Close this search box.

Scott Dixon to pilot Darracq at 2016 Leadfoot Festival

25 November, 2015


Leadfoot Festival is, without a doubt, one of New Zealand’s most highly regarded motorsport events. The reason why is simple, and it all began a few years ago — 2011, to be exact — when Rod Millen celebrated his 60th birthday. Rod is a legend in Kiwi motorsport, and, as such, the driveway to his sprawling Hahei property — aptly named Leadfoot Ranch — is a winding, mile-long stretch of tarmac-driving perfection. Rod and his wife, Shelly, organized the inaugural Leadfoot Festival as a private event to celebrate Rod’s 60th, and, after giving it a bit of thought, opened further events to the public. 

The event itself is a three-day festival of automotive culture, and the 150-acre Leadfoot Ranch houses a number of large, American-themed barns and buildings overflowing with mechanical goodness, as well as a huge number of car clubs, stalls, and live entertainment to keep all spectators entertained.

However, the real attraction is what’s on that driveway. A huge variety of vehicles from throughout the ages — from vintage race cars, to muscle cars, to drift cars — are driven hard up the course. 

For the 2016 Leadfoot Festival, there’s an extra special guest, too — Kiwi-born, four-time IndyCar Champion Scott Dixon will be there, driving pedal-to-the-metal up the Leadfoot driveway. “Scott visited Leadfoot Ranch early this year when he was home and was blown away with the property and expressed a desire to compete,” says Rod Millen. “We have been working with Scott to make this happen and it gives us the opportunity to celebrate Scott’s incredible success in motorsports. I am very excited to have Scott Dixon attend the February event.”  

Scott will be driving a 1906 Darracq, one of the first Grand Prix cars, and it’s a far cry from what he’s normally seen behind the wheel of. The Darracq was built in 1906 for the first Grand Prix held at Le Mans, and over a century later, is still being raced — albeit in a more laid-back manner. 

With a 14.25-litre four-cylinder, it’s a slow-revving brute of a thing, but it’s by no means a slow vehicle — especially with someone like Scott Dixon behind the wheel. Though it won’t rev to 12,000rpm like an IndyCar, its plentiful torque should make it a treat to watch over the 2016 Leadfoot Festival. We’re looking forward to seeing it in action!

Taipan – surpassing interest

“It’s merely a passing interest,” insists Selby — despite owning three variants of the classic VW Beetle, including an unusual VW van that was sold as a body kit for a Subaru. In his defence he points to a 1961 Ford Thunderbird, a car that he converted to right-hand drive. However, on the VW side of the ledger, since he opened Allison Autos in Whanganui 27 years ago, Selby has built 15 VW-powered Formula First cars, followed by a beach buggy, restored a derelict Karmann Ghia, and hot-rodded a common or garden Beetle into something that has to be seen to be believed. As speed is not something generally associated with classic VWs, though, Selby is still waiting for this particular modification to catch on amongst the hot rod faithful.

Travelling companion

It’s easy to see why the Morris Minor Traveller was one of the best-loved variants of the Morris Minor. Introduced in 1953, it was equipped with the same independent torsion bar front suspension, drum brakes, and rack and pinion steering as its saloon sibling but, with their foldable rear seat increasing versatility, many Travellers were used as trade vehicles, says Derek Goddard. Derek and Gail Goddard, the owners of this superbly restored example, have run Morris Minors since before they were married in 1974.
“Our honeymoon vehicle was a blue Morris Minor van — it was a rust bucket,” says Derek.