It’s been a long wait – 37 years in fact – but this coming weekend a full field of Formula 5000 racing cars will once again thunder around Barbagllo Raceway north of Perth.
The stock block 5-litre V8-powered single-seaters last ran at Barbagllo – then called Wanneroo Raceway – in 1979 when the track hosted the Australian Grand Prix. They are finally returning this weekend thanks to the efforts of the organisers of the annual Shannons Perth Classic motor racing meeting.
For over 12 years now, members of New Zealand’s Formula 5000 Association have run a trans-Tasman revival series for the classic V8 single-seater F5000 racing cars. But this year is the first that Barbagllo Raceway has hosted a round.
“We’ve been close before but something has always come up,” says association committee member Glenn Richards. “This time everything fell into place.”
The round at the Shannons Classic meeting will carry points for two separate titles.
The first is the 2016/17 SAS Autoparts MSC F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series. The second is a new Trans-Tasman Challenge being contested across the first four rounds, Perth and Sandown (Melbourne) in Australia, and Hampton Downs and Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park (Taupo) in New Zealand.
An indication of the interest in the 40+ year-old Formula 5000 category and cars can be gauged by the entry. There were 11 entered in the Australian Grand Prix race in 1979. This weekend there will be 14 on the grid eight from New Zealand and six from Australia.
Heading the ‘home’ team is Melbourne driver Paul Zazryn in a Lola T332 and joining him are Tasman Cup Revival Series regulars Bill Hemming (Elfin MR8), Bryan Sala (Matich A53), Peter Brennan (Lola T330) and Rod Carrol (Lola T140).
Also on the grid this weekend will be local motor racing identity Joe Ricciardo, father of Red Bull F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo. Joe will be competing in his first F5000 series outing in his newly acquired McLaren M10.
Making up the New Zealand team, meanwhile, are Aaron Burson (McRae GM1), Glenn Richards (Lola T400) Tony Roberts (McLaren M10A), David Banks (Talon MR1), Frank Karl (McLaren M10B) and Grant Martin (Talon MR1A) from Auckland, Brett Willis (Lola T330) from Rotorua, and Ian Riley (Lola T332) from New Plymouth.
As well as the opening round of the 2016/17 SAS Autoparts MSC F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series the Shannons Perth Classic meeting is also hosting the first round of the Australian leg of the Formula Junior Diamond Jubilee World Tour, as well as the Australian Formula Vee Nationals and races for Historic Touring Cars.
After this weekend’s round at the Shannons meeting at Barbagallo the SAS Autoparts MSC series’ cars, drivers and crew members head to Melbourne for the second Australian round at the 25th annual Historic Sandown meeting at Melbourne’s Sandown circuit over the November 05-06 weekend.
They then cross the Tasman for the remaining three rounds, the first at the NZ Festival of Motor Racing meeting (which this time celebrates the career of four-time series’ title holder Ken Smith) at Hampton Downs between January 20 and 22, and the second at the big Historic F1 vs F5000 Race of Champions Revival meeting at Taupo’s Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park the weekend after.
The final will then be contested at the annual Skope Classic meeting at Christchurch’s Mike Pero Motorsport circuit at Ruapuna Park between February 03 and 05.
The 2016/17 SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series is organised and run with the support of sponsors SAS Autoparts, MSC, NZ Express Transport, Bonney’s Specialized Bulk Transport, Mobil Lubricants, Pacifica, Avon Tyres, Webdesign and Exide Batteries.