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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!

The Jowett Jupiter turns 70

John Ball has always enjoyed tinkering with old boats and cars. He’s old enough to think having gearbox parts on newspaper on the floor of his bedroom, while the relevant car sat waiting on nail boxes, was a normal part of growing up. His passion has always tended towards old British bangers. He reckons he’s fortunate not to have got caught up in the American muscle scene.
John’s love affair with this Jupiter started in December 2015 when, with some time on his hands during a Christchurch trip, he searched online for ‘cars, before 1970 and in Christchurch’.

A passion for classics and customs

In the highly competitive field of New Zealand classic and custom restorations, reputations are won or lost on the ability to maintain consistently high standards of workmanship. A company managing to achieve this is D A Panel beating Ltd, of Rangiora near Christchurch. Is your classic or custom car restoration stalled, or in need of a refresh, or perhaps you are looking for experts to rebuild that recent import project out of Europe or the ‘States?