Events Preview # 2 Rnds 2 & 3

Events Preview # 2 Rnds 2 & 3 2010/11 MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series - NZ Festival of Motor Racing - Chris Amon meetings Hampton Downs Fri-Sun Jan 21-23 & 28-30 2011

The battle for 2010/11 MSC F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series honours bursts back into life at Hampton Downs this weekend with defending series champion Ken Smith (Lola T430) holding an early points lead after another dominant performance at the opening round in Christchurch last October.

Smith won the Lady Wigram Trophy race for a record-equaling fourth time at the Christchurch meeting and heads to the first of two MSC F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series rounds at the New Zealand Festival of Motor Racing - Chris Amon meetings at the Hampton Downs circuit over consecutive weekends this month with a 14 point lead in the 2010/11 standings over Christchurch's Tony Richards (Lola T332) with last season's series runner-up Steve Ross (McRae GM1) from Dunedin a further 12 points back in third.

With the regular MSC series field bolstered by the addition of visitors from the UK and Canada at least 29 of the crowd-pleased V8-powered Formula 5000 cars plus the 1974 Amon AF1-01 Formula 1 car of the founder and president of the UK's Masters Historic Racing Series, Ron Maydon, are set to face the starter this weekend and next at the two New Zealand Festival of Motor Racing - Chris Amon meetings.

Included in that group is a six-strong contingent of drivers from the UK, with Peter Dunn (March 72\3A) and Michael Whatley (Surtees TS8) stepping back into their New Zealand-based cars and Mark Dwyer, (Lola T400), father and son Frank and Michael Lyons (Gurney Eagle FA74 & Lola T400 respectively) and Greg Thornton (Chevron B24) again shipping theirs out from Great Britain.

This weekend's meeting will also see the first appearance for the 2010/11 season of several local series regulars including Alastair Russell (McRae GM1), Hamish Paterson (Chevron B32), Warwick Mortimer (Surtees TS5), Calven Bonney (Begg 018), Stuart Lush (McRae GM1), Shayne Windelburn (Lola T400), Kerry McIntosh (Begg FM2) and Poul Christie (Lola T190).

The meeting will also see the first North Island appearance of series newcomers Andrew Higgins (Lola T400) and former New Zealand saloon car racing standouts, Peter Sundberg (Lola T332) and Reg Cook (Lola T400).

With four different cars to race at the two Hampton Downs meetings - a Swift DB4 Formula Pacific, Lola Formula Ford and Toyota Corona Touring Car as well as his Lola T430 F5000 - Ken Smith will be one of the busiest drivers at the Hampton Downs meetings.

His priority, however, will be the F5000.

"Too right," he says, "We were doing 1.02s there last year and I reckon we can knock another second at least off that this time around. We had a pretty good run at Hampton last year so we're obviously in with a good show this time around, but then again so are three or four other people so I'll be giving it 110%, don't you worry about that!'

Chris Amon, the New Zealand driver whose stellar international career this year's two New Zealand Festival of Motor Racing celebrates, raced two Formula 5000 single-seaters here in New Zealand, a Lotus 70 in 1971 and a Talon MR1A in 1975.

The Talon (the car that Aaron Burson will race this weekend) will be one of a number of cars either once driven by or associated with Amon which will be either raced or actively displayed at the two Hampton Down meetings.

The two meetings will have complementary programmes with classic motorcycles supplementing the single-seater and historic/classic saloons this weekend and Muscle Cars doing the honours next.

At the second meeting there will also be a special F1-style qualifying shoot-out on Friday January 28 to determine the grid for the first MSC F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series race with two timed sessions to find the fastest ten and a third to establish the starting order of that ten.

For more information about the two NZ Festival of Motor Racing - Chris Amon meetings go to www.nzfmr.co.nz.

After the two NZ Festival of Motor Racing - Chris Amon meetings the MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series returns to the South Island for the Skope Classic and Evolution Motorsport Classic Speedfest meetings in February before crossing the Tasman for the 2010/11 final at the Qantas Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix meeting at Melbourne's Albert Park in March.

The Grand Prix meeting was not on the original 2010/11 calendar because it is by invitation only. But the invitation to return for a third time came just before Christmas and the F5000 Association was again honoured to accept it.

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.

Ends

2010/11 MSC New Zealand F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series

Points after Rnd 1 of 6
1. Ken Smith (Lola T430) 84 points
2. Tony Richards (Lola T332) 70
3. Steve Ross (McRae GM1) 58
4. Aaron Burson (McRae GM1) 54
5. Andrew Higgins (Lola T400) 44
6. Sefton Gibb (Lola T332) 41
7. Brett Willis (Lola T300) 36
8. Ian Clements (Lola T332) 30
9. Russell Greer (Lola T332) 22
10. Reg Cook (Lola T400) 18
11. David Abbott (Lola T430) 15
12=. Lindsay O'Donnell (Begg FM5) 8
12=. Tony Roberts (March 73A/1) 8
14. Peter Burson (McRae GM1) 4
15. Stan Redmond (Lola T332) 3
16. Peter Sundberg (Lola T332) 1

Calendar
Rnd 1: Oct 30/31 2010 Christchurch Casino Wigram revival meeting Powerbuilt Tools Raceway @ Ruapuna Park Christchurch
Rnd 2: Jan 21-23 2011 NZ Festival of Motor Racing - Chris Amon meeting x 1 Hampton Downs Auckland
Rnd 3: Jan 28-30 2011 NZ Festival of Motor Racing - Chris Amon meeting x 2 Hampton Downs Auckland
Rnd 4: Feb 05/06 2011 Skope Classic meeting Powerbuilt Tools Raceway @ Ruapuna Park Christchurch
Rnd 5: Feb 19-20 2011 Evolution Motorsport Classic Speedfest meeting, Teretonga Park Invercargill
Rnd 6 (Final) March 25-27 2011 Qantas Australian Grand Prix March Albert Park Melbourne, Australia