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Historic marvels at Taupō's Super Sprint MotorSport NZ Championship

Taupō roars to life this weekend (19-21 January) as host of the annual Historic GP in conjunction with the Super Sprint MotorSport New Zealand Championship premiere series.

 

The second of seven for the 2024 season, this weekend combines two worlds with the historic era alongside the modern as the New Year brings a new crop of international hopeful to New Zealand’s shores.

 

Here to contest the premier Castrol Toyota Formula Regional Oceania Championship (CTFROC), they lead the modern side of the pit paddock in the latest specification Tatuus FT-60 powered by the Toyota 8AR-FTS engine. Driver signings for the 19-car field vary from reigning Formula 4 United States Champion Patrick Woods-Toth to Marton based Kiwi Kaleb Ngatoa – a race winner from last season.

 

In contrast there are 140 historic entries that will bulge the location to its seams.

Driving the atmosphere will be the latest specification from the 1970’s – the SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival series. Contesting the Historic GP title, a grid of 14 original specification cars representing the best of its era and regarded as a match to Formula One in performance. Meeting them at the finish podium will be drivers who were also at the peak of that time – Graeme Lawrence and Kenny Smith, to award the overall trophy.

 

Weaving through the heart of the Historic GP this year is a celebration of Holden, featuring legendary cars and drivers who embody the very essence of the brand.

Drivers Greg Murphy, Craig Lowndes, Jack Perkins and Steven Richards will reunite with winning cars of the marque. The group will be doing demonstration runs in cars from the 2003 Bathurst 24 Hour winning Monaro to the 2023 Bathurst winning Gen3 V8 Supercar of Shane van Gisbergen and Ritchie Stanaway – daily.

 

The theme continues with a Holden ‘Allcomers’ race while other categories include Historic Touring Cars NZ, Historic Sports Sedans, Saloons and GTs, Formula Junior/F3/Historic Formula Ford and Formula Open NZ.

 

Palmerston North’s Bryan Hartley, father of Brendon and Nelson Hartley, will break his race career drought – having not contested a race since 1995 in Australia.

“I’ve 29 years of rust to remove since racing at the Adelaide Grand Prix in the Formula Holden,” said Palmerston North based Hartley.

“I’ve also never raced the new circuit at Taupō, even though both Brendon and Nelson have.”

Hartley will drive a Swift DB4 he recently purchased – competing in the Formula Open NZ category.

 

Along with a packed race schedule, the weekend will include a Holden car parade and a visit from the Ohakea based RNZAF Black Falcon aerobatic stunt team.

Thursday evening a group of cars will be on display at ‘Dinner at the Lake’ from 6pm at Northcroft Reserve, Lake Terrace.

On-track action starts from Friday with practice and the first of the race qualifying sessions.

Saturday morning moves from the final qualifying sessions into race action, concluding with the season opening and 18-lap CTFROC open-wheel race.

Sunday’s race schedule starts at 9:15am and runs through to the 23-lap CTFROC race from 4pm.

The F5000 Historic GP 10-lap race is scheduled for 3:30pm Sunday afternoon.

 

Both days are televised live on Sky Sports (New Zealand) as well as Fox Sports and Kayo (Australia), Pasifika TV and via the motorsports.tv platform.

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