New Zealand Festival of Motor Racing 2015 – Celebrating Howden Ganley

First off I would like to apologise for this post being even later this year than last year, I have been really busy with other things in life this year and haven’t had a lot of time for photography, editing, writing, etc.

BMW 1 Series

The New Zealand Festival of Motor Racing has cemented itself as one of the best events on the New Zealand automotive calendar, and it gets bigger and better every year. The festival is held over two weekends at Hampton Downs Raceway every year, it celebrates a different driver or manufacturer each year, and brings together some very iconic machinery for two weekends of automotive heaven.


This year it was celebrating Howden Ganley, Howden started out his racing career driving a Lotus Eleven, before moving into Formula 5000’s. After finishing second to Peter Gethin in the European F5000 championship, he caught the attention of the BRM F1 team who signed him on for the 1971 season. Ganley would compete in F1 for 4 years, with 4 different teams, from 1971 to 1974, before leaving the F1 circuit and starting Tiga Race Cars in 1976.

Marlboro BRM

This Marlboro BRM P180 was driven by Howden Ganley at the 1972 Monaco Grand Prix, it was brought to the festival for some demo laps, and to run with the Formula 5000’s, the sound of the V12 roaring around Hampton Downs was absolutely incredible!


The BMW E30’s are always a great class to watch, the series rules allow for very minimal modifications to the cars, and this provides some very close racing, as it’s more about being the faster driver, rather than having the faster car.

Monte Carlo

This Monte Carlo is a car I would be interested to know more about, I have no idea what series this car would have originally raced in, as I cannot find any info or photos of cars like this one, it may well be a custom built car.


Another great class to watch was the Historic Muscle Cars & Australian Trans Am, this was a mixture of cars and drivers from Australia and New Zealand, which made for some interesting rivalry over the two weekends. There was some very competitive racing, and at the same time, a competition to see which country could win the most races over the two weekends.

Kelsey MC2

Alex Kelsey brought out his Kelsey MC2 (Mad Creation 2) to do some demo laps during the lunch breaks, and he also took a few lucky people out for the ride of a life time. The MC2 was built, and designed in a shed in the Coromandel by Alex, and a few helping hands, it’s a scratch built chassis with a Peugeot body, and is powered by a 3.5 liter V6 Formula Renault engine, which sounds phenomenal!!


During the lunch break on Sunday we were all treated to a 5 minute display from a genuine Supermarine Spitfire TR9, one of the best sounding aircraft’s ever produced. The sound of the supercharged Rolls Royce Merlin V12 is absolutely incredible, it sends tingles down my spine every time I hear one!

Ferrari 412T1

The F1 demos made a return this year, much to the delight of myself and many other festival attendees, getting to see incredible cars like the Ferrari 412T on New Zealand soil is such a treat, especially when they are doing what they were built for, being driven, instead of sitting in a storage warehouse or a private collection accumulating dust.

Porsche 911

Another great thing about the festival is getting to see several of the club racing classes in the country come out to put on a show, there can be some awesome machines that come out of the woodwork to race in these classes.

635 CSi

This Boss liveried BMW E24 635CSi was one of my favourite cars from the weekend, it not only looked great in that period correct livery, but it sounded really good too! The 635CSi was a rather popular car in NZ Motorsport during the 80’s, driven by names such as Jim Richards, and it saw it’s fair share of success as well.

Surtees TS11

F5000 is always a crowd favourite, I mean who doesn’t love the sound of a big V8 thundering around a race track, the combination of that thundering V8 and the open wheel chassis means they are always a great class to watch. This particular car started life in 1970 as a Surtees TS11 F1 car before it was converted to F5000 spec in 1971.

Leyton House CG891

While wandering around the pits I spotted this beautiful Leyton House March CG891 on display, this car was run in the 1989 F1 season, and is powered by a howling Judd V8, unfortunately we weren’t able to see this thing in action, but it still looked great sitting in the pits.

Porsche 911 Flatnose

I can’t wait for next year’s festival, it should be back even bigger and better than this year, and it will be celebrating the iconic marque in Motorsport that is Porsche, so there should be plenty of awesome and rare Porsches both out on track, and on display. Hopefully this 911 flat nose will be back again as well, it’s such a beautiful machine. Until next year I will leave you with a few more images from this year’s event, and I hope to see you all at NZFMR next year.