2009/2010 NZ F5000 Revival Series

There will be a strong McLaren feel to the coming season's MSC New Zealand F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series with rounds at the two big NZ Festival of Motor Racing celebrating Bruce McLaren meetings in January as well as the much anticipated debut of up to four McLaren M10 models.

Despite the obvious local link with driver/constructor Bruce McLaren and the early career success here of top New Zealand driver Graham McRae behind the wheel of a McLaren M10A then an M10B, the only McLaren to run regularly in the series so far has been Tony Roberts' later model M22.

Roberts however is one of four series regulars who this coming season will be seen behind the wheel of an M10 model.

The others are father and son Poul and Graham Christie who will have a car each, and Frank Karl.

The M10B in particular was one of the most successful Formula 5000 racing cars with wins in 1970 in both the US (John Cannon) and British championships (Peter Gethin) and again in 1971 in the US (David Hobbs) and the Tasman Series in Australia and New Zealand (Graham McRae).

Patterned as it is on the late, great Tasman Series the MSC-backed Tasman Cup Revival Series, now in its seventh year, has rounds in Australia and New Zealand.

After starting and finishing the series in Australia last season this season's series reverts to a New Zealand start with the first round at the annual MG Classic meeting at Manfeild in November, the second in Christchurch in early January then the third and fourth at the two big Bruce McLaren Festival meetings at Hampton Downs and Pukekohe later that month.

Only then does it head across the Tasman, first to Phillip Island for the biennial HRCC classic meeting on March 13 and 14 then to Melbourne for the series final at the FORMULA 1˙ ING Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne a fortnight later.

The NZ Festival of Motor Racing celebrating Bruce McLaren looks set to be the highlight of the 2009/10 motor racing season here with current car owners from all over the world shipping their cars to New Zealand for the two meetings.

With the arrival of the McLaren M10s, as well as several other new car and/or driver combinations, the meetings could also mark a new high in terms of field numbers for the MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series.

Last season the series attracted 24 drivers from New Zealand, eight from Australia, four from the UK and one each from the United States and Canada. And with all the local regulars including 2008/09 MSC series winner Ken Smith, runner-up Tony Richards and third-placed Aaron Burson committed to returning there is the very likely prospect of 40-plus car fields, particularly at the two Bruce McLaren Festival meetings and the FORMULA 1˙ ING Australian Grand Prix final.

Amongst that number will be several new car/driver combinations including those of returning racers Peter Sundberg, who was racing saloon cars when the F5000 single-seaters were in their heyday, and Warwick Mortimer.

Sundberg has bought the ex Johnnie Walker 1979 Australian Grand Prix-winning Lola T332 off series regular Stan Redmond while Mortimer, who's own career pedigree also goes back to saloon cars and the 1970s, has imported an early Surtees TS5 from the UK.

With the Walker car in Sundberg's hands Redmond is busy preparing one of the other Lolas he has in his collection, a late model T333CS used by Warwick Brown to win the Rothmans International Series in Australia in 1978.

Also in new cars for the 2009/10 season will be Aucklander Aaron Burson and Dunedin man Steve Ross (both McRae GM1s) while expected to have his rare Australian-built Gardos ready for its series debut is Historic Racing Club Inc chairman Chris Watson.

"There's certainly a lot of active interest out there, both in the cars and the series," says F5000 Association member and President of the Historic Club Inc, Tony Roberts." When we started we were happy if we had five or six cars and 10 cars was, if you like, a dream come true. Now we're regularly getting as many as 30 with more turning up all the time. It's fantastic really, and the best possible tribute, if you like, to the people who built and drove the cars when they were new."

2009/10 MSC New Zealand F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series - Calendar

Rnd 1: November 14-15 2009 MG Classic meeting Manfeild Feilding
Rnd 2: January 08-10 2010 Lady Wigram Trophy meeting Powerbuilt Tools Raceway @ Ruapuna Park Christchurch
Rnd 3: January 22-24 2010 NZ Festival of Motor Racing celebrating Bruce McLaren meeting Hampton Downs Auckland
Rnd 4: January 29-31 2010 NZ Festival of Motor Racing celebrating Bruce McLaren meeting Pukekohe Park Raceway Pukekohe
Rnd 5: March 12-14 2010 VHRR Phillip Island Classic meeting Phillip Island Australia
Rnd 6: tbc* Mar 25-28 2010 FORMULA 1˙ ING Australian Grand Prix Albert Park Melbourne Aust
*to be confirmed