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Highlands Festival of Speed teams up with Aussie Racing Cars

3 December, 2014

It’s been confirmed that the two-day Highlands Festival of Speed — Muscle Car Battle, to be held over the weekend of January 30–February 1, 2015, has been paired with the popular Aussie Racing Cars. 

Powered by 1.2-litre, 125hp, twin-cam, 16-valve engines and weighing only 450kg, the Aussie Racing Cars (ARC) will easily reach 230kph plus on the Highlands’ circuit straights. Constructed on a purpose-built space-frame chassis, the cars sport one of numerous composite panel designs, including the classic ’40 Ford and FJ Holden body styles, Ford Falcon, and Holden Commodore. This year ARC designers have taken inspiration from American muscle, including characteristics from Ford’s Mustang and Chevrolet’s Camaro.

All cars are approximately half the size of their full-sized counterparts and all mechanically identical. On top of that, Falcon GTs, Boss Mustangs, Chevrolet Camaros, Chrysler Chargers, Holden Monaros, and the giant-killing Holden Toranas are just some of the iconic muscle cars you’ll see racing throughout that weekend. Then there’s the other categories competing — modern and classic saloons, vintage and classic single seaters, and Formula Libre open-wheelers.

Taking place at the world-class Highlands Motorsport Park, fans can enjoy classic car racing, classic and retro displays of cars, motorcycles, caravans, and boats, as well as other fun, classic entertainment for the family.  

Highlands’ General Manager, Mike Sentch, is looking for a range of vehicles, from hot rods to immaculate classics — if you reckon your car fits the bill, get in touch with him at [email protected]. There’s no charge, and you’ll be provided with one free weekend pass if your vehicle is chosen. 

Motorsport Flashback – Kiwi rallying in the 1970s

Rallying arrived in New Zealand in 1973 like a tsunami. It had been only a few years since the sport was introduced here and shortly afterwards Heatway came on board as the sponsor to take rallying to a new level. The 1973 Heatway would be the longest and biggest yet, running in both islands with 120 drivers over eight days and covering some 5400 kilometres. The winner was 31-year-old Hannu Mikkola — a genuine Flying Finn who had been rallying since 1963 before putting any thoughts of a career on hold until he completed an economics degree. The likeable Finn became an instant hero to many attracted to this new motor sport thing. I was one of them.

Think of it as a four-door Cooper

New Zealand Mini Owners Club coordinator Josh Kelly of Dunedin loves his Minis. It’s a family affair. Julie and Mike, Josh’s mum and dad, are just as keen, and they can usually all be found taking part in the club’s annual ‘Goodbye, Pork Pie’ charity run from the North of the country to the South.
But lately Josh’s young head has been turned by some other revolutionary BMC cars. He has picked up a couple of Austin and Morris 1100 and 1300s, which he started to restore — that was until an opportunity arose to buy a rare example stored in a shed.