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Factory race cars to headline massive 2016 Porsche Festival

5 August, 2015

Hampton Downs Motorsport Park’s annual New Zealand Festival of Motor Racing is set to be bigger and better in 2016, with this event celebrating our friends from Stuttgart: Porsche.

Following on from the successful 2014 Ferrari Festival and 2015 F5000 Festival, which both produced the largest domestic gatherings of Ferraris and F5000s respectively, the Porsche Festival has a lot to live up to. But with up to 1000 Porsche road cars and race cars expected to attend the dual-weekend event, it already looks like it’s going to be one of the marquee race meetings of 2016.

Photo: Porsche

Headlining the list of attendees will be a number of rare Porsche race cars from overseas, with the best of them to be flown to local shores directly from Porsche’s factory in Germany. While it’s yet to be revealed what the cars might be, it’s suspected that one could be the Porsche 919 Hybrid that Kiwi Earl Bamber helped steer to victory at this year’s 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Photo: Porsche

Bamber and his fellow Kiwi and Porsche factory teammate Brendon Hartley are also potential attendees, which would make this the second consecutive festival Hartley has attended, after he surprised some race fans by popping up at the F5000 Festival earlier in 2015.

Photo: Porsche

Organizers are also aiming to secure a number of Porsche racers that reside in Australia. Historic racing models like Porsche’s 956, 935, GT1, and 917 variants have never been seen in New Zealand before, and organizers are hopeful of securing their attendance.

And it won’t just be Porsches present either. Approximately 20 of the best F5000s in the country will return to battle for the F5000 World Series cup, as well as the Historic Muscle Car series, the Heritage Touring Cars, and many others — all of which will build up to a one-hour endurance race, a fitting inclusion considering Porsche’s endurance heritage.

The Porsche Festival is scheduled over two weekends in 2016: January 15–17 and January 22–24. Tickets are now available to be purchased from the Porsche Festival website website.


Penny’s Pagoda – Mercedes Benz 230 SL

We scouted out a few different locations for photographing this car, but they all had one thing in common. At every stop, people could not help but come up and compliment owner Penny Webster on her stunning Horizon Blue Mercedes 230 SL.
There’s something about the ‘Pagoda’ Mercedes — so-called because the distinctive dipping curve of its roofline echoes that of the famous Eastern tiered temples — that encourages people to speak up.
Many classic cars attract a second look, but in most cases people keep their thoughts to themselves. It was striking how many people felt the need to express the warmth of their feelings about this car.
The expansive glass cockpit, the friendly, subtle lines, and its simple three-box shape seem to encourage openness among passers-by.

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.