Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park

NZ's premier motorsport and driver training facility

Big Crowds enjoy thrilling racing at Taupō Historic GP Celebrating Ford

2021 Taupō Historic GP Celebrating Ford

Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park, Taupō

23 – 24 January 2021


Big Crowds enjoy thrilling racing at Taupō Historic GP Celebrating Ford

Just over 15,000 people enjoyed three days of close, exciting historic car racing action at last weekend’s Taupō Historic GP celebrating Ford Motor Company’s near-60-year involvement in New Zealand motorsport.

“2021 was my second year on the organising committee for this event and I was particularly pleased that the attendance was up thirty percent on 2020 which I believe had been the biggest of the four years the Taupō Historic GP had been running up ‘til then” says Tony Roberts, president of the Historic Racing Club who, with Chris Watson, was one-half of the founding partnership of the Hampton Downs circuit in North Waikato.

“Chris, Jim (fellow historic racer, Jim Barclay), Richard Gee and I organised the NZ Festival of Motorsport at Hampton Downs for many years and the Taupo Historic GP has now taken its place in terms of quality and quantity of important historic racing cars, spectator numbers and general public interest” says Roberts.

“The Festivals gave us a pretty good sense of how to gauge these things. You can only get the real vibe of an event by being there and being part of the organisation. We think the Taupō event has now firmly stepped into the shoes left empty by the Festivals after we sold Hampton Downs”.

Photo caption – Paul McCarthy, 1975 Broadspeed Escort RS1600 and Dale Mathers, 1969 Mustang 302 Boss leading the 39-car Historic Muscle and Saloon Car field at last weekend’s Taupō Historic GP – photo credit: Ian Thornton

A well as helping organise the weekend’s event, Roberts not only raced his 1969 McLaren M10A in the Formula 5000 races, he also drove the Dale Mathers/Mike Coory-entered Penske-tribute 5.7 litre 1969 Chevrolet Camaro in the 38 car Historic Muscle & Saloon Car races.

“We had a real ding-dong, 9 car battle for the lead in each race with a whole lot of early ‘70s Mk 1 Ford Escort RS1600s running all over me, the other Camaro, the GTHO Falcons and the Boss Mustangs in the corners, with us blowing them away each time we went down the long back straight. On the slowing down lap, the huge crowd on the embankment all stood up and gave us a standing ovation. I’ve never seen anything like it” says Roberts.

“The Formula F5000 racing was also great” says Roberts.

“Our handicap race was probably the best of the weekend even if I did get beaten by my old car!” (Toby Annabell taking the win in his ex-Roberts 1970 McLaren M10B).

“Toby drove superbly all weekend and thoroughly deserved to win the handicap race, but he couldn’t quite pass me in the feature 10 lap race” says Roberts.

“He’s very quickly learned how to tame these 550 horsepower monsters and he’ll definitely be a force to be reckoned with in the future.”

Photo caption – An ecstatic Toby Annabell scored a momentous win in only his fifth Formula 5000 race – photo credit: Fast Company/Geoff Ridder

The Taupō Historic GP was held over two-days, 23 and 24 January 2021. As well as the races for Historic Muscle and Saloon Cars and Formula 5000, the event featured demonstrations of many Historic Ford racing and rally cars, and races for Formula Junior, Historic Sports Racing and other Invited Historic Cars, Historic Formula Fords, Historic Sports Sedans & Allcomers and Tranzams, plus lunch-time parades of more than 180 Fords spanning 60 years of motoring in New Zealand assembled by members of multiple Ford-Owner clubs from around the country.

As always, a big thank you to all the volunteers who make an event like this possible.

For more information about the 2021 Taupō Historic GP Celebrating Ford, contact:

Chris Abbott – TMP Ltd,, Mob. 021 994 777


Call us on 07 376 5033

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