Fans at the New Zealand Historic Grand Prix in Taupo will be treated to a special celebration of legendary manufacturer Holden, with several star drivers and cars set to venture across the Tasman for the January 19-21 event.
Track-goers will have the opportunity to get up close to drivers who have represented the brand over the years, including Greg Murphy, Craig Lowndes, Jack Perkins, and Stephen Richards, at the showcase, which features displays, a track parade and Holden All-Comers races.
“We’ve got such a history and heritage in New Zealand with the brand, and this is a way for the sport to enjoy those memories and share what it meant to us all,” Murphy tells Velocity News.
“The following that Holden has throughout New Zealand and how popular the sport is, including Supercars, makes the brand such a huge part of so many lives.
“There are so many good memories and so many amazing vehicles that we still enjoy and love to look at, so why not continue to get people to come out and enjoy it.”
A quickly growing Holden All-Comers grid is still accepting entries, with spaces filling up fast.
“The Holden All-Comers class is open to basically anything that represents Holden over the past decades,” said Murphy. “Anything that has raced and has got a Motorsport New Zealand logbook, you can come along and race for the weekend. We’re expecting a wide variety and arrangement of Holden racecars.”
Off-track, a large display will feature cars from Holden and HSV car clubs around New Zealand, joined by special machinery sent from Australia for the showcase.
“Peter Lucas has very kindly allowed for his 2003 Bathurst 24-Hour-winning Monaro 427 to leave Australia for the first time and head to our shores, so that’s hugely exciting,” adds Murphy.
“Perry Bitsikas, from Muscle Car Warehouse, who’s a big supporter of the sport in Australia, has been very kind to allow two very special Perkins Engineering Holden Commodores to come over, being Larry’s 1993 Bathurst winning car and the Commodore he raced in his final year of racing in 2003.
“Peter Jones has a wonderful collection and is sending over the 2007 HRT car Todd Kelly raced, and Jason Richards then campaigned at Brad Jones Racing for a couple of seasons.
“Recently, to add to it, even though it doesn’t fall under the Holden brand, but instead under the GM family, Shane van Gisbergen’s 2023 Gen3 Camaro will also be in attendance now.”
The cars will also run demo laps around Taupo International Motorsport Park. Murphy will be behind the wheel of the Bathurst 24-Hour-winning Monaro he drove to victory with Peter Brock, Jason Bright and Todd Kelly in 2003, while Perkins will demonstrate the Commodore his father drove to 1993 Bathurst 1000 success.
The New Zealand Historic Grand Prix in Taupo features as Round 2 of the Super Sprint Motorsport New Zealand Championship and also hosts the opening round of the 2024 Castrol Toyota Formula Regional Oceania Championship.
In addition to CTFROC and the Holden All-Comers class, the Historic GP also features Historic Touring Cars, Historic Sports Sedans, Historic Saloons, Formula 5000, Formula Open New Zealand and Historic Formula Ford, among others.
“There certainly isn’t a timeline to use moment like this to remember and enjoy and get people to reminisce and showcase their vehicles,” adds Murphy.
The New Zealand Historic Grand Prix will be broadcast live on Sky Sport in New Zealand and Fox Sport in Australia.
Header Image: VE Prototype testing in 2006. Image: Supercars