This weekend the Hi-Q Components NZ Formula First Champion tracks north to Pukekohe Park Raceway for the second round of the 2018/19 championship.
Chris Symon took the young hopefuls to school at the opening round at Manfeild in October. The Feilding school teacher, now in his fourth full-time season in the class was almost untouchable, leading the majority of the laps on his way to claiming all three race wins.
Symon leads the championship over Liam Foster by 31 points with Auckland schoolboy Billy Frazer in third, a further 13 points behind Foster. In the prestigious rookie of the year standings, SpeedSport Scholarship winner Ronan Murphy holds a strong lead, sitting sixth overall and 38 points ahead of his nearest rookie rival, Kyan Davie. Rookie racer Thomas Boniface from Taranaki sits 17th overall and 93 points from Murphy after an opening event filled with drama. Boniface suffered a brake failure in race two and an engine failure in race three, recording ‘did not finish’ results in both races after showing incredible front-running pace.
Racing on the ‘old’ track configuration with the long back straight has excited drivers leading up to the event. The highly strategic nature of the racing in the class will be boosted with the long back straight allowing for multiple ‘tows’. Teams are expecting that the increased effect of the draft will see the cars reach speeds nearing 200kph, incredible for cars powered by an air-cooled 1200cc VW engine.
This weekend the class celebrates its 50 years of racing in New Zealand. A marquee on the inside of the track will host memorabilia, photos and other displays showcasing the past 50 years of racing up and down the country. A gala dinner will also take place on Saturday night to celebrate with members past and present the success of the class. The NZ Formula First Championship has been known to develop some on New Zealand’s best drivers and has nurtured talent like five-time IndyCar Champion Scott Dixon, Supercars champ Shane van Gisbergen, Formula 1 driver Brendon Hartley, SuperGT champ Nick Cassidy, GP2 winner and Supercars driver Richie Stanaway and rising talent Liam Lawson.
With 20 entries set to hit the track this weekend, the racing will no doubt be some of the closest of the weekend, with three-wide ‘photo-finishes’ a common occurrence around this high-speed circuit.
Live video coverage of the weekends racing will be available via a Live Stream along with Formula First TV which will be active across the weekend, with a weekend preview coming Friday night and a Facebook Live interview with our round winner on Sunday afternoon. Stay tuned to our Facebook page for updates over the weekend!