9 Nov
9 November 2023

Manfeild meeting a blast from the fast and furious past

A series celebrating New Zealand’s Formula 5000 racing heritage is set to kick off, with 50-year-old records waiting to be broken.

The MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival series will enter its 21st season this weekend, beginning at the MG Classic event at Manfeild in Feilding on Saturday and Sunday.

The first leg of the series will see 12 original cars from the late 1960s and 1970s face off on a circuit now known as Circuit Chris Amon, in memory of Kiwi racing legend Chris Amon who once graced the track.

The first weekend of the series would include three races over two days, and more cars were set to join the four-round tour as the season progressed.

Each entrant would represent a piece of Manfield racing history, and would look and sound exactly the same as when they first hit the circuit in Feilding in the 1970s. And the time it takes racers to do a lap has barely changed since then.

A McRae GM1 was driven on the circuit on November 17, 2019, clocking in at 1 minute 0.294 seconds. The lap time was comparable to one set more than 43 years earlier on January 11, 1976 – a time of 1 minute, 0.21 seconds set by driver Graeme Lawrence.

“While the tyre technology is better now, it is pretty incredible that for weekend racers that do maybe four or five events a year – they’re right up there (time wise),” said Tony Jack, New Zealand Formula 5000 Association coordinator.

Saturday afternoon’s opening six-lap race will be the first tester of lap records, followed by another six-lap race on Sunday morning, and an eight-lap race that afternoon. Three practice sessions will be held on Friday.

“Right from the start of this new (F5000) series we’ve been at the MG Classic event – and it is one everyone very much looks forward to,” Jack said.

Spectator access at the weekend would be via Manfield’s South St entrance. Friday will be free entry, with gate sales available on Saturday and Sunday.

Following the MG Classic event, the series will move to Taupō for the Historic Grand Prix in January, then to Christchurch for the Skope Classic in February, before finishing at the Phillip Island Classic in Australia in March.

“Although the races used to be a lot longer the reliability of the cars has evolved over the years. The quality of the components has improved over time and with the love and attention these cars get they just keep going.”