About NZFMR and News Archives

NZ Festival of Motor Racing

The very first NZ Festival of Motor Racing was held in 2010 and celebrated a true legend of the sport in Bruce McLaren. The festival is essentially a celebration of a legendary motor racing personality, a particular marque or an historic era in the sport.

Since the Bruce McLaren tribute there has been the following events:

2011 – A tribute to Chris Amon
2012 – BMW Motorsport Festival
2013 – A tribute to Denny Hulme
2014 – Ferrari Festival
2015 – A tribute to Howden Ganley
2016 – Porsche Festival
2017 – A tribute to Ken Smith

Hampton Downs Motorsport Park is the home of the NZ Festival of Motor Racing and also promote the annual event, which will continue to celebrate the rich history of motorsport. Read on for more interesting insights and the news archives from previous events.

F5000s and the Tasman Revival Series

Formula 5000s have headlined the NZ Festival of Motor Racing since it’s inception in 2010 and the single seater V8 machines, which are an absolute crowd please, will continue to wow crowds at future NZFMR events, which are now the home of the Tasman Revival Series.

Here is the history of the now Tasman Revival Series, which was first known as simply the Tasman Series.

In 1964, the legendary Tasman Series was run for the first time.  The series started annually in New Zealand in early January and comprised of four events held respectively at Pukekohe, Levin, Wigram and Teretonga race tracks over consecutive weekends.

On completion of the New Zealand leg of the Tasman series, many cars and drivers crossed the Tasman Sea to continue the series at four (sometimes three) race tracks in Australia.

From 1964 until 1969, racing cars were essentially Formula One or Formula Two cars that ran to regulations specified for the ‘Tasman Formula’.  The series attracted big name drivers and huge interest from motor sports enthusiasts and media all over the world – putting New Zealand firmly on the map as a motor racing centre.

Series winners 1964-1969
1964 Bruce McLaren NZ – Cooper T70
1965 Jim Clark UK – Lotus 32B
1966 Jackie Stewart UK – BRM P261
1967 Jim Clark UK – Lotus 33
1968 Jim Clark UK -Lotus 49T
1969 Chris Amon NZ – Ferrari 246T

From 1970 – 1975 the Tasman Formula changed to allow the big  Formula 5000 V8 cars to race.  With the change of specification for cars, and apart from Chris Amon, few ‘stars’ or F1 international drivers competed any further in the Tasman Series.

However, there were many quality international F5000/Formula A drivers who did compete including those from Australia, NZ, UK, USA, Sweden and Belgium.

Series winners 1970-1975
1970 Graeme Lawrence NZ – Ferrari 246T
1971 Graham McRae NZ – McLaren M10B
1972 Graham McRae NZ – McRae GM1
1973 Graham McRae NZ – McRae GM1
1974 Peter Gethin UK – Chevron B24
1975 Warwick Brown AUS – Lola T332

Even today, the lasting popularity of these amazing cars in New Zealand can be clearly seen by the fact that the biggest F5000 retro series in the world is held on these shores – the Tasman Revival Series.

Tasman Revival Series
In 2003 the Historic Racing Club (HRC) launched the Tasman Revival Series in New Zealand as part of their annual summer classic and historic motor race series.  The event has been held annually at Pukekohe. Taupo became involved as well in 2008 and 2009.  A feature of the annual HRC Tasman Revival Series has been the Tasman Grand Prix trophy, awarded to the winning F5000 car in the Tasman Revival GP race.  The Tasman Revival Series will be part of the NZ Festival of Motor Racing.

Legendary F5000 Drivers

Click on their names below and read about their motorsport stories!

Chris Amon MBE.pdf (822.66 Kb)

David Oxton.pdf (1.01 Mb)

Dennis Marwood.pdf (844.86 Kb)

Frank Radisich.pdf (1.92 Mb)

Garry Pedersen MNZM.pdf (795.47 Kb)

Geoff Mardon.pdf (4.68 Mb)

A-Tribute-to-Howden-Ganley.pdf (4.26 Mb)

Ken Smith OBE.pdf (381.69 Kb)

Leo Leonard.pdf (360.22 Kb)

Robbie Francevic.pdf (1.57 Mb)

Graeme Lawrence.pdf (1.01 Mb)

Frank Bray.pdf (388.42 Kb)

 

2011 – A Tribute to Chris Amon

Introducing Chris Amon

Chris Amon is well known as one of the three most successful Kiwi Formula One drivers. Together with Bruce McLaren and Denny Hulme, Chris and the other two top drivers were often referred to as the ‘Trio at the Top’.
Indeed a book by Desmond Mahoney published in 1970 and a recently released Sony Music DVD both use the title ‘Trio at the Top’ to tell the stories of Bruce, Denny and Chris.

When only 12 years old, Chris saw Stirling Moss win the 1956 NZ International Grand Prix (NZIGP) at Ardmore, near Auckland, NZ, driving his own 1954 Maserati 250F chassis 2508. Chris was instantly hooked on motor racing and thereafter barely missed a race meeting at Ohakea air force base, the new Levin track, or Ardmore.

When aged only 17 years, Chris entered his first ever race meeting at Levin on 15 April 1961. Chris drove his a little 1956 Cooper T41 Climax 1490cc gaining 4th place in his first race and 2nd place in his second race. In January 1962,
aged 18, he entered his own 1954 Maserati 250F chassis 2509 in the NZIGP at Ardmore and had a first hand view of Stirling Moss the maestro winning the NZIGP, once again.

The driving talent shown by Chris in 1962 in his venerable Maserati 250F led to an early offer to drive in international Formula One and Chris flew off to UK in 1963.
With so much natural talent, Chris should have been a Formula One World Champion – but bad luck stood in his way too often.

Of all the F1 World Championship races he entered from 1963 until 1976, he surprisingly was never to win, although he came agonisingly close on so many occasions. He did win many other notable races including the 1966 Le Mans 24 Hour race driving a Ford GT40 partnered by Bruce McLaren, and the 1967 Daytona 24 Hour race driving a Ferrari 330 P4 partnered by Lorenzo Bandini.

Chris won the both 1968 and 1969 NZIGPs. He was runner up in 1968 and Tasman Champion in 1969 driving his ‘works’ Tasman Ferrari race cars. Like many other drivers of his era, he was a highly versatile driver and was involved in many different international race classes including F1, F2, endurance, Can-Am and F5000.

Chris retired from racing in 1976 to his farm at Scotts Ferry near the mouth of the Rangitikei River not far from Bulls.

The NZ Festival of Motor Racing to celebrate Chris Amon

In 2009 Chris kindly agreed to a request to be the named racing driver ‘celebrated’ at the NZ Festival of Motor Racing in January 2011. Just recently, when asked how he felt about this, Chris said, “I’m still slightly nervous about it to be honest, but it’s great to be remembered this way.”

Already a number of international owners of racing cars formerly driven, or like those driven by Chris have been approached to see if they would consider bringing their cars to the Festival, enjoy some Kiwi fun and summer sun, and join the celebrations of all that Chris achieved in his era as one of the very top international racing drivers.

2012 – BMW Festival

BMW Motorsport in New Zealand – A Brief History
by Jim Barclay – September 2011

There are two versions of this brief history of BMW Motorsport in New Zealand – a brief one and a longer one ! If you want the brief one, see the one-paragraph version below. If you want more information, seek out the longer version below.

In compiling both versions, I have been struck by the paucity of information that is readily available about Saloon and Touring car racing in New Zealand. Unlike the amount of information that seems to be readily available in books and on websites about Australian Touring car racing over the past 50 years or so, there seems to be only a small amount of information in just a few books and virtually nothing on any websites about our Kiwi racing. I, therefore, make no apology about the big gaps that are apparent in the longer version of the BMW Motorsport history in NZ!

A Brief History of BMW Motorsport in New Zealand (the short version!)

Four decades characterise BMW Motorsport in New Zealand to date. The first decade, being the 1970s, saw the BMW marque firmly established in NZ Motorsport with the BMW 2002 Ti. The second decade of the 1980s saw the reliable BMW 635CSi and M3s take a quite a number of NZ national championships as well as wining for five successive years in the late ‘80s/early ’90s the gruelling Wellington 500 street race. The 1990s saw BMW on top and winning for eight of ten straight years the NZ Touring Car Championship. The fourth decade, beyond 2000, saw the establishment of a very strong and successful BMW Club of New Zealand supported ‘BMW Race Drivers series’ involving over 100 BMWs of various classes in regular track racing. This last decade has also seen a sizeable growth in the popularity of the ‘Targa’ events that involve many BMW drivers in their classic and contemporary BMWs. Classic motorcycle racing continues to draw big fields of riders including those riding rare classic BMW bikes.

A Brief History of BMW Motorsport in New Zealand (the longer version!)
Download PDF version – 3.5Mb

Back in July 1967 Ross Jensen, of Ross Jensen Motors, then located at 52 Remuera Road in Newmarket, Auckland, signed the Importers Agreement with BMW in Germany to import and sell BMW motorcars in New Zealand. It was not surprising that BMW cars would, in turn, be used in motorsport competition in New Zealand because Ross Jensen himself had been heavily involved. He was a former NZ champion including winning the 1956/57 Gold Star using Ferrari Monza and Austin Healey sports cars. He was also the 1957/58 Gold Star Champion driving the ex Stirling Moss Maserati 250F single seater. In 1961 Ross was the NZ Saloon Champion driving a Jaguar Mk2 3.8.

The First Decade – the 70s

With Ross Jensen’s strong interest in motor sport he gave the early support of Ross Jensen Motors to Rodger Anderson’s new model 1969 BMW 2002 Ti Alpina. Such was his outstanding success in the BMW 2002 Ti Alpina throughout the 1969/70 summer season that Rodger won first place in the 1001cc-4200cc NZ Touring Car class. Rodger was joined in 1970 national saloon races by fellow BMW 2002 racers Dr Dick (Doc) Langley and Paul Adams.

Rodger Anderson – 1969 BMW 2002 Ti Alpina
Rodger Anderson – 1969 BMW 2002 Ti Alpina

Paul Adams was well known for his rally driving skills as well as his circuit racing in his BMW 2002. With co-driver Don Fenwick, Paul won New Zealand’s premier rally event, the 1970 Silver Fern Rally driving his BMW 2002 Ti Alpina. Also entered in that rally was Jock Freemantle driving the very first BMW 2002 to be brought to New Zealand in late 1968.

Grant Clegg in the ex Paul Adams 1971 BMW 2002 Alpina Ti – Hampton Downs 2010; Ground-sky photo
Grant Clegg in the ex Paul Adams 1971 BMW 2002 Alpina Ti – Hampton Downs 2010
Ground-sky photo

It is of interest to note that both the Rodger Anderson BMW 2002 Ti Alpina and the Paul Adams BMW 2002 Ti Alpina are still with us today – the ex Anderson car is now owned by former BMW Club President Alan Walker, and one of the ex Adams cars by Grant and Jo Clegg. It is hoped that both cars will be at the ‘NZ Festival of Motor Racing celebrating BMW Motorsport’ to be held at Hampton Downs 20th-22nd January and 27th-29th January 2012.

Other drivers selected the BMW 2002 in its various forms to race including Steve Millen who, in 1972, fitted an American Rajay turbocharger to his BMW 2002 Ti Alpina – this was at least one year before the BMW ‘works’ fitted their own KKK turbos to a limited run of BMW 2002 turbos. Long distance Touring car racing became popular in New Zealand in the 1970s and the great reliability of BMW cars saw them featuring strongly in many results including that of Paul Adams who took out 2nd place in the ‘Shell 100 Production Car 100 lap feature race held at Levin on 6 October 1974.

Having secured the right to import BMWs to New Zealand, Ross Jensen set up a dealer network in New Zealand in 1972 and not surprisingly the dealerships went to his fellow former motor racing driver friends including Tony Shelly of Shelly Motors in Wellington and Ray Archibald of Archibalds Garages in Christchurch. Both Tony and Ray had raced against Ross in the 1950s and early 1960s. Together with other BMW dealers in Gisborne, Havelock North and Invercargill, and service support dealers in Tauranga, Rotorua, Taupo, Palmerston North and Nelson, BMW motorsport drivers throughout New Zealand were now given professional support for their BMW race cars.

In January 1976 Brian Redman (from UK, but based in USA) took part in the 1976 NZ Peter Stuyvesant International series. Twice a winner of the L&M Championship for Formula 5000 cars run in USA, Redman drove the new Fred Opert owned Chevron B29 F2 car fitted with a BMW M-Power 2000cc engine. Sponsorship in the NZ series included that from Ross Jensen Motors. New Zealander, Dick Bennetts (later to achieve fame in UK with his company West Surrey Racing) was Redman’s mechanic. The small Chevron BMW was the only 2.0 litre car up against a much more powerful grid of V8 engined Formula 5000cc cars but Redman finished in a very credible 4th place in the 1976 NZIGP held at Pukekohe. He was also 2nd at Manfeild and qualified 6th at the Lady Wigram Trophy race in Christchurch but retired from the race with a very rare engine problem. At Teretonga he qualified 7th and when vying for second place with two-thirds of the race run, he was forced to retire with a loose rear wheel. In the 1976 NZ series, Redman showed that with a nimble car with the reliability of a BMW M-Power engine, good results were possible against much more powerful opposition.

Brian Redman, 1976 Chevron B29 BMW 2000cc – Teretonga 1976 - Robin Curtis photo; The Second Decade – the ‘80s
Brian Redman, 1976 Chevron B29 BMW 2000cc – Teretonga 1976 – Robin Curtis photo

The Second Decade – the ‘80s

Into the second decade and beginning with the 1984/85 NZ racing season that saw the start of what was to become a long run of success by the BMW marque in NZ motorsport.

Neville Crichton imported a quick and reliable 1984 BMW 635CSi Group A Touring car built up for him by Frank Gardner’s Team JPS (Australia). Kent Baigent imported an ex team Schnitzer BMW 635CSi Chassis number RA 2/035 that had been driven by Dieter Quester/Hans Stuck in the 1983/84 European Touring Car Championship.

The NZ Production Saloon Championship (the Benson & Hedges [B&H] series) was held at three tracks during October and November 1984. Kent Baigent and Neil Lowe in their white coloured #3 BMW 635CSi led in the first race of the series, the 4-hour Manfeild race until an overcharged battery exploded wrecking the engine management computer, which in turn led to their retirement. With the withdrawal of the Baigent/Lowe 635CSi, Neville Crichton and Wayne Wilkinson took first place at Manfeild in Crichton’s #4 black coloured 635CSi. Baigent/Lowe led again at Baypark but ran a bearing in the engine, so once again Crichton/Wilkinson took the win. The white Tellus sponsored # 3 635CSi of Baigent/Lowe won the final 6 hour race of the 1984 B & H series held at Pukekohe on 28 October 1984 and the Crichton/Wilkinson 635CSi was placed second. During the race at Pukekohe, co-driver Lowe made an early entry to the Pits and found Baigent was not ready to resume his driving duties so Lowe had to drive the final 3 hour 45 min spell at Pukekohe himself. He was exhausted when he took the chequered flag. On overall results in the three-race B & H series Crichton/Wilkinson took first place in the NZ Production Saloon Championship and third place in the series went to Baigent/Lowe in their 635CSi.

Neal Lowe in Kent Baigent’s 1983 BMW 635CSi – First Place - B&H 6-Hour race – Pukekohe 1984
Neal Lowe in Kent Baigent’s 1983 BMW 635CSi – First Place – B&H 6-Hour race – Pukekohe 1984

Neville Crichton/Wayne Wilkinson 1984 BMW 635CSI – 2nd Place – B&H 6-Hour race Pukekohe November 1984
Neville Crichton/Wayne Wilkinson 1984 BMW 635CSI – 2nd Place – B&H 6-Hour race Pukekohe November 1984

The six races comprising the NZ Touring car championship (the ANZ Touring Car series) for Group A cars were held in late 1984 and early 1985 and saw Kent Baigent win all three races held at Manfeild, Bay Park and Pukekohe in his 635CSi. Neville Crichton placed second in two of the races. Kent Baigent won both the 1985 NZ Touring Car Championship and the NZ Touring Car Series for Group A cars.

Kent Baigent BMW 635CSi – 1st Place ANZ Touring car Series - Pukekohe 1984/5
Kent Baigent BMW 635CSi – 1st Place ANZ Touring car Series – Pukekohe 1984/5

International Group A racing in New Zealand commenced began in a big way with the first of the new Nissan Sport 500 races held in January 1985 on the Wellington wharf and city-street track. All three BMW635CSi cars that entered finished the race – Frank Sytner and John Morton finished 2nd in their white #6 BMW 635CSi on 149 laps 1 lap behind the leader, followed by Neville Crichton/Wayne Wilkinson on 148 laps in 3rd place with their black # 4 BMW 635CSi and Baigent/Lowe who were 7th on 135 laps in their white #3 BMW 635CSi. The series continued at Pukekohe where Crichton/Wilkinson finished first, and Baigent/Lowe were third. Crichton/Wilkinson took overall first place on aggregate points for the two-round 1985 Nissan Sport series.

Across in Australia, expat Kiwi Jim Richards won the 1985 Australian Touring Car Championship in his Team JPS BMW 635CSi. Baigent/Lowe in their 635CSi also raced in the series and finished in a very credible 5th place in the 1985 Bathurst 1000.

The 1985/86 season began with the three-race ‘B & H series’ held in October and November at Manfeild, Baypark and Pukekohe. In the 3-hour race at Manfeild, held on 20 October 1985, Kent Baigent was leading when he and Denny Hulme in his Ray Smith Auckland Gold and Bullion Holden Commodore touched. This in turn lead to a major accident for Baigent in his 635CSi, effectively writing-off the car.

High Speed crash aftermath

Trevor Crowe had purchased the ex JPS built Crichton 635CSi and together with Australia’s Tony Longhurst, they finished in 4th place. Crowe/Longhurst won the 2.5 hour race at Bay Park held on 27 October 1985 and the 6-hour race at Pukekohe on 17 November 1985 – they became the 1985 NZ Production Saloon Champions.

Trevor Crowe/Tony Longhurst ex JPS BMW 635CSi - 1985 NZ Production Car Champions
Trevor Crowe/Tony Longhurst ex JPS BMW 635CSi
1985 NZ Production Car Champions

The 1986 four-round NZ ANZ Touring Car Championships began at Baypark on 29 December 1985. Former motorcycle champion Graeme Crosby entered his BMW 635CSi, the first ever Group A BMW 635CSi, chassis number RA001. Trevor Crowe won in his 635CSi and Crosby finished 4th. The next round was at Pukekohe on 5th January 1986 supporting the NZIGP meeting and Crowe was 2nd, Crosby 4th and Charlie Obrien 5th – all in BMW635 CSi cars. The third round was at Manfeild on 12th January 1986 and Crowe finished 4th. The final round was held at Wigram on 19 January 1986 and saw Crowe 1st in Heat 1, and 2nd in Heat 2. Crowe took overall second place in the Group A NZ Touring Car (ANZ Touring Car series) Championship.

On 26 January 1986 the newly named Nissan Mobil 500 for Group A cars was run in Wellington with another good entry including five BMW 635CSi cars. Only one 635CSi finished. John Morton and Jim Richards qualified 18th in their white # 3 Team McMillan liveried car but retired in the race.

Jim Richards/John Morton BMW 635CSi - Nissan-Mobil 500 – Wellington 26 Jan 86
Jim Richards/John Morton BMW 635CSi
Nissan-Mobil 500 – Wellington 26 Jan 86

Graeme Crosby and Lew McKinnon drove Crosby’s yellow and blue # 6 car and finished in a credible 6th place on 187 laps, 17 laps down on the winner who completed 204 laps. Jim Keogh and Struan Robertson qualified 16th in their #20 dark red coloured 635CSi but retired from the race after only 2 laps when the car overheated and blew a head gasket – Jim had fitted a new ‘big-port’ head to his car but to his dismay he found it was porous such that the engine boiled early and they retired. Trevor Crowe and Tony Longhurst qualified 5th and had their black # 31 ex Crichton 635CSi, now with Archibald’s sponsorship, up into first place and were leading the race by 2 laps with only 7 laps to go when they retired with a rare failure in the front suspension. Australian, Charlie O’Brien and Wellington’s Glenn McIntyre qualified O’Brien’s red State Coal sponsored # 7 635CSi in 8th place but retired in the race.

Crosby/McKinnon 635CSi leads Walkinshaw/Hahne Rover SD1 and O’Brien/McIntyre 635CSi – Wellington 26 Jan 86
Crosby/McKinnon 635CSi leads Walkinshaw/Hahne Rover SD1 and O’Brien/McIntyre 635CSi – Wellington 26 Jan 86

The Nissan-Mobil series continued to Pukekohe for the second round held on 2nd February 1986. The #20 Jim Keogh/Struan Robertson 635CSi qualified 6th between Jim Richards and Charlie O’Brien in their 635CSi cars. Jim Keogh was lapping Gerald Hay’s Commodore at the Esses leading into the main straight when the Commodore took the BMW out – a broken strut in the 635 meant a retirement. The # 31 Crowe/Longhurst 635CSi was 2nd in the race and the # 6 Crosby/McKinnon 635CSi was 6th.

Jim Keogh BMW 635CSi – Bathurst – photo via Jim Keogh
Jim Keogh BMW 635CSi – Bathurst – photo via Jim Keogh
Graeme Crosby – BMW 635CSi Chassis # RA001 – Pukekohe 2 Feb 86 - Overall 1st Place 1986 Nissan-Mobil series
Graeme Crosby – BMW 635CSi Chassis # RA001 – Pukekohe 2 Feb 86
Overall 1st Place 1986 Nissan-Mobil series

Crosby/McKinnon took overall 1st place on aggregate in the 1986 Nissan-Mobil series with two 6th places.

The 1986/87 Touring Car series began with NZ Production Saloon Championship (B & H Series) at Manfeild in October 1986 and Ed Lamont/Graeme Cameron took first place in their ex JPS black and gold coloured BMW325i. At the next race held at Baypark, Lamont/Cameron were 3rd. On to Pukekohe where Trevor Crowe/Jim Richard were 2nd in Crowe’s 635CSi and Lamont/Cameron were 3rd in their 325i. Lamont/Cameron were overall winders of the 1986 B & H Series and thus won the 1986 NZ Production Saloon Championship.

Having already had Rounds 1 and 2 in Australia, the final 3 rounds of the newly named South Pacific Touring Car Championship (Simpson Appliances Series) began at Manfeild on 30th November 1986 with a 3-hour race. Trevor Crowe had purchased a later model ex 1986 JPS black and silver BMW 635CSi (as against the normal black and gold JPS cars). Entered as car #31 and again with Archibalds sponsored he single-handedly drove this car to 2nd place at Manfeild, as he did again at Baypark in the 3-hour race held on 7 December 1986 for the same result.

Trevor Crowe BMW 635CSi – 2nd Place – Baypark 7 Dec 86
Trevor Crowe BMW 635CSi – 2nd Place – Baypark 7 Dec 86

A 3-hour race was held at Pukekohe on 14 December 1986. In the Group A Class 1 for cars over 2501cc, there were five 635CSi cars entered – #7 Charlie O’Brien/Glenn McIntyre, #8 Dennis Roderick/John English (Aus), #10 John Sorensen/Brian Musgrove, #31 Trevor Crowe, and #91 Graham Lorimer/Tony Lawrence. In the Group A Class 2 for cars 1601cc-2500cc were #24 Denny Hulme/Bill Bryce in an ex JPS BMW 325i and #25 the sister ex JPS 325i car for Ed Lamont. Trevor Crowe had a first corner tangle with other cars and later broke a rocker in his engine causing his retirement. Hulme broke a cam belt and also retired. The O’Brien/McIntyre 635CSi took 1st place and Lorimer/Lawrence 3rd. Crowe finished second in the 5 race Simpson Series.

O’Brien/McIntyre in their # 7 State Coal BMW 635CSi won the 1987 Group A NZ National Touring Car Series.

Charlie O’Brien/ Glenn McIntyre BMW 635CSi –Pukekohe 14 Dec 86 - Winners 1987 Group A NZ Touring Car Championship
Charlie O’Brien/ Glenn McIntyre BMW 635CSi –Pukekohe 14 Dec 86
Winners 1987 Group A NZ Touring Car Championship

The 1987 NZ Touring Car Championship races were then held at Baypark 28 December 1986, Pukekohe (in conjunction with the NZIGP) on 4 Jan 87, Manfeild 11 Jan 87 and Lady Wigram on 18 Jan 87. Glenn McIntyre driving his BMW 635CSi became the 1987 NZ Touring Car Champion.

There were two Nissan-Mobil races in Wellington in 1987. The first was held on 24/25 January 1987. Four BMW 635CSi cars were entered and three were to finish – #7 the red coloured State Coal car for O’Brien/McIntyre finished 3rd on 141 laps being 1 lap behind the leader, #8 car for Allan Milligan/Avon Hyde finished 6th on 134 laps, the #31 black Archibalds car for Crowe/Richards who retired, and the #91 silver DSIR sponsored car for Graham Lorimer/Phil Myhre who finished 7th on 133 laps. Bill Bryce teamed up with Tony Longhust in a Bryce owned ex JPS M3 but a series of accidents by Longhurst prevented them finishing. The series continued at Pukekohe on 1 February 1987 – Lorimer/Mhyre finished 13th.
Graham Lorimer/Phil Myhre BMW 635Csi – Bathurst – photo via Phil Myhre
Graham Lorimer/Phil Myhre BMW 635Csi – Bathurst – photo via Phil Myhre

Following on from the Wellington race in January 1987, the second leg of the two-race Nissan-Mobil series was held one week later at Pukekohe on 31 January/1 February 1987.

The 1987/88 Touring car season in New Zealand began with the second Nissan Mobil 500 series to held in Wellington that year and this time, it was an even bigger event. On 26 October 1987, New Zealand’s Labour Day Monday, Wellington once again saw Group A cars competing but this time it was Round 10 of the international FIA World Touring Car Championship for Group A cars.

Ten Division 2 under 2500cc BMWs were entered, in addition to four over 2500cc Division 1 cars that included three 635CSi. In Division 2, two Italians, Roberto Ravaglia and Emanuele Pirro qualified 3rd fastest in their #46 Schnitzer BMW M3 and finished the race in 2nd place, just 15 seconds behind the winner also on 150 laps in the four-hour race.

Also in a Schnitzer M3 were Roland Ratzenberger (Austria)/ Markus Oestreich (Germany) in #40 M3 who qualified 9th and finished 6th on 148 laps – 2 laps down. Car #41 a BMW Motorsport M3 entry for Altfrid Heger (Germany) /Tony Longhurst qualified in 18th place and finished 7th on 147 laps. Car #44 a Bryce Homes entered ex JPS BMW 325i driven by Paul Radisich/Ludwig Finauer (Australia) qualified 27th and finished 10th on 141 laps. The Scwaben Motorsport entry for two Germans, Thomas von Loewis and Prince Leopold von Bayern in a BMW M3 # 62 qualified 22nd and finished 12th on 140 laps while the white coloured 635CSi # 31 driven by John Sorenson/Kayne Scott qualified 32nd and finished 15th on 135 laps. Qualifying 33rd was the # 27 635CSi for Australians Ray Gulson/Graham Gulson who finished 17th on 134 laps. Jim Richards and Trevor Crowe teamed up in car #53, a pre evolution ex JPS M3 sponsored by Cardinal Network to qualify 8th and finish 19th on 116 laps.

Jim Richards/Trevor Crowe – BMW M3 2332cc – Wellington 25 October 1987 – Jim Barclay photo
Jim Richards/Trevor Crowe – BMW M3 2332cc –
Wellington 25 October 1987 – Jim Barclay photo

The #14 Charlie O’Brien/Avon Hyde/Jim Richards black ex Archibalds/Cardinal Network 635CSi qualified well for an older car up in 17th place. They had a few problems in the race and finished 20th on 106 laps.

O’Brien/Hyde/Richards BMW 635CSi – Wellington 25 Oct 87 – Jim Barclay photo
O’Brien/Hyde/Richards BMW 635CSi – Wellington 25 Oct 87 – Jim Barclay photo

Twenty of the 38 starters made it to the chequered flag. BMW cars listed as ‘did not finish’ were the ladies team Anette Meeuvissen/Mercedes Stermitz in the #47 M3 who qualified 23rd and completed 126 laps, but as they were not running at the end of the race, they were classified as non-finishers. The #42 CiBiEmme entry for Italians Johnny Cecotto/Gianfranco Brancatelli M3 qualified well up the grid in 12th place but they retired after 44 laps. Car #48, the Sax Racing entry for Graeme Lorimer/John Sax M3 qualified 28th but they retired lap 28. Car #43 the M3 Bigazzi entry for Winni Voght (Germany)/Olivier Grouillard (France) qualified 7th but they did only 13 laps. Car # 55 a BMW325i for Ed Lamont/John Morton qualified 35th but did not race. Car # 22, a bright yellow coloured ex Lorimer 635CSi was entered by Warren McKeller/Alan Prince and they qualified 36th but did not race.

McKellar/Prince BMW 635CSi – Ohakea
McKellar/Prince BMW 635CSi – Ohakea

The second race in the series was the Benson & Hedges 500 Classic run on the Pukekohe “long” circuit on 1 November 1987. Gianfranco Brancatelli (Italy) teamed up with Allan Grice (Australia) in the #42 CiBiEmme M3, now owned by Mark Petch, and took first place on 143 laps.
Brancatelli/Grice BMW M3 – 1st Place B & H 500 Pukekohe 1 Nov 87
Brancatelli/Grice BMW M3 – 1st Place B & H 500 Pukekohe 1 Nov 87

In third place were Trevor Crowe and Robbie Francevic in the Cardinal Freight sponsored M3. The white #31 BMW 635CSi of John Sorenson/Kayne Scott finished 5th. In sixth place were Paul Radisich and Denny Hulme in the ex JPS Bill Bryce owned BMW 325i driven at Wellington the previous week by Radisich and Ludwig Finauer – the expert ‘engine guru’ at Team JPS Australia.

The B&H International Motor Racing series began at Manfeild on 2/3 January 1988, continued to Baypark on 9/10 Jan 88, then to Pukekohe supporting the NZIGP 16/17 Jan 88, Wigram 23/24 Jan 88 and concluded at Timaru on 30/31 Jan 88.

The Manfeild round held on 2nd and 3rd January 1988 comprised a one-hour race followed by a second race over 15 laps. Cars entered were the yellow #22 Warren McKellar 635CSi, #24 Bill Bryce in the ex Tony Longhurst JPS 325i, #25 Ed Lamont ex JPS 325i, #27 Graham Gulson (Aust) 635CSi who finished 6th in the 15 lap race, #42 Mark Petch in the ex CeeBiEmme (Italy) team M3, #48 John Sax/Graham Lorimer M3 who finished 3rd in race one and 4th in race two, and #53 Trevor Crowe in the Cardinal Network M3 who finished 1st in the second race.

Trevor Crowe in his BMW M3 was the 1988 NZ Touring Car Champion.

The 1988/89 season again started in Wellington with the Nissan Mobil 500, this time held on 24th October 1988. 1988 saw the beginning of an unbroken five year streak of wins for the BMW M3 cars. The Group A Division 2 cars entered were #52 Roberto Ravaglia/Emanuele Pirro in a Schnitzer M3 2332cc that took 1st place.

Ravaglia/Pirro BMW M3 – qualified 3rd finished 1st; Start of Nissan-Mobil 500 Wellington 24 Oct 88
Ravaglia/Pirro BMW M3 – qualified 3rd finished 1st
Start of Nissan-Mobil 500 Wellington 24 Oct 88
(see the BMW M3 behind the red Sierra)

Ravaglia/Pirro BMW M3 – 1st Place – Nissan Mobil 500 Wellington 24 Oct 88
Ravaglia/Pirro BMW M3 – 1st Place – Nissan Mobil 500 Wellington 24 Oct 88

The #53 ex JPS now Cardinal/Archibalds sponsored M3 was driven by Trevor Crowe and Mark Thatcher (UK) and finished in 3rd place’, the #54 Kayne Scott/John Sorenson M3 was 8th, and the #55 Paul Radisich/Ludwig Finauer M3 sponsored by Bill Bryce Lockwood (the ex Petch ex CeeBiEmme car) was crashed by Finauer so the car did not finish the race. As Ludwig commented “I was lapping Tony Noske who was driving Peter Brock’s Mobil M3 and he shut the door on me which put me too close to the Armco with the left front wheel touching and braking the steering arm and then crashing into the Armco on the other side.”

Paul Radisich/Ludwig Finauer BMW M3 – Wellington 24 Oct 88
Paul Radisich/Ludwig Finauer BMW M3 – Wellington 24 Oct 88

Car #56 was the Peter Brock (Aus)/Jim Richards (Aus) white coloured Mobil Dealer Team sponsored M3 (ex JPS ’87 car) that broke a tailshaft after 20 minutes of the race, and Neil Crompton (Aus)/Mark Noske (Aus) in the second Mobil Dealer M3 who also did not finish.

The two Division 1 BMWs were #37 Glenn McIntyre/Avon Hyde in their black ex Archibalds 635CSi who finished 6th and #44 Richard Gillies/Joe Sommariva (Aus) in the yellow Warren McKellar car who did not practice.

The second round of series was the ProMo 500 and was held at Pukekohe on 31 October 1988. The #54 Kayne Scott/John Sorenson M3 finished in 5th place. The #55 Paul Radisich/Ludwig Finauer M3 blew a motor when Paul was driving and retired. (No further details for this race).

Trevor Crowe and Mark Thatcher in the M3 won the FISA Pacific-Asia Touring Car Championship.

Paul Radisich in Bill Bryce’s BMW M3 leading Mobil Dealer Team BMW M3 – Pukekohe 31 Oct 88
Paul Radisich in Bill Bryce’s BMW M3 leading Mobil Dealer Team BMW M3 –
Pukekohe 31 Oct 88

The 1989 Benson & Hedges International Motor Racing series was held at Baypark, Pukekohe, Manfeild and Wigram. At Manfeild on 22 Jan 1989 the NZ Touring Car Championship for Group A cars saw #44 Warren McKellar in his yellow BMW 635CSi 3500cc yellow (he had problems and did not start), #52 Gregg Taylor in Kayne Scott’s BMW 635CSi, #53 Kayne Scott in the ex Crowe/John Sax entered BMW M3 who finished 1st in Race 1 and 5th in Race 2.

Kayne Scott BMW M3 – Manfeild 22 Jan 89
Kayne Scott BMW M3 – Manfeild 22 Jan 89

Car #54 was John Sorensen in a John Sax entered BMW M3 and #55 Brett Riley in the Bill Bryce Racing ex Petch ex CiBiEmme BMW M3. Riley finished 3rd in Race 1 and 2nd in Race 2. In the Class 2, # 7 Mark Petch BMW 325i was 1st in class

At the NZ Touring Car Championship (Group A) held at Wigram 28/29 January 1989 there were two ‘heats’ for Group A cars over the duration of the meeting. In Heat 1 over 15 laps Brett Riley in the M3 was 2nd, Kayne Scott M3 4th, John Sorenson M3 5th, Greg Taylor 635CSi 6th and Mark Petch M3 7th. In Heat 2, also over 15 laps, Riley was 3rd, Scott 4th, Sorenson 5th, Taylor 7th and Petch 8th .

Brett Riley in his Bill Bryce entered ex CeeBiEmme BMW M3 was 2nd in the 1989 NZ Group A Touring Car Championship and Mark Petch in his ex JPS 325i was 1st in Class 2 (under 2500cc) for the 1989 NZ Touring Car Championship. Kayne Scott in the Petch M3 was 3rd in the NZ Touring Car Championship

The 1989/90 season began with the Nissan Mobil 500 Series held in Wellington 1-3 Dec 1989. Taking the second win in succession for BMW was car #1, the white 2332cc team Schnitzer M3 with Sony and Cardinal sponsorship driven by Emanuele Pirro/Roberto Ravaglia to 1st place on 142 laps. In 2nd place was the second team Schnitzer M3 #10 of Steve Soper (UK) /Fabien Giroux (France) also on 142 laps. In 4th place was the Ubix entered M3 #4 driven by Swedes Per-Gunnar Andersson/Nettan Lindgren/Gary Croft (NZ) on 135 laps. The #34 Ray Gulson(Aust)/James McAlpine (UK) BMW 635CSi was 9th on 127 laps and Kayne Scott/John Sorensen in the #56 Sax Racing M3 was 14th on 102 laps.

Those not placed were #29-John Summariva (Aust)/Darrel Belsky (Aust) 635CSi, #50 Denny Hulme/Brett Riley in the Bill Bryce Racing M3 (jammed gear selector), and #57 John Sax/Graham Gulson in their Sax Racing M3. Entered but apparently not practicing or racing was # 9 Ian Forrest (UK) BMW M3.

Emanuele Pirro/Roberto Ravaglia –Schnitzer BMW M3 – 1st Place Nissan Mobil 500 – Wellington 3 Dec 89
Emanuele Pirro/Roberto Ravaglia –Schnitzer BMW M3 – 1st Place Nissan Mobil 500 – Wellington 3 Dec 89

The Nissan-Mobil series continued at Pukekohe on 9th and 10th December 1989 with two 250km races. The faster and open track gave distinct advantage to cars with bigger engines and those with turbo power, so the BMW M3 winners at Wellington the previous weekend were at a distinct disadvantage. Accordingly, in Race 1 Ravaglia/Pirro drove well but were only able to take 7th place in their Team Schnitzer M3 and Andersson/Lindgren/Croft were 10th in their M3. The Hulme/Riley M3 retired with e blown differential.

In Race 2, Steve Soper (UK)/Fabien Giroux (France) were 7th, Hulme/Riley 8th, Andersson/Lindgren/Croft 9th and Scott/Sorenson 10th. Aggregation of points from both Pukekohe races saw Soper/Giroux 8th overall, Andersson/Lindgren/Croft 9th and Scott/Anderson 10th. Final points for the 1989 Nissan Mobil Series, saw Pirro/Ravaglia 3rd equal, Soper/Giroux 5th and Andersson/Lingren/Croft 7th equal.

Denny Hulme/Paul Radisich – BMW M3 – Pukekohe 10 Dec 89
Denny Hulme/Paul Radisich – BMW M3 – Pukekohe 10 Dec 89

The 1990 NZ Group A Touring Car Championship comprised of the two Nissan Mobil rounds held at Wellington and Pukekohe in December 1989 in addition to a further three rounds held in the North Island in January 1990. Denny Hulme in Bill Bryce’s M3 finished 2nd in the championship.

The Third Decade – the ‘90s

The 1990/91 season began with the Nissan Mobil 500 Series in Wellington held over 29 November to 2 December 1990 and again it was BMW that took first place. This was the third successive win for Emanuele Pirro, but his time, instead of having Roberto Ravaglia, he had Johnny Cecotto as his co-driver.

Emanuele Pirro/Johnny Cecotto – Schnitzer BMW E30 2467cc – 1st Place Nissan Mobil 500 Wellington -2 December 1990 – Jim Barclay photo
Emanuele Pirro/Johnny Cecotto – Schnitzer BMW E30 2467cc – 1st Place Nissan Mobil 500 Wellington -2 December 1990 – Jim Barclay photo

Their team Schnitzer BMW M3, car # 1, carrying Sony sponsorship was 1st and the second Schnitzer car, car # 8, driven by Steve Soper and Joachim Winkelhock finished 4th. Both of these BMW M3s were later sold to Frank Gardner Motorsport in Australia. In 5th place was car #91, John Sorensen/Mark Jennings in their ‘pre evo’ M3. In 11th place was car #56, the red Group N/NZ M3 of John Sax/ Slim Borgudd/Jim McAlpine.

Sax/Borgudd/McAlpine BMW M3 Group N/NZ - Wellington 2 Dec 90 – Jim Barclay photo
Sax/Borgudd/McAlpine BMW M3 Group N/NZ
Wellington 2 Dec 90 – Jim Barclay photo

In 13th was the black ex JPS 325i, car # 25 driven by Ed Lamont/Stu McCondach.

Lamont/McCondach BMW 325i – 13th place Nissan Mobil 500 Wellington - 2 Dec 90 – Jim Barclay photo
Lamont/McCondach BMW 325i – 13th place Nissan Mobil 500 Wellington
2 Dec 90 – Jim Barclay photo

Cars not finishing were the white # 54 Bill Bryce entered pre evo M3 driven by Brett Riley/Craig Baird/Denny Hulme and the #75 Castrol liveried white M3 driven by Keith Sharp/Rob Hurst. Of the seven BMWs entered, five BMWs finished the Wellington race.

The Nissan Mobil series continued at Pukekohe with practice and qualifying on Saturday 8 Dec and the 178 lap race on Sunday 9 Dec 90. (no details of the race )

The 1991 NZ Touring Car Championship was held in conjunction with the Peter Jackson International Series 1991. The series began at Teretonga on 29/30 December 1990, continued at Timaru on 5/6 Jan 91, and because Wigram was not available, the series raced Ruapuna on 12/13 Jan 91. There, only John Sax flew the colours for BMW while racing his M3 in the Dulux Group N Saloon races. He finished 2nd in the first10 lap race but did not start in the second race. On to Manfeild on 19/20 Jan 91 and a bigger field was evident when Group A Saloons joined the series. Group A BMWs were #54 Brett Riley in an M3 2302cc (1st in Race 1 and 2nd in Race 2), # 91 John Sorenson M3 2332cc (3rd Race 1 and 3rd Race 2), #11 Keith Sharp’s Castrol liveried M3 (5th Race 1 and 6th Race 2) and #25 Stuart McCondach BMW 325i 2499cc. In the Group N/NZ Saloon class # 56 John Sax’s Mobil liveried M3 2300cc was 1st in class in Race 1.

The series continued at Baypark on 26/26 Jan 91 and concluded at Pukekohe on 2/3 Feb 91. At Pukekohe the Group A entry saw # 11 Keith Sharp in the Castrol M3 2332cc, # 25 Stuart McCondach BMW 325i and #54 Brett Riley in Bill Bryce’s Brooklands Motor Company M3. The Group N/NZ Saloons class saw #56 John Sax in the Mobil M3 2300cc finishing 2nd in Race 2.

Brett Riley in the Bill Bryce M3 was 1st in the 1991 NZ Touring Car Championship.

The 1991/92 season began with the Nissan Mobil 500 held in Wellington on 1st December 1991. Once again, for the fourth consecutive year, the race was won by BMW and Emanuele Pirro took his 4th successive win. In car #1, again a Schnitzer M3, Pirro with new co-driver ‘Smokin Jo’ Joachim Winkelhock took their Castrol liveried E31 M3 to first place.

Pirro/Winkelhock – Castrol BMW M3 – 1st place Nissan-Mobil 500 – Wellington 1 Dec 91
Pirro/Winkelhock – Castrol BMW M3 – 1st place Nissan-Mobil 500 – Wellington 1 Dec 91

Denny Hulme and Robbie Francevic took 4th place in their M3. Those not finishing were the Tony Longhurst in the ex Schnitzer M3 now carrying B & H yellow colours. The Longhurst M3 crashed on lap 72 with the red John Sax entered Group N M3. The venerable 635CSi #34 driven by Duncan Beck/Gulson and sporting Harcourts advertising was also a non-finisher.

Beck/Gulson BMW 635CSi – Nissan Mobil 500 Wellington 1 Dec 91 – Jim Barclay photo
Beck/Gulson BMW 635CSi – Nissan Mobil 500 Wellington 1 Dec 91 – Jim Barclay photo

The second round of the Nissan-Mobil series was held at Pukekohe on 8th December 1991.

The 1992 NZ Touring Car Championship included a round at Wigram on 18/19 January 1992. In the Autonews Group N Saloon Races, John Sax drove his BMW M3 to 1st place in Heat 1 over 8 laps, and 2nd in the 8 lap Heat 2.

1992/93 Season
Many were saddened to hear of the death of New Zealand’s Denny Hulme, the 1967 Formula 1 Champion. At the Bathurst 1000 on 4 October 1992, Denny suffered a heart attack while driving his B&H liveried M3. He pulled over against the Armco but had died before help was at hand.

Hulme/Morris BMW M3 – Bathurst 4 Oct 92
Hulme/Morris BMW M3 – Bathurst 4 Oct 92

The 1992/93 season began with the Nissan Mobil 500 event held in Wellington. This was the last race Wellington for Group A cars. For the fifth consecutive year, the event was won by a BMW, this time by Australians Tony Longhurst and Paul Morris who took first place in their BMW M3.

The Peter Jackson International Series was held throughout the summer of 1992 – Teretonga Jan 4/5, Timaru Jan 11/12, Wigram Jan 18/19, Manfeild (NZIGP) Jan 25/26, Baypark Feb 1 & 2 and Pukekohe Feb 8/9. With practice and qualifying on Saturday Jan 25, Races 1 and 8 at Manfeild on 26 Jan were for the Auto News Group N Saloons. Only one BMW was entered – that for John Sax in his #56 BMW M3 2300cc

1993/94 Season
The 1993 Nissan Mobil 500 was held in Wellington and won by Owen Evans/Bruno Eichmann in a Porsche 911 Carrera RS car. Craig Baird/Brett Riley in the single Lyall Williamson/BMW Motorsport NZ # 31 BMW E36 325 in Castrol livery finished in 4th place overall and won the two-litre Touring Car class of the race.

The NZ Touring Car series was held in conjunction with the Peter Jackson International Motor Racing Series. At Wigram on 22/23 January 1994, there were two races comprising three classes each for Touring cars. In Heat 1 of 8 laps, Craig Baird BMW 325i 2.5litre was 2nd and Brett Riley also in a BMW 325i 2.5 litre was 3rd. In Heat 2 of 12 laps, Baird was 1st and Riley 2nd.

Continuing on the NZ Touring Car Series, touring car races were held at the NZIGP meeting at Manfeild on 29/30 January 94. The Lyall Williamson/BMW Motorsport NZ team entered #31 Brett Riley in a BMW 325i Coupe 2494 cc with Castrol/Dunlop/Uniden/Diet Coke livery and #32 Craig Baird BMW 325i Coupe 2494cc Castrol/Dunlop/Uniden/Diet Coke livery.

#31 Brett Riley, #32 Craig Baird BMW E36 325i Coupes – Manfeild 30 Jan 94 – Jim Barclay photo
#31 Brett Riley, #32 Craig Baird BMW E36 325i Coupes – Manfeild 30 Jan 94 – Jim Barclay photo

Such was the dominance of the Lyall Williamson run BMW Motorsport NZ team in 1994 that Craig Baird in his BMW E36/325 Coupe was the winner of the NZ Touring Car Championship and Brett Riley was second.

BMW Motorsport – Wellington Street Race – a Summary
1985 – 2nd, 3rd
1986 -6th
1987 (January)- 3rd
1987 (October) – 2nd
1988 – 1st, 3rd
1989 – 1st, 2nd
1990 – 1st
1991 – 1st
1992 – 1st
1993 – 4th

1994/95 season
In October 1994, in Australia, Craig Baird in a BMW 320i Super Tourer was 2nd in Class 2 and finished in 11th place overall in the Bathurst 1000.

The 1994/1995 season in NZ began with the Nissan Mobil 500 held in Wellington on Sunday 4 December 1994 but this time did not include the 2.0 litre Super Tourers and instead they had their own 28 lap sprint races. As the third round of the FIA Asia-Pacific Touring Car series, Race 1 for Super Tourers at Wellington was won by Tim Harvey in a Motorola Pagers Racing Team BMW 318i. Race 2 for Super Tourers, again over 28 laps, was won by Joachim Winkelhock in an Aiwa sponsored Schnitzer BMW 318i Super Tourer. Also competing were Steve Soper in his Aiwa sponsored Schnitzer BMW 318i, Justin Bell in a Motorola Pagers 318i, and Geoff Brabham, Paul Morris and Craig Baird in their BMW Motorsport NZ 318i s.
Tim Harvey – Motorola Pagers Racing team BMW 318i – Fuji, Japan
Tim Harvey – Motorola Pagers Racing team BMW 318i – Fuji, Japan

Aiwa sponsored Team Schnitzer BMW 318i Super Tourer
Aiwa sponsored Team Schnitzer BMW 318i Super Tourer

The Nissan Mobil 500 series continued at Pukekohe on 10/11 December 1994 and again separate races were held for the Super Tourers. BMW entries in the Super Tourer class included #23 Paul Morris Diet Coke/BMW 318i, #44 Craig Baird BMW Motorsport NZ 318i, #50 Dennis Chapman – Tait Communications 318i and #63 Geoff Brabham Diet Coke/BMW 318i. On Sunday 11 Dec 94, Race 1 for the Super Tourers was held over 29 laps in a ‘shootout’ format where the last cars were progressively black-flagged until the remaining few raced for the flag. Three hours later Race 2, also over 29 laps in the shootout format was held.

The 1995 NZ Touring Car Championship was held in conjunction with the Street Skills International Series. Round 2 was the NZIGP meeting held at Manfeild on 7th and 8th January 1995. The Lyall Williamson/BMW Motorsport NZ team entered # 1 Craig Baird in a BMW E36 325i 2498cc carrying sponsorship from Cellnet/Castrol/BMW Motorsport NZ and # 2 Brett Riley BMW E36 325i 2498cc Cellnet/Castrol/ BMW Motorsport NZ. Craig did not feature in the first race but was 1st in the second race. Brett did not feature in the first race and retired in the second race.

# 1 Craig Baird BMW E36/325i, #14 Paul Radisich Ford Telstar, #2 Brett Riley BMW E36/325i – Manfeild 8 Jan 95 (Yes, circuit reverse direction at Manfeild in Jan 95 !) – Jim Barclay photo
# 1 Craig Baird BMW E36/325i, #14 Paul Radisich Ford Telstar, #2 Brett Riley BMW E36/325i – Manfeild 8 Jan 95 (Yes, circuit reverse direction at Manfeild in Jan 95 !) – Jim Barclay photo

Craig Baird in his BMW E36/325i Coupe won the 1995 NZ Touring Car Championship

1995/96 Season

The 1995 Nissan Mobil 500 was again held in Wellington. The race was also a round of the NZ Touring Car Championship. The Lyall Williamson run International Motorsport/BMW Motorsport team entered #1 Craig Baird in the four-door BMW 320i sponsored by Cellnet/Castrol, #2 Brett Riley BMW 320i Cellnet/BNT and # 3 Jason Richards BMW 325i Coupe Cellnet

The series continued at Pukekohe on 9th December 1995. Entered were #1 Craig Baird BMW 320i 1991cc Schedule S NZ Touring car, #007 Brett Riley BMW320i Schedule S NZ Touring car and #4 Jason Richards BMW 325i Coupe Schedule S NZ Touring car. Craig Baird qualified 3rd for the main race behind the two Toyota Coronas. Qualifying in 5th place was #007 Brett Riley and 6th fastest was Jason Richards.

NZ Touring Car grid – Pukekohe 9 Dec 95. 3rd fastest qualifier Baird (inside row behind #32 on Pole), 5th Riley (2nd car back on outside row) and 6th Richards (4th car back on inside row) – Jim Barclay photo
NZ Touring Car grid – Pukekohe 9 Dec 95. 3rd fastest qualifier Baird (inside row behind #32 on Pole), 5th Riley (2nd car back on outside row) and 6th Richards (4th car back on inside row) – Jim Barclay photo

Brett Riley BMW E36 320i 1991cc – Pukekohe - 9 December 1995 – Jim Barclay photo
Brett Riley BMW E36 320i 1991cc – Pukekohe – 9 December 1995 – Jim Barclay photo

NZ 1996 Touring Car Championship again formed part of the Street Skills International Motor Races. Round 2 was held at Manfeild on 6th and 7th January 1996. BMWs entered were #1 Craig Baird BMW 320i 1991cc carrying sponsorship livery for Castrol/Cellnet/Avis/Dunlop/Uniden/BMW Motorsport Dealer team, car # 007 Brett Riley BMW 320i 1991cc with Castrol/Cellnet/BMW Motorsport Dealer team, car # 4 Jason Richards E36 BMW 325i Coupe 2494cc with Brake ‘N Transmission/Castrol/Cellnet/BMW M-Sport Dealers and Car # 22 Bernie Gillon BMW 325 Coupe 2495cc with Mico Wakefield/Jennian Homes

Craig Baird BMW E36 320i 1991cc – Manfeild 7 Jan 96 – Jim Barclay photo
Craig Baird BMW E36 320i 1991cc – Manfeild 7 Jan 96 – Jim Barclay photo

Craig Baird in the BMW E36 320i won the NZ Touring Car Championship and Brett Riley in his BMW 320i was 3rd.

1996/97 Season
The ‘Mobil Sprint Pukekohe’ event was held at Pukekohe on 17 November 1996 and was won by Greg Murphy in a Holden Commodore prepared by the Holden Racing team.

The final street race in Wellington was the ‘Mobil Sprint Wellington’ event held on 24 November 1996. The winner was John Bowe in his Dick Johnson Racing Falcon EF V8. The Lyall Williamson/ BMW Motorsport NZ BMW 320i raced by Rod Hicks/Kevin Bell won the 2 litre class

The NZ Touring Car series for 1997 included one round at Pukekohe on 2nd February 1997. BMWs entered by the BMW Motorsport Dealer team were #1 Craig Baird Cellnet/Castrol BMW 320i and
#3 Brett Riley Castrol/Cellnet BMW 320i and Jason Richards in a E36 325i Coupe

Craig Baird in his BMW 320i won the 1997 NZ Touring Car Championship and Brett Riley in his BMW 320i was 2nd.

The International Motorsport/BMW Motorsport NZ team cars run by Lyall Williamson won the 1997 Bathurst 1000, the 1987 Australian Touring Car Championship and the 1997 NZ Touring Car Championship.

1997/98 season
In October 1997 in Australia, Craig Baird/Paul Morris driving the International Motorsport/BMW Motorsport NZ BMW 320i Super Tourer won the Bathurst 1000 but the team was denied the win because Craig exceeded the time limit of 210 consecutive minutes in one driving stint limit for a single driver. A second team car driven by David and Geoff Brabham were awarded the win.

Brett Riley in a BMW Motorsport NZ Dealer team BMW 320i won the 1998 NZ Touring Car Championship

1998/99 Season
Riley & Richards – 
Jason Richards driving a BMW Motorsport Dealer NZ Dealer team BMW 320i won the 1999 NZ Touring Car Championship

The Fourth Decade – the 2000s

1999/2000 season
Riley & Richards – details ?

Brett Riley/Simon Wills drove a International Motorsport/BMW Motorsport NZ #4 BMW 320i in Castrol livery to win the Pukekohe 500.

Jason Richards driving a BMW Motorsport NZ Dealer team BMW 320i won the 2000 NZ Touring Car Championship

2000/01 season
Brett Riley driving a BMW Motorsport NZ team #4 BMW 320i was 3rd in the NZ Touring Car Championship. Kevin Bell drove the #3 BMW 320i

The BMW Race Drivers Series
In 2005 a number of enthusiasts from the BMW NZ Car Club saw the opportunity to organise and promote a series with a relatively low cost investment which in turn would result in extremely close racing. Thus the BMW E30 class was born. It was also mooted that an open class could be run which would give the public the opportunity to see classic BMW cars with great history being raced. Examples of these included the legendary E30 M3, of which there were quite a few scattered throughout New Zealand at the time including an ex-Schnitzer M3. The M3 cars were hugely successful both internationally and in the Wellington Street Races. Other cars in the Open class would include the ex Paul Adams 2002 Alpina Ti, some of classic 635 CSi, and the ex NZ Touring car championship winners in BMW E36 325i and 320i models. Other genuinely quick cars such as a 2002 Turbo, an E36 M3 (that was once a 325i Coupe championship winner), a host of E30 325’s, 2002’s and the odd E28, and in more recent times the M3GTR and Z3 M Coupes, and the concept really started to gain momentum.
Both the E30 and the Open class series are now hugely popular. Loosely based on similar series run in both the UK and USA, the E30 class is for BMW E30 series cars running either 1.8 litre four cylinder or 2.0 litre six cylinder engines manufactured between 1984 and 1991. The objective was to run a series that provided close racing between drivers in cars with close performance similarities. The intention was to create a car that was as safe as possible, fun to drive and yet remained as close to standard configuration as possible.
With sponsorship from Radio Sport, BMW New Zealand, Toyo Tyres and Koni Shocks, and support from the BMW Car Club of New Zealand, the series has experienced phenomenal growth. TV coverage was organised through Leggework, with company owner Gordon Legge also building and racing a car. The series has attracted the full spectrum of motorsport entrants from novice to experienced and has become a very popular series.
Barry Kirk-Burnannd – 2003 BMW M3 GTR 5000cc – Hampton Downs 26 Sept 2010 - Jim Barclay photo
Barry Kirk-Burnannd – 2003 BMW M3 GTR 5000cc – Hampton Downs 26 Sept 2010-
Jim Barclay photo

Targa New Zealand
Under the banner of ‘Dunlop Targa’, an annual tarmac rally has been running throughout the past decade. Proving very popular to upwards of 100+ competitors and their support crews, the event is staged over some 6 days encompassing special stages linked by touring stages through spectacular scenery in the North Island of NZ. Many BMW owners have enjoyed driving in the Targa. In later years, shorter 2 and 3 day events such as Targa Rotorua have been added to the successful Targa mix of rural touring
BMW Car Club NZ President, Gerry Hodges – BMW 635CSi Targa Rotorua 2011
BMW Car Club NZ President, Gerry Hodges – BMW 635CSi Targa Rotorua 2011

Classic Motorcycles and Sidecars
In addition to Touring car racing and Targa NZ, the classic motorcycle racing fraternity in New Zealand continues to grow in strength. In particular the NZ Classic Motorcycle Racing Register (NZCMRR) has run many very successful events including their big annual meeting held in February at Pukekohe. Included in these events have been a number of rare racing BMW motorcycles, as well as BMW-powered sidecar rigs.
Shizuka Montegi -1956 BMW RS54 500cc – Pukekohe 6 Feb 2011 – Jim Barclay photo
Shizuka Montegi -1956 BMW RS54 500cc – Pukekohe 6 Feb 2011 – Jim Barclay photo
Neville & Joanne Mickleson – 1976 BMW RS90S 890cc – Pukekohe 6 Feb 2011 – Jim Barclay photo
Neville & Joanne Mickleson – 1976 BMW RS90S 890cc – Pukekohe 6 Feb 2011 – Jim Barclay photo

 

2013 – Denny Hulme Festival

A Tribute to Denny Hulme – by Michael Clark

On one hand, Denny Hulme was no overnight star – but on the other hand he was! How could this be so? The answer lies in one of motor racing’s more unusual careers. Many top Formula 1 drivers of his era followed a familiar path – a season or two in Formula 3 followed by a season or two in Formula 2. With luck a ride in a mid-field Grand Prix team, at least, and then the big break.

Denny took a long time to get a regular Formula 1 ride – in fact he came oh so close to jacking it all in it 1962 and heading back to New Zealand. From the time he arrived in England in 1960, with Whangarei’s George Lawton as joint winners of the Driver to Europe, until securing the number 2 drive in the Brabham Formula 1 team for 1966, there had been six hard seasons of racing – and working as a mechanic by day to make ends meet.

There were several turning points in Denny’s career over those six years – his first Formula Junior win on the daunting Pescara circuit in Italy (even longer than the Nurburgring) in 1960 before scoring the first UK win for a new manufacturer on Boxing Day at Brands Hatch in 1962. Denny had been given a chance in the new Brabham BT2 in June 1962 and immediately pleased his boss by putting the new challenger on pole position. He challenged the Lotus supremacy in Formula Junior in 1963 and only missed the title by a whisker. That was enough to be entrusted with a works Brabham-Climax for the inaugural Tasman Cup at the start of 1964. He won first time out.

Denny was a force in Formula 2 throughout 1964 and ’65 but when Brabham produced a little 2-litre sportscar, he was damn near unbeatable. It was then a natural progression to the new Group 7 sportscars thatbecame to be known as Can-Am. It was a match made in motor racing heaven – Denny, the big strong brute of a man, and these muscular big horsepower monsters. Jack Brabham first gave him a run in a Formula 1 car in a non-championship race in Sweden before his biggest chance came at the biggest venue of all – Monaco. He neither starred nor disgraced himself. He did exactly what was required –qualify solidly and bring it home in one piece.

1966 was the great turning point – the culmination of all the years struggling, sleeping in his tow-car en route to another far flung European Formula Junior race, towing the Cooper on an open trailer and being driver/team manager and mechanic all rolled into one. He made his first F1 podium visit in France in round 3. He went another step up the ladder when he came second to his boss in the British Grand Prix and finished the year with two more podiums and fourth in the world championship. There were more Group 7 wins in Britain and the shared drive at Le Mans where he and his co-driver finished a just behind the identical Ford GT40 of McLaren and Amon.

If 1966 was the year that showed the world that Denny might just be good enough to win a Formula 1 Grand Prix, 1967 confirmed it – and then some. If you had to pick a place to score your maiden GP victory, it might as well be Monaco. Or perhaps the Nurburgring. He won both – in that order, plus enough other seconds and thirds to be crowned world champion. After taking forever to get into F1, once there he just aced it – no other driver of the rear engine era had taken less Grand Prixs to go from F1GP debut to World Champion. He moved to McLaren in 1968 and nearly won it again – the first time the all-Kiwi team had mounted a serious two-car challenge. Denny had already driven for Bruce in Can-Am in 1967 – Bruce won the title that year but Denny was champion in 1968. He again raced at Indianapolis after being crowned Rookie of the Year in 1967. He was again Can-Am champion in 1970 – the year his great mate Bruce was killed. It was also the year Denny’s hands were burnt so badly that he barely move them, yet – just like all those times in the early 60s when it all just seemed too hard, with so many obstacles – he just never gave up.

In fact he couldn’t give up – whether it was touring cars or trucks, he really couldn’t give up. He died in 1992 doing what he loved in Australia’s ‘Great Race’ – without so much as putting a mark on the car. Hollywood couldn’t have dreamed up Denny Hulme’s career – it just didn’t follow the normal pattern, but then that was Denis Clive Hulme – he was never ‘standard issue’.

2014 – Ferrari Festival

1955 ex ‘works’ Ferrari 750 Monza sports racing car confirmed for Ferrari Festival 2014

Current owners of the ex ‘works’ 1955 Ferrari 750 Monza sports racing car, the Southward Car Museum in Paraparaumu, have confirmed the iconic Ferrari sports racing car will be on show at the second weekend of the Ferrari Festival to be held at Hampton Downs in January 2014.

1955 Ferrari 750 Monza

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 Chev 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.


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.”

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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.

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 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!

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.

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F1’s TURBO ERA TO BE MARKED AT 2014 FESTIVAL WITH TWO FERRARI GRAND PRIX RACERS

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 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

CHASSIS
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 rea

ENGINE

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

2015 – Howden Ganley Festival

A Tribute to Howden Ganley

Howden Ganley is one of the most well-known names in motorsport, but precious few in New Zealand are aware of the remarkable career of this Kiwi icon both on and off the track. On track he made it all the way to Formula One with Frank Williams and to Le Mans with Gulf Mirage, and off track he became one half of the TIGA car company that manufactured more than 400 race cars over the years. Festival Chairman Jim Barclay pays tribute to Ganley in this very detailed feature – which has some truly amazing images in it.

2015 – Porsche Festival

PORSCHE’S KIWI CHAMPS SET TO STAR

The 2016 Porsche Festival at Hampton Downs will welcome New Zealand’s endurance racing champions and four stunning factory cars direct from Porsche.

To celebrate the success of Porsche’s successful return to endurance racing, the two Kiwis in the team, World Endurance Champion Brendon Hartley and Le Mans 24 Hours winner Earl Bamber will attend the 2016 New Zealand Festival of Motor Racing, demonstrating two very special cars from the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart – a 1977 Porsche 935 and a 1998 WSC LMP1 Prototype, which are both making their first ever appearance on an NZ track.

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The New Zealand Festival of Motor Racing is the country’s largest historic motorsport event and takes place over two weekends in January at the Hampton Downs circuit in the North Waikato, approximately 45 minutes from Auckland. In 2016 the event will be held on January 15th to 17th and 22nd to 24th with Stuggart’s finest the stars of the show on both weekends. Also on the bill in 2016 are Formula 5000, Historic Sports Sedans, Pre-65, Historic Muscle Cars, a Euro Enduro race and a multitude of on track Porsche activity from racing to passenger rides and regularity trials.

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The Porsche Marquee will also have two further factory cars on display, a 918 Spyder (the latest Porsche super car) and a full sized model of the Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 race car so successfully campaigned by Brendon & Earl in 2015. The Porsche Club of New Zealand, in partnership with the event organisers, is also inviting all Porsche owners – and anyone else that loves cars, to be part of the 2016 event, which should also see the largest ever gathering of Porsches assembled in NZ.

Legendary 1977 935 will run

The legendary Porsche 935 is the factory racing version of the Porsche 911 turbo, prepared for FIA-Group 5 rules that dominated global sports car racing in that racing period. It was developed from the Porsche Carrera RSR 2.1 turbo prototype, which had finished second at the Le Mans 24 hours the previous season.

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For the start of 1977, as well as running its own works team, Porsche offered the 935 to customers entering the World Championship for Makes, in the IMSA GT Championship and in the German Deutsche Rennsport Meisterschaft (DRM) – the forerunner of today’s DTM series.

It was the start of an almost unbelievable career for the Type 935, which appeared in large numbers throughout the racing world, and in many guises as teams tried to find just a little bit more speed…..

It went on to win the 1979 24 Hours of Le Mans overall as well as many of the key endurance races. According to the records, it started 370 races, and won 123 of them.

Famously, the car became known for its spectacular flame throwing exhausts and we hope the works Martini 935 at the Festival will take us all back to those days! The large turbocharger was used with mechanical fuel injection which caused turbo lag followed shortly by a fireball spitting from the exhaust and an enormous amount of power, in theory up to 800bhp. The dominance of the 935 was ended by the FIA rules changes which came into effect in 1982, when the six numbered groups were replaced by only three groups, A, B and C.

Parting shot…..

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An amazing collection of factory Porsches, many of which are the cars chosen by the factory to represent the Porsche brand at some of the world’s top Porsche events. Which ones would you like to see running around Hampton Downs..apart from ALL of them of course!

PORSCHE FOR 2016

It may not be one of our best kept secrets, but the 2016 New Zealand Festival of Motor Racing will celebrate Porsche.

The Festival is the country’s largest historic motorsport event and takes place over two weekends in January at the Hampton Downs circuit in the North Waikato. In 2016 the event will be held over the on January 15-17 and 22-24 with Stuggart’s finest the stars of the show on both weekends.

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A packed schedule of motor racing action on the circuit includes Formula 5000 and Historic Muscle Cars, as well as numerous other exciting single seater and tin-top classes, including the festival debut of the popular Pre-65 class on the second weekend. And of course, there is plenty of mouth-watering Porsche racing to look forward to as well! Organisers are aiming to have a number of highly significant Porsche cars on display and in demonstrations and ‘works’ Porsche drivers will also be in attendance.

The Porsche Club of New Zealand, in partnership with the event organisers, is also inviting all Porsche owners – and anyone else that loves cars – to be part of the 2016 New Zealand Festival of Motor Racing Celebrating Porsche. There will also be a record attempt to line up the most Porsches ever assembled in one place at one time in New Zealand.

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KENNY SMITH HONOURED AT 2017 FESTIVAL

January 20-22, Hampton Downs hosted 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:

  1. Formula 5000
  2. Historic F1’s
  3. Central Muscle Cars
  4. Group A / Heritage Touring Cars
  5. Formula Junior Group 1
  6. Formula Junior Group 2
  7. Historic Formula Ford
  8. Libre / Historic Single seater / Atlantic cars
  9. Historic Muscle and Historic Saloon cars
  10. 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 was also demo laps with Smith, a display of classic Formula 1 cars and a massive Show & Shine.

About NZFMR and News Archives

NZ Festival of Motor Racing

The very first NZ Festival of Motor Racing was held in 2010 and celebrated a true legend of the sport in Bruce McLaren. The festival is essentially a celebration of a legendary motor racing personality, a particular marque or an historic era in the sport.

Since the Bruce McLaren tribute there has been the following events:

2011 – A tribute to Chris Amon
2012 – BMW Motorsport Festival
2013 – A tribute to Denny Hulme
2014 – Ferrari Festival
2015 – A tribute to Howden Ganley
2016 – Porsche Festival
2017 – A tribute to Ken Smith

Hampton Downs Motorsport Park is the home of the NZ Festival of Motor Racing and also promote the annual event, which will continue to celebrate the rich history of motorsport. Read on for more interesting insights and the news archives from previous events.

F5000s and the Tasman Revival Series

Formula 5000s have headlined the NZ Festival of Motor Racing since it’s inception in 2010 and the single seater V8 machines, which are an absolute crowd please, will continue to wow crowds at future NZFMR events, which are now the home of the Tasman Revival Series.

Here is the history of the now Tasman Revival Series, which was first known as simply the Tasman Series.

In 1964, the legendary Tasman Series was run for the first time.  The series started annually in New Zealand in early January and comprised of four events held respectively at Pukekohe, Levin, Wigram and Teretonga race tracks over consecutive weekends.

On completion of the New Zealand leg of the Tasman series, many cars and drivers crossed the Tasman Sea to continue the series at four (sometimes three) race tracks in Australia.

From 1964 until 1969, racing cars were essentially Formula One or Formula Two cars that ran to regulations specified for the ‘Tasman Formula’.  The series attracted big name drivers and huge interest from motor sports enthusiasts and media all over the world – putting New Zealand firmly on the map as a motor racing centre.

Series winners 1964-1969
1964 Bruce McLaren NZ – Cooper T70
1965 Jim Clark UK – Lotus 32B
1966 Jackie Stewart UK – BRM P261
1967 Jim Clark UK – Lotus 33
1968 Jim Clark UK -Lotus 49T
1969 Chris Amon NZ – Ferrari 246T

From 1970 – 1975 the Tasman Formula changed to allow the big  Formula 5000 V8 cars to race.  With the change of specification for cars, and apart from Chris Amon, few ‘stars’ or F1 international drivers competed any further in the Tasman Series.

However, there were many quality international F5000/Formula A drivers who did compete including those from Australia, NZ, UK, USA, Sweden and Belgium.

Series winners 1970-1975
1970 Graeme Lawrence NZ – Ferrari 246T
1971 Graham McRae NZ – McLaren M10B
1972 Graham McRae NZ – McRae GM1
1973 Graham McRae NZ – McRae GM1
1974 Peter Gethin UK – Chevron B24
1975 Warwick Brown AUS – Lola T332

Even today, the lasting popularity of these amazing cars in New Zealand can be clearly seen by the fact that the biggest F5000 retro series in the world is held on these shores – the Tasman Revival Series.

Tasman Revival Series
In 2003 the Historic Racing Club (HRC) launched the Tasman Revival Series in New Zealand as part of their annual summer classic and historic motor race series.  The event has been held annually at Pukekohe. Taupo became involved as well in 2008 and 2009.  A feature of the annual HRC Tasman Revival Series has been the Tasman Grand Prix trophy, awarded to the winning F5000 car in the Tasman Revival GP race.  The Tasman Revival Series will be part of the NZ Festival of Motor Racing.

Legendary F5000 Drivers

Click on their names below and read about their motorsport stories!

Chris Amon MBE.pdf (822.66 Kb)

David Oxton.pdf (1.01 Mb)

Dennis Marwood.pdf (844.86 Kb)

Frank Radisich.pdf (1.92 Mb)

Garry Pedersen MNZM.pdf (795.47 Kb)

Geoff Mardon.pdf (4.68 Mb)

A-Tribute-to-Howden-Ganley.pdf (4.26 Mb)

Ken Smith OBE.pdf (381.69 Kb)

Leo Leonard.pdf (360.22 Kb)

Robbie Francevic.pdf (1.57 Mb)

Graeme Lawrence.pdf (1.01 Mb)

Frank Bray.pdf (388.42 Kb)

 

2011 – A Tribute to Chris Amon

Introducing Chris Amon

Chris Amon is well known as one of the three most successful Kiwi Formula One drivers. Together with Bruce McLaren and Denny Hulme, Chris and the other two top drivers were often referred to as the ‘Trio at the Top’.
Indeed a book by Desmond Mahoney published in 1970 and a recently released Sony Music DVD both use the title ‘Trio at the Top’ to tell the stories of Bruce, Denny and Chris.

When only 12 years old, Chris saw Stirling Moss win the 1956 NZ International Grand Prix (NZIGP) at Ardmore, near Auckland, NZ, driving his own 1954 Maserati 250F chassis 2508. Chris was instantly hooked on motor racing and thereafter barely missed a race meeting at Ohakea air force base, the new Levin track, or Ardmore.

When aged only 17 years, Chris entered his first ever race meeting at Levin on 15 April 1961. Chris drove his a little 1956 Cooper T41 Climax 1490cc gaining 4th place in his first race and 2nd place in his second race. In January 1962,
aged 18, he entered his own 1954 Maserati 250F chassis 2509 in the NZIGP at Ardmore and had a first hand view of Stirling Moss the maestro winning the NZIGP, once again.

The driving talent shown by Chris in 1962 in his venerable Maserati 250F led to an early offer to drive in international Formula One and Chris flew off to UK in 1963.
With so much natural talent, Chris should have been a Formula One World Champion – but bad luck stood in his way too often.

Of all the F1 World Championship races he entered from 1963 until 1976, he surprisingly was never to win, although he came agonisingly close on so many occasions. He did win many other notable races including the 1966 Le Mans 24 Hour race driving a Ford GT40 partnered by Bruce McLaren, and the 1967 Daytona 24 Hour race driving a Ferrari 330 P4 partnered by Lorenzo Bandini.

Chris won the both 1968 and 1969 NZIGPs. He was runner up in 1968 and Tasman Champion in 1969 driving his ‘works’ Tasman Ferrari race cars. Like many other drivers of his era, he was a highly versatile driver and was involved in many different international race classes including F1, F2, endurance, Can-Am and F5000.

Chris retired from racing in 1976 to his farm at Scotts Ferry near the mouth of the Rangitikei River not far from Bulls.

The NZ Festival of Motor Racing to celebrate Chris Amon

In 2009 Chris kindly agreed to a request to be the named racing driver ‘celebrated’ at the NZ Festival of Motor Racing in January 2011. Just recently, when asked how he felt about this, Chris said, “I’m still slightly nervous about it to be honest, but it’s great to be remembered this way.”

Already a number of international owners of racing cars formerly driven, or like those driven by Chris have been approached to see if they would consider bringing their cars to the Festival, enjoy some Kiwi fun and summer sun, and join the celebrations of all that Chris achieved in his era as one of the very top international racing drivers.

2012 – BMW Festival

BMW Motorsport in New Zealand – A Brief History
by Jim Barclay – September 2011

There are two versions of this brief history of BMW Motorsport in New Zealand – a brief one and a longer one ! If you want the brief one, see the one-paragraph version below. If you want more information, seek out the longer version below.

In compiling both versions, I have been struck by the paucity of information that is readily available about Saloon and Touring car racing in New Zealand. Unlike the amount of information that seems to be readily available in books and on websites about Australian Touring car racing over the past 50 years or so, there seems to be only a small amount of information in just a few books and virtually nothing on any websites about our Kiwi racing. I, therefore, make no apology about the big gaps that are apparent in the longer version of the BMW Motorsport history in NZ!

A Brief History of BMW Motorsport in New Zealand (the short version!)

Four decades characterise BMW Motorsport in New Zealand to date. The first decade, being the 1970s, saw the BMW marque firmly established in NZ Motorsport with the BMW 2002 Ti. The second decade of the 1980s saw the reliable BMW 635CSi and M3s take a quite a number of NZ national championships as well as wining for five successive years in the late ‘80s/early ’90s the gruelling Wellington 500 street race. The 1990s saw BMW on top and winning for eight of ten straight years the NZ Touring Car Championship. The fourth decade, beyond 2000, saw the establishment of a very strong and successful BMW Club of New Zealand supported ‘BMW Race Drivers series’ involving over 100 BMWs of various classes in regular track racing. This last decade has also seen a sizeable growth in the popularity of the ‘Targa’ events that involve many BMW drivers in their classic and contemporary BMWs. Classic motorcycle racing continues to draw big fields of riders including those riding rare classic BMW bikes.

A Brief History of BMW Motorsport in New Zealand (the longer version!)
Download PDF version – 3.5Mb

Back in July 1967 Ross Jensen, of Ross Jensen Motors, then located at 52 Remuera Road in Newmarket, Auckland, signed the Importers Agreement with BMW in Germany to import and sell BMW motorcars in New Zealand. It was not surprising that BMW cars would, in turn, be used in motorsport competition in New Zealand because Ross Jensen himself had been heavily involved. He was a former NZ champion including winning the 1956/57 Gold Star using Ferrari Monza and Austin Healey sports cars. He was also the 1957/58 Gold Star Champion driving the ex Stirling Moss Maserati 250F single seater. In 1961 Ross was the NZ Saloon Champion driving a Jaguar Mk2 3.8.

The First Decade – the 70s

With Ross Jensen’s strong interest in motor sport he gave the early support of Ross Jensen Motors to Rodger Anderson’s new model 1969 BMW 2002 Ti Alpina. Such was his outstanding success in the BMW 2002 Ti Alpina throughout the 1969/70 summer season that Rodger won first place in the 1001cc-4200cc NZ Touring Car class. Rodger was joined in 1970 national saloon races by fellow BMW 2002 racers Dr Dick (Doc) Langley and Paul Adams.

Rodger Anderson – 1969 BMW 2002 Ti Alpina
Rodger Anderson – 1969 BMW 2002 Ti Alpina

Paul Adams was well known for his rally driving skills as well as his circuit racing in his BMW 2002. With co-driver Don Fenwick, Paul won New Zealand’s premier rally event, the 1970 Silver Fern Rally driving his BMW 2002 Ti Alpina. Also entered in that rally was Jock Freemantle driving the very first BMW 2002 to be brought to New Zealand in late 1968.

Grant Clegg in the ex Paul Adams 1971 BMW 2002 Alpina Ti – Hampton Downs 2010; Ground-sky photo
Grant Clegg in the ex Paul Adams 1971 BMW 2002 Alpina Ti – Hampton Downs 2010
Ground-sky photo

It is of interest to note that both the Rodger Anderson BMW 2002 Ti Alpina and the Paul Adams BMW 2002 Ti Alpina are still with us today – the ex Anderson car is now owned by former BMW Club President Alan Walker, and one of the ex Adams cars by Grant and Jo Clegg. It is hoped that both cars will be at the ‘NZ Festival of Motor Racing celebrating BMW Motorsport’ to be held at Hampton Downs 20th-22nd January and 27th-29th January 2012.

Other drivers selected the BMW 2002 in its various forms to race including Steve Millen who, in 1972, fitted an American Rajay turbocharger to his BMW 2002 Ti Alpina – this was at least one year before the BMW ‘works’ fitted their own KKK turbos to a limited run of BMW 2002 turbos. Long distance Touring car racing became popular in New Zealand in the 1970s and the great reliability of BMW cars saw them featuring strongly in many results including that of Paul Adams who took out 2nd place in the ‘Shell 100 Production Car 100 lap feature race held at Levin on 6 October 1974.

Having secured the right to import BMWs to New Zealand, Ross Jensen set up a dealer network in New Zealand in 1972 and not surprisingly the dealerships went to his fellow former motor racing driver friends including Tony Shelly of Shelly Motors in Wellington and Ray Archibald of Archibalds Garages in Christchurch. Both Tony and Ray had raced against Ross in the 1950s and early 1960s. Together with other BMW dealers in Gisborne, Havelock North and Invercargill, and service support dealers in Tauranga, Rotorua, Taupo, Palmerston North and Nelson, BMW motorsport drivers throughout New Zealand were now given professional support for their BMW race cars.

In January 1976 Brian Redman (from UK, but based in USA) took part in the 1976 NZ Peter Stuyvesant International series. Twice a winner of the L&M Championship for Formula 5000 cars run in USA, Redman drove the new Fred Opert owned Chevron B29 F2 car fitted with a BMW M-Power 2000cc engine. Sponsorship in the NZ series included that from Ross Jensen Motors. New Zealander, Dick Bennetts (later to achieve fame in UK with his company West Surrey Racing) was Redman’s mechanic. The small Chevron BMW was the only 2.0 litre car up against a much more powerful grid of V8 engined Formula 5000cc cars but Redman finished in a very credible 4th place in the 1976 NZIGP held at Pukekohe. He was also 2nd at Manfeild and qualified 6th at the Lady Wigram Trophy race in Christchurch but retired from the race with a very rare engine problem. At Teretonga he qualified 7th and when vying for second place with two-thirds of the race run, he was forced to retire with a loose rear wheel. In the 1976 NZ series, Redman showed that with a nimble car with the reliability of a BMW M-Power engine, good results were possible against much more powerful opposition.

Brian Redman, 1976 Chevron B29 BMW 2000cc – Teretonga 1976 - Robin Curtis photo; The Second Decade – the ‘80s
Brian Redman, 1976 Chevron B29 BMW 2000cc – Teretonga 1976 – Robin Curtis photo

The Second Decade – the ‘80s

Into the second decade and beginning with the 1984/85 NZ racing season that saw the start of what was to become a long run of success by the BMW marque in NZ motorsport.

Neville Crichton imported a quick and reliable 1984 BMW 635CSi Group A Touring car built up for him by Frank Gardner’s Team JPS (Australia). Kent Baigent imported an ex team Schnitzer BMW 635CSi Chassis number RA 2/035 that had been driven by Dieter Quester/Hans Stuck in the 1983/84 European Touring Car Championship.

The NZ Production Saloon Championship (the Benson & Hedges [B&H] series) was held at three tracks during October and November 1984. Kent Baigent and Neil Lowe in their white coloured #3 BMW 635CSi led in the first race of the series, the 4-hour Manfeild race until an overcharged battery exploded wrecking the engine management computer, which in turn led to their retirement. With the withdrawal of the Baigent/Lowe 635CSi, Neville Crichton and Wayne Wilkinson took first place at Manfeild in Crichton’s #4 black coloured 635CSi. Baigent/Lowe led again at Baypark but ran a bearing in the engine, so once again Crichton/Wilkinson took the win. The white Tellus sponsored # 3 635CSi of Baigent/Lowe won the final 6 hour race of the 1984 B & H series held at Pukekohe on 28 October 1984 and the Crichton/Wilkinson 635CSi was placed second. During the race at Pukekohe, co-driver Lowe made an early entry to the Pits and found Baigent was not ready to resume his driving duties so Lowe had to drive the final 3 hour 45 min spell at Pukekohe himself. He was exhausted when he took the chequered flag. On overall results in the three-race B & H series Crichton/Wilkinson took first place in the NZ Production Saloon Championship and third place in the series went to Baigent/Lowe in their 635CSi.

Neal Lowe in Kent Baigent’s 1983 BMW 635CSi – First Place - B&H 6-Hour race – Pukekohe 1984
Neal Lowe in Kent Baigent’s 1983 BMW 635CSi – First Place – B&H 6-Hour race – Pukekohe 1984

Neville Crichton/Wayne Wilkinson 1984 BMW 635CSI – 2nd Place – B&H 6-Hour race Pukekohe November 1984
Neville Crichton/Wayne Wilkinson 1984 BMW 635CSI – 2nd Place – B&H 6-Hour race Pukekohe November 1984

The six races comprising the NZ Touring car championship (the ANZ Touring Car series) for Group A cars were held in late 1984 and early 1985 and saw Kent Baigent win all three races held at Manfeild, Bay Park and Pukekohe in his 635CSi. Neville Crichton placed second in two of the races. Kent Baigent won both the 1985 NZ Touring Car Championship and the NZ Touring Car Series for Group A cars.

Kent Baigent BMW 635CSi – 1st Place ANZ Touring car Series - Pukekohe 1984/5
Kent Baigent BMW 635CSi – 1st Place ANZ Touring car Series – Pukekohe 1984/5

International Group A racing in New Zealand commenced began in a big way with the first of the new Nissan Sport 500 races held in January 1985 on the Wellington wharf and city-street track. All three BMW635CSi cars that entered finished the race – Frank Sytner and John Morton finished 2nd in their white #6 BMW 635CSi on 149 laps 1 lap behind the leader, followed by Neville Crichton/Wayne Wilkinson on 148 laps in 3rd place with their black # 4 BMW 635CSi and Baigent/Lowe who were 7th on 135 laps in their white #3 BMW 635CSi. The series continued at Pukekohe where Crichton/Wilkinson finished first, and Baigent/Lowe were third. Crichton/Wilkinson took overall first place on aggregate points for the two-round 1985 Nissan Sport series.

Across in Australia, expat Kiwi Jim Richards won the 1985 Australian Touring Car Championship in his Team JPS BMW 635CSi. Baigent/Lowe in their 635CSi also raced in the series and finished in a very credible 5th place in the 1985 Bathurst 1000.

The 1985/86 season began with the three-race ‘B & H series’ held in October and November at Manfeild, Baypark and Pukekohe. In the 3-hour race at Manfeild, held on 20 October 1985, Kent Baigent was leading when he and Denny Hulme in his Ray Smith Auckland Gold and Bullion Holden Commodore touched. This in turn lead to a major accident for Baigent in his 635CSi, effectively writing-off the car.

High Speed crash aftermath

Trevor Crowe had purchased the ex JPS built Crichton 635CSi and together with Australia’s Tony Longhurst, they finished in 4th place. Crowe/Longhurst won the 2.5 hour race at Bay Park held on 27 October 1985 and the 6-hour race at Pukekohe on 17 November 1985 – they became the 1985 NZ Production Saloon Champions.

Trevor Crowe/Tony Longhurst ex JPS BMW 635CSi - 1985 NZ Production Car Champions
Trevor Crowe/Tony Longhurst ex JPS BMW 635CSi
1985 NZ Production Car Champions

The 1986 four-round NZ ANZ Touring Car Championships began at Baypark on 29 December 1985. Former motorcycle champion Graeme Crosby entered his BMW 635CSi, the first ever Group A BMW 635CSi, chassis number RA001. Trevor Crowe won in his 635CSi and Crosby finished 4th. The next round was at Pukekohe on 5th January 1986 supporting the NZIGP meeting and Crowe was 2nd, Crosby 4th and Charlie Obrien 5th – all in BMW635 CSi cars. The third round was at Manfeild on 12th January 1986 and Crowe finished 4th. The final round was held at Wigram on 19 January 1986 and saw Crowe 1st in Heat 1, and 2nd in Heat 2. Crowe took overall second place in the Group A NZ Touring Car (ANZ Touring Car series) Championship.

On 26 January 1986 the newly named Nissan Mobil 500 for Group A cars was run in Wellington with another good entry including five BMW 635CSi cars. Only one 635CSi finished. John Morton and Jim Richards qualified 18th in their white # 3 Team McMillan liveried car but retired in the race.

Jim Richards/John Morton BMW 635CSi - Nissan-Mobil 500 – Wellington 26 Jan 86
Jim Richards/John Morton BMW 635CSi
Nissan-Mobil 500 – Wellington 26 Jan 86

Graeme Crosby and Lew McKinnon drove Crosby’s yellow and blue # 6 car and finished in a credible 6th place on 187 laps, 17 laps down on the winner who completed 204 laps. Jim Keogh and Struan Robertson qualified 16th in their #20 dark red coloured 635CSi but retired from the race after only 2 laps when the car overheated and blew a head gasket – Jim had fitted a new ‘big-port’ head to his car but to his dismay he found it was porous such that the engine boiled early and they retired. Trevor Crowe and Tony Longhurst qualified 5th and had their black # 31 ex Crichton 635CSi, now with Archibald’s sponsorship, up into first place and were leading the race by 2 laps with only 7 laps to go when they retired with a rare failure in the front suspension. Australian, Charlie O’Brien and Wellington’s Glenn McIntyre qualified O’Brien’s red State Coal sponsored # 7 635CSi in 8th place but retired in the race.

Crosby/McKinnon 635CSi leads Walkinshaw/Hahne Rover SD1 and O’Brien/McIntyre 635CSi – Wellington 26 Jan 86
Crosby/McKinnon 635CSi leads Walkinshaw/Hahne Rover SD1 and O’Brien/McIntyre 635CSi – Wellington 26 Jan 86

The Nissan-Mobil series continued to Pukekohe for the second round held on 2nd February 1986. The #20 Jim Keogh/Struan Robertson 635CSi qualified 6th between Jim Richards and Charlie O’Brien in their 635CSi cars. Jim Keogh was lapping Gerald Hay’s Commodore at the Esses leading into the main straight when the Commodore took the BMW out – a broken strut in the 635 meant a retirement. The # 31 Crowe/Longhurst 635CSi was 2nd in the race and the # 6 Crosby/McKinnon 635CSi was 6th.

Jim Keogh BMW 635CSi – Bathurst – photo via Jim Keogh
Jim Keogh BMW 635CSi – Bathurst – photo via Jim Keogh
Graeme Crosby – BMW 635CSi Chassis # RA001 – Pukekohe 2 Feb 86 - Overall 1st Place 1986 Nissan-Mobil series
Graeme Crosby – BMW 635CSi Chassis # RA001 – Pukekohe 2 Feb 86
Overall 1st Place 1986 Nissan-Mobil series

Crosby/McKinnon took overall 1st place on aggregate in the 1986 Nissan-Mobil series with two 6th places.

The 1986/87 Touring Car series began with NZ Production Saloon Championship (B & H Series) at Manfeild in October 1986 and Ed Lamont/Graeme Cameron took first place in their ex JPS black and gold coloured BMW325i. At the next race held at Baypark, Lamont/Cameron were 3rd. On to Pukekohe where Trevor Crowe/Jim Richard were 2nd in Crowe’s 635CSi and Lamont/Cameron were 3rd in their 325i. Lamont/Cameron were overall winders of the 1986 B & H Series and thus won the 1986 NZ Production Saloon Championship.

Having already had Rounds 1 and 2 in Australia, the final 3 rounds of the newly named South Pacific Touring Car Championship (Simpson Appliances Series) began at Manfeild on 30th November 1986 with a 3-hour race. Trevor Crowe had purchased a later model ex 1986 JPS black and silver BMW 635CSi (as against the normal black and gold JPS cars). Entered as car #31 and again with Archibalds sponsored he single-handedly drove this car to 2nd place at Manfeild, as he did again at Baypark in the 3-hour race held on 7 December 1986 for the same result.

Trevor Crowe BMW 635CSi – 2nd Place – Baypark 7 Dec 86
Trevor Crowe BMW 635CSi – 2nd Place – Baypark 7 Dec 86

A 3-hour race was held at Pukekohe on 14 December 1986. In the Group A Class 1 for cars over 2501cc, there were five 635CSi cars entered – #7 Charlie O’Brien/Glenn McIntyre, #8 Dennis Roderick/John English (Aus), #10 John Sorensen/Brian Musgrove, #31 Trevor Crowe, and #91 Graham Lorimer/Tony Lawrence. In the Group A Class 2 for cars 1601cc-2500cc were #24 Denny Hulme/Bill Bryce in an ex JPS BMW 325i and #25 the sister ex JPS 325i car for Ed Lamont. Trevor Crowe had a first corner tangle with other cars and later broke a rocker in his engine causing his retirement. Hulme broke a cam belt and also retired. The O’Brien/McIntyre 635CSi took 1st place and Lorimer/Lawrence 3rd. Crowe finished second in the 5 race Simpson Series.

O’Brien/McIntyre in their # 7 State Coal BMW 635CSi won the 1987 Group A NZ National Touring Car Series.

Charlie O’Brien/ Glenn McIntyre BMW 635CSi –Pukekohe 14 Dec 86 - Winners 1987 Group A NZ Touring Car Championship
Charlie O’Brien/ Glenn McIntyre BMW 635CSi –Pukekohe 14 Dec 86
Winners 1987 Group A NZ Touring Car Championship

The 1987 NZ Touring Car Championship races were then held at Baypark 28 December 1986, Pukekohe (in conjunction with the NZIGP) on 4 Jan 87, Manfeild 11 Jan 87 and Lady Wigram on 18 Jan 87. Glenn McIntyre driving his BMW 635CSi became the 1987 NZ Touring Car Champion.

There were two Nissan-Mobil races in Wellington in 1987. The first was held on 24/25 January 1987. Four BMW 635CSi cars were entered and three were to finish – #7 the red coloured State Coal car for O’Brien/McIntyre finished 3rd on 141 laps being 1 lap behind the leader, #8 car for Allan Milligan/Avon Hyde finished 6th on 134 laps, the #31 black Archibalds car for Crowe/Richards who retired, and the #91 silver DSIR sponsored car for Graham Lorimer/Phil Myhre who finished 7th on 133 laps. Bill Bryce teamed up with Tony Longhust in a Bryce owned ex JPS M3 but a series of accidents by Longhurst prevented them finishing. The series continued at Pukekohe on 1 February 1987 – Lorimer/Mhyre finished 13th.
Graham Lorimer/Phil Myhre BMW 635Csi – Bathurst – photo via Phil Myhre
Graham Lorimer/Phil Myhre BMW 635Csi – Bathurst – photo via Phil Myhre

Following on from the Wellington race in January 1987, the second leg of the two-race Nissan-Mobil series was held one week later at Pukekohe on 31 January/1 February 1987.

The 1987/88 Touring car season in New Zealand began with the second Nissan Mobil 500 series to held in Wellington that year and this time, it was an even bigger event. On 26 October 1987, New Zealand’s Labour Day Monday, Wellington once again saw Group A cars competing but this time it was Round 10 of the international FIA World Touring Car Championship for Group A cars.

Ten Division 2 under 2500cc BMWs were entered, in addition to four over 2500cc Division 1 cars that included three 635CSi. In Division 2, two Italians, Roberto Ravaglia and Emanuele Pirro qualified 3rd fastest in their #46 Schnitzer BMW M3 and finished the race in 2nd place, just 15 seconds behind the winner also on 150 laps in the four-hour race.

Also in a Schnitzer M3 were Roland Ratzenberger (Austria)/ Markus Oestreich (Germany) in #40 M3 who qualified 9th and finished 6th on 148 laps – 2 laps down. Car #41 a BMW Motorsport M3 entry for Altfrid Heger (Germany) /Tony Longhurst qualified in 18th place and finished 7th on 147 laps. Car #44 a Bryce Homes entered ex JPS BMW 325i driven by Paul Radisich/Ludwig Finauer (Australia) qualified 27th and finished 10th on 141 laps. The Scwaben Motorsport entry for two Germans, Thomas von Loewis and Prince Leopold von Bayern in a BMW M3 # 62 qualified 22nd and finished 12th on 140 laps while the white coloured 635CSi # 31 driven by John Sorenson/Kayne Scott qualified 32nd and finished 15th on 135 laps. Qualifying 33rd was the # 27 635CSi for Australians Ray Gulson/Graham Gulson who finished 17th on 134 laps. Jim Richards and Trevor Crowe teamed up in car #53, a pre evolution ex JPS M3 sponsored by Cardinal Network to qualify 8th and finish 19th on 116 laps.

Jim Richards/Trevor Crowe – BMW M3 2332cc – Wellington 25 October 1987 – Jim Barclay photo
Jim Richards/Trevor Crowe – BMW M3 2332cc –
Wellington 25 October 1987 – Jim Barclay photo

The #14 Charlie O’Brien/Avon Hyde/Jim Richards black ex Archibalds/Cardinal Network 635CSi qualified well for an older car up in 17th place. They had a few problems in the race and finished 20th on 106 laps.

O’Brien/Hyde/Richards BMW 635CSi – Wellington 25 Oct 87 – Jim Barclay photo
O’Brien/Hyde/Richards BMW 635CSi – Wellington 25 Oct 87 – Jim Barclay photo

Twenty of the 38 starters made it to the chequered flag. BMW cars listed as ‘did not finish’ were the ladies team Anette Meeuvissen/Mercedes Stermitz in the #47 M3 who qualified 23rd and completed 126 laps, but as they were not running at the end of the race, they were classified as non-finishers. The #42 CiBiEmme entry for Italians Johnny Cecotto/Gianfranco Brancatelli M3 qualified well up the grid in 12th place but they retired after 44 laps. Car #48, the Sax Racing entry for Graeme Lorimer/John Sax M3 qualified 28th but they retired lap 28. Car #43 the M3 Bigazzi entry for Winni Voght (Germany)/Olivier Grouillard (France) qualified 7th but they did only 13 laps. Car # 55 a BMW325i for Ed Lamont/John Morton qualified 35th but did not race. Car # 22, a bright yellow coloured ex Lorimer 635CSi was entered by Warren McKeller/Alan Prince and they qualified 36th but did not race.

McKellar/Prince BMW 635CSi – Ohakea
McKellar/Prince BMW 635CSi – Ohakea

The second race in the series was the Benson & Hedges 500 Classic run on the Pukekohe “long” circuit on 1 November 1987. Gianfranco Brancatelli (Italy) teamed up with Allan Grice (Australia) in the #42 CiBiEmme M3, now owned by Mark Petch, and took first place on 143 laps.
Brancatelli/Grice BMW M3 – 1st Place B & H 500 Pukekohe 1 Nov 87
Brancatelli/Grice BMW M3 – 1st Place B & H 500 Pukekohe 1 Nov 87

In third place were Trevor Crowe and Robbie Francevic in the Cardinal Freight sponsored M3. The white #31 BMW 635CSi of John Sorenson/Kayne Scott finished 5th. In sixth place were Paul Radisich and Denny Hulme in the ex JPS Bill Bryce owned BMW 325i driven at Wellington the previous week by Radisich and Ludwig Finauer – the expert ‘engine guru’ at Team JPS Australia.

The B&H International Motor Racing series began at Manfeild on 2/3 January 1988, continued to Baypark on 9/10 Jan 88, then to Pukekohe supporting the NZIGP 16/17 Jan 88, Wigram 23/24 Jan 88 and concluded at Timaru on 30/31 Jan 88.

The Manfeild round held on 2nd and 3rd January 1988 comprised a one-hour race followed by a second race over 15 laps. Cars entered were the yellow #22 Warren McKellar 635CSi, #24 Bill Bryce in the ex Tony Longhurst JPS 325i, #25 Ed Lamont ex JPS 325i, #27 Graham Gulson (Aust) 635CSi who finished 6th in the 15 lap race, #42 Mark Petch in the ex CeeBiEmme (Italy) team M3, #48 John Sax/Graham Lorimer M3 who finished 3rd in race one and 4th in race two, and #53 Trevor Crowe in the Cardinal Network M3 who finished 1st in the second race.

Trevor Crowe in his BMW M3 was the 1988 NZ Touring Car Champion.

The 1988/89 season again started in Wellington with the Nissan Mobil 500, this time held on 24th October 1988. 1988 saw the beginning of an unbroken five year streak of wins for the BMW M3 cars. The Group A Division 2 cars entered were #52 Roberto Ravaglia/Emanuele Pirro in a Schnitzer M3 2332cc that took 1st place.

Ravaglia/Pirro BMW M3 – qualified 3rd finished 1st; Start of Nissan-Mobil 500 Wellington 24 Oct 88
Ravaglia/Pirro BMW M3 – qualified 3rd finished 1st
Start of Nissan-Mobil 500 Wellington 24 Oct 88
(see the BMW M3 behind the red Sierra)

Ravaglia/Pirro BMW M3 – 1st Place – Nissan Mobil 500 Wellington 24 Oct 88
Ravaglia/Pirro BMW M3 – 1st Place – Nissan Mobil 500 Wellington 24 Oct 88

The #53 ex JPS now Cardinal/Archibalds sponsored M3 was driven by Trevor Crowe and Mark Thatcher (UK) and finished in 3rd place’, the #54 Kayne Scott/John Sorenson M3 was 8th, and the #55 Paul Radisich/Ludwig Finauer M3 sponsored by Bill Bryce Lockwood (the ex Petch ex CeeBiEmme car) was crashed by Finauer so the car did not finish the race. As Ludwig commented “I was lapping Tony Noske who was driving Peter Brock’s Mobil M3 and he shut the door on me which put me too close to the Armco with the left front wheel touching and braking the steering arm and then crashing into the Armco on the other side.”

Paul Radisich/Ludwig Finauer BMW M3 – Wellington 24 Oct 88
Paul Radisich/Ludwig Finauer BMW M3 – Wellington 24 Oct 88

Car #56 was the Peter Brock (Aus)/Jim Richards (Aus) white coloured Mobil Dealer Team sponsored M3 (ex JPS ’87 car) that broke a tailshaft after 20 minutes of the race, and Neil Crompton (Aus)/Mark Noske (Aus) in the second Mobil Dealer M3 who also did not finish.

The two Division 1 BMWs were #37 Glenn McIntyre/Avon Hyde in their black ex Archibalds 635CSi who finished 6th and #44 Richard Gillies/Joe Sommariva (Aus) in the yellow Warren McKellar car who did not practice.

The second round of series was the ProMo 500 and was held at Pukekohe on 31 October 1988. The #54 Kayne Scott/John Sorenson M3 finished in 5th place. The #55 Paul Radisich/Ludwig Finauer M3 blew a motor when Paul was driving and retired. (No further details for this race).

Trevor Crowe and Mark Thatcher in the M3 won the FISA Pacific-Asia Touring Car Championship.

Paul Radisich in Bill Bryce’s BMW M3 leading Mobil Dealer Team BMW M3 – Pukekohe 31 Oct 88
Paul Radisich in Bill Bryce’s BMW M3 leading Mobil Dealer Team BMW M3 –
Pukekohe 31 Oct 88

The 1989 Benson & Hedges International Motor Racing series was held at Baypark, Pukekohe, Manfeild and Wigram. At Manfeild on 22 Jan 1989 the NZ Touring Car Championship for Group A cars saw #44 Warren McKellar in his yellow BMW 635CSi 3500cc yellow (he had problems and did not start), #52 Gregg Taylor in Kayne Scott’s BMW 635CSi, #53 Kayne Scott in the ex Crowe/John Sax entered BMW M3 who finished 1st in Race 1 and 5th in Race 2.

Kayne Scott BMW M3 – Manfeild 22 Jan 89
Kayne Scott BMW M3 – Manfeild 22 Jan 89

Car #54 was John Sorensen in a John Sax entered BMW M3 and #55 Brett Riley in the Bill Bryce Racing ex Petch ex CiBiEmme BMW M3. Riley finished 3rd in Race 1 and 2nd in Race 2. In the Class 2, # 7 Mark Petch BMW 325i was 1st in class

At the NZ Touring Car Championship (Group A) held at Wigram 28/29 January 1989 there were two ‘heats’ for Group A cars over the duration of the meeting. In Heat 1 over 15 laps Brett Riley in the M3 was 2nd, Kayne Scott M3 4th, John Sorenson M3 5th, Greg Taylor 635CSi 6th and Mark Petch M3 7th. In Heat 2, also over 15 laps, Riley was 3rd, Scott 4th, Sorenson 5th, Taylor 7th and Petch 8th .

Brett Riley in his Bill Bryce entered ex CeeBiEmme BMW M3 was 2nd in the 1989 NZ Group A Touring Car Championship and Mark Petch in his ex JPS 325i was 1st in Class 2 (under 2500cc) for the 1989 NZ Touring Car Championship. Kayne Scott in the Petch M3 was 3rd in the NZ Touring Car Championship

The 1989/90 season began with the Nissan Mobil 500 Series held in Wellington 1-3 Dec 1989. Taking the second win in succession for BMW was car #1, the white 2332cc team Schnitzer M3 with Sony and Cardinal sponsorship driven by Emanuele Pirro/Roberto Ravaglia to 1st place on 142 laps. In 2nd place was the second team Schnitzer M3 #10 of Steve Soper (UK) /Fabien Giroux (France) also on 142 laps. In 4th place was the Ubix entered M3 #4 driven by Swedes Per-Gunnar Andersson/Nettan Lindgren/Gary Croft (NZ) on 135 laps. The #34 Ray Gulson(Aust)/James McAlpine (UK) BMW 635CSi was 9th on 127 laps and Kayne Scott/John Sorensen in the #56 Sax Racing M3 was 14th on 102 laps.

Those not placed were #29-John Summariva (Aust)/Darrel Belsky (Aust) 635CSi, #50 Denny Hulme/Brett Riley in the Bill Bryce Racing M3 (jammed gear selector), and #57 John Sax/Graham Gulson in their Sax Racing M3. Entered but apparently not practicing or racing was # 9 Ian Forrest (UK) BMW M3.

Emanuele Pirro/Roberto Ravaglia –Schnitzer BMW M3 – 1st Place Nissan Mobil 500 – Wellington 3 Dec 89
Emanuele Pirro/Roberto Ravaglia –Schnitzer BMW M3 – 1st Place Nissan Mobil 500 – Wellington 3 Dec 89

The Nissan-Mobil series continued at Pukekohe on 9th and 10th December 1989 with two 250km races. The faster and open track gave distinct advantage to cars with bigger engines and those with turbo power, so the BMW M3 winners at Wellington the previous weekend were at a distinct disadvantage. Accordingly, in Race 1 Ravaglia/Pirro drove well but were only able to take 7th place in their Team Schnitzer M3 and Andersson/Lindgren/Croft were 10th in their M3. The Hulme/Riley M3 retired with e blown differential.

In Race 2, Steve Soper (UK)/Fabien Giroux (France) were 7th, Hulme/Riley 8th, Andersson/Lindgren/Croft 9th and Scott/Sorenson 10th. Aggregation of points from both Pukekohe races saw Soper/Giroux 8th overall, Andersson/Lindgren/Croft 9th and Scott/Anderson 10th. Final points for the 1989 Nissan Mobil Series, saw Pirro/Ravaglia 3rd equal, Soper/Giroux 5th and Andersson/Lingren/Croft 7th equal.

Denny Hulme/Paul Radisich – BMW M3 – Pukekohe 10 Dec 89
Denny Hulme/Paul Radisich – BMW M3 – Pukekohe 10 Dec 89

The 1990 NZ Group A Touring Car Championship comprised of the two Nissan Mobil rounds held at Wellington and Pukekohe in December 1989 in addition to a further three rounds held in the North Island in January 1990. Denny Hulme in Bill Bryce’s M3 finished 2nd in the championship.

The Third Decade – the ‘90s

The 1990/91 season began with the Nissan Mobil 500 Series in Wellington held over 29 November to 2 December 1990 and again it was BMW that took first place. This was the third successive win for Emanuele Pirro, but his time, instead of having Roberto Ravaglia, he had Johnny Cecotto as his co-driver.

Emanuele Pirro/Johnny Cecotto – Schnitzer BMW E30 2467cc – 1st Place Nissan Mobil 500 Wellington -2 December 1990 – Jim Barclay photo
Emanuele Pirro/Johnny Cecotto – Schnitzer BMW E30 2467cc – 1st Place Nissan Mobil 500 Wellington -2 December 1990 – Jim Barclay photo

Their team Schnitzer BMW M3, car # 1, carrying Sony sponsorship was 1st and the second Schnitzer car, car # 8, driven by Steve Soper and Joachim Winkelhock finished 4th. Both of these BMW M3s were later sold to Frank Gardner Motorsport in Australia. In 5th place was car #91, John Sorensen/Mark Jennings in their ‘pre evo’ M3. In 11th place was car #56, the red Group N/NZ M3 of John Sax/ Slim Borgudd/Jim McAlpine.

Sax/Borgudd/McAlpine BMW M3 Group N/NZ - Wellington 2 Dec 90 – Jim Barclay photo
Sax/Borgudd/McAlpine BMW M3 Group N/NZ
Wellington 2 Dec 90 – Jim Barclay photo

In 13th was the black ex JPS 325i, car # 25 driven by Ed Lamont/Stu McCondach.

Lamont/McCondach BMW 325i – 13th place Nissan Mobil 500 Wellington - 2 Dec 90 – Jim Barclay photo
Lamont/McCondach BMW 325i – 13th place Nissan Mobil 500 Wellington
2 Dec 90 – Jim Barclay photo

Cars not finishing were the white # 54 Bill Bryce entered pre evo M3 driven by Brett Riley/Craig Baird/Denny Hulme and the #75 Castrol liveried white M3 driven by Keith Sharp/Rob Hurst. Of the seven BMWs entered, five BMWs finished the Wellington race.

The Nissan Mobil series continued at Pukekohe with practice and qualifying on Saturday 8 Dec and the 178 lap race on Sunday 9 Dec 90. (no details of the race )

The 1991 NZ Touring Car Championship was held in conjunction with the Peter Jackson International Series 1991. The series began at Teretonga on 29/30 December 1990, continued at Timaru on 5/6 Jan 91, and because Wigram was not available, the series raced Ruapuna on 12/13 Jan 91. There, only John Sax flew the colours for BMW while racing his M3 in the Dulux Group N Saloon races. He finished 2nd in the first10 lap race but did not start in the second race. On to Manfeild on 19/20 Jan 91 and a bigger field was evident when Group A Saloons joined the series. Group A BMWs were #54 Brett Riley in an M3 2302cc (1st in Race 1 and 2nd in Race 2), # 91 John Sorenson M3 2332cc (3rd Race 1 and 3rd Race 2), #11 Keith Sharp’s Castrol liveried M3 (5th Race 1 and 6th Race 2) and #25 Stuart McCondach BMW 325i 2499cc. In the Group N/NZ Saloon class # 56 John Sax’s Mobil liveried M3 2300cc was 1st in class in Race 1.

The series continued at Baypark on 26/26 Jan 91 and concluded at Pukekohe on 2/3 Feb 91. At Pukekohe the Group A entry saw # 11 Keith Sharp in the Castrol M3 2332cc, # 25 Stuart McCondach BMW 325i and #54 Brett Riley in Bill Bryce’s Brooklands Motor Company M3. The Group N/NZ Saloons class saw #56 John Sax in the Mobil M3 2300cc finishing 2nd in Race 2.

Brett Riley in the Bill Bryce M3 was 1st in the 1991 NZ Touring Car Championship.

The 1991/92 season began with the Nissan Mobil 500 held in Wellington on 1st December 1991. Once again, for the fourth consecutive year, the race was won by BMW and Emanuele Pirro took his 4th successive win. In car #1, again a Schnitzer M3, Pirro with new co-driver ‘Smokin Jo’ Joachim Winkelhock took their Castrol liveried E31 M3 to first place.

Pirro/Winkelhock – Castrol BMW M3 – 1st place Nissan-Mobil 500 – Wellington 1 Dec 91
Pirro/Winkelhock – Castrol BMW M3 – 1st place Nissan-Mobil 500 – Wellington 1 Dec 91

Denny Hulme and Robbie Francevic took 4th place in their M3. Those not finishing were the Tony Longhurst in the ex Schnitzer M3 now carrying B & H yellow colours. The Longhurst M3 crashed on lap 72 with the red John Sax entered Group N M3. The venerable 635CSi #34 driven by Duncan Beck/Gulson and sporting Harcourts advertising was also a non-finisher.

Beck/Gulson BMW 635CSi – Nissan Mobil 500 Wellington 1 Dec 91 – Jim Barclay photo
Beck/Gulson BMW 635CSi – Nissan Mobil 500 Wellington 1 Dec 91 – Jim Barclay photo

The second round of the Nissan-Mobil series was held at Pukekohe on 8th December 1991.

The 1992 NZ Touring Car Championship included a round at Wigram on 18/19 January 1992. In the Autonews Group N Saloon Races, John Sax drove his BMW M3 to 1st place in Heat 1 over 8 laps, and 2nd in the 8 lap Heat 2.

1992/93 Season
Many were saddened to hear of the death of New Zealand’s Denny Hulme, the 1967 Formula 1 Champion. At the Bathurst 1000 on 4 October 1992, Denny suffered a heart attack while driving his B&H liveried M3. He pulled over against the Armco but had died before help was at hand.

Hulme/Morris BMW M3 – Bathurst 4 Oct 92
Hulme/Morris BMW M3 – Bathurst 4 Oct 92

The 1992/93 season began with the Nissan Mobil 500 event held in Wellington. This was the last race Wellington for Group A cars. For the fifth consecutive year, the event was won by a BMW, this time by Australians Tony Longhurst and Paul Morris who took first place in their BMW M3.

The Peter Jackson International Series was held throughout the summer of 1992 – Teretonga Jan 4/5, Timaru Jan 11/12, Wigram Jan 18/19, Manfeild (NZIGP) Jan 25/26, Baypark Feb 1 & 2 and Pukekohe Feb 8/9. With practice and qualifying on Saturday Jan 25, Races 1 and 8 at Manfeild on 26 Jan were for the Auto News Group N Saloons. Only one BMW was entered – that for John Sax in his #56 BMW M3 2300cc

1993/94 Season
The 1993 Nissan Mobil 500 was held in Wellington and won by Owen Evans/Bruno Eichmann in a Porsche 911 Carrera RS car. Craig Baird/Brett Riley in the single Lyall Williamson/BMW Motorsport NZ # 31 BMW E36 325 in Castrol livery finished in 4th place overall and won the two-litre Touring Car class of the race.

The NZ Touring Car series was held in conjunction with the Peter Jackson International Motor Racing Series. At Wigram on 22/23 January 1994, there were two races comprising three classes each for Touring cars. In Heat 1 of 8 laps, Craig Baird BMW 325i 2.5litre was 2nd and Brett Riley also in a BMW 325i 2.5 litre was 3rd. In Heat 2 of 12 laps, Baird was 1st and Riley 2nd.

Continuing on the NZ Touring Car Series, touring car races were held at the NZIGP meeting at Manfeild on 29/30 January 94. The Lyall Williamson/BMW Motorsport NZ team entered #31 Brett Riley in a BMW 325i Coupe 2494 cc with Castrol/Dunlop/Uniden/Diet Coke livery and #32 Craig Baird BMW 325i Coupe 2494cc Castrol/Dunlop/Uniden/Diet Coke livery.

#31 Brett Riley, #32 Craig Baird BMW E36 325i Coupes – Manfeild 30 Jan 94 – Jim Barclay photo
#31 Brett Riley, #32 Craig Baird BMW E36 325i Coupes – Manfeild 30 Jan 94 – Jim Barclay photo

Such was the dominance of the Lyall Williamson run BMW Motorsport NZ team in 1994 that Craig Baird in his BMW E36/325 Coupe was the winner of the NZ Touring Car Championship and Brett Riley was second.

BMW Motorsport – Wellington Street Race – a Summary
1985 – 2nd, 3rd
1986 -6th
1987 (January)- 3rd
1987 (October) – 2nd
1988 – 1st, 3rd
1989 – 1st, 2nd
1990 – 1st
1991 – 1st
1992 – 1st
1993 – 4th

1994/95 season
In October 1994, in Australia, Craig Baird in a BMW 320i Super Tourer was 2nd in Class 2 and finished in 11th place overall in the Bathurst 1000.

The 1994/1995 season in NZ began with the Nissan Mobil 500 held in Wellington on Sunday 4 December 1994 but this time did not include the 2.0 litre Super Tourers and instead they had their own 28 lap sprint races. As the third round of the FIA Asia-Pacific Touring Car series, Race 1 for Super Tourers at Wellington was won by Tim Harvey in a Motorola Pagers Racing Team BMW 318i. Race 2 for Super Tourers, again over 28 laps, was won by Joachim Winkelhock in an Aiwa sponsored Schnitzer BMW 318i Super Tourer. Also competing were Steve Soper in his Aiwa sponsored Schnitzer BMW 318i, Justin Bell in a Motorola Pagers 318i, and Geoff Brabham, Paul Morris and Craig Baird in their BMW Motorsport NZ 318i s.
Tim Harvey – Motorola Pagers Racing team BMW 318i – Fuji, Japan
Tim Harvey – Motorola Pagers Racing team BMW 318i – Fuji, Japan

Aiwa sponsored Team Schnitzer BMW 318i Super Tourer
Aiwa sponsored Team Schnitzer BMW 318i Super Tourer

The Nissan Mobil 500 series continued at Pukekohe on 10/11 December 1994 and again separate races were held for the Super Tourers. BMW entries in the Super Tourer class included #23 Paul Morris Diet Coke/BMW 318i, #44 Craig Baird BMW Motorsport NZ 318i, #50 Dennis Chapman – Tait Communications 318i and #63 Geoff Brabham Diet Coke/BMW 318i. On Sunday 11 Dec 94, Race 1 for the Super Tourers was held over 29 laps in a ‘shootout’ format where the last cars were progressively black-flagged until the remaining few raced for the flag. Three hours later Race 2, also over 29 laps in the shootout format was held.

The 1995 NZ Touring Car Championship was held in conjunction with the Street Skills International Series. Round 2 was the NZIGP meeting held at Manfeild on 7th and 8th January 1995. The Lyall Williamson/BMW Motorsport NZ team entered # 1 Craig Baird in a BMW E36 325i 2498cc carrying sponsorship from Cellnet/Castrol/BMW Motorsport NZ and # 2 Brett Riley BMW E36 325i 2498cc Cellnet/Castrol/ BMW Motorsport NZ. Craig did not feature in the first race but was 1st in the second race. Brett did not feature in the first race and retired in the second race.

# 1 Craig Baird BMW E36/325i, #14 Paul Radisich Ford Telstar, #2 Brett Riley BMW E36/325i – Manfeild 8 Jan 95 (Yes, circuit reverse direction at Manfeild in Jan 95 !) – Jim Barclay photo
# 1 Craig Baird BMW E36/325i, #14 Paul Radisich Ford Telstar, #2 Brett Riley BMW E36/325i – Manfeild 8 Jan 95 (Yes, circuit reverse direction at Manfeild in Jan 95 !) – Jim Barclay photo

Craig Baird in his BMW E36/325i Coupe won the 1995 NZ Touring Car Championship

1995/96 Season

The 1995 Nissan Mobil 500 was again held in Wellington. The race was also a round of the NZ Touring Car Championship. The Lyall Williamson run International Motorsport/BMW Motorsport team entered #1 Craig Baird in the four-door BMW 320i sponsored by Cellnet/Castrol, #2 Brett Riley BMW 320i Cellnet/BNT and # 3 Jason Richards BMW 325i Coupe Cellnet

The series continued at Pukekohe on 9th December 1995. Entered were #1 Craig Baird BMW 320i 1991cc Schedule S NZ Touring car, #007 Brett Riley BMW320i Schedule S NZ Touring car and #4 Jason Richards BMW 325i Coupe Schedule S NZ Touring car. Craig Baird qualified 3rd for the main race behind the two Toyota Coronas. Qualifying in 5th place was #007 Brett Riley and 6th fastest was Jason Richards.

NZ Touring Car grid – Pukekohe 9 Dec 95. 3rd fastest qualifier Baird (inside row behind #32 on Pole), 5th Riley (2nd car back on outside row) and 6th Richards (4th car back on inside row) – Jim Barclay photo
NZ Touring Car grid – Pukekohe 9 Dec 95. 3rd fastest qualifier Baird (inside row behind #32 on Pole), 5th Riley (2nd car back on outside row) and 6th Richards (4th car back on inside row) – Jim Barclay photo

Brett Riley BMW E36 320i 1991cc – Pukekohe - 9 December 1995 – Jim Barclay photo
Brett Riley BMW E36 320i 1991cc – Pukekohe – 9 December 1995 – Jim Barclay photo

NZ 1996 Touring Car Championship again formed part of the Street Skills International Motor Races. Round 2 was held at Manfeild on 6th and 7th January 1996. BMWs entered were #1 Craig Baird BMW 320i 1991cc carrying sponsorship livery for Castrol/Cellnet/Avis/Dunlop/Uniden/BMW Motorsport Dealer team, car # 007 Brett Riley BMW 320i 1991cc with Castrol/Cellnet/BMW Motorsport Dealer team, car # 4 Jason Richards E36 BMW 325i Coupe 2494cc with Brake ‘N Transmission/Castrol/Cellnet/BMW M-Sport Dealers and Car # 22 Bernie Gillon BMW 325 Coupe 2495cc with Mico Wakefield/Jennian Homes

Craig Baird BMW E36 320i 1991cc – Manfeild 7 Jan 96 – Jim Barclay photo
Craig Baird BMW E36 320i 1991cc – Manfeild 7 Jan 96 – Jim Barclay photo

Craig Baird in the BMW E36 320i won the NZ Touring Car Championship and Brett Riley in his BMW 320i was 3rd.

1996/97 Season
The ‘Mobil Sprint Pukekohe’ event was held at Pukekohe on 17 November 1996 and was won by Greg Murphy in a Holden Commodore prepared by the Holden Racing team.

The final street race in Wellington was the ‘Mobil Sprint Wellington’ event held on 24 November 1996. The winner was John Bowe in his Dick Johnson Racing Falcon EF V8. The Lyall Williamson/ BMW Motorsport NZ BMW 320i raced by Rod Hicks/Kevin Bell won the 2 litre class

The NZ Touring Car series for 1997 included one round at Pukekohe on 2nd February 1997. BMWs entered by the BMW Motorsport Dealer team were #1 Craig Baird Cellnet/Castrol BMW 320i and
#3 Brett Riley Castrol/Cellnet BMW 320i and Jason Richards in a E36 325i Coupe

Craig Baird in his BMW 320i won the 1997 NZ Touring Car Championship and Brett Riley in his BMW 320i was 2nd.

The International Motorsport/BMW Motorsport NZ team cars run by Lyall Williamson won the 1997 Bathurst 1000, the 1987 Australian Touring Car Championship and the 1997 NZ Touring Car Championship.

1997/98 season
In October 1997 in Australia, Craig Baird/Paul Morris driving the International Motorsport/BMW Motorsport NZ BMW 320i Super Tourer won the Bathurst 1000 but the team was denied the win because Craig exceeded the time limit of 210 consecutive minutes in one driving stint limit for a single driver. A second team car driven by David and Geoff Brabham were awarded the win.

Brett Riley in a BMW Motorsport NZ Dealer team BMW 320i won the 1998 NZ Touring Car Championship

1998/99 Season
Riley & Richards – 
Jason Richards driving a BMW Motorsport Dealer NZ Dealer team BMW 320i won the 1999 NZ Touring Car Championship

The Fourth Decade – the 2000s

1999/2000 season
Riley & Richards – details ?

Brett Riley/Simon Wills drove a International Motorsport/BMW Motorsport NZ #4 BMW 320i in Castrol livery to win the Pukekohe 500.

Jason Richards driving a BMW Motorsport NZ Dealer team BMW 320i won the 2000 NZ Touring Car Championship

2000/01 season
Brett Riley driving a BMW Motorsport NZ team #4 BMW 320i was 3rd in the NZ Touring Car Championship. Kevin Bell drove the #3 BMW 320i

The BMW Race Drivers Series
In 2005 a number of enthusiasts from the BMW NZ Car Club saw the opportunity to organise and promote a series with a relatively low cost investment which in turn would result in extremely close racing. Thus the BMW E30 class was born. It was also mooted that an open class could be run which would give the public the opportunity to see classic BMW cars with great history being raced. Examples of these included the legendary E30 M3, of which there were quite a few scattered throughout New Zealand at the time including an ex-Schnitzer M3. The M3 cars were hugely successful both internationally and in the Wellington Street Races. Other cars in the Open class would include the ex Paul Adams 2002 Alpina Ti, some of classic 635 CSi, and the ex NZ Touring car championship winners in BMW E36 325i and 320i models. Other genuinely quick cars such as a 2002 Turbo, an E36 M3 (that was once a 325i Coupe championship winner), a host of E30 325’s, 2002’s and the odd E28, and in more recent times the M3GTR and Z3 M Coupes, and the concept really started to gain momentum.
Both the E30 and the Open class series are now hugely popular. Loosely based on similar series run in both the UK and USA, the E30 class is for BMW E30 series cars running either 1.8 litre four cylinder or 2.0 litre six cylinder engines manufactured between 1984 and 1991. The objective was to run a series that provided close racing between drivers in cars with close performance similarities. The intention was to create a car that was as safe as possible, fun to drive and yet remained as close to standard configuration as possible.
With sponsorship from Radio Sport, BMW New Zealand, Toyo Tyres and Koni Shocks, and support from the BMW Car Club of New Zealand, the series has experienced phenomenal growth. TV coverage was organised through Leggework, with company owner Gordon Legge also building and racing a car. The series has attracted the full spectrum of motorsport entrants from novice to experienced and has become a very popular series.
Barry Kirk-Burnannd – 2003 BMW M3 GTR 5000cc – Hampton Downs 26 Sept 2010 - Jim Barclay photo
Barry Kirk-Burnannd – 2003 BMW M3 GTR 5000cc – Hampton Downs 26 Sept 2010-
Jim Barclay photo

Targa New Zealand
Under the banner of ‘Dunlop Targa’, an annual tarmac rally has been running throughout the past decade. Proving very popular to upwards of 100+ competitors and their support crews, the event is staged over some 6 days encompassing special stages linked by touring stages through spectacular scenery in the North Island of NZ. Many BMW owners have enjoyed driving in the Targa. In later years, shorter 2 and 3 day events such as Targa Rotorua have been added to the successful Targa mix of rural touring
BMW Car Club NZ President, Gerry Hodges – BMW 635CSi Targa Rotorua 2011
BMW Car Club NZ President, Gerry Hodges – BMW 635CSi Targa Rotorua 2011

Classic Motorcycles and Sidecars
In addition to Touring car racing and Targa NZ, the classic motorcycle racing fraternity in New Zealand continues to grow in strength. In particular the NZ Classic Motorcycle Racing Register (NZCMRR) has run many very successful events including their big annual meeting held in February at Pukekohe. Included in these events have been a number of rare racing BMW motorcycles, as well as BMW-powered sidecar rigs.
Shizuka Montegi -1956 BMW RS54 500cc – Pukekohe 6 Feb 2011 – Jim Barclay photo
Shizuka Montegi -1956 BMW RS54 500cc – Pukekohe 6 Feb 2011 – Jim Barclay photo
Neville & Joanne Mickleson – 1976 BMW RS90S 890cc – Pukekohe 6 Feb 2011 – Jim Barclay photo
Neville & Joanne Mickleson – 1976 BMW RS90S 890cc – Pukekohe 6 Feb 2011 – Jim Barclay photo

 

2013 – Denny Hulme Festival

A Tribute to Denny Hulme – by Michael Clark

On one hand, Denny Hulme was no overnight star – but on the other hand he was! How could this be so? The answer lies in one of motor racing’s more unusual careers. Many top Formula 1 drivers of his era followed a familiar path – a season or two in Formula 3 followed by a season or two in Formula 2. With luck a ride in a mid-field Grand Prix team, at least, and then the big break.

Denny took a long time to get a regular Formula 1 ride – in fact he came oh so close to jacking it all in it 1962 and heading back to New Zealand. From the time he arrived in England in 1960, with Whangarei’s George Lawton as joint winners of the Driver to Europe, until securing the number 2 drive in the Brabham Formula 1 team for 1966, there had been six hard seasons of racing – and working as a mechanic by day to make ends meet.

There were several turning points in Denny’s career over those six years – his first Formula Junior win on the daunting Pescara circuit in Italy (even longer than the Nurburgring) in 1960 before scoring the first UK win for a new manufacturer on Boxing Day at Brands Hatch in 1962. Denny had been given a chance in the new Brabham BT2 in June 1962 and immediately pleased his boss by putting the new challenger on pole position. He challenged the Lotus supremacy in Formula Junior in 1963 and only missed the title by a whisker. That was enough to be entrusted with a works Brabham-Climax for the inaugural Tasman Cup at the start of 1964. He won first time out.

Denny was a force in Formula 2 throughout 1964 and ’65 but when Brabham produced a little 2-litre sportscar, he was damn near unbeatable. It was then a natural progression to the new Group 7 sportscars thatbecame to be known as Can-Am. It was a match made in motor racing heaven – Denny, the big strong brute of a man, and these muscular big horsepower monsters. Jack Brabham first gave him a run in a Formula 1 car in a non-championship race in Sweden before his biggest chance came at the biggest venue of all – Monaco. He neither starred nor disgraced himself. He did exactly what was required –qualify solidly and bring it home in one piece.

1966 was the great turning point – the culmination of all the years struggling, sleeping in his tow-car en route to another far flung European Formula Junior race, towing the Cooper on an open trailer and being driver/team manager and mechanic all rolled into one. He made his first F1 podium visit in France in round 3. He went another step up the ladder when he came second to his boss in the British Grand Prix and finished the year with two more podiums and fourth in the world championship. There were more Group 7 wins in Britain and the shared drive at Le Mans where he and his co-driver finished a just behind the identical Ford GT40 of McLaren and Amon.

If 1966 was the year that showed the world that Denny might just be good enough to win a Formula 1 Grand Prix, 1967 confirmed it – and then some. If you had to pick a place to score your maiden GP victory, it might as well be Monaco. Or perhaps the Nurburgring. He won both – in that order, plus enough other seconds and thirds to be crowned world champion. After taking forever to get into F1, once there he just aced it – no other driver of the rear engine era had taken less Grand Prixs to go from F1GP debut to World Champion. He moved to McLaren in 1968 and nearly won it again – the first time the all-Kiwi team had mounted a serious two-car challenge. Denny had already driven for Bruce in Can-Am in 1967 – Bruce won the title that year but Denny was champion in 1968. He again raced at Indianapolis after being crowned Rookie of the Year in 1967. He was again Can-Am champion in 1970 – the year his great mate Bruce was killed. It was also the year Denny’s hands were burnt so badly that he barely move them, yet – just like all those times in the early 60s when it all just seemed too hard, with so many obstacles – he just never gave up.

In fact he couldn’t give up – whether it was touring cars or trucks, he really couldn’t give up. He died in 1992 doing what he loved in Australia’s ‘Great Race’ – without so much as putting a mark on the car. Hollywood couldn’t have dreamed up Denny Hulme’s career – it just didn’t follow the normal pattern, but then that was Denis Clive Hulme – he was never ‘standard issue’.

2014 – Ferrari Festival

1955 ex ‘works’ Ferrari 750 Monza sports racing car confirmed for Ferrari Festival 2014

Current owners of the ex ‘works’ 1955 Ferrari 750 Monza sports racing car, the Southward Car Museum in Paraparaumu, have confirmed the iconic Ferrari sports racing car will be on show at the second weekend of the Ferrari Festival to be held at Hampton Downs in January 2014.

1955 Ferrari 750 Monza

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 Chev 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.


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.”

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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.

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 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!

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.

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F1’s TURBO ERA TO BE MARKED AT 2014 FESTIVAL WITH TWO FERRARI GRAND PRIX RACERS

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 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

CHASSIS
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 rea

ENGINE

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

2015 – Howden Ganley Festival

A Tribute to Howden Ganley

Howden Ganley is one of the most well-known names in motorsport, but precious few in New Zealand are aware of the remarkable career of this Kiwi icon both on and off the track. On track he made it all the way to Formula One with Frank Williams and to Le Mans with Gulf Mirage, and off track he became one half of the TIGA car company that manufactured more than 400 race cars over the years. Festival Chairman Jim Barclay pays tribute to Ganley in this very detailed feature – which has some truly amazing images in it.

2015 – Porsche Festival

PORSCHE’S KIWI CHAMPS SET TO STAR

The 2016 Porsche Festival at Hampton Downs will welcome New Zealand’s endurance racing champions and four stunning factory cars direct from Porsche.

To celebrate the success of Porsche’s successful return to endurance racing, the two Kiwis in the team, World Endurance Champion Brendon Hartley and Le Mans 24 Hours winner Earl Bamber will attend the 2016 New Zealand Festival of Motor Racing, demonstrating two very special cars from the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart – a 1977 Porsche 935 and a 1998 WSC LMP1 Prototype, which are both making their first ever appearance on an NZ track.

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The New Zealand Festival of Motor Racing is the country’s largest historic motorsport event and takes place over two weekends in January at the Hampton Downs circuit in the North Waikato, approximately 45 minutes from Auckland. In 2016 the event will be held on January 15th to 17th and 22nd to 24th with Stuggart’s finest the stars of the show on both weekends. Also on the bill in 2016 are Formula 5000, Historic Sports Sedans, Pre-65, Historic Muscle Cars, a Euro Enduro race and a multitude of on track Porsche activity from racing to passenger rides and regularity trials.

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The Porsche Marquee will also have two further factory cars on display, a 918 Spyder (the latest Porsche super car) and a full sized model of the Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 race car so successfully campaigned by Brendon & Earl in 2015. The Porsche Club of New Zealand, in partnership with the event organisers, is also inviting all Porsche owners – and anyone else that loves cars, to be part of the 2016 event, which should also see the largest ever gathering of Porsches assembled in NZ.

Legendary 1977 935 will run

The legendary Porsche 935 is the factory racing version of the Porsche 911 turbo, prepared for FIA-Group 5 rules that dominated global sports car racing in that racing period. It was developed from the Porsche Carrera RSR 2.1 turbo prototype, which had finished second at the Le Mans 24 hours the previous season.

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For the start of 1977, as well as running its own works team, Porsche offered the 935 to customers entering the World Championship for Makes, in the IMSA GT Championship and in the German Deutsche Rennsport Meisterschaft (DRM) – the forerunner of today’s DTM series.

It was the start of an almost unbelievable career for the Type 935, which appeared in large numbers throughout the racing world, and in many guises as teams tried to find just a little bit more speed…..

It went on to win the 1979 24 Hours of Le Mans overall as well as many of the key endurance races. According to the records, it started 370 races, and won 123 of them.

Famously, the car became known for its spectacular flame throwing exhausts and we hope the works Martini 935 at the Festival will take us all back to those days! The large turbocharger was used with mechanical fuel injection which caused turbo lag followed shortly by a fireball spitting from the exhaust and an enormous amount of power, in theory up to 800bhp. The dominance of the 935 was ended by the FIA rules changes which came into effect in 1982, when the six numbered groups were replaced by only three groups, A, B and C.

Parting shot…..

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An amazing collection of factory Porsches, many of which are the cars chosen by the factory to represent the Porsche brand at some of the world’s top Porsche events. Which ones would you like to see running around Hampton Downs..apart from ALL of them of course!

PORSCHE FOR 2016

It may not be one of our best kept secrets, but the 2016 New Zealand Festival of Motor Racing will celebrate Porsche.

The Festival is the country’s largest historic motorsport event and takes place over two weekends in January at the Hampton Downs circuit in the North Waikato. In 2016 the event will be held over the on January 15-17 and 22-24 with Stuggart’s finest the stars of the show on both weekends.

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A packed schedule of motor racing action on the circuit includes Formula 5000 and Historic Muscle Cars, as well as numerous other exciting single seater and tin-top classes, including the festival debut of the popular Pre-65 class on the second weekend. And of course, there is plenty of mouth-watering Porsche racing to look forward to as well! Organisers are aiming to have a number of highly significant Porsche cars on display and in demonstrations and ‘works’ Porsche drivers will also be in attendance.

The Porsche Club of New Zealand, in partnership with the event organisers, is also inviting all Porsche owners – and anyone else that loves cars – to be part of the 2016 New Zealand Festival of Motor Racing Celebrating Porsche. There will also be a record attempt to line up the most Porsches ever assembled in one place at one time in New Zealand.

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KENNY SMITH HONOURED AT 2017 FESTIVAL

January 20-22, Hampton Downs hosted 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:

  1. Formula 5000
  2. Historic F1’s
  3. Central Muscle Cars
  4. Group A / Heritage Touring Cars
  5. Formula Junior Group 1
  6. Formula Junior Group 2
  7. Historic Formula Ford
  8. Libre / Historic Single seater / Atlantic cars
  9. Historic Muscle and Historic Saloon cars
  10. 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 was also demo laps with Smith, a display of classic Formula 1 cars and a massive Show & Shine.

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