The mighty Formula 5000's are the star attraction at the Evolution Motorsport Classic SpeedFest at Teretonga Park this weekend (Feb 19/20)
This is the first appearance of the big V8 powered single seater racing cars at Teretonga Park for several years and an awesome spectacle is assured.
Evergreen kiwi Ken Smith, one of the leading drivers in the heyday of the cars, has returned to Formula 5000 and has fashioned an outstanding record over the past few seasons in a Lola T430. However this season he has met some tough competition, particularly in the form of two international competitors - Canadian Jay Esterer in a McRae GM1 and Englishman Mark Dwyer of Huddersfield in a Lola T400.
Many of the kiwis are also capable of running at the front, none more so than Dunedin driver Steve Ross. Ross has been extremely competitive since he joined the class, racing strongly in his McRae GM1. Ross has done a lot of laps around Teretonga Park over the years and he could be a real threat this weekend.
Southlanders will also appreciate the opportunity to see one of the Drummond built Begg cars while Phil Mauger will race alongside the Formula 5000 cars in his Formula 1 McLaren M23.
The Historic Touring Cars will feature more exciting machinery with drivers such as Dunedin drivers Arron Black in a Toyota Carina and Allan Dippie in the Bastos Rover up against event sponsor Rick Michels of Evolution Motorsport in a BMW M3.
The Classic Saloons, 2001cc and over, sees Robbie Francevic and the mighty 7 litre Ford Custaxie. Francevic had great success in the 1960's with the original Custaxie which was a 1955 Ford Customline with a 7 litre Ford Galaxy engine - hence the name. The old car is long gone but a similar vehicle has been built up by John Miller in Motueka and Francevic, who went on to become the Australian Touring Car Champion in the 1980's, will drive this impressive looking beast at Teretonga. Another Miller car, a 5.7 litre 1966 Renault Dauphine Corvette, will be seen in the hands of Brett Stevens.
Current BNT V8s Championship leader Angus Fogg will take a weekend away from the big V8s to come to Teretonga to drive a Morris 1100. His father Gerald Fogg will also compete in the same class in a Mini.
The Sports Car Class has an international flavour with three regular overseas visitors in the mix. Clive Bate of the UK has a Porsche 911 RSR at his disposal while Kerry Anderson of Hong Kong will take the wheel of a Lotus Elan. Canadian Jack Ondrack will be at the wheel of his familiar TVR Tuscan in which he will also contest the Saloon car events.
Jay Esterer backs up his Formula 5000 appearance with a drive in a Van Dieman Formula Ford in the Racing Car class while other overseas drivers in the field are Australian Barry Wise in a Dulon and Kerry Anderson in an Argo. Christchurch driver Dave Arrowsmith in his Swift DB4 Formula Atlantic car will also be on the grid.
The Noel McIntyre Drainage Clubmans Saloon class has attracted a bumper entry with particular interest in the debut of Bradley Dawson in the Mazda RX7 V8 of his uncle Colin Dawson. Colin has driven the car to National honours in the OSCA Super Saloon Championship while Bradley has been a competitive driver in smaller Toyotas for many years.
The Southland Times Vintage Car Class is headlined by Californian Peter Giddings Maserati 250F, a true classic, while Russell Greer will drive the Stanton Corvette.
The action commences at 9am on both Saturday and Sunday.
Tickets for the weekend cost just $25 if pre-purchased from one of these outlets:
Auto Centre, Invercargill
Jesco Hydraulics Invercargill
Cooke Howlison Toyota, Dunedin
Mag and Turbo, Dunedin
Roy McDonald Automotive, Dunedin
Harrison Supplies, Gore
Frankton Automotive, Queenstown
Errol Stentjees Autos Cromwell
Tickets purchased at the gate over the weekend will be priced at $30. Children under 14 accompanied by an adult receive free admission.