S13) and Geoff Muggeridge (Aden's Tyres Mazda RX7) in the battles and take the round from Muggeridge, from Tauranga, with Darren Kelly third.
The meeting also saw the appearance of Just Car Australian Drifting Grand Prix series champion Rob Whyte (Achilles Tyre Nissan 350Z) and compatriot Andreas Paraskevas (Just Car Nissan 180SX).
After qualifying in 20th position Whyte battled strongly only to be let down by a gearbox problem which also frustrated his efforts to take on defending Cody's D1NZ title holder Curt Whittaker in the Australia vs New Zealand Challenge, won easily by Whittaker.
The other Challenge was between two sets of legends from the New Zealand Drift and V8 circuit scenes, eventually won by the best of the Drifters - former D1NZ champion Adam Richards - over the best of the circuit stars, Dean Perkins.
The Hampton Downs round was the fourth of six for the 2012/13 Cody's D1NZ championship series with the fifth in Christchurch at the end of March and the sixth and final at Pukekohe Park Raceway in April.
For this article go to

Rees hands out some lessons - 28/02/2013

While many motorcycle racers hang up their boots and helmet when they reach their mid-40s, multi-time former national superbike champion Tony Rees continues to show that even at 45 he's a force to be reckoned with.

The Whakatane Honda star certainly demonstrated at Paeroa just over a week ago that he still has plenty of lessons to teach others.
Rees finished runner-up overall at the 22nd annual Battle of the Streets race meeting, each time finishing close behind Wellington rising star Sloan Frost (BMW), but ahead of the rest of New Zealand's cream of the crop, including Taranaki's Hayden Fitzgerald (Suzuki GSX-R1000).
Rees underlined his ability by setting the fastest lap time in each of his three outings on the concrete at the curb-lined streets of Paeroa.
"It was perhaps the most exciting time I've had racing on the streets of Paeroa and I've been around here a few times over the years," Rees said.
"Every race, I was the fastest rider out there. I just needed to get better starts. It was always a struggle to get past other riders.
"Sloan Frost and I had a nice dice for the lead, especially in that last race and I guess I was riding too 'nice'.
I could have shoved any of those other riders off the track if I wanted to ride dirty. I must be getting soft in my old age,," he laughed.
"Perhaps I've still got some lessons to teach these young guys."
Castrol Honda Team manager Peter Finlay, of Auckland, was impressed by Rees' performance.
"Tony has not raced the recent South Island rounds of the superbike nationals and so it was tough for him to come up against the riders who have been racing a lot lately," said Finlay.
"This is a fantastic day for him and he's looking forward to contesting the two upcoming North Island rounds of the superbike nationals."
The New Zealand Superbike Championships will resume shortly with round four at Hampton Downs on March 17, with the fifth and final round at Taupo on March 24.
Rees will take his Castrol Honda CBR1000RR into battle at both events and, if his performance at Paeroa is any indicator, he'll be a definite threat to the championship leaders, a challenge to riders such as Frost and Fitzgerald, as well as national championship leaders Robbie Bugden (Suzuki GSX-R1000), of Australia, Feilding's Craig Shirriffs (Suzuki GSX-R1000) and Christchurch's Dennis Charlett (Suzuki GSX-R1000).
While Frost was dominating the Formula One and Bears racing at Paeroa, Auckland's Toby Summers (R and R Powersports Yamaha) was also battling to score double the glory with outstanding performances in the Formula Two and Supermotards classes.
The 40-year-old Summers finished first equal in both bike categories.
He took his 2011-model Yamaha YZ450F to win the day's first of two supermotard races, finishing ahead of Taupo's Scotty Moir (Aprilia SXV550).
However, Summers had to settle for runner-up spot in the next supermotard race, this time behind Moir, and this meant the two men shared first spot overall for the day.
It was a similar situation for Summers in the formula two class, when he took his Yamaha R6 to share the wins with Wanganui rival Ashley Payne (Suzuki GSX-R600).
Summers, Moir and Payne will also be going head-to-head again when the superbike nationals resume at Hampton Downs.


For this article and more by the NZ Herald click here

February Newsletter 2013 - 28/02/2013

 For a PDF version with images please click here


What an amazing summer we are having! We have been having record crowds at the summer events so far with over 150,000 people already through the gate.
The Big Bike Day Out last weekend was a huge weekend with awesome weather with over 230 entrants plus 38 Karts racing for their National title. The whole weekend was buzzing with the trade stands and the atmosphere of a nonstop weekend. The Band cranked up Saturday and a great time was had by all. Display laps by some of the country’s best riders really showed how good these guys are and how good Hamptons is as a circuit.
The Big Bike Day Out is the first annual event run by Playday and hosted by Hamptons and after this weekend this date in February has been cemented in for years to come as it was a complete success, we have even had people wanting to book for next year.
In general motorsport news there is a new series starting off called the New Zealand Racing Drivers League which is a New Motorsport Initiative.

A new North Island motorsport initiative has been launched this week which aims to highlight quality motorsport to the public.

The New Zealand Racing Drivers League revealed plans for five motorsport weekends over the 2013 and 2014 summer to boost the profile of motor racing in New Zealand and showcase talented drivers and fast machinery.

League organisers will also reveal a raft of initiatives as well as classes confirmed to run at one or more of the events over the coming months in the build up to the first event at Hampton Downs on September 28 and 29. A web site and Facebook page will also be launched soon.

The League itself will rank any driver who takes part in an NZRDL event. Whatever class they run in, they will secure points for their best three results and this will give them a league ranking. The league will run continuously. The initiative was the idea of the HRC’s Chris Watson, Tony Roberts and Kevin Underwood, who along with Honda Cup racer and motorsport PR Richard Gee agreed that finding dates for independent and growing classes was important and could be improved.

“When Motul Honda Cup ran for the first time in 2011-2012 as a summer series, as class organisers we struggled to find anywhere where a start-up or independent summer class could run on a regular basis,” explained Gee. 

“This was an even more difficult task this season with the various problems surrounding availability of dates on the motorsport calendar and continual uncertainty. We were certainly not alone as a class that needed something concrete in terms of dates. It made complete sense to try to provide foundation events those classes could plug into so their focus could be solely on the racing. That’s what it’s all about, after all.”

Five meeting dates were subsequently booked to include events at Manfeild, Taupo, Hampton Downs and Pukekohe. In the case of a class like the Motul Honda Cup, these dates will form the basis of the category’s calendar. With a core series of events ‘in the bag’, the class has the freedom to negotiate other rounds at larger meetings, such as the BNT V8 SuperTourers or the New Zealand Festival of Motor Racing. 

The HRC runs the most motorsport meetings of any organisation in New Zealand on an annual basis. Watson says these are all meetings that could be enhanced with a more formal structure and organisation behind them.

“Take the Tasman Revival meeting at Taupo in January,” explained Watson. “Run by the HRC, we had a fantastic two-day meeting with 268 entries. Whilst that was great it was a little too busy and showed us that there were classes like Hondas, BMWs and a few others that could really benefit with a core series of dates of their own.”
For more information search ‘New Zealand Racing Drivers League’ on facebook.
 This weekend (Friday / Saturday) is the D1NZ Drifting Championship Round 4 and 'FANGA DAN' is looking to consolidate Cody’s drift series lead.
Whangarei driver Daniel 'Fanga Dan' Woolhouse (Castrol Edge Holden Commodore) will be looking to consolidate his early season points lead at the fourth round of the Cody's D1NZ National Drifting Championship at Hampton Downs this weekend (Fri/Sat March 01/02).
Having won two of the three rounds so far held the former D1NZ title holder has 312 points, 75 more than current runner-up Andrew Redward (Achilles Mazda RX7 V8) and 82 more than defending Cody's D1NZ champion Curt Whittaker (Autosure 2JZ Nissan R34.).
Whittaker won a close-fought battle with Woolhouse for victory at the opening 2012/13 Cody's series round at Manfeild in October last year but since then Woolhouse has been unbeatable, claiming a popular home victory at the second round in Whangarei in December then backing that up with a second temporary course victory at the Baypark Stadium in the Bay of Plenty in January this year.
With Whittaker plagued by drive belt issues at Whangarei (where he finished fourth) then eliminated early at Baypark, series young gun Nico Reid (Luxury Sports Nissan S15) and fellow Aucklander Andrew Redward have stepped into the breach, bracketing Whittaker in the overall series points standings after seconds (for Reid) and Whangarei and Redward (Baypark).
Crowd favourite 'Mad Mike' Whiddett (Red Bull/Speedhunters Mazda RX7) has been impressive in qualifying at all three rounds but after finishing third at the first one has been eliminated in the battles at both Whangarei and Baypark and currently lies sixth in the series points standings.
Three-time former D1NZ champion Gary 'Gaz' Whiter (Tectaloy Nissan S14 V8) has also been in the wars, clashing with Curt Whittaker at Whangarei then hitting the wall hard at Baypark.
The two-day (Friday/Saturday) meeting has again attracted a 60-strong entry across the D1NZ and Pro-Am classes and as well as all the top local drivers sees the appearance of Queenslander Rob Whyte (Achilles/Motul Nissan 350Z), the reigning Just Car Insurance Australian Drifting GP series champion.
The round will also see a number of well-known V8 circuit racers, Angus Fogg, Dean Perkins, Clark Proctor and Shane Wigston, take on their drift counterparts in a Legends' battle.
Action at Hampton Downs begins early on Friday morning with practice for both D1NZ and Pro-Am groups with qualifying and the first Pro-Am (Top 16) battles later in the day.
Wellingtonian Matt Lauder (Shred Motorsport Nissan 180SX) still leads the series points standings in Pro-Am but after beating Lauder to the top spot of the podium at the two subsequent rounds Aucklander Darren Kelly (DKM Fabrication Nissan R32) has closed the gap to 21 points with former motorcycle racer Sam Smith (Franklin Cams Nissan S15) third and the country's top female drifter, Tauranga's Jodie Verhulst (Mag & Turbo Tauranga/Elf Toyota Supra), fourth.
Saturday brings final practice for the D1NZ drivers in the morning before the Pro-Am Top 8, then D1NZ qualifying and Top 32 battles.
It will be the first time the other side of track (along turn 7 and 8) will be open for spectators!
For more event details, check official Facebook event ( or go to
Tickets only $10 on Friday, $20 on Saturday or $50 for a VIP pass. Parking $5.
The New Zealand TT (Tourist Trophy Races) which also includes the 4th round of the 2013 New Zealand  Superbike Championship will be held at  Hampton Downs on  Saturday March 16th/Sunday March 17th.
The event is being promoted and organised by the Auckland Motorcycle Club Inc who plan on making this a full on family event, catering for the children and the wife's/partners of the petrol heads says Graham Bastow AMCC spokesman.
For the racing enthusiast there is a wide variety of classes with the NZ Championship classes - Superbike, 600 Supersport, Superstock 600, Superlite, 650 Pro Twin, 125 and GP. The support classes are the Post Classics (Junior, Senior, pre ‘72, pre ’82, and pre ’89) and Development class
For the youngsters (Under 12's who will have free entry if accompanied by an adult) there will be a range of activities supplied by Cambridge company 'Event Fun' they will be bringing surf board challenges, mazes and slides, along with a face painting artist and caricaturist who can produce quick drawings for not only the kids but for other individuals and race teams etc. The emphasis for the spectator being on fun with lots to see and do. In addition a  range of craft stalls from local artists within the North Island displaying and selling their work as well as trade/dealer/accessories stands from the motorcycle industry and stands from others displaying their business's wares from specialist camera suppliers, camping gear to tool suppliers and so much more.
Not forgetting this is event for the petrol heads, a display of American muscle cars and some Harleys will be there for the public to stare deep into the chrome among a few other surprises such as John Britten’s stunning pink and blue creation as well as other exotic machines on display. Stunt rider Nic Kroeze will entertain in the lunch time crowd showing what is possible on a motorcycle on one wheel and the speed at which a perfectly usable tyre can be destroyed. The American muscle cars will also get to show spectators what they sound like with a couple of laps of the circuit.
There will be food outlets and fresh coffee available from onsite caterers and access to 'Hamptons' the bar and food outlet with a panoramic view from turns one to two from its deck.
Come and enjoy a fantastic day at the circuit and watch the track thrills provided by some of the best riders from New Zealand and from several from Australia in some of the closest racing we have seen in a long time. Not forgetting at Hampton Downs plays host to the stand alone New Zealand TT championships which have been run since the early 1930's and started being run on Waiheke Island in Auckland's Hauraki Gulf. The last Superbike race of the weekend is also the "Geoff Perry" memorial race. So it is a full on weekend of two wheel action.
Make it a date Saturday 16th March (Practice and Qualifying and Racing.) Sunday 17th March a full day of fun and racing.
Family entry is $45 Mum, Dad & two children (additional children $5), Adults $25, Children under 12 free if accompanied by a fee paying adult.
The meeting is being organised and promoted by the Auckland Motorcycle Club Inc. 
Stunt rider Nic Kroeze will provide thrills over the lunchtime break!
The Legends of Speed Meeting is on 23rd - 24th March 2013
This years’ Legends of Speed meeting will honour past New Zealand Grand Prix winners from Pukekohe. We will be holding an evening function on the Saturday in Hampton’s pavilion. The function will be free for everyone and each competitor will receive a free beer. There will also be food available from $3 to $20 depending on your appetite! We have decided that this years’ shields will not necessarily go to the fastest driver but will go to the recipient who best represents what their class stands for.
The shields will be handed out at the evening function. We’re very pleased to be having Kenny Smith, Paul Radisich and David Oxton joining us and presenting the shields. Murray Taylor will act as MC and will interview the Grand Prix winners. Crunch Bennett will also be present at the function to discuss and answer any of your questions about the current state of historic motorsport in New Zealand.
This year is quite a special year for motorsport in Auckland; it is the 60th anniversary of NZIGP, the 50th anniversary of Pukekohe and the 30th anniversary of David Oxton’s victory at the NZ Grand Prix. We hope that many enthusiasts will join us to celebrate some legends of motorsport and have an enjoyable time with friends.

Classes running over the two days include BMW Open Series, BMW 2 litre , BMW E30, Arrow Wheels Sports & GTs, AES/TradeZone, Alfa Romeo Trofeo Series, Historics, Formula Libre/Formula Suzuki/ Sports Cars, Classic Trial, Formula Ford, Historic Muscle Cars, Under 3 Litre Historic Saloons & GT and Central Muscle Cars.
There will be lots of V8 action with racing starting at 11.45am on Saturday and 9.30am on Sunday.
Admission $20, pay on Saturday and get free entry Sunday.
Children under 12 free and there is free access to the pits and grandstands all weekend.
Further information - Contact Chris 0274 827542

The Team at the Historic Racing Club
Easter weekend, Saturday 30 and Sunday 31 March 2013
This iconic event has drivers lifting covers off the cars that would soon be looking for ascendancy on the track once again. The Roycroft Trophy is a weekend of racing for veteran, vintage, pre 45, pre 60 and Formula Junior cars as well as a grid for pre.63 Motorcycles, Organised by The Waitemata Branch, VCCNZ in partnership with Hampton Downs, it gives owners of compliant vehicles a chance to push their machines to the limit.
Don’t be fooled by the word ‘vintage’ the fastest lap time during last year’s event was 1m 22.94 by Nigel Russell in a FMZ Formula Junior. Also doing some quick lap times was Peter White in a Buckler MK17 at 1m 24.53 and Donovan Ryan in a Jaguar XK120C at 1m27.58 in the pre-61 class.
Photo credit: Nigel Watts
A strong field of Austin 7’s was spearheaded by the (mother) “Duck” Racer of 1931. Also known as the ‘record breaking car,’ it first arrived here in 1935, from Herbert Austin to Phil Seabrook with love. The arrival of this car was very popular during the last event. This year we have the 1915 Stutz Indianapolis race car coming up from the Southward Museum on the Kapiti Coast. The arrival of this car is eagerly anticipated by all!
Photo credit: Nigel Watts
Ford will also be there with a 1930 Model A, and Wolesley with a ‘Hornet’. For the Exotic Veterans, there are two, a 14 litre 1906 Darracq G.P. and a 5 litre 1919 Lancia Kappa Sport. Light touch paper and stand clear! Consider the efficacy of their brakes and be amazed! Pre-60 classes include Lotus, Cooper, Buckler, Jaguar and other’s such as Volpini, Taraschi and Elva. These knock on the door of being modern. They boast having suspension and brakes!
Photo credit: Neville Bailey
Where the sit-ons are concerned, Norton dominates. But there’s a mix of AJS, BSA, Vincent, Triumph, Brough and Gilera.
About 90 machines were registered and all give it their best. It has been said that “while you’re doing your damnedest out there, there’s a certain thrill at being ‘Blue flagged’. You know what monster is snapping at your heals as it’s taking up most of your rear vision – give them their line and suck up the un-burnt as a squirt of gas propels them into the fumy distance. To see hear and smell a ’32 Alfa Monza and a ’38 V12 Lagonda gallop past just adds to the determined pleasure of it all”.
Photo credit: Neville Bailey
Off course people will come and enjoy the Jazz being played, have a look around the vintage inspired trade stands, stationary engines, display cars, army display and plenty of delightful surprises like an early steam car gliding about or a Charabanc which you might be fortunate enough to have a ride in at lunchtime.
Photo credit: Neville Bailey
The need for speed that can be satisfied by the amateur who tweaks a machine that can be admired as a thing of beauty too. Early bird tickets are$15 for one day or $20 for the weekend and are now available at or on eventfinder. Children under 12 are free.
This is an ideal introduction to Motorsport – have a go on the track on Easter Monday!
Session One 10am -1pm- Just drive around the circuit in your own car at under 100km/h behind the safety car. This is a great way to experience driving around the circuit at a comfortable pace for $30 per car.
Session Two 1pm - 4pm- This part of the day will be for drivers who want to experience the track at a faster pace. Drivers will have to wear helmets and overalls (which are available for hire) to drive around Hampton Downs at a faster pace in small groups for $50 per car.
• There will be a gymkhana course on the Skid Pan for $20.
This day is for car enthusiasts to just have a go on Hampton Downs in a non competitive environment.
For further information, please contact Melissa Morgan at or Chris Watson at (09) 580 2085 or 027 482 7542.
Upcoming Playday at Hampton’s dates
6 March - twilight session for cars (sold out) and prestige group (sold out)
8 March - Blue Wing Honda - Enter through any Honda Dealer, all makes welcome
22 March - day session for race car test day
29 March – day session for cars (only a few places left),  medium bikes and a Porsche only group
3 April - twilight session for cars and prestige group
6 April - day session for cars, driver training option and prestige group (race cars welcome)
13 April - day session for cars and novice and fast bikes
20 April - day session for cars and medium and fast bikes
Head to to book your space

Hat trick Murphy leaves V8 SuperTourers field in - 18/02/2013

Motorsport: Hat trick Murphy leaves V8 SuperTourers field in wake

5:30 AM Monday Feb 18, 2013
Supercars stalwart Greg Murphy leads the V8 SuperTourers at Hampton Downs yesterday - he would not have had it any other way. Photo / Geoff Ridder
V8 Supercars stalwart Greg Murphy slapped the gauntlet down at the opening round of the V8 SuperTourers, winning all three races at Hampton Downs yesterday.
He didn't have it all his own way, being harried, and led, at times by Ant Pedersen, who finished second twice and sixth in the feature race.
"I'd be pretty annoyed if someone won all three races - except if it was me of course," said Murphy. "The others raced hard and it wasn't easy.
"The racing is only going to get better. I didn't come here thinking three wins would be possible but sometimes things fall your way. I'm not going to get carried away and the boys did an incredible job."
The day got off to a raucous start in race one with six cars out of action before the field had even made turn two because of the red mist descending on Andre Heimgartner. The youngster's over-exuberance caused the demise of Craig Baird and defending V8 SuperTourers champion Scott McLaughlin, to name but two.
"There are some drivers out there that have to pull their heads in," said McLaughlin.
"It's the first race of the day, and the first of the season so it's crazy to have so many cars taken out on the first corner."
McLaughlin's car sustained heavy damage and was unable to make the restart, and Baird could manage only four laps. Only 14 cars made the restart, and of those, only 12 were classified as finishers.
On the restart, pole sitter Pedersen held his line but Murphy managed to get past on lap three and started to pull away from the rest of the field to win from Pedersen and Moore.
Race two was a more sedate affair.
Pedersen pulled a nice move on Murphy on lap two to take the lead and pulled away from the rest of the field. With three laps to go Murphy had closed to the boot straps of Pedersen's car and was soon past to win with Moore again in third.
"We were faster than Murph to begin with then my tyres went away and he was a lot better out of the corners than me," said Pedersen.
The usual suspects, Murphy, Pedersen and Moore, launched to lead race three when the lights went out, but this time Shane van Gisbergen was in the mix back in fifth. By half race distance it was patently obvious it was Murphy's weekend as he left the rest of the pack behind.
The series now heads off to Ruapuna, near Christchurch, for round two on March 9-10.
V8ST points after round one
Greg Murphy - 763
Ant Pedersen - 566
Richard Moore - 493
Shane van Gisbergen - 466
John McIntyre - 417
Paul Manuell - 386.

For this NZ Herald article and more please click here

Murph wins as V8 SuperTourers starts with a seven - 17/02/2013

Murph wins as V8 SuperTourers starts with a seven-car melee

  • Sunday 17th February, 2013 12:14pm
  • Author: SpeedCafe ©
Greg Murphy surges to race one win at Hampton Downs. Pic: Neville Bailey
Champion driver Greg Murphy has avoided a crash-riddled opening to the BNT V8 SuperTourer to record a sound victory at Hampton Downs.
The race was red flagged moments after the start when a chain reaction exiting turn one involved seven cars and forced the retirement of series champion Scott McLaughlin.
When the race was restarted after a 15-minute delay, leader and polesitter Ant Pedersen succumbed to a quicker Murphy who seized the lead on lap three.
Murphy (Mike Pero Commodore) ended up beating Pedersen (International Motorsport Falcon) with Richard Moore (Whitehaven Wines Commodore) third after qualifying down in 12th position.
The M3 Racing squad which houses Murphy saw the three-car stable take three of the top four positions with Paul Manuell clinching fourth just ahead of Chesters Commodore driver Tim Edgell.
Shane van Gisbergen (Koba Batteries Ford) worked his way into sixth position before a late mistake saw him slide off the road before recovering to finish
John McIntyre (Blackwoods Falcon) tried to valiantly defend third position but was under a sustained attack by Dan Gaunt (Tasman Motorsports Group Falcon) .
Just after mid-race Gaunt made contact with McIntyre, spinning the owner-driver around and subsequently copping a post-race penalty over the incident.
There will be more over the turn one crash with stewards examining the cause of the turn one incident which brought about McLaughlin’s premature end.
For this article by Speedcafe click here or go to

Lightning strikes twice for Greg Murphy at Hampton - 17/02/2013

Sunday 17th February, 2013 2:42pm

Author: SpeedCafe ©

Greg Murphy holds the inside line over Ant Pedersen at the start of race 2. Pic: Neville Bailey
Touring car king Greg Murphy struck again, winning the second heat of the opening BNT V8 SuperTourer round at Hampton Downs.
After withstanding a huge challenge from International Motorsport driver Ant Pedersen, Murphy recovered from a couple of mistakes to win the 20-lap race after earlier triumphing in the crash-riddled 15-lap race.
Murphy led the way after winning the first heat, but his advantage was to be short-lived after running wide on the turn one right-hander, allowing Pedersen to pounce and surge to the front.
Behind them Paul Manuell (Commodore) was holding third but was quickly becoming a target for M3 stablemate Richard Moore (Commodore).
Back in the pack Mitch Cunningham (Falcon) was issued with a drive-through penalty after turning Simon McLennan around.
By lap six Moore was able to take over third from Manuell and then was able to close up on Murphy in second place a couple of laps later when the four-times Bathurst winner grazed the outside of the circuit kicking up a cloud of dust.
Pedersen had chiselled out a reasonable lead of a few seconds but then Murphy suddenly close the gap and by lap 19 he had speared into the lead with a copybook pass going into turn one.
Pedersen finished second with Moore finishing a menacing third while Shane van Gisbergen worked his way up through the field to finish fourth in the Koba Batteries Ford.
The Supercheap Auto crew continued to work on the McLaughlin Commodore as the race continued with the reigning series champ expected to rejoin the fight for the final 30-lap race that will decide the round.
McLaughlin went out in the dying stages of the race to check the car’s handling after the major repair work and is looking for a less eventual race later today.
Moments before the second heat began, the Clerk Of The Course handed down a $250 fine and issued Andre Heimgartner with a 30s penalty for his involvement in the race one crash that involved more than half a dozen cars.
Race 2 – 20 laps

Greg Murphy
Ant Pedersen
Richard Moore
Shane van Gisbergen
John McIntyre
Paul Manuell
Dan Gaunt
Ash Walsh
Andy Booth
Dominic Storey
Simon Evans
Tim Edgell
Angus Fogg
Andre Heimgartner
Craig Baird
Simon McLennan
Mitch Cunningham
Scott McLaughlin
Eddie Bell

 For this article by Speedcafe and more click here

VANISHING ACT: Murphy sweeps the floor - 17/02/2013

VANISHING ACT: Murphy sweeps the floor at Hampton Downs

  • Sunday 17th February, 2013 5:38pm
  • Author: Gordon Lomas ©
Round 1 podium …Greg Murphy flanked by Ant Pedersen (right) and Richard Moore (left). Pic: Neville Bailey
Greg Murphy emerged without a scratch on his Mike Pero-backed Commodore to clean-sweep the opening round of the BNT V8 SuperTourer Championship at Hampton Downs.
In form which many associate with Murphy’s affinity for Pukekohe, the four-times Bathurst 1000 champ proved unstoppable, beating Shane van Gisbergen and John McIntyre in the final 30-lap race.
Drivers battled debris and an oil trail that started around turn two and spread until the last corner which remained for the majority of the race.
After the overall positions were collated Ant Pedersen (International Motorsport Falcon) was second for Round 1 while Richard Moore (Whitehaven Wines Commodore) was third.
“Clearly Ant was fast here this weekend and I was impressed with his pole time,” Murphy told
“In this last race SVG was pushing awfully hard at the start and it was a matter of waiting to see whose tyres last the longest and fortunately ours were better.”
It was a decent engineering turnaround by the #51 crew after Murphy confirmed the car was very unbalanced in final practice.
“The car wasn’t good and was very nervous and the front and rear were not connected very well at all and today we joined them up.”
The crash-fest themed day continued however in the final heat with Dan Gaunt smoking into a corner with the brakes locked. Gaunt (Tasman Motorsports Group Falcon) continued into the corner out of control eventually forcing an unsuspecting Andre Heimgartner, who had been fingered for the blame in the multi-car pile-up in race one, off the track.
On the next lap Simon Evans and Mitch Cunningham became tangled up with Evan’s Peak Oil Commodore smacking the fence hard with the left-rear corner absorbing most of the energy in a nasty shunt exiting turn four.
On the restart Murphy led before van Gisbergen started his charge, dislodging Pedersen from second place by lap four.
Craig Baird (United Video Falcon) had been out of the luck in the earlier heats and then capitalised on some of the earlier carnage while maintaining a charge to move from 17th to fifth by lap 10.
The race then was developing into a match-race between Murphy and star offseason signing van Gisbergen however by mid-race the former Stone Brothers V8 Supercar driver had developed a problem in his Falcon and started falling back through the field.
Then he had an altercation with John McIntyre (Blackwoods Falcon) but it appeared that any hope of a showcase finish with Murphy and van Gisbergen had slipped away.
Just as that seemed the scenario, van Gisbergen suddenly found pace again and emerged as a contender.
He hunted second-placed McIntyre before passing him into second with seven laps remaining while Murphy held a nice advantage at the front of a battle-scarred pack.
With five laps left Pedersen, second in the opening two heats, was looking solid but he had a huge loose around turn three sliding sideways and closing in on the outside wall before narrowly avoiding trouble.
“Shane got me quite early and he was pushing hard early which is his style I guess,” Pedersen said of the onslaught from van Gisbergen.
“Sure enough Shane’s tyres ballooned and he started slipping backwards and I had to have two gos to get him and then I got him. But then I hit some oil and it hurt me.
“And with my huge off I basically said to myself I was in the wall at turn three and I was lucky as I was in third gear on the grass but I got back onto the track, picked second and got into the corner.”
Pedersen eventually salvaged a difficult race to finish sixth just behind Baird, who had a stirring run to finish fourth while Aussie Ash Walsh finished fifth.
It was a difficult day for the series champ Scott McLaughlin, who came away with just 27 points after his engine gave up in the early laps of the final heat.
Race 3 – 30 laps

Greg Murphy
Shane van Gisbergen
John McIntyre
Craig Baird
Ashley Walsh
Ant Pedersen
Richard Moore
Eddie Bell
Andy Booth
Paul Manuell
Andre Heimgartner
Dominic Storey
Daniel Gaunt
Angus Fogg
Tim Edgell
Simon McLennan
Mitch Cunningham
Scott McLaughlin
Simon Evans


Media Release  

15th February 2013
Investment sought to complete New Zealand’s finest motorsport facility
The two New Zealand motorsport enthusiasts who created Hampton Downs are seeking both National and International investment to secure the long term future of the 350 acre Motorsport Park, located 60km south of central Auckland.
Tony Roberts and Chris Watson have begun a campaign to explore interest in either purchasing or furtherfunding New Zealand’s finest motorsport facility.
“In order to develop Hampton Downs, and take it to the next level; additional funding is required and this investment needs to come from an outside source, said Tony Roberts, the Managing Director of Hampton Downs.
“Chris Watson and I have taken the dream about as far as we can on our limited resources. We have therefore engaged the Bayleys agency to present and market Hampton Downs to new investors”  
“In the meantime it is business as usual at Hampton Downs. We will continue to operate and provide the first class motorsport experience motorsport enthusiasts have enjoyed over the last four years,” said Mr Roberts.

In the current configuration the facility is operating successfully and running at near capacity with more than 330 days per year of usage.
“The next logical step is the development of the 1.2km track extension, which would then give us three track options, being the current 2.7km circuit, the 1.2km club circuit and the full international 3.8km circuit.”
 “In fact over the next four months Hampton Downs has an amazing calendar of motorsport”.
Since its official opening in January 2010, Hampton Downs has been host to some of New Zealand’s most iconic motor sport events, including the New Zealand Festival of Motor Racing, the International Toyota Racing Series, V8 SuperTourers, the Roycroft Vintage Car Festival, the Chrome Hot Rod Festival, D1NZ Drifting, the New Zealand Superbike Championship and the Barry Sheene Classic Bike meeting.
In recent months there have been further developments at the track including the sealing and upgrading of competitor facilities infield.

Late last year resource consent enabling daily spectator numbers to be increased from 20,000 to 50,000 for major events was approved by the Waikato District Council
 “This Resource Consent allows Hampton Downs to fully achieve its potential and become a significant event centre and tourist attraction for the Auckland and Waikato regions.”
“Hampton Downs is just 40 minutes from the centre of Auckland City and the road is dual carriageway motorway for the entire 60kms. Our development provides significant economic benefits for both Auckland and the Waikato region.”
Already Hampton Downs has 250,000 people passing through its gates each year and 2.5 million people reside within 90 minutes of the circuit.
Mr Roberts said the partnership that conceived and created the $70m investment into the International motorsport complex wants to see the 1.2km track extension, corporate suites and race control tower completed as part of the vision.
“We want to complete full 3.8 km circuit that Chris Watson and I dreamed of creating when this project first began in 2004.” said Roberts.
 “The basic layout for the extension was done at the same time as the construction of our existing 2.7 km circuit. The foundations were compacted and preloaded five years ago so we already have good foundations for the final sealing,” said Roberts.
“We’re ready to go on the final stages of this exciting Kiwi inspired project.”
Construction of the Hampton Downs Motorsport Park commenced in early 2007, with the original Resource Consent authorising the establishment and operation of the Motorsport Park and the establishment of various business, industrial and rural-residential uses on and around the Motorsport Park site, including 80 apartments.
For further information please contact:
Tony Roberts                                                                                                          Managing Director                                                                                                  Hampton Downs   
Telephone:                          +64-9-280 6584
Mobile:                                  +64-21-133 2895

Big entry list of Honda Cup fighters for Hampton - 14/02/2013

 Thursday 14th February, 2013 9:16am

  • Author: SpeedCafe ©
A New Zealand record field of 29 cars have entered for Hampton Downs this weekend as the Motul Honda Cup starts its second year as a support category for BNT V8 SuperTourers.
The grass roots series supported the V8 SuperTourers at their opening event at the North Waikato track in 2012.
“We have come a long way in a year and it’s great that we have been able to assemble such a big field,” said class spokesman and competitor Richard Gee.
“We have a great selection of cars, many of which have competed in the domestic production championship, in the Targa, in endurance races and across many club events.
“Most if not all are self-maintained by the owners who race purely for the adrenalin. The fastest cars really do incorporate all that is good in Kiwi ingenuity and engineering excellence, even though many are run on shoestring budgets.”
Championship leader Mark Walters will be aiming to build on a big lead he has in this year’s Motul Honda Cup after 2012 champion Shane Parsons was beset with reliability issues in early rounds.
In the class battles, Wellington’s Warren Tunley is ahead of 2012 champion Gary Wilson and young hot shoe Shaun Morris, who is running under the wing of multiple NZ champion Kevin Varney in his Hydraulink-backed Civic.
The series’ top cars will lap Hampton Downs in the 1:12-1:13 bracket, and with most of the field covered by just three or four seconds, close battles are standard in Honda Cup.
“We’ve seen some titanic scraps in recent rounds, particularly in the smaller capacity classes,” added Gee.
“Mark’s had the edge at the front of the field in his Repco Integra and has been super reliable in a brand new car, but there will be a lot of drivers gunning for that top spot at Hampton Downs. This is our biggest event so far and there’ll be plenty of bragging rights for taking a race or round win.”
Motul Honda Cup runs three race formats and has saved its most exciting format – the Reverse Top Ten – for its single run on Sunday.
For this article and more by Speedcafe click here

Ute Championship on brink of a new era - 14/02/2013


  • Thursday 14th February, 2013 8:33am
  • Author: SpeedCafe ©
The UDC NZ V8 Ute series changes up a gear by running on the undercard to the BNT V8 SuperTourer Championship full-time this season.
Entering its sixth season, the Commodore and Falcon Utes have churned out some promising drivers.
These include double champion Chris Pither, Tasman Motorsport Group’s emerging talent Andrew Waite and V8 Challenge Cup champion Matt Lockwood.
The latter is deputising in the Championship-winning V8ST for Scott McLaughlin (V8 Supercar launch duties at Sydney Motorsport Park) in the early practice sessions at Hampton Downs this weekend.
The category has a solid core of shareholders and is building a big future in its new home with several key developments to the series already underway.
The Ford FG Falcon Ute will join the series for the first time in the second half of the 2013 season and organisers are aiming to build on the initial 13 runners and grow the field to 16 or more this year.
The target for the 2014 season will be 20 plus, an ambitious goal for any racing category these days, but one which the UDC Ute series is well placed to achieve.
“The FG Falcon will be able to run alongside the current BF Falcon and VE Holden with parity maintained between all three,” explained series Managing Director Paul Isaac.
“The 5-litre Ford Coyote engine will also be introduced into the series as a replacement for the current BF Falcon engines being used.
“That will ensure the long-term future of the BF Falcon in New Zealand as competitors will have the option of an engine replacement or a refresh, and that is just one of the moves we have made to enhance the appeal of the UDC Ute championship and to attract more drivers into our ranks.”
As well as the pending appearance of the new model and a new powerplant, the Ute series will also see several new drivers stepping into the category.
Rex McCutcheon, Elton Goonan and Rob Gibson will all join the series this year and are eager to make their mark and follow in the footsteps of the likes of Lockwood, Waite and Pither.
A package to entice several Australian drivers across the Tasman and compete is also being considered with the phase out of the BF Falcon in the Aussie series.
The Utes will also be put on the big touring car stage at the V8 Supercar program at Pukekohe from April 12-14 for the third consecutive year after previously running at the defunct Hamilton street race.
At Hampton Downs this weekend, the Utes will first appear on the track tomorrow for a 20-minute practice run, before qualifying on Saturday followed by a 6 and 8-lap race with two more heats (8 and 12 laps) on Sunday.
For this article and  more by Speedcafe click here



Over 26,000 people enjoyed the Gulf NZ Festival of Motor Racing in January andit started off with the launch of the Bruce McLaren Trust just-completed M8A-2. This was the car that in 1968 Denny Hulme won the Can-Am Championship. In 1969 it was upgraded to ‘B’ spec and driven by Brabham, Amon and Gurney and finally used in the last round by Bruce McLaren to clinch the 1969 Can-Am Championship. Afterwards it became a show car for Goodyear Tires and was then gifted to Denny Hulme for return to NZ and be placed in MOTAT museum. The restoration has been carried out by world renowned McLaren expert, Duncan Fox, who has spent a huge amount of time getting the car back to its original specifications. See below for the result which is now a work of art. The M8A-2 was parked in the Bruce McLaren Trust pit garage over the two weekends for people to admire.
Photo credit: Helen Shrewsbury
The double weekend Gulf New Zealand Festival of Motor Racing proved the event has come of age with big crowds on all days, plenty of international interest from competitors and media and some great racing to pay tribute to the country's only Formula One world champion, Denny Hulme.
New Zealand has a rich history in racing and motorsport engineering and the biggest annual gathering of Formula 5000 cars - big open single seaters that were the equal of F1 cars in their day - is a ground shaking experience for the drivers and the fans alike. Veteran racer Kenny Smith, who raced these cars in their heyday four decades ago and has never stopped racing, showed his class again with three exciting wins in a car rebuilt after a major accident at Manfeild. The Lola T332 was only finished hours before it was scheduled to take to the Hampton Downs circuit.
Photo credit: Jamie Walker
It's an event which is gaining international credibility with every passing year and with Denny Hulme in mind, more than 100 international drivers made the long trek with their cars to the event, each driver packed with amazing stories of their own racing adventures and of those of their cars.
In keeping with celebrating Denny Hulme there were a number of Can-Am machines from the era to show the public what these cars were like. Williams and Roberts thundered around in their M8’s, while being kept honest by Kirk-Burnnand, Clements and Radisich.
Photo Credit: Neville Bailey
The ex-Denny Hulme B&H Racing BMW M3, owned by Kevin Underwood, was also present and competing in Group A. This car was the last car Denny Hulme drove at Mount Panorama, Bathurst in 1992.
Some of the highlights were Kenny Smith coming through from third on the grid to win his debut race in his beautifully restored Lola T332 F5000 car - which looked as good if not better than it would have rolled out of the factory all those years ago.
Second was Steve Ross with Clark Proctor third. Steve Ross starred in the Formula 5000 race, clocking a one minute flat lap to beat legend Kenny Smith into second.
On the second weekend high-profile Auckland all-rounder Clark Proctor (March 73A-1) was the race winner after a popular lights-to-flag win in the feature 15-lap final.For the next six laps Smith was never more than two or three car lengths behind Proctor with Ross getting past Thornton but too far behind the make any real impression on the front pair.Over the race Smith was never more than two or three car lengths behind Proctor with Ross getting past Thornton but too far behind to make any real impression on the front pair.
Pierre Tonetti from Italy continued to dominate the awesome Formula Junior field, while Roger William's McLaren M8E/F Dominated the Can-Am field and Tony Boyden won the Group A race in his Holden Commodore. Martin Bullock won a Tasman encounter in Chevron B17C.
Group A - the types of car used in the Wellington Street Races - drew a big field and plenty of admiration from the knowledgeable crowds, and the Historic Muscle Cars enjoyed a fantastic time too.
Photo credit: Darryl Hutton
We look forward to celebrating the famous Ferrari marque at next year’s festival on 17 – 19 and 24 – 26 January 2014, so start your planning now, as it is sure to be a Motorsport Festival not to be missed.
The NZ Motor Cup with the Toyota Racing Series
As the 2013 Toyota Racing Series arrived at Hampton Downs for the fourth and penultimate round, Nick Cassidy had wrested control of the championship away from the internationals. Consistency and a never-say-die attitude had benefitted the Auckland teenager, though the arrival of double TRS champion Mitch Evans seemed set to add further heat to the championship.
Evans, the 2012 GP2 champion, was making a brief three-race return to the championship on one of his favourite circuits.
Despite not having been in a race car in six months, Evans set pole in both qualifying sessions. He won the opening race on the Saturday and the twenty-lap feature race for the prestigious New Zealand Motor Cup the following day.
Over the race weekend, with air temperatures in the low 30s and trackside temperatures tipping 65 degrees Celsius, it was Cassidy who kept the pressure on the championship points battle by winning the 15-lap race two, which is a part-reverse grid.
Both days of racing were punctuated by spectacular crashes – in the first race, Brazilian Bruno Bonifacio brought out the red flag when he crashed over the top of rookie Jann Mardenborough at the infield hairpin on the first lap. Both drivers were unhurt in the spectacular crash, but Bonifacio had beached his car in a gravel trap and was out of the race. Mardenborough drove slowly around to reform on the grid and some feverish work by the ETEC Motorsport pit crew got his car back into shape for the green light.
Photo credit: Jon Barrett


The next day it was Mardenborough’s turn to initiate a safety car period when he ran into the back of Italian Ignazio D’Agosto’s car, damaging his front wing and crashing out of the race.
At the front of the field, though, there were no such dramas for Evans, Cassidy, Austrian driver Lucas Auer and British driver Alex Lynn, all of whom kept their championship hopes alive. Evans in particular showed his racing pedigree with two easy wins, holding out Alex Lynn in the feature race to scribe his name on the NZ Motor Cup a second time.
In the end, a week later, it was Cassidy who proved his mettle as a race driver, staying the distance to take his second championship and winning a second New Zealand Grand Prix title in the process.
Triumph Classic Bike Festival – the crowd outdid all expectations!
Shifting an event institution like the Pukekohe Classic Motorcycle Racing Festival to a new date and a new venue for its 34th Festival was a matter of necessity due to the track upgrades at the former venue, but would the people come was the big question. Two hundred riders entered on 270 machines and the weather over the three days was a scorcher that no doubt encouraged the many fans to come along.
Photo credit: Doug Cornes
The Triumph sponsored event added new elements to the festival with a sponsors motorcycle display in the pavilion of MV Augusta, Aprilia and Moto Guzzi machines with some having only landed in New Zealand a few days prior, plus Webbs had a promotion display for their next motorcycle auction that drew wide interest.
On the Friday Triumph NZ ran a track day in conjunction with the Classic Register practice sessions and throughout the weekend had twenty new Triumph models for the public to demo ride on a fifty kilometre circuit through the local country roads, a most enjoyable experience for those who took up the opportunity. International Grand Prix racer Ron Chandler of England was in New Zealand the week before the event so was able to do publicity work at motorcycle dealers and events prior, plus a spot for TV One News. His rare Triumph ‘Works’ Triple F750 machine created huge interest throughout the weekend and the focus on the Triumph saw the largest gathering of classic road based Tridents (produced 1968-76) at a single event in New Zealand.
Photo credit: Doug Cornes
And then there was the amazing racing, with many great performances over the weekend by this countries top classic racers including Nick Cole (NZ Superbike Star) and Chris Swallow who seemed to get lots of commentators airtime. Chris Swallow collected a haul of trophies for the Saturday & Sunday racing and Mike Ross from Gisborne was called up a lot at the Sunday prizegiving as well. Next year seems a long way off but you can bet the 35th Anniversary Event will be pretty special, roll on 2014.
This weekend is the first round of the 2013 BNT V8 SuperTourers
The 2013 BNT V8 SuperTourers Series roars into life at Hampton Downs Feb 16/17 so don’t wait any longer to book your tickets!
Two days of non-stop action. Support categories include V8 Challenge Cup, UDC V8 Utes, Suzuki Winger Suzuki Swift Sport Cup, Central Muscle Cars, Honda Cup and Xtreme Sport & GT.
Here’s nine very good reasons why you need to book your tickets online prior to Friday Feb 15th at
-          Pay $10 less per person by buying prior to the event on
-          Buy a Weekend Pass and save more
-          All those who buy online prior to round one go in the draw to WIN a VIP all expenses paid trip for two to Round Two at Ruapuna, Christchurch March 9/10
-          Be in to WIN a weekend for four in a two bedroom apartment at Hampton Downs on Feb 15/16
-          Be in to WIN one of four Hot laps in a BNT V8 SuperTourer
-          Be in to WIN one of 6 track rides in the BNT V8 SuperTourer Safety Car
-          Be in to WIN one of 6 upgrades to VIP “Woodstock Rock Zone” Tickets
-          Be in to WIN one 2 upgrades to our Pavilion Hospitality package
-          Be in to WIN one of 20 V8 SuperTourer Caps
Purchase your ticket on line before 5pm on Friday February 15th and you go in the draw for all prizes listed above except for the Ruapuna prize which will be drawn on March 5th and the Hampton
All winners will be notified by 7pm on Friday February 15th
Here’s a few more excellent reasons to book your ticket now
Van Gisbergen, Murphy, McLaughlin, Baird, McIntyre, Fogg, Gaunt, Moore, Manual, Booth, Pederson, Evans, Ninkranz, Bell, McLennan, Storey, Edgell, Heimgartner
We can’t wait to see these champions go head to head in 2013, can you?
Don’t miss it and don’t wait, book now at
Need a few more reasons? How about our on-track entertainment!
Woodstock Rock Zone – VIP TICKETS NOW ON SALE
Get up close to action at the Woodstock Rock Zone, perfectly located on the edge of the track in the heart of Hampton Downs. Crack open a Woody and tune into the sounds on the Rock FM, witness the hunt for V8 Supertourers’ next top Grid Girl and party to the thunder of the V8 SuperTourers. Get your VIP package now at half price on Grabone by clicking