An exodus to New Zealand of some of the world’s most iconic and valuable racing cars is fully underway as more than 120 head to the country for the first ever New Zealand Festival of Motor Racing in January
The event, which kicks off with the first major international event at the brand new Hampton Downs facility on January 22nd, 23rd and 24th before to Pukekohe for the following weekend (29th-31st), will mark the 40th anniversary of the passing of Kiwi racing and engineering legend Bruce McLaren.
There are almost 400 entries – with cars valuing tens of millions of dollars – confirmed. A total of 123 are international entries and organisers believe this is easily the largest amount of cars to travel to the country for a motor sports event.
Cars from Ferrari, Chevrolet, Lotus, Aston Martin, MG, Lola, March, Cooper and Brabham are all confirmed, as are cars from home constructors McRae, Begg and of course, McLaren. Many have been rebuilt or restored specifically for the meetings.
The cars date from the fifties through to the mid seventies and the racing will include ten classes for single seaters, sports cars and saloons and the highlights will be one of the biggest ever fields assembled of Formula 5000 cars and a field of spectacular CanAm cars, including McLaren’s that raced in the hands of Kiwi legends Denny Hulme and Bruce Mclaren himself.
In keeping with the period cars, all spectators to the event are being encouraged to wear period clothing from the fifties and sixties. “We really do want everyone to get into the spirit of the event,” commented event organiser Jim Barclay. “This will be like a trip back in time and it would be great to see some of the many superbly restored and well-cared for classic cars in New Zealand come out for those weekends.”
“If the event is a success it has a great chance of becoming one of just a handful of globally recognised international historic motoring events, alongside the likes of the Goodwood Revival, Pebble Beach in the USA and the Philip Island meeting in Australia.”
Entries have come from Australia, the United Kingdom, the USA, Denmark, Belgium and even Dubai with around 1,000 international motorsport visitors expected to descend on New Zealand.