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Formula Atlantic Showcase, Ford Celebration and New Date for 2025 Taupō Historic Grand Prix

Lock in 11-12 January 2025 on the calendar; the Taupo Historic GP at Taupo International Motorsport Park is an event not to be missed.

“We’re very excited to celebrate some iconic cars and drivers that have graced New Zealand circuits in years gone by,” said Taupo International Motorsport Park CEO Josie Spillane.

“We’ve got some very exciting things in the works, and planning is well underway for what will be an unforgettable weekend. There’ll be something for everyone.”

Formula Atlantic racing in New Zealand has been a breeding ground for world-renowned talents in years gone by, with the likes of Jos Verstappen, Keke Rosberg, and Jacques Laffite having ventured to these shores to compete.

Many famed Kiwi drivers, including Supercars icon Greg Murphy, have also achieved success after spending time competing in the class.

Murphy is on the organising team for the 2025 Historic Grand Prix and recognises that his time in the famed single-seaters was crucial to his development as a driver.

“Formula Atlantics are hugely exciting to me because I raced them here in New Zealand in the 90s as a part of my stepping stone into racing,” said Murphy.

“I’m a massive fan of the cars; they played a huge part in my career.

“In the 1980s and 90s, the Formula Atlantics were a pathway to a single-seater career.

“The list of drivers that have come through Formula Atlantics and gone on to bigger and better things is enormous.

“Americans, Europeans and people from all over the world would come to New Zealand over our summer to get experience, log miles and get competition before going back to the Northern Hemisphere to race.

“We were doing that way back in the 80s and 90s, and it’s what CTFROC does so successfully to this day.”

Several overseas Atlantics will travel to New Zealand for the 2025 Historic Grand Prix, joining their New Zealand-based counterparts for a weekend of on-track activity and off-track displays.

A standalone field of the cars will compete at the event, racing for the 2025 Historic GP trophy in their feature.

Kiwi Motorsport co-founder Garry Orton is working on bringing cars to the country, with Barry Leitch, Peter Johnson, and John Tomlin supporting his efforts on the ground in New Zealand.

“They were very special cars in their time,” said Orton. “They launched the careers of a lot of Formula 1 drivers, just like the Toyota Racing Series has.

“There are a lot of these cars around the country, and this is an excellent opportunity to get them out of their sheds. They’re fast, they sound good, and they are a different generation of racecar.

“We’ve also got a few in the United States that are quite interested in coming over, and a couple of those guys that are showing interest raced Formula Atlantics in New Zealand in the early 90s.”

Formula Atlantic owners are encouraged to contact Orton, Leitch, Johnson, or Tomlin to register their interest.

The 2025 Taupo Historic GP will also pay tribute to legendary manufacturer Ford with show and shines, demonstration laps, displays and a special Ford all-comers class for racing.

Work is underway to bring several renowned Ford race cars to New Zealand. Several celebrities linked to the brand have already expressed their interest in attending.

Ford President and CEO Jim Farley spent time at Highlands Motorsport Park in 2023, where he recognised New Zealand’s passion for the company.

“We are so proud that the Ford Ranger has been New Zealand’s best-selling vehicle for the last nine years,” he said.

“2024 will again be a special year for Ford in New Zealand, first with the announcement Ford will be the celebrated marque at the 2025 Historic Grand Prix at Taupo Motorsport Park and then with our new Mustangs returning to race in Supercars.

“I have met so many Kiwis who love Ford, and we feel the exact same way about New Zealand. Our nearly 100-year history in the country speaks for itself.

“The only thing we could have done better was to have Greg Murphy drive for Ford, and then the Lap of the Gods would have been in a Falcon.”

In addition to the Formula Atlantic and Ford showcases, other categories invited to the event include Historic Saloon cars, Historic Muscle cars, Historic Touring Cars, and F5000.

Circuit owner Tony Quinn joins Spillane, Murphy, Orton, Tim Hill, Steve Horne and Martin Collins on the organising team for the event, with further support provided by Leitch, Johnson, Tomlin and the legendary Kenny Smith.

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