The NZ Formula First Championship is gearing up for its 50th year of racing this summer and it’s set to be its best season yet! Increased entry numbers, a return to the New Zealand Grand Prix and a 50th Anniversary celebration are going to be just a few highlights of the upcoming season.
Long-time supporter of the class and motorsport enthusiasts Hi-Q Components have continued their support, joining as the championship’s naming rights sponsor for the third year running. The category is also set to join the premier series on a more regular basis, with four of its rounds being held at national promoter Speed Works championship meetings.
The Championship will retain its eight-round calendar, kicking off on Labour weekend at Manfeild Circuit Chris Amon before a Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park doubleheader on November 18-20 and again on December 1-3. The Series will then take a two-month break before winding up again at Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park on February 2-4 as an undercard for the international Toyota Racing Series.
A welcome return to racing at the New Zealand Grand Prix marks round five for the championship before heading back to Manfeild for round six and travelling north to Hampton Downs for the penultimate round on the calendar. After an absence from last season’s calendar, Pukekohe Park Raceway will host the championship finale on March 30th – April 1st.
Foster, also a driver and past Champion in the class looks forward to returning to Pukekohe and racing at the New Zealand Grand Prix again. “Pukekohe is an amazing track to drive these cars on, it’s full throttle out of the hairpin all the way to turn two which is a huge buzz for the drivers and a great spectacle for the punters too with the cars three wide through turn one.”
With 21 cars set to take to the grid at Manfeild in just over a month’s time and at least five of those being rookies, the season is set to be another shake-up with it almost certain that a new Champion will be crowned in April 2018.
“Some of the talent we’ve got this year is exciting! The mix of rookies and second-year drivers will be a great contest along with some stalwarts of the category like Alex Hawley and Chris Symon thrown into the mix I’m sure the racing will be even closer and more exciting than last season.”
After successful trials across the championships traditional precursor, the Manfeild Winter Series, Formula First TV will be delivering video content across the championship, including live footage during race weekends and a delayed highlights package the following week. The video will be predominantly interviews with drivers and crew with snippets of the best racing from the weekend.
The class will also hold a 50th Anniversary celebration later in the year to celebrate what the class has achieved, the drivers past and present as well as its place in New Zealand’s Motorsport landscape.