KENNY SMITH HONOURED AT 2017 FESTIVAL
From January 20-22 next year, Hampton Downs will host the NZ Festival of Motor Racing. The 2017 festival will celebrate the career of a deadset legend, the great Kenny Smith. The godfather of New Zealand motorsport, Kenny is still going strong at the age of 75 and shows no signs of slowing down. Not even a triple heart bypass in 1987 could keep him off the track and 2017 will mark his 59th consecutive season in competitive motorsport. What’s his secret?
“Old age I suppose. I’m in a hurry to get home!” he says. “As you get older you don’t lose your touch. I’ve been racing cars for nearly 60 years so I’d like to think I’ve learned a thing or two in that time. As long as I’m breathing I’ll be racing. Honestly, it’s like a disease, I have to keep doing it. There’s nothing better than racing a car. I love it. Sometimes I have a bad run and I think, ‘what the f**k am I doing this s**t for,’ and an hour later I’m thinking about the next race.”
Smith first competed in motor racing in 1958, winning the New Zealand Hill Climb championship at the age of 16. He progressed to single seater racing in 1962 and raced in Formula Ford, Formula 5000, Formula Pacific, Formula Mondial, and Toyota Racing Series among others. He won the Zealand Grand Prix in 1976, 1990, and 2004 and he still races in the Formula 5000 category. As well as his victories in New Zealand, Smith also won the Penang Grand Prix three times, the Selangor Grand Prix twice, and the Malaysian Grand Prix once. He was awarded an MBE in the 1987 Queen’s Birthday Honours, for services to motorsport and in 1995 was inducted into the New Zealand Motorsport Hall of Fame. He’s also helped many of our finest motorsport exports get their start overseas.
“I was instrumental in getting Scott Dixon to the US, Brendon Hartley to Europe and Shane van Gisbergen to Australia. I can look at a guy and know if he’s going to make it or not. There’s a lot of talent in New Zealand and we’ve produced some great drivers given the size of the country.”
The race categories for the festival are as follows:
- Formula 5000
- Historic F1’s
- Central Muscle Cars
- Group A / Heritage Touring Cars
- Formula Junior Group 1
- Formula Junior Group 2
- Historic Formula Ford
- Libre / Historic Single seater / Atlantic cars
- Historic Muscle and Historic Saloon cars
- European Racing Classics
Tony Quinn will also go head to head with Kenny Smith in a quite novel battle in a pari of Aussie Race Cars!
The prize? Free membership of the Hampton Downs GT Club.
“Kenny doesn’t want to pay for a membership so I’ve offered to race against him and if he beats me then I’ll give him a membership,” says Quinn. “He’s a great guy. He should be employed by the government to go around all the old folks homes and tell all those oldies how to make the most out of life. He’s 75 and he’s still racing and still winning. It’s ridiculous.”
As well as a weekend of racing there will also be demo laps with Smith, a display of classic Formula 1 cars and a massive Show & Shine.
EVENT TICKETS – On Sale Now
Earlybird deal on Weekend Passes and All Access Single Day passes are available now from Ticketmaster. Under 16s are FREE and there is special pricing for Youth tickets 16-19 years old.
KENNY SMITH TRIBUTE DINNER
Saturday January 21st, Hampton Downs Motorsport Park
Join us in a celebration of Motorsport legend Kenny Smith’s life on the Saturday night of the Hampton Downs Festival of Motor Racing. Relive some of Kenny’s career highlights and enjoy insights from many of those that raced with and against him while hearing the tributes from all those he influenced throughout his long illustrious career. Renowned motorsport historian and Author of “Kenny Smith’s Scrapbook” Michael Clark is the master of ceremonies and will be assisted by our very own Mike Sentch. Formalities get underway in the Pavilion building at 6.30pm. A sumptuous buffet dinner is available for $49. This will also secure you a seat at a shared table of 10 in front of the stage. Tables of 10 are also available.
Tickets are now unavailable online. A limited number will be available for purchase at the event from the Information centre at the track. You can direct all enquires to email@example.com
NZFMR HOSPITALITY OPTIONS
Exceptional hospitality options are available in our new pit lane suites. Enjoy fine food and beverage from the comfort of the shared balcony lounge or book your own corporate suite.
THE KENNY SMITH FESTIVAL SHOW N SHINE
Calling all Classic Car owners! We are looking for the best classic cars for our Kenny Smith Festival Show ‘n’ Shine. If you would like to display your car at the Festival of Motor Racing at Hampton Downs, January 20-22 send an image of your car and your contact details to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Hampton Downs Motorhome Park can accommodate up to 100 vehicles. Motorsport in a motorhome is a great experience and is very popular at major events all over the world. Why not grab a motorhome and get to the NZFMR with friends and family. A great place to find one is www.mighway.co.nz where you will find every day kiwis putting their motorhomes up for hire on a short term basis at competitive rates.
Email email@example.com to check availability
Click to download a copy of the weekend event schedule.
HISTORY OF THE NZFMR
The New Zealand Festival of Motorsport has a rich history and has become an iconic classic motorsport event. Check out its history and some of the news articles from the past.