|New Zealand's Formula 5000 Association will be the first group of it's type in the world to officially celebrate the 40th anniversary of the iconic stock block 5-litre-engined single-seater category.
It will be doing so in style too, with 19 of the beautifully refurbished stock block 5-litre V8-engined single-seater racing cars set to take to the track for the MSC F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series races at the Lady Wigram Trophy race meeting at Christchurch's Powerbuilt Tools Raceway @ Ruapuna Park over the January 5-6 weekend.
The Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) was the first sanctioning body to accommodate cars powered by production-based 5-litre V8 engines but New Zealand was one of the first countries outside the United States to run a race for the cars.
That race, won by American Ron Grable driving a Spectre HR1 Formula 5000 car, was at Mount Maunganui's Bay Park circuit on December 28 1968 and its success prompted the Motorsport Association of New Zealand to adopt Formula 5000 as the country's national formula in 1969.
That group and Australia's Confederation of Australian MotorSport (CAMS) the adopted it for the annual Tasman Series championship in 1970. It's appropriate that New Zealand will be the first country in the world to officially commemorate the 40th anniversary of the F5000 category because the local Formula 5000 Association has been at the forefront of a global move over the past five or six years to locate, restore and re-commission cars built for the various Formula 5000 (or Formula A as it was called in the United States) series in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Though the majority of cars were built in Great Britain and sold to the United States, over 30 are now owned and raced by category enthusiasts in New Zealand. And of that 30-plus number 19 are expected on the grid at the Lady Wigram Trophy meeting where the MSC F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series is supporting the country's current premier single-seater category, the Toyota Racing Series.
In its heyday - between 1970 and 1977 - Formula 5000 (or Formula A as it was called in the United States) was the premier national single-seater formula in the United States, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, as well as one of the main domestic single-seater categories in the UK. Eventually however it was superceded by the smaller, lighter and supposedly cheaper Formula Atlantic (called Pacific here in New Zealand).
This season's MSC Tasman Cup Revival Series is again sponsored by shipping line MSC, transport operators Pacifica, NZ Express, Bonney Transport, Smith and Davies and Toll, Avon race tyre importer Dold Industries and L.G.Anderson and Co.
The series is supported by the Historic Racing Club (HRC), the MG Car Club of Wellington, the Historic Motor Racing Club Inc, The Canterbury Car Club, Southland Sports Car Club and Australia's Victorian Historic Racing Register.
For more information visit the Association's web site: www.f5000.co.nz/ Calendar
2007/08 F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series
Rnd 1: November 10-11 2007 MG Classic meeting Manfeild Autocourse (Feilding, NZ)
Rnd 2: January 5-6 2008 Lady Wigram Trophy meeting Powerbuilt Tools Raceway (Christchurch, NZ)
Rnd 3: January 26-27 2008 HRC Tasman Revival meeting Pukekohe Park Raceway (Pukekohe, NZ)
Rnd 4: February 2-3 2008 HRC Tasman Revival meeting Taupo Motorsport Park (Taupo, NZ)
Rnd 5: March 7-9 2008 Phillip Island Historic meeting Phillip Island (Vic, Aust)