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Ten Kiwis add to Phillip Island F5000 trans-Tasman event

Of the 21 Formula 5000 cars competing at Australia’s Phillip Island Classic this weekend (8-10 March 2024) will be ten from the SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival series.

The fourth event on the 2023/24 calendar it is one of multiple off-shore adventures the Kiwi cars will be appearing at this year.

Returning to the island, located to the south-east of Melbourne, the Festival of Motorsport weekend is a tip to yester-year competition including the F5000 cars that contested the Australian Gold Star Race series in the 1970’s.

Marking the 2024 occasion will be the awarding of a trophy instigated by event promoters the Victorian Historic Racing Register (VHRR). It will be contested at Sunday’s eight-lap feature race.

There to present the inaugural trophy bearing his name to the winner of the Phillip Island F5000 Historic Grand Prix will be Kevin Bartlett.

Known for his successes in Formula 5000, Bartlett also won the 1969 Macau Grand Prix, 1974 Bathurst 1000, and the Australian Drivers’ Championship three times.

The chief of driver standards for the F5000 races, Bartlett says its 4.445km layout is suited to the thundering V8s:

“Phillip Island is very simple – the new guys will pick it up quickly. It has one blind approach, with plenty of run-off. The track lends itself to a flowing pattern, the straights are longer – you have time to settle down and look at things.”

Bartlett has endorsed the Kiwi drivers who will compete at Phillip Island for the first time.

“They won’t have any problem – look at all the racing they’ve been doing. I’ll have a good chat with them and ensure, along with guys like John Bowe, are there to answer all their questions.”

One car Bartlett will be keeping an eye on is the Magnum Wheels Lola T332 of Codie Banks (Auckland). Known as chassis HU 16, it’s a car he re-purchased from Queensland speedster Bruce Allison – built from parts, rather than being factory made.

“Back in the day we all did custom things with our cars, the likes of Oxton, Lawrence, Stewart, myself. There was one thing we did with that car and when I see the car I will be able to tell straight away if it’s been kept the same as when I ran it – although it’s possible that piece has been changed. They are all a bit like granddad’s axe.”

Also on the entry list is dad David Banks, in the Talon MR1 (ex-Jon Woodner), Kevin Ingram (Lola T332), Alastair Chalmers (Chevron B32), Bruce Kett (Lola T332), Tony Galbraith (Lola T332). In addition are four A category cars: Tony Roberts (McLaren M10A), Toby Annabell (McLaren M10B), Grant Clearwater (McLaren M10A), Frank Karl (McLaren M10B).

With the cars shipped to Australia now being unloaded at the venue the teams get a taste of the circuit from Thursday morning for the first of three practice sessions.

Qualifying is done on Friday morning with a four-lap race in the afternoon.

There are two races on the Saturday, five laps in the morning and seven laps in the afternoon.

Sunday morning there is another five-lap race with the Historic GP race scheduled for 12:15pm (AEDT). A sixth race, mid-afternoon, is open for teams to contest – of 11 laps.

Weather for the island location is expected to be fine with variable cloud and temperatures varying from a high of 19degC on Thursday to the 30’s on Saturday and Sunday.

Continuing to support the SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series as they travel across the Tasman are SAS Autoparts, MSC, NZ Express Transport, Bonney’s Specialised Bulk Transport, Mobil Lubricants, Avon Tyres, Webdesign, Exide Batteries and Pacifica Shipping – who sea freight the cars for the New Zealand events.

You can follow the series on Facebook at F5000 New Zealand or via the official website www.f5000.co.nz.

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