The thundering SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival series touches down in Christchurch for this weekend’s running of the Skope Classic at Ruapuna.
Two weeks on from their showing at the Historic GP at Taupō, the journey to the South Island is the third event for the 2023/2024 season and a final shakedown for the cars before heading offshore.
The weekend ahead is of three races around Ruapuna’s 3.33km circuit – and a second home to many of those cars that thundered around New Zealand’s circuits in the 1970s. The Skope Classic marks its 34th year of celebrating cars from a bygone era in the way they were intended – by racing them.
Adding to the grid this weekend is a new driver to the line-up – Blenheim’s Michael Hey. The aviation engineer will drive the family McRae GM-1.
Joined by nine other racing classes and their fine machinery, the F5000 cars break silence on Friday morning for the first of two practice sessions – in warm but possibly damp conditions.
If the weather forecast matches what arrives, Saturday morning’s qualifying session will be wet, while the afternoon eight-lap race could be a mix, or not, and possibly breezy.
Summer is due to return on Sunday for the morning eight lap race and afternoon 12-lap farewell – to the unpredictable weather and shortage of wet weather tyres for the series.
The race is then on to have the field meticulously clean their cars ready for packing into shipping containers in the week that follows. Each is scheduled to be transported to the port in the two days prior to the ship’s departure as the series gets sent offshore for the trans-Tasman leg of the season.
The ship sails on 20 February, bound for Australia.
From there, the cars are transported for the Phillip Island Classic (7-10 March). The cars will then attend the Australia Grand Prix 21-24 March as part of a McLaren celebration.