Lola Heritage

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TOP NEW ZEALAND DRIVER LEADING U.S. F5000 SERIES

Ask anyone involved in the local Formula 5000 Association and they will point out proudly that Dixon is not the only Kiwi leading a major single-seater motor racing series in the United States at the moment. He is, in fact, one of two, the other being their Lola T332-driving clubmate Roger Williams.

Auckland businessman Williams is one of the leading lights in the New Zealand Formula 5000 Association. But rather than joining his fellow members on their trip earlier this year to the UK and Europe, he elected to ship his beautifully rebuilt Interscope-liveried Lola to the United States to compete in the US-based F5000 Drivers' Association 40th Anniversary' Championship series.

A good thing he did too because after two of the three rounds - the final is early next month at the annual US Vintage Grand Prix meeting at Watkins Glen - he leads the overall series points standings with 110 points, 10 more than Steve Davis (Eagle Mk 5) and 16 more than third placed Hamish Somerville (Lola T400).

At the opening round of the series at the annual Wine County Classic meeting at Infinion Raceway in northern California's Napa Valley over the May 30/June 01 weekend Williams qualified and finished second to fellow Lola T332 driver Tom Dyer in the first race, then came home third behind McRae GM1 driver Paul Hoey and Lola T400 driver Hamish Somerville in the second.

Then at the second round at the Kohler International Challenge with Brian Redman meeting at Road America over the July 19-20 weekend Somerville and Williams were the class of the 32-strong field, Williams winning the qualifying race (which pole man Somerville didn't start) from Chris Pedersen (Lola T300) and Mark Rauchfuss (Lola T332), but Somerville prevailing over Williams after an early battle in the feature.

Which bodes very well for the final round at the US Vintage Grand Prix meeting at Watkins Glen.

The United States is very much the home of the stock-block 5-litre V8-engined Formula 5000 class (where it was originally called Formula A) and Williams's success there could well mean more Kiwi entries if a similar series is run next year.

Members of the F5000 Register (www.f5000registry.com) are certainly keen, having already invited Kiwi car builder and 1972 US Formula A champion Graham McRae to become an honorary member, plus established links with the New Zealand and Australian associations - which will mark the 40th anniversary of the category with celebrations of their own over the 2008/09 season which begins at Sandown Park in Melbourne in November and ends in February at Taupo.

All pictures of Roger Williams at the Kohler International Challenge 2008 courtesy of Glyn Jones.

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