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Thunderous Formula 5000 Motor Racing in New Zealand

Onboard a Formula 5000 racing car with the legendary Ken Smith

Ken Smith is a legendary New Zealand motor racing driver who won the New Zealand Grand Prix in 1976, 1990, and 2004, and who has completed over 60 consecutive seasons on the motor racing circuit, having first raced competitively in 1958.

Ken Smith in his Lola 430 Formula 5000 racing car during a race in the Tasman Revival Series.  Photo: © Alex Mitchel, Historical Aviation Film Unit

Smith first competed in motor racing in 1958, winning the New Zealand Hill Climb championship when he was 16. He progressed to single seater racing in 1962, first driving a Lola March T, Formula Junior car. Later he raced in Formula Ford, Formula 5000, Formula Pacific, Formula Mondial, and Toyota Racing Series among others.

For six seasons in the 1970s stock-block V8-engined Formula 5000 single-seaters brought Formula 1-like speed, colour and excitement to circuits in Australia, New Zealand and the USA . Thanks to a small but determined group of New Zealand category enthusiasts those days are back in the form of the Tasman Revival Series.

This video shows both external and onboard video footage of Ken Smith racing at Pukekohe Raceway in Auckland (New Zealand), during the 2008 Tasman Grand Prix series. Turn the volume up and enjoy the thunderous noise of a grid packed full of V8 Formula 5000 cars.

Smith won the Gold Star Drivers Award in the 1975–1976, 1983–1984, 1984–1985, 1986–1987 and 1989–1990 seasons, and in 2011 he won the Formula 5000 Revival championship for the third time.

As well as his victories in New Zealand, Ken has also won the Penang Grand Prix three times, the Selangor Grand Prix twice, and the Malaysian Grand Prix once.

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