Next year’s fifth rendition of the Taupo Historic Grand Prix will commemorate the Ford marque as the popular event continues its annual tradition of celebrating a car manufacturer each year.
The brainchild of Jim Barclay and Tony Roberts, 2021 will see Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park honour one of the most synonymous brands of all New Zealand motorsport.
Ford New Zealand has supported the careers of several kiwi racing icons including double World Touring Car Cup champion Paul Radisich in the storied Ford Mondeo and many Formula Atlantic drivers with the all-conquering Ford-Cosworth engine.
A central figure of the event will be now-retired Ford Motor Company senior executive Garry Jackson who has been involved with the Blue Oval since the Masport Escort Team days in the ‘70s.
“For years motorsport enthusiasts have, at some time or another, leaned on a farmer’s fence beside a rally stage or sat in a grandstand or on the grass at race track identifying with their favourite Ford,” said Jackson.
“Whether it was the RS1600 Mk 1 Escorts, the Mustang notchbacks of the 1960s, the PDL Mustang Fastbacks of the 1970s and ‘80s, or Paul Fahey’s giant-killing RS2600 Capri, enthusiasts everywhere can think of their favourite Ford.
“And the older generation can even recall the ‘Specials’ of the 1950s and early ‘60s, many of which featured Ford power”.
One of those specials will hit the circuit next year with the Ford-powered GeeCeeEss which was piloted by Auckland’s George Smith between 1951 and 1957.
Included in the iconic Fords models expected to appear at the 2021 Taupō Historic GP is an example of the last Formula One car raced by New Zealand’s only World Champion, the late Denny Hulme; the Ford-Cosworth DFV-powered McLaren M23 (main image).
Other racing categories pencilled in on the programme include the New Zealand Formula 5000 series, Historic Muscle and Saloon Cars, Formula Juniors and Sports Cars predating 1970.
The event will run from January 22 – 24 with qualifying on Friday and racing to be staged across Saturday and Sunday.
Main Image: Richard Gee