Highlands Motorsport Park gearing up for spectacular Opening
Media Release 8 March 2013
For Immediate Release
Highlands Motorsport Park gearing up for spectacular Opening Festival: Celebrating 100 years of Motorsport in New Zealand
The long-awaited opening of the new Highlands Motorsport Park in Cromwell is only a few weeks away!
The focus will be on the celebration of 100 years of motorsport, featuring nearly 60 New Zealand and internationally significant race cars that spectators can enjoy see driving around the track. Many of these cars can normally only be seen in museums!
From Anne Thompson's 1906 Darracq, the McLaren M8 CanAm (from the McLaren Trust) to Greg Murphy driving his NZ Supertourer and dozens of other race cars, this is an event that no motorsport enthusiast would want to miss!
The lap record will be set by Craig Baird in Tony Quinn's new McLaren MP412C-GT3 (the only one in the Southern Hemisphere!)
On Saturday 30 March, the new Highlands race track, New Zealand’s longest track at 4.5 km and the only one that runs clockwise, then anti-clockwise will be opened by Jim Richards. On Sunday 31 March, the National Motorsport Museum will be opened by Sir Colin Giltrap.
Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll focus on several fascinating race cars. Today, it’s the Texaco Sierra. This car can be seen driving around the new race track of the new Highlands Motorsport Park on 30 and 31 March. After that, the car will be on display in the Highlands National Motorsport Museum.
The article below was written by Allan Dick, the start-up Curator of the Museum.
On display at Highlands National Motorsport Museum
This is one of the most famous and highly prized racing saloons in motorsport history. It’s the Eggenberger Texaco Ford Sierra RS500 number seven car that famously won the 1987 Bathurst 500 — and was then infamously disqualified for a minor irregularity of the front wheel arches — giving victory to an Holden Commodore.
However, that did not stop it from being declared the winner of three other races and taking the “entrants” or “manufacturer’s” WTC title!
The 1980s were a period in motorsport history that has gone down as one of almost excesses in the world of saloon competition. On the gravel there were the Group B cars that were eventually outlawed because they were simply too fast — and on the circuits of the world there was the 1987 World Touring Car Championship (WTC) for Group A cars which was so popular and so full of potential, that it was banned after just one year for fear it diluted the popularity of Formula One.
Ford was serious about winning that inaugural, and one-off WTC and contracted Swiss tuning ace and race car builder Ruedi Eggenberger to build, develop and race a team of group A cars based on the production Ford Sierra Cosworth RS500. The cream of saloon car racing talent in the world were contracted to drive these cars including Klaus Ludvig, Steve Soper, Klaus Niedzwiedz and Pierre Dudonne
Only six of the black liveried Texaco Sierras were ever built and this is the most famous of them all. This is the car that was disqualified at Bathurst, but which won the Wellington Street race three weeks later.
Even though the WTC was cancelled at the end of that first season, these cars quickly went into history and such is the air of mystery that surrounds them, they are the subject of heated debate on social media.
This, the most famous of all the Texaco Sierras is owned by a private New Zealanders who doesn’t advertise his ownership of this famous car. Despite this, he has been contacted by several overseas interests with offers that has reached the seven figure mark!
The Texaco Sierra is on display at the Highlands National Motorsport Museum near Cromwell along with more than 30 other special race and competition cars selected for their rare and interesting history.
These include McLaren M4-12C, Aston Martin GT, PDL Mustang II, the Bruce McLaren Trust M8B CanAm car, the Silcock Jaguar, the Sudchrome Imp, Black Beauty A1GP car and many others.
Tickets are available through Ticketek, so don't wait too long to buy your tickets are they are selling fast!