The roaring S5000 series could be on New Zealand’s shores early in 2023 if ease of travel between New Zealand and Australia is restored.
In July, S5000 announced plans to revive the Tasman Series, the popular open-wheel championship held across New Zealand and Australia between 1964 and 1975.
S5000 is planning an introductory two-round Tasman Series later this year, solely in Australia.
The country’s Covid situation and a co-operative agreement with Supecars will see a joint approach, with the second event run at the Bathurst 1000 event in December and the first likely scheduled a week or two earlier, possibly in Sydney.
It is hoped that a full Tasman Series will then begin in Australia late next year, before crossing the Tasman for events in New Zealand.
“We are looking at a time in early January [to be in New Zealand],” S5000 category development manager Chris Lambden told Velocity News.
“Logistically, it makes the most sense to race here in Australia in October and November and then ship the cars over.
“We’ve had one [New Zealand] circuit already approach us verbally about it.
“Once we’ve got the current dramas, and our 2022 season locked in, we can then turn our thoughts to the second S5000 Tasman Series.”
No matter how many rounds are in New Zealand, the series will not interfere with the Toyota Racing Series.
“It definitely wouldn’t clash with TRS,” Lambden said. “That is not something I’d want to do.
“But there’s no doubt that a viable S5000 series in that December/January window will attract overseas driver interest – as well as strong New Zealand representation.”
The revival of the Tasman Series is a personal project for Lambden.
Growing up in Christchurch, he remembers watching some of New Zealand’s best tearing it up in our own backyard.
“[The Tasman Series] has always been in the back of my mind, especially as S5000 has evolved. I remember watching Graham McRae, Graeme Lawrence, Kenny Smith and Co. in the old Tasman Series and just being in awe.
“So, while there are obviously commercial considerations in putting something together, it’s a bit of a personal thing.”
Lambden says he is also open to the idea of having historic Formula 5000s share the bill with S5000 at one or more of the NZ races.
F5000’s first raced in the Tasman Series in 1970 and up until the championship folded in 1975.