This weekend’s Taupō Historic Grand Prix celebrates Ford’s near 60-year involvement in New Zealand motorsport.
Fittingly, Ford and Kiwi motorsport legend Paul Fahey will be present to award three trophies he is donating for the Ford Invitational Historic Saloon Car feature race on Sunday afternoon.
Donated by Fahey to the NZ Historic Muscle & Saloon Car Association, the Paul Fahey Ford Trophies will be permanently named in his honour and awarded each year from now on to the drivers of the Fords in the historic saloon car races.
After a motorcycling career that included representing the New Zealand Auto Cycle Union in the Isle of Man TT races in 1955 as a fresh-faced 23-year-old, Fahey turned his hand to racing cars nine years later.
Within a year, he had begun what was to become a decade’s domination of saloon car racing in this country.
Fahey’s stranglehold on Saloon car racing in New Zealand between 1965 and the mid-1970s saw him have more wins at Pukekohe, Levin, Bay Park and Wigram than any other driver.
The sub-title to his book, ‘Paul Fahey – a Celebration of a Kiwi Motorsport Legend’ is ‘The Life Story of a Lucky Bugger’.
“The saying ‘the harder I work, the luckier I seem to get’ appropriately sums up Paul’s attitude to motor racing” says New Zealand motor racing historian and author, Steve Holmes.
“Fahey was already a successful businessman when he first started car racing, so this was a hobby for him and not a career move. However, he approached his racing as if he were a professional.
“He always made sure to have the best equipment and hired the best personnel. He was very well connected internationally, and these connections opened doors that afforded him the machinery he required.
“His cars were always fast, reliable, and immaculately presented. And the tally of championships to his name proved his approach was a successful one.”
“Paul’s kind gesture in donating the trophies and his appearance to award them at this weekend’s Taupō Historic GP is a fitting accoutrement to this weekend’s celebration of Ford Motor Company’s involvement in New Zealand motorsport,” said NZ Historic Muscle & Saloon Car Association secretary Bruce Dyer.
This year’s Historic Muscle and Saloon Car grid is set to be bolstered by some exciting new entries. Namely the 1964 Ford Falcon Rallye Sprint and the 1965-and-a-half Fleetwood Mustang, the first-ever circuit-racing Mustang imported into New Zealand.
The Historic GP will be held at Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park over Saturday and Sunday, featuring races from the Historic Muscle and Saloon Cars, Formula 5000, Historic Touring Cars and Sports Cars predating 1970.