50 years since Denny Hulme’s F1 Championship title

Sunday 22 October marks the 50th anniversary of Kiwi racing legend Denny Hulme winning the 1967 Formula 1 World Championship in Mexico. Hulme made history as the first – and only – New Zealander to have ever won the most prestigious motor racing championship in the world.

The significance of the date gains added impetus this year as another New Zealander, 27-year-old Brendon Hartley, will make his F1 debut on 22 October 2017 in the United States Grand Prix. It’s 33 years since a New Zealander last raced in F1.

Hulme’s achievement was notable in several ways. He was racing and winning alongside with fellow Kiwi Bruce McLaren in the famed Can-Am series while also racing F1 for Jack Brabham, so to be crowned world champion, he had to not only beat his team mate, but his boss and his employer. Earlier in the 1967 F1 season, Hulme won his first Grand Prix on the famed streets of Monaco, becoming the first New Zealander to have won a F1 race.

His Kiwi chief mechanic at Braham Racing, Cary Taylor, recently told motor racing writer Michael Clark: “To have been with Denny for his first F1 win at Monaco in 1967 still holds very special memories for me. I don’t think we really expected to win, as we were still running last year’s BT20, but, at Monaco, anything can happen, with success or failure the difference between a split second’s loss of driver concentration and a war of mechanical attrition.”

Hulme won again partway through that eventful 1967 season, at Germany’s mighty Nürburgring. With podium results in six other races, the championship came down to the Grand Prix in Mexico with Hulme on 47 points and Brabham on 43. Either Brabham driver, known for their serious work ethic and a tendency not to waste words, could take the title. Fellow Kiwi and 1967 F1 competitor, Chris Amon noted: “Jack and Denny and didn’t talk much at the best of times, but in 1967 what used to be extraordinarily limited conversation became almost non-existent!”

Hulme describes the race on 22 October 1967 to Michael Clark during an interview in 1992 six weeks before Hulme died at Bathurst: “Basically Jack did say ‘Well, good luck’, when we arrived at our cars the next morning, and off we went. I was very aware that I could not afford a DNF. I was very conscious of that situation and the first criteria was to get a good start, get clear, and not race with anyone else because, too often, you can get put out by someone else’s bloody stupidity.” The green and gold Brabhams sat on the third row, Brabham 0.38 seconds quicker than Hulme. “Basically, I had to finish, not very far behind Jack”. Jim Clark won the race for Lotus while Brabham finished second, and Hulme third. A New Zealander was World Champion!

In his interview, Hulme highlights his well-known dislike of celebrity: “Jimmy [Clark] and I got up on the podium together and there is a good photograph of the two of us with a single laurel around both of us. Jack was up on the podium as well but it was okay. By then it was all over. We decided that the war had ended and the treaty signed. I was going somewhere else and Jack was going to get on with his own job. After the race we went off for a celebration in a bullring and we all had a play around with these miniature bulls. On the Monday morning I headed off to Riverside – I didn’t want to go to England for all the ballyhoo and hoopla – I just plodded on and joined the Can-Am cars at Riverside as if Formula 1 didn’t exist. Look forward to the next event – that was my motto.”

Wayne Christie, President of MotorSport New Zealand, says: “2017 has been a year of milestones for our sport with several of our member car clubs celebrating significant anniversaries and it seems entirely appropriate that we are able to recognise our first Formula One World Championship winner by having Brendon, the first ever race winner of our internationally recognised Toyota Racing Series, make his F1 debut on the same day.

“It is also important that we recognise that Brendon is a graduate of the MotorSport New Zealand Scholarship Trust’s Elite Motor Sport Academy, which was established in 2003 to help provide our emerging stars with the tools to succeed on the international stage, and one of the goals of the Elite Academy has been to have one of its graduates competing in Formula One.”

Source: MotorSport NZ PR

Photos: Terry Marshall

MotorSport New Zealand revs past 70 years

On 18 October 1947 a meeting was held in Wellington to form a national body to govern the coordination of motor sports in New Zealand.

The Association of New Zealand Car Clubs was duly established with an initial group of seven regional car clubs represented, namely the New Zealand Motor Racing Drivers Club (now Auckland Car Club), Hawke’s Bay Sports Car Club (now the Hawke’s Bay Car Club), Manawatu Car Club, New Zealand Sports Car Club (now the Wellington Car Club), Canterbury Car Club, Vintage Vehicles Association (now the Vintage Car Club of NZ), and Otago Car Club (now the Otago Sports Car Club).

The incorporated society is now called MotorSport New Zealand and is sanctioned by the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) as the sole regulatory authority for four-wheeled motor sports in New Zealand. With around 100 member car clubs MSNZ focusses on the regulatory, technical and safety aspects of competitive circuit racing and rallying at national and club levels, and club-oriented events such as motorkhanas, hill climbs, bent sprints and autocrosses, while affiliated organisations such as KartSport New Zealand, the New Zealand Drag Racing Association and the Vintage Car Club look after their relevant categories of four-wheeled motorsport.

Wayne Christie, President of MotorSport New Zealand, says: “To mark 70 years of our organisation this October is truly significant. Consider the thousands upon thousands of hours devoted by competitors, crews, event organisers, marshals, officials, photographers and reporters – the great majority of them volunteers – across those 70 years to allow participation in and enjoyment of motorsport as a leisure and sporting activity.

“For many of us, what started out as a fun way to enjoy some high speed thrills in our car in a safe and responsible way, has evolved into an activity that has given a shared enjoyment in a job well done, friendships for life and, in many cases, a sense of commitment to leaving the sport in good shape for future generations to ensure they can also participate in competitive motor sports the length and breadth of New Zealand.

Christie says MSNZ’s mission statements ring true for him and his fellow board members.

  • MSNZ is committed to develop and maintain an environment that enables the people of New Zealand to enjoy motorsport as a leisure and sporting activity.
  • MSNZ is committed to promoting and improving motorsport in New Zealand as a widely recognised, accepted and respected sport.
  • MSNZ wants people to enjoy and participate in the adventure and challenge of cars being driven with speed, safety and skill.
  • MSNZ is committed to the professional and modern management of its business. It will create an environment in which people can contribute and expand their skills in and commitment to all aspects of the sport.
  • MSNZ develops and maintains systems for safety, technical, judicial, accreditation, training and compliance, and other intellectual property necessary for the effective management and development of the sport. The systems and services of MSNZ are provided to members, other customers and the community in order to achieve the MSNZ mission.

“As our communities and society changes, with challenges such as more pressure on recreational spaces, costs, health and safety requirements, and environmental considerations, it’s more important than ever to offer safe, controlled environments and organised events for car enthusiasts to have fun with their cars. That’s where our member car clubs are a valuable asset for their communities, and encourage people to utilise appropriate events and locations for the thrills of motorsport at all levels.”

A significant celebration is being planned for MSNZ’s 75th anniversary in five years’ time.

A full list of the member clubs which comprise MotorSport New Zealand Inc. can be found on the website in the contacts section, or visit The organisation also has several Facebook pages for the different sectors of the sport such as Motorsport NZ Volunteers, NZ Youth in Motorsport, ClubSport Scene NZ, Women in Motorsport NZ, and the Elite Motorsport Academy NZ.

Source: MotorSport NZ PR

Hartley’s F1 news sensational for NZ motorsport

The announcement that Kiwi racing driver Brendon Hartley will race for Formula 1 team Scuderia Toro Rosso in America next weekend is a yet another major milestone in Hartley’s stellar career and for New Zealand motorsport as a whole.

Hartley’s debut F1 race, the United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Texas on 22 October, is 50 years to the day since Hulme became the first, and only New Zealander to win the World F1 Championship.

Hartley, age 27 and originally from Palmerston North, joins a small line-up of just nine Kiwis who have raced in the world’s top circuit racing category to carry on the tradition set by Bruce McLaren, Denny Hulme and Chris Amon. It’s 33 years since a New Zealander, Mike Thackwell, last raced in Formula 1.

President of MotorSport New Zealand, Wayne Christie says: “Everyone at MotorSport New Zealand and our wider motorsport community are already very proud of Brendon Hartley’s achievements as a driver, having won with FIA World Endurance Championship and the famous Le Mans race with his Porsche team-mates.

“We congratulate Brendon on being selected for this one-off drive and we hope it leads to yet more opportunities for one of our best drivers,” says Christie.

“Brendon’s goal has always been to compete at the pinnacle of the motorsport internationally and F1 is that pinnacle. He has significant experience as a F1 reserve driver, alongside his considerable expertise as a sports car driver. We are very pleased for him that he has made the next step to achieving his F1 goal, and this news again demonstrates that Kiwis really do punch above our weight internationally in motorsport.”

Of the news that he would replace Pierre Gasly at Toro Rosso for the US Grand Prix, Hartley said: “What an amazing feeling! This opportunity came as somewhat of a surprise, but I never did give up on my ambition and childhood dream to reach F1. I have grown and learnt so much since the days when I was the Red Bull and Toro Rosso reserve driver, and the tough years I went through made me stronger and even more determined.

“I want to say a huge thanks to Red Bull for making this a reality, and to Porsche for allowing me to do this alongside the World Endurance Championship. The COTA is a track I really enjoy and one I have raced at recently. I’m trying not to put too many expectations on my F1 debut, but I feel ready for it.”

Hartley last tested with the team back in 2009. Eight years later, he will be taking part in his first Formula 1 Grand Prix, at the Circuit of the Americas, alongside Daniil Kvyat.

Kiwi fans saw Hartley race at home as a teenager and key among his achievements in single seaters was, at the age of 15 in 2005, becoming the winner of the first-ever race of the inaugural Toyota Racing Series. That year, he also attended and graduated from New Zealand’s highly-regarded Elite Motorsport Academy which offers an annual one-week intensive training camp and year-long coaching programme to assist up to nine motorsport competitors with their mental and physical fitness, and sponsorship, marketing, nutrition and media skills.

Christie, who chairs the MotorSport NZ Scholarship Trust, says to see a graduate of the Elite Motorsport Academy to be selected for F1 is an absolute highlight for him and the other trustees. “The Elite Academy has contributed to the skills needed by Hartley and many of our other successful international competitors such as Hayden Paddon and Shane van Gisbergen to go forward and achieve great things in world motorsport. The Academy’s success can be demonstrated by the number of graduates who are performing with distinction on the world stage.”

With the support of a number of New Zealanders, Hartley headed for Europe at the age of 16 and, after much hard work, has a number of notable achievements to his credit including being reserve driver for the Red Bull F1 team in 2009 and 2010 and part of the Red Bull Academy. He tested with Mercedes F1 in France in 2012, then switched to sports cars. In 2015 he was crowned WEC Champion alongside Mark Webber and Timo Bernhard and, in June this year, won the Le Man 24 Hour Race with fellow Kiwi Earl Bamber and Timo Bernhard.

This weekend Hartley is racing with Bamber and Porsche LMP1 team-mates at the Japanese round of the FIA World Endurance Championship.

Christie adds: “Up and coming competitors may like to note that applications for the 2018 Elite Motorsport Academy have just opened. Refer to the Academy section of our website, for more information.”

Source: MotorSport NZ PR

Photo: Toro Rosso

Matt Penrose

Affordable NZ Hillclimb Championship gets underway in Canterbury

Two days of timed sprints on closed hilly tarmac roads on Banks Peninsula kick off the 2017-18 New Zealand Hillclimb Championship over the weekend of 14 and 15 October.

Run by Ratec Motorsport Inc (the Rallies and Trials Enthusiasts Club), the two days of competitive hillclimbs form the first qualifying round of the respected NZ Hillclimb Championship, which is a ‘gold star’ MotorSport New Zealand (MSNZ) championship and sees the champion presented with a trophy at the sport’s annual awards night in May.

NZ Hillclimb Championship co-ordinators Jeff Scott and Donna Elder are rapt with the line-up of tarmac and gravel hillclimbs awaiting this year’s championship competitors and expect to see an impressive level of rivalry as competitors strive to get the best out of their cars.

Following the opening all-tarmac round in Banks Peninsula, the championship heads to Taupo and Pukekohe for two North Island qualifying rounds in November. Each round will feature one day on gravel and the second day on seal. Back to the South Island at the start of December, the Marlborough Car Club hosts two days of gravel hillclimbs, before February’s final in Hawke’s Bay.

Wayne Christie, MSNZ president, says, “MotorSport New Zealand is appreciative of the efforts of the organising car clubs involved and the work that the co-ordinators, Jeff Scott and Donna Elder, have put in to making the NZ Hillclimb Championship a success. Our national Gold Star Hillclimb Championship is a great opportunity for club level-and-above competitors to compete for a New Zealand championship at a relatively low cost.”

“Some competitors might decide to specialise in hillclimbs with others using them to develop their skills and as a stepping stone to other events such as rally and circuit racing, which makes the NZ Hillclimb Championship an important component of our competitive activities in New Zealand,” Christie says.

The following events have been selected for the 2017/18 championship:

NZ Hillclimb Championship Organising Club Date
1st South Island qualifying round RATEC 14 October 2017 (Seal)

15 October 2017 (Seal)

1st North Island qualifying round Taupo Car Club 4 November 2017 (Gravel)

5 November 2017 (Seal)

2nd North Island qualifying round Pukekohe Car Club 18 November 2017 (Seal)

19 November 2017 (Gravel)

2nd South Island qualifying round Marlborough Car Club 9 December 2017 (Gravel)

10 December 2017 (Gravel)

Final round Hawke’s Bay Car Club 17-18 February 2018

Those wishing to find out more about the NZ Hillclimb Championship, including registration details, can visit the website To find out more about club level motorsport in New Zealand, visit the Facebook page:

NZ Hillclimb Championship – South Island qualifying round 1

AKA Repco 2017 Banks Peninsula Hillclimb Weekend

Hosted by RATEC

14 October: Pigeon Bay Road, Duvauchelle, Banks Peninsula – approx. 2.2km of seal, mainly easy flowing up hill.

15 October: Kinloch Road, Little River – approx. 3.2km of seal, with three tight corners and the balance is mainly easy flowing up hill.

Source: MotorSport NZ PR

Attached image of 2016-17 NZ Hillclimb Champion Matt Penrose is free to use. Please credit Kevin Coran.


Shelly McSaveney

Christchurch motorsport official selected for Bathurst exchange

Long-serving volunteer Shelly McSaveney, from Christchurch, has been selected to attend the famed Australian Bathurst endurance race as part of a trans-Tasman female motorsport official exchange programme.

The exchange is organised by Women in MotorSport New Zealand (WiMNZ), an advisory group to the sport’s governing body MotorSport New Zealand (MSNZ), and their Australian counterparts Women of Australian Motor Sport (WAMS). The aim is to strengthen motorsport ties across the Tasman, and promote women in motorsport. The exchange enjoys the support of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship (VASC) in providing opportunities at two Supercars events for the exchange participants.

McSaveney, a member of the Canterbury Car Club, gets to attend the iconic Bathurst event where she will be hosted by WAMS personnel and get to meet a range of people undertaking volunteer official roles during the event. At home, McSaveney fulfils various roles at the club-run events at Mike Pero Motorsport Park (Ruapuna) including clerk of the course, competitor relations and documentation. She has just received her gold clerk of the course licence, making her one of around 35 people in New Zealand with this level of certification to run motorsport events.

“Motorsport has given me the confidence to make decisions on the spot, and to speak and hold my own in large groups,” she says.

McSaveney, formerly a project manager and now the owner of a tyre and mechanic shop, and a car sales yard with her husband, says she wants to become more involved with motorsport than she is currently.

“To do that, I need to meet more people within the motorsport arena and travel to other tracks. I want to see how other tracks operate, I want to learn what it is like at big meetings, and take this and apply it to what I already know and love. I feel you always learn a new way to do things when you work with a new group of people. The exchange programme, which takes me outside our established group at Ruapuna, makes this possible in more ways than I could manage on my own.”

Having travelled to the ‘great race’ twice before as a spectator, the expenses-paid trip to Bathurst will be a highlight of the year for the self-confessed petrol-head. “I always took the opportunity to go to local events or watch them on TV. A while ago, I decided to take my passion further and contacted Ruapuna to become a volunteer, and I’ve never looked back. Motorsport has become more than a hobby for me, it tends to be a way of life, and other commitments are arranged around when I have motorsport events on my calendar!”

MSNZ president Wayne Christie says that MSNZ was delighted with the calibre of the applicants for the second year of the official exchange run by MSNZ and CAMS, and is pleased to be able to facilitate the learning of new skills for the betterment of New Zealand motorsport for people like Shelly McSaveney.

“This exchange provides a valuable opportunity for Shelly this year, and Timaru’s Cate Paddon last year, to see how things are done at a high-profile event in Australia,” says Christie. “While many aspects of our sport’s administration and management are similar, it’s those nuances, those ways of communicating and bringing a big team of volunteers together to make these events run like clockwork that can help our people’s skill levels and return value to the sport in New Zealand.”

Christie extends his thanks to all the female officials who applied for this year’s exchange and to Deb Day, WiMNZ chair, for driving this initiative.

“We have many capable women in our sport and we thank them all for their time, energy and enthusiasm,” he said.

Auckland’s Belinda Linton was selected as the runner-up for the 2017 trans-Tasman female official exchange programme, and will enjoy the opportunity to travel to a premier race meeting event at Teretonga on a New Zealand exchange.

The Australian female official who will travel to New Zealand for the ITM Auckland SuperSprint in November will soon be selected.

Find out more about Women in MotorSport New Zealand via the Facebook page or website

Source: MotorSport NZ PR

Murray Thompson

Awards presented as part of 50th celebration of New Zealand rallying

Seventeen people have been recognised for their contributions to New Zealand rally sport during the Motorsport New Zealand 50th anniversary of rallying celebratory event which took place in Hamilton overnight.

Fifty years ago, in 1967, the Hamilton Car Club ran a competitive motorsport event called the Rally of the Pines which is now regarded as the first rally in New Zealand. The half-century milestone of one of New Zealand’s most popular motorsports was marked with the 19 August celebratory dinner at Claudelands Event Centre in Hamilton and the inaugural presentation of these 17 Heritage Awards.

“MotorSport New Zealand established its Heritage Awards in 2014 to celebrate our motorsport heritage and those people that helped shape motorsport both here in New Zealand and overseas,” says Wayne Christie, President of MotorSport New Zealand.

“Since their creation, the Heritage Awards have typically been presented to those involved in circuit racing, so as part of our celebration of the 50th anniversary of rallying in New Zealand, we are delighted to present the first collection of Heritage Awards to those who have made significant contributions to rallying.”

The inaugural recipients of the MotorSport New Zealand Rally Heritage Awards are:

  • Mike Marshall, Auckland, a top competitor for many years from 1970, the first New Zealand driver to compete overseas, started the first New Zealand rally safety business with Marshall Rally seats (became Autosport seats), ran the first NZ Ford-supported rally team and recently campaigned a Peugeot at Rally Barbados.
  • Blair Robson, Auckland, a competitor who started out in trialling, becoming the NZ Gold Star Trials Champion in 1966, ’67 and ’68, also the NZ Gold Star Rally Champion in 1978, the first New Zealander to compete in an Australian rally, and generally acknowledged as the fastest driver in the Masport rally team.
  • Doug Benefield (posthumously), Auckland, a competitor in national Gold Star trials and rallies, instrumental in the formation and management of the dominant Woolmark Ford Team and Masport Escort Team in the ‘70s, formed the Rallies and Trials Enthusiasts Club (RATEC) and the Rally Pilots Association, and made lasting contributions with personnel development and national organisational structure and management.
  • Murray Thompson (posthumously), Wellington, a marshal at the 1969 Silver Fern Rally, a competitor-turned-event organiser for the Wellington Car Club team who organised the NZ Heatway Rallies, a MSNZ Executive member, chairman of ROANZ (before it became Rally NZ) and the driving force behind the FIA’s decision to include Rally NZ in the World Rally Championship calendar.
  • Dave McCahon, Christchurch, competitor in a Datsun 1200 and Mazdas, founding member of the Canterbury Rally Panel and the Autosport Club, a Rally Clerk of the Course and rally organiser, and a former member of the MSNZ Executive.
  • Jim Scott, Whangamata, a competitor starting in the 1971 Heatway Rally, turned to co-driving and won the Heatway alongside Andrew Cowan in 1972 and 1976, his most high-profile co-drive was alongside a young Ari Vatanen in New Zealand’s first World Rally Championship round in 1977, a team manager with the Masport team and Possum Bourne’s Australian rally campaigns, a MSNZ Competitor Relations Officer and Steward officiating at an international level, and a former MSNZ Executive member.
  • Gary Smith, Hamilton, a competitor and engineer from the ‘70s on, a co-driver for Tony Teesdale – they became the first recipients of the Woolf Whittaker medallions, the local co-ordinator at Rally NZ for the Ford and Hyundai world rally teams, chairman of the NZ Silver Fern Rally, member of the MSNZ Rally Commission, director at Rally NZ and driver mentor.
  • Robin Curtis (posthumously), Fielding, photo-journalist for more than 50 years, publisher of the fortnightly Motor Action in the ‘70s and contributor to Speedsport magazine for over 20 years, and manager of the Chevette dealer rally team in the ‘80s.
  • Bob Haldane, Auckland, a national motorcycling champion before turning to rally as a co-driver, winning the New Zealand Gold Star Champion Co-driver title in 1988, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1994 and 1996.
  • Neil Allport, Auckland, a competitor and engineer, winner of the New Zealand Rally Championship in 1986, 1989 and 1992, Ford World Rally Team driver, and the instigator of the use of stage notes in New Zealand rally events and a member of the MSNZ Rally Commission.
  • Mike Fletcher (posthumously), Christchurch, a competitor as both driver and co-driver, a founding member of the Canterbury Rally Panel and the Autosport Club, an organiser of numerous rally events and a member of the MSNZ Rally Commission.
  • Malcolm Stewart (posthumously), Dannevirke, a competitor since 1974, the 1983 NZ Gold Star Rally Champion, competed in more Rally NZ events than any other New Zealand driver and introduced the first Group B rally car to New Zealand domestic rallying with the Audi Quattro A2.
  • Roger Laird, Gore, a competitor, scrutineer and organiser at his first rally in 1976, roles he continues to fill with the Gore, Southland, Rankelburn and Catlins rallies, a MSNZ Rally Clerk of the Course and a former member of the MSNZ Rally Commission.
  • Norman Oakley, Dunedin, a competitor during the ‘80s, an exceptional event organiser and motivator of people who developed the Otago Rally into a prestigious and internationally-recognised event, a former MSNZ Executive and Rally Commission member.
  • Brent Rawstron, Christchurch, a competitor since the mid ‘70s becoming the 1981 and 1983 NZ Group One Rally Champion, active as a sponsor and team owner bringing top overseas drivers to Rally Otago, and a member of the Silver Fern Rally organising committee.
  • Willard Martin, Auckland, a competitor in the 1969 Shell Silver Fern – the first-ever international rally run in New Zealand, a Gold Rally Clerk of the Course and the Clerk of the Course for many events organised and run by Rally NZ, an FIA WRC and APRC Observer, the route co-ordinator for WRC Rally NZ and APRC Rally Whangarei, a Rally NZ board member and recipient of a MSNZ Distinguished Service Award in 1996 and an Award of Merit in 2010.
  • Brian Green, Palmerston North, a competitor since 1972, contesting more than 400 rallies in New Zealand, Asia and other countries, winner of the 2004 Malaysian Championship, the first New Zealander to compete in the Arctic Rally in 2009, rally organiser and sponsor of the New Zealand Rally Championship and other regional events.

The next major milestone of motorsport in New Zealand to be celebrated in 2022 will be the 75th anniversary of MotorSport New Zealand since its establishment in 1947 as the Association of New Zealand Car Clubs.

Source: MotorSport NZ PR

Photo: Geoff Ridder

Dinner to commemorate 50 years of New Zealand rallying

Fifty years ago, the Hamilton Car Club ran a competitive motorsport event which is now regarded as the first rally in New Zealand.

The May 1967 event was called the Rally of the Pines and was won by club member Bill Purvis in a 1951 Morris Minor that he rebuilt after bidding for it as a write-off in an insurance company tender – it was both his road car and designed to perform well enough to satisfy his sporting needs.

Now aged 72, Mr Purvis recalls how the event evolved. “Hamilton Car Club members, headed by Allan Gough, wanted to develop something that resembled the European style of rally, but the Motorsport Association of New Zealand, as MotorSport New Zealand was then called, had no regulations to control such an event at the time. It was proposed to run an event based on existing car trials regulations mostly on private forestry roads, which meant that usual road speed limits would not apply. Those who followed the correct, sign-posted route at the best speed would do well.

“The rally, unlike modern rallies, attracted mainly the owners of ordinary road cars. When I turned up in a car with lap-diagonal seatbelts, and my navigator, Don Cattanach, wearing a crash helmet, we were the odd ones out. As there were no pace notes and the competitors were on unfamiliar roads, we had to drive with safety on our minds and we all had to drive home after the event. I was fortunate to win what is today considered the first rally in New Zealand.”

Since 1967, rallying has become one of the most popular motorsport disciplines in the country with 1,676 licenced rally drivers and co-drivers participating in club, regional and national level rallies many weekends of the year.

With 2017 marking the half-century since the first Rally of the Pines, the milestone is being celebrated with a grand dinner and gathering in Hamilton on 19 August. The event at the Claudelands Event Centre in Hamilton is being organised by the Hamilton Car Club with long-time club members and rally competitors Graeme Robertson and Laurie Brenssell heading the organising committee.

“We’re delighted that more than 450 people are already set to enjoy a wonderful evening on 19 August to mark the milestone of 50 years of rallying in New Zealand,” says Brenssell. “We have capacity for around 500 people and think we’ll easily welcome this number of attendees to the celebration.”

Rally drivers Scotsman Alister McRae and Jean Louis Leyraud, from New Caledonia – both having rallied in New Zealand many times over the years – are confirmed international guests.

“The registration list is an absolute who’s who of New Zealand rallying,” Brenssell says. “From our early rally pioneers to our national Gold Star champion drivers and co-drivers, say a name and they’ll be there. We’re rapt to have great representation from the South Island and to welcome Bill Purvis, winner of the Hamilton Car Club’s Rally of the Pines, the event which started it all in 1967.”

Brian Budd, CEO of MotorSport New Zealand says: “New Zealand has a very proud history in rally which has continued through until the present, where rally competition is still a very vibrant and important part of the motorsport scene. Rallies over the years have attracted the best competitors from all four corners of the world and have also enabled New Zealand drivers to develop their craft and achieve both in our domestic competition and abroad. MotorSport New Zealand is very proud of all those who have organised and competed in special stage rallies in New Zealand and that we can celebrate the successes achieved over 50 years.”

The Motorsport New Zealand 50th Anniversary of Rallying celebratory event includes:

  • 30pm ‘noggin and natter’ – gather with friends, colleagues and past competitors in the hall adjacent to the function room. Enjoy displays of memorabilia and rally cars representing five decades of New Zealand rallying, plus commercial exhibits of a rallying nature by companies which have supported the sport over the years.
  • 00pm – move to the function room to enjoy celebrate our rally pioneers, Gold Star champion drivers and co-drivers, and an array of forums hosted by long-time motorsport commentator and radio host Brian Kelly.
  • A presentation to the first-ever recipients of the Motorsport New Zealand Rally Heritage Awards concludes the evening.

Brenssell adds: “We welcome several companies who have and continue to play an important role supporting rallying in New Zealand as the service park hosts in the main function room. Thank you to Subaru New Zealand, Brian Green Property Group, Hella New Zealand, APL (Vantage) and Hyundai New Zealand for supporting this celebration of our sport.”

Tickets are still available via the MotorSport New Zealand website, Go to Sport, Rally, then 50th Anniversary of Rallying. Ticket options include single or double tickets, or a table of 10. Select which ‘service park’ you want to be part of and dress up in your old rally team attire, or wear smart casual.

Find out more on the public Facebook group 50 Years of NZ Rallying Dinner.

Source: MotorSport NZ PR

Baldwin tops Elite Motorsport Academy points to date

Nineteen-year-old race driver Jordan Baldwin has topped the points-table following the intensive week-long camp in Dunedin which commences the New Zealand Elite Motorsport Academy programme for 2017.

Baldwin, from Howick, Auckland, is one of eight young motorsport competitors selected to participate in the year-long training and coaching programme designed to provide the competitors with an array of skills and knowledge to help them progress more quickly in their motorsport career. Managed by the MotorSport New Zealand Scholarship Trust, the Elite Motorsport Academy is run by world-class tutors from Otago Academy of Sport and the University of Otago’s School of Physical Education’s Human Performance Centre.

Baldwin, who has raced mini-stocks and karts with considerable success and is currently a regular top-three place-getter in the hugely-popular and competitive BMW Race Series, says his motivation in seeking to be selected for the Elite Motorsport Academy programme stemmed from seeing the accelerated development of earlier academy participants.

“A lot of them have come out [of the academy programme] and been extremely successful,” says Baldwin. “It’s what you learn about what to do outside of the car at the Elite Academy – that’s a huge part of being as good as we can be inside the car. It’s crucial to what happens on race day.”

The academy camp sees participants learn a wide array of skills and techniques to aid their mental and physical fitness as a motorsport competitor, as well as the sponsorship and marketing, nutrition and media skills needed to succeed in the sport.

“Coming to grips with all those aspects of being a top competitor, all those steps to make sure we’re the best we can be, that learning has been fantastic,” says Baldwin. “It’s been one of the best weeks of my life. What you’ll learn is far more than you can ever learn somewhere else. The academy is run so professionally. Everyone involved does an amazing job.”

The academy programme also provides a twelve-month follow-up package tailored for each participant to ensure they retain and further develop the training regimes and educational opportunities demonstrated during the camp.

“I have a lot of ground to cover over the next 12 months; I want to develop as much as I can,” says Baldwin who aims to compete in the one-make, ultra-competitive Toyota 86 Championship. “I’m looking forward to working with the providers assigned to assist me with the year-long programme ahead – they’re all world-class. I want to put everything I can into making sure I’m the best, to see how much I can develop in the next 12 months and into the future.”

The top three for the 2017 NZ Elite Motorsport Academy camp points total included 19-year-old race driver Arran Crighton, from Auckland, in second place and 25-year-old rally driver Jack Williamson, from Hamilton, in third.

Trustee David Turner says it’s been another great year at the Elite Motorsport Academy camp. “We’re delighted to now know another truly great bunch of people who have embraced the concept and values of the programme. Since 2004 we have now had a total of 123 athletes go through this programme which has set new standards and benchmarks for our young driving talents. The Elite Academy has more than proven that we bred very highly recognised talent in this country, highlighted by the fact that 30 per cent of all Elite Academy students go on to compete on the international world stage. The recent victory in the 2017 24 Hours of Le Man by Kiwis Brendon Hartley (class of 2005) and Earl Bamber (class of 2007) is a shining example.”

Turner adds: “The class of 2017 were very competitive and it was a very tightly-fought battle to top the points-table from the camp. Well done to Jordan to edging out the other seven athletes in close competition.

“The battle for the Ian Snellgrove Trophy – awarded to the top Elite Motorsport Academy graduate each year – now carries on across the balance of the year. The 2017 participants continue to focus on the post-camp sections of the academy though until May of 2018 where the winner will be announced at the 2018 Motorsport New Zealand awards night. It will be fascinating to see how each of our athletes do and I most certainly look forward to working with them and see the process in the coming months.”

The 2017 Elite Motorsport Academy participants are:

  • Jordan Baldwin, 19, race driver, Auckland
  • Sarah Brennan, 25, rally co-driver, Christchurch
  • Arran Crighton, 19, race driver, Auckland
  • Samantha Gray, 22, rally co-driver, Lincoln
  • Reece Hendl-Cox, 16, race driver, Whakatane
  • Kaleb Ngatoa, 16, kart/race driver, Marton
  • Job Quantock, 23, rally driver, Christchurch
  • Jack Williamson, 25, rally driver, Hamilton

New Zealand’s Elite Motorsport Academy first ran in 2004 with race drivers Nelson Hartley, Christina Orr, Chris Pither and Tim Edgell among the selected participants that year. Since then, many academy graduates have forged successful international careers such as Shane van Gisbergen, Brendon Hartley, Hayden Paddon, Earl Bamber and Mitch Evans.

Follow the Elite Motorsport Academy on Facebook.

Source: MotorSport NZ PR

Photo: David Turner

Bamber and Hartley champion NZ motorsport with Le Mans win

Kiwis Earl Bamber and Brendon Hartley, with German team-mate Timo Bernhard, staged an incredible comeback to win the 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours. The drivers and Porsche crew never gave up even though the number two Porsche 919 LMP1 Hybrid was, at one point, 19 laps off the lead and second to last in the standings, and then won the famous race by a lap over the nearest car.

Bamber, originally from Whanganui, is now a two-time Le Mans winner, adding this win which has been described as ‘a comeback of remarkable proportions’ to his 2015 Le Mans victory. Hartley, originally from Palmerston North, adds his first Le Mans win to his already impressive race résumé which includes the 2015 world endurance championship title.

It is the first time since 1966, when Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon took their Ford GT40 to victory, that two New Zealanders have been in the winning car and Hartley was happy to have repeated the feat with his childhood friend. “That was a real fight,” he told Giles Richards at The Guardian. “You can’t write these stories. It’s Le Mans, it’s always unpredictable, sometimes you don’t believe that such a story exists but it did. I am happy to be sharing this with Earl. We’ve known each other since we were seven years old.”

Bamber was equally elated. “I can’t believe we’ve managed to pull this one off having been at the back of the field after an hour in the pit-box,” said Bamber. “Both Brendon and Timo have been part of the Porsche LMP programme from the beginning while this victory is as much down to the guys in the pits. Without their hard work, we wouldn’t have got back racing again so this win is down to them.”

Back home in New Zealand, motorsport fans have saturated social media with their congratulations for the star Kiwi drivers, which added to an exciting weekend of international motorsport for Kiwis with Scott McLaughlin and Fabian Coulthard securing race wins at the latest Supercars round in Darwin.

MotorSport New Zealand CEO, Brian Budd says: “Brendon Hartley and Earl Bamber’s win of the Le Mans 24 Hour Race was a fantastic effort and again highlights the fact that New Zealand continues to punch above its weight on the international motorsport stage.

“It’s also fantastic to see IndyCar super star Scott Dixon, driving for Ford Chip Ganassi Team USA, and Aston Martin factory driver Richie Stanaway both finish this year’s Le Mans race in the top 10 of the GTE Pro category. To finish this race is an achievement that can not be underrated.

“Across the Tasman, New Zealand competitors continue their dominance in the Australian V8 Supercar Championship with Fabian Coulthard leading by 10 points from Scott McLaughlin, and fellow Kiwi and defending Supercars champion Shane van Gisbergen in fourth.

“Everyone at MotorSport New Zealand and across the wider New Zealand motorsport fraternity are immensely proud of the continued successes and achievements of our competitors both at home and abroad.”

Budd adds: “There are other New Zealanders who contributed to the Porsche factory team winning Le Mans for the third consecutive year, notably Amiel Lindesay, originally from Onehunga, Auckland, who holds the pivotal role of crew chief in the 250-strong Porsche LMP Team.”

Budd also notes two key links in the formative years of Bamber and Hartley’s careers. “Both Earl and Brendon raced in the Toyota Racing Series with Earl the youngest winner of the Lady Wigram Trophy at age 17, until 16-year-old Lance Stroll won it in 2015. Brendon was the first-ever winner of a TRS race.

“Both Earl and Brendon attended the Elite Motorsport Academy – Earl in 2007 and Brendon in 2005. Managed by the MotorSport New Zealand Scholarship Trust, the Elite Academy shows it continues to play an important role in preparing young New Zealand motorsport competitors for the pressures of international competition.”

Source: MotorSport NZ PR

Photo: Porsche

Specific technical regulations for national homologation

Important Notes:
The following document is a technical proposal for a nationally developed 4 wheel-drive rally car intended [as a replacement for FIA Group N] that provides a similar specification to the current FIA R5 that is ostensibly able to be ‘self-built’ from locally sourced components.
The draft proposal encompasses the following provisions which initially have been adopted to cater for as wide a customer base as possible although it its envisaged that a number of these provisions may be removed as the category develops or as required in order to achieve parity with existing car categories and/or to gain FIA regional approval.
• Freedom of choice to national or regional build specification

• Freedom of choice to engine capacity (as per engine capacity classes)

• Freedom of choice to many component parts

• Freedom of choice to source of component parts

The regulations are written primarily for national competitions although include a number of alternative specifications that are envisaged to enable a ‘Nationally Homologated’ car to be ‘Regionally Approved’ for international competitions in the Asia Pacific region.