Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park
NZ's premier motorsport and driver training facility
2021 Taupō Historic GP Celebrating Ford
*Unfortunately the rebuild of the GeeCeeEss has been held up because of lack of parts from the USA due to Covid-19 restrictions so will not ready to be put on display at the Taupō Historic GP; and the McLaren M23 will not now be ready to be run on the track and can’t make it to Taupō either.
2021 Taupō Historic GP Celebrating Ford
Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park, Taupō
22 – 24 January 2021
The fifth edition of the Taupō Historic GP next January will continue the now annual tradition of celebrating a marque of car each year – and for 2021, it will be Ford.
The idea of a marque celebration was the suggestion of Jim Barclay and Tony Roberts, directors of the annual Festivals of Motor Racing that ran from 2010 to 2016.
Ford had been in their long-term thinking for some years so, in conjunction with Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park owners TMP Ltd, the decision was taken to test the appetite for celebrating the marque that is, without doubt, the most synonymous of all with New Zealand motorsport.
The New Zealand arm of the famed Dearborn, Michigan manufacturer has supplied and supported Ford cars and teams for more than 70 years, both on the country’s motor racing circuits with the likes of the Ford Dealer touring car team of the 1980s and ‘90s, and the famous Masport Escort Team that contested selected rounds of the World Rally Championship in the 1970s and ‘80s. Ford New Zealand has also supported the careers of single-seater champions like World Touring Car title winner, Paul Radisich with their famous Ford-Cosworth 1.6 litre BDA engine in his Formula Atlantic campaigns in the 1990s.
Persuading now-retired Ford Motor Company senior executive Garry Jackson to join the 2021 organising committee was a major coup for Roberts, Barclay and the TMP Team. With many years’ involvement in Ford motorsport dating back to the Masport Escort Team, then as manager of Ford’s involvement in Touring Car, Formula Atlantic, Formula Ford, and the Escort Sport and Laser series, no one was better qualified than Jackson to identify and locate the historic cars that could truly celebrate Ford motorsport.
Garry remains as active as ever in Ford motoring affairs through his role as president of the Canterbury Mustang Owners’ Club that this year hosts the National Mustang Convention. He believes the 2021 Taupō Historic GP will be a hit.
“For years motorsport enthusiasts have, at some time or another, leaned on a farmer’s fence beside a rally stage or sat in a grandstand or on the grass at race track identifying with their favourite Ford. Whether it was the RS1600 Mk 1 Escorts, the Mustang notchbacks of the 1960s, the PDL Mustang Fastbacks of the 1970s and ‘80s, or Paul Fahey’s giant-killing RS2600 Capri, enthusiasts everywhere can think of their favourite Ford” says Jackson.
“And the older generation can even recall the ‘Specials’ of the 1950s and early ‘60s, many of which featured Ford power”.
One of the most famous examples of the “Specials”, the Ford-powered GeeCeeEss designed, developed and driven by Auckland’s George Smith between 1951 and 1957, will make its appearance at the Taupo circuit in January after a meticulous re-build to 1951 specification by current owner Roger Herrick.
Herrick’s affinity with the GeeCeeEss dates back to his days as a child, staring through the window of his father’s central city office across the road from Smith’s workshop on St Benedict’s Street. Herrick clearly recalls watching with interest the GeeCeeEss and other “Specials” coming and going from the shop. “When the opportunity came up to buy the car from then ‘caretaker’ Bill Clark, I leapt at it” says Herrick.
Included in the iconic Fords models and Ford-powered cars expected to appear at the 2021 Taupō Historic GP is an example of the last Formula One car raced by New Zealand’s only World Champion, the late Denny Hulme; the Ford-Cosworth DFV-powered McLaren M23 now owned by the Giltrap family.
Ford races and on-track demonstrations will feature the numerous models of Zephyrs, Anglias, Cortinas, Mustangs, Escorts, Capris and Falcons that have graced race tracks and rally stages around New Zealand for over 60 years.
The single-seater races will include 1967 to 1988 examples of the world’s most successful junior category, Formula Ford. It was in Formula Ford that some of New Zealand’s most successful international drivers including Scott Dixon, Earl Bamber, Shane Van Gisbergen, Greg Murphy and Craig Baird honed the skills that took them to numerous championship and race titles around the world.
As well as grids for iconic Fords and Ford-powered cars over the three-day event, racing at the 2021 Taupō Historic GP will include:
- Formula 5000s, the iconic stock-block 5-litre V8 single-seater category that dominated single-seaterracing in NZ, Australia, the United States and the UK from the late 1960s to 1976;
- Historic Muscle Cars and Historic Saloon Cars, the FIA Group 2 and Group 5 touring cars that contested the New Zealand Saloon Car Championships in the late 1960s and early 1970s;
- Formula Juniors and Sports Racing Cars from 1958 to the late 1960s.
Qualifying for the 2021 Taupō Historic GP meeting starts on Friday 22nd January with racing getting underway at 9:30 a.m on Saturday the 23rd . The racing re-commences at 9:15 a.m on Sunday the 24th with the Historic GP title race for Formula 5000s scheduled to start at around 2:30 p.m.
As a special “thank you” to the Ford-owner clubs organising displays and track tours by their members, special parking and display areas are reserved for cars bearing the famous “Blue Oval”.
- Photo A – caption: The 1951 GeeCeeEss Special
- Photo B – caption: The late Denny Hulme’s Ford-Cosworth McLaren M23, here driven by two-time World Champion at Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park Taupō, January 2007. Photo credit: Richard Gee
- Photo C – caption: Dale Mathers, 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 302 (Historic Muscle Car). Photo credit:Jim Lester of TWINCAMera Photography – Images of speed – email@example.com
For more information about the 2021 Taupō Historic GP Celebrating Ford at Taupo’s Bruce McLarenMotorsport Park contact:
Chris Abbott, Director
Mob. 021 994 777
Tony Walker, Managing Director
Mob. 021 969 980
TMP Limited, Owners and Operators of Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park, Taupō
Call us on 07 376 5033