NZ legend relishing Pukekohe F5000 return

Ken Smith drives the Lola T332 which he co-owns with crew members Barry Miller and Phil Richardson

Veteran New Zealand motor racer Ken Smith is excited to race at Pukekohe Park Raceway as the NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series supports this weekend’s Supercars event.

The SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series will hold a round at Pukekohe for the first time since 2008, meaning that 2017 will be the first time Formula 5000 cars run on the new chicane.

For Smith, a 76-year-old three-time New Zealand Grand Prix winner who still competes in F5000, Pukekohe has special resonance.

“I know it’s different now with all the concrete and the new section down the back (the chicane added in 2013), but it’s still Pukekohe to me,” said Smith.

“There’s just something special about the place. There’s the history, obviously, but there’s something else as well, something that keeps you wanting to go back.”

Smith made his New Zealand Grand Prix debut at Pukekohe in 1965 and won it for the first time there in 1976, driving a Lola T332 F5000 car.

He joined the SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series in 2007 and has won the title four times.

The modern incarnations of F5000, in the form of the Formula Thunder 5000 car which will be driven by Greg Murphy and the Super5000 car, will also cut demonstration laps at Pukekohe.

The ITM Auckland Super Sprint takes place this weekend (November 3-5).

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