A selection of cars from the Queensland-based Australian Trans-Am Series have been confirmed to race alongside the local Historic Muscle Cars at Hampton Downs in the New Year.
The Trans-Tasman muscle car battle will take place on consecutive weekends in January (13-15 and 20-22), with the latter part of the annual New Zealand Festival of Motor Racing, celebrating Formula 5000 legend Ken Smith.
This meeting will mark the series’ fourth appearance in New Zealand, following the most recent battle on Australian soil in 2015 at Queensland Raceway, Lakeside Park and the Australian Muscle Car Masters at Sydney Motorsport Park.
Trans-Am management has confirmed eight cars to head ‘across the ditch’ including Charlie O’Brien (Camaro), John English (Firebird), Robert Hackwood (Mustang), Shannon O’Brien (Firebird), Ian Woodward (Mustang), Anthony Tenkate (Mustang), Russell Wright (Mustang) and Mike Collins (Mustang).
“We are thrilled to be returning to New Zealand for the fourth time and are looking forward to putting on a show once again for the Kiwi fans,” said ATA representative Ian Woodward.
“This Trans-Tasman Series has become so valuable for both HMC and our ATA group for establishing ourselves as quality motorsport categories.
“We are excited to reignite our great racing rivalry with a capacity grid of American and Australian muscle cars at the impressive Hampton Downs facility.”
The concept came to fruition as a result of a chance meeting between Woodward and HMC Director Dale Mathers at a historic race meeting at Sonoma.
Mathers anticipates the competition with the Trans-Am cars to be very close.
“Both ATA and HMC have a firm control of the regulations and continue to work together keeping both classes even.
“HMC are heavier cars, but are allowed any engine combination that came production for that make and model vehicle. ATA cars on the other hand are much lighter with stripped out interiors just like the Trans-Am cars from the era, but their engines are restricted to 355 cubic inch and run on 98 pump gas.
“The real secret is the limiting factors of both groups on the same size wheel and Hoosier bias-ply tyre combination.
“Neither class has an advantage over the other and this helps keeps the on-track performance close and the cars all looking the same.”
Round 1 of the 2017 Australian Trans-Am Series will be held at Lakeside Park on March 18-19.