SEASON PREVIEW - MSC NEW ZEALAND F5000 TASMAN CUP REVIVAL SERIES
EARLY START FOR 10TH ANNUAL MSC F5000 SERIES SEASONA starring roll at the annual Muscle Car Masters meeting in Sydney on the first weekend of September means an earlier-than-usual start for the 10th annual MSC New Zealand F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series.
Though the final venues and dates of all seven rounds of this season's anniversary series have yet to be signed off the organising committee has confirmed those of the first three rounds this year as well as the fourth, fifth and sixth early in the New Year.
The appearance at the popular Muscle Car Masters meeting will be one of two for the MSC series across the Tasman this season, with a return to the recently refurbished and re-named Sydney Motorsport Park (nee Eastern Creek) circuit in late November for the 2012 Australian Tasman Revival historic motor racing meeting.
In-between is the first New Zealand round at the annual Wigram Revival meeting at Christchurch's Powerbuilt Tools Raceway at Ruapuna Park on October 27 & 28 and after the Tasman Revival meeting in Sydney over the November 24/25 weekend come the back-to-back fourth and fifth MSC series rounds at the two NZ Festival of Motor Racing - celebrating Denny Hulme meetings at Hampton Downs over consecutive weekends in late January 2013.
Defending MSC series champion Steve Ross (McRae GM1) heads a 14-strong Kiwi assault on the Muscle Car Masters meetings with support from a key group of local racers including three-time former series champion Ken Smith (Lola T430), 2011/12 season series runner-up Aaron Burson (McRae GM1) and fellow Aucklanders Roger Williams (Lola T332) and Clark Proctor (March 73A).
Expected to take the battle to the Kiwis, meanwhile, are top Australian category exponents Andrew Robson and James Davison (both Lola T332), and Bryan Sala (Matich A50).
As in previous years, at the high summer rounds of the MSC series in New Zealand the local fields will be supplemented by entries from category aficionados from the UK, the US, Canada and Australia.
The New Zealand F5000 Association now has 88 owner/drivers with race-ready cars on its books, the majority - 49 - Kiwis, but with its own domestic series finally up and running Australia can now boast 18 to supplement the 10 from the UK, one (current Lady Wigram trophy holder Jay Esterer) from Canada and balance from the United States of America.
This season at least 19 of the Kiwi regulars are committed to contest all rounds of the series with another four doing at least two or three of the other rounds here.
Nine Australian drivers have also indicated that they will be doing rounds of the series on both sides of the Tasman this season.
UK regulars Mark Dwyer (Lola T400) Greg Thornton (Chevron B24), Michael Whatley (Surtees TS8), Frank, Judy and Michael Lyons (Gurney Eagle, Lola T332 & Lola T400) and Peter Dunn (March 73A) have also confirmed their intention to return, as have Americans Bruce Lesson (McLaren M10B), Harin de Silva (Surtees TS8) and Eric Haga (Lola T190), and Canadian Jay Esterer (McRae GM1).
Expected to debut new cars this season, meanwhile, are series regular Poul Christie and fellow Aucklander Frank Karl. Both are currently putting the finishing touches to freshly restored McLaren M10 models.
The MSC F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series is organised and run with the support of sponsors MSC, NZ Express Transport, Bonney's Specialized Bulk Transport, Mobil Lubricants, Pacifica, Smith & Davies, Avon Tyres and Exide.
2012/13 MSC New Zealand F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series CalendarRnd 1: Aug 31-Sept 02 2012 Muscle Car Masters meeting Sydney Motorsport Park (Eastern Creek) Sydney (full circuit)
Rnd 2: Oct 26-28 2012 Wigram Revival meeting Powerbuilt Tools Raceway @ Ruapuna Park Christchurch
Rnd 3: Nov 23-25 2012 Tasman Revival meeting Sydney Motorsport Park (Eastern Creek) Sydney (non-points)
Rnd 4: Jan 18-20 2013 NZ Festival of Motor Racing - Denny Hulme meeting x 1 Hampton Downs Auckland
Rnd 5: Jan 25-27 2013 NZ Festival of Motor Racing - Denny Hulme meeting x 2 Hampton Downs Auckland
Rnd 6: Feb 01-03 2013 Skope Classic meeting Powerbuilt Tools Raceway @ Ruapuna Park Christchurch (provisional)
Rnd 7: Feb 15-17 2013 Classic Speedfest meeting Teretonga Park Invercargill (provisional)
Photos Fast Company/Alex Mitchell..
Andrew Robson (Lola T332), Bryan Sala (Matich A50) and David Abbott (Lola T430) at the final round of the 2011/12 series at Phillip Island earlier this year.
Top Australian driver James Davison (Lola T332) leading Robson and Sala at the same meeting.