The Taupo Historic GP was held over two days on 23 and 24 January 2021 at the Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park, Taupo NZ. It was a weekend that saw Michael Collins dominate in his Leda LT27/GM1.
Just over 15,000 people enjoyed the exciting historic car racing action which also celebrated Ford Motor Company’s near-60-year involvement in New Zealand motorsport.
Day One – Qualifying and Race 1
Defending series titleholder, Michael Collins, in his Leda LT27/GM1 qualified on pole and went on to lead the first SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series race.
Codie Banks in his Lola T332, after an outstanding performance in the category qualifying session earlier in the day, did try to give him a run for his money, going head-to-head against Collins for the first four laps of the eight-lap race.
Collins himself admitted to the challenge he faced:
“There was definitely no cutting out a couple of hot laps then going into cruise mode. I had my ears pinned back from the first lap until the last.”
David Banks, Codie Banks’ father, had his Talon MR1/A side-lined by a broken half shaft on Friday. Codie’s speed and performance were able to match Michael Collin’s move for move in the first four laps of the race, with prospects looking bright for the family-based team.
Unfortunately, Codie ran into gear selection issues on the fourth lap and he ended in the pits on the fifth lap.
“First I couldn’t find a gear to change down into then it took me half the length of the start/finish straight to get it started again… but when I did, I couldn’t find any gears, so figured it was time to stop.”
Trailing Collins and Codie was former New Zealand Formula Ford champion Kevin Ingram in his Lola T332. He came third in qualifying and when Codie retired, he took second while Brett Willis in his new Lola T332, taking third place after he worked his way up from the 6th position.
In the Lola T400, Glenn Richards, who was fourth quickest during qualifying and was part of the top six slid down the roster after a half-spin.
4th and 5th places went to Shayne Windelburn in the Lola T400 and Anna Collins in the Leda LT27, respectively. Russel Greer in the Lola T332 came in 6th while Glen Richards came in 7th. Rony Galbraith in the Lola T332 was 9th in the qualifying but he also found himself in the pitstop after a fuel starvation issue.
Tim Rush in the McLaren M22 finished 8th and came out victorious in the Class A standings from other McLaren drivers being Frank Karl in the M10B, Tony Roberts in the high-wing McLaren M10A along with a newcomer in the category, Toby Annabell in the McLaren M10B.
Roberts was initially ahead of Karl and Annabell, but Karl found an opening and was able to finally overtake Roberts.
Michael Collins (Leda GM1) 1.25.663
Codie Banks (Lola T332) 1:26.581
Kevin Ingram (Lola T332) 1:28.924
Glenn Richards (Lola T400) 1:30.167
Shayne Windelburn (Lola T400) 1.30.326
Brett Willis (Lola T332) 1:31.047
Anna Collins (Leda LT27) 1.31.620
Russel Greer (Lola T332) 1:31.864
Tony Galbraith (Lola T332) 1:32.508
10. Tim Rush (McLaren M22) 1:33.444
11. Frank Karl (McLaren M10B) 1:35.555
12. Tony Roberts (McLaren M10A) 1:36.098
13. Toby Annabell (Mclaren M10B) 1:36.642
Race One – 8 laps
Michael Collins (Leda GM1) 12:01.882
Kevin Ingram (Lola T332) +5.454
Brett Willis (Lola T332) +6.714
Shayne Windelburn (Lola T400) +9.267
Anna Collins (Leda LT27) +16.558
Russel Greer (Lola T332) +26.383
Glenn Richards (Lola T400) +35.297
Tim Rush (McLaren M22) +40.849
Frank Karl (McLaren M10B) +1:08.486
Tony Roberts (McLaren M10A) +1:09.649
Toby Annabell (McLaren M10B) +1:09.965
Codie Banks (Lola T332) + 3 laps
Tony Galbraith (Lola T332) + 4 laps
Day 2: Race Two and Three
Michael Collins made all the right moves at the Taupo Historic Grand Prix trophy race on the second day of the 2020/21 SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival.
Collins set the fastest race lap at 1:28.532 in his bid to win his second victory at the fifth annual Taupo Historic GP meeting.
Mechanical issues plagued Codie Banks Lola T332 again on Sunday as engine issues forced Codie to remain side-lined when the problem was found to be terminal.
That left Brett Willis and Kevin Ingram, both in the Lola T332 to claim the final podium places in both the first and final class races.
Willis, who was a former SAS Autoparts MSC Series titleholder, was tipped into a half spin as the field entered the first corner on the opening lap however did exceptionally well to secure third-place at the 10-lap Taupo Historic GP Trophy final.
Anna Collins, Michael Collins’ older sister who was driving the Leda LT27, moved up to third place after the first corner excitement. Her rise to third however was short-lived as she was passed by veterans Russell Greer in the Lola T332, Shane Windelburn in the Lola T400 along with Brett Willis, which placed her back to 6th position.
Tony Annabell was victorious earlier in the day during the second race – the rolling handicap start. Tony Annabell started at the front and was able to maintain his lead until the end in the McLaren M10B.
He was challenged by fellow Class A McLaren driver Frank Karl in the McLaren M10B, but after running into some battery issues, Karl slipped back in the race.
So, the second place went to Tony Galbraith in the Lola T332, while the fastest qualifier Michael Collins in the Leda GM1, who started the handicap race at the back, claiming a well-deserved third place.
Most of the excitement of the race came from the position-swapping that happened during the middle of the race after the starting order was set based on qualifying positions that were done Saturday morning.
Michael Collins again showed his talent with both the fastest race lap at 1:27.742 and having the most positions made -11.
Race 2 (handicap start 8 laps)
Toby Annabell 12:44.723
Tony Galbraith +0.581
Michael Collins +1.377
Brett Willis +3.841
Russell Greer +4.483
Sayen Windelburn ?+5.141
Kevin Ingram +6.043
Anna Collins +8.051
Glenn Richards +9.640
Tim Rush +29.621
Frank Karl +31.858
Tony Roberts +1:0.034
DNS: Codie Banks
Race 3 (Taupo Historic Grand Prix) 10 laps
Michael Collins 15:44..757
Kevin Ingram + 15:47.678
Brett Willis 16:14.667
Shayne Windelburn 16:14.956
Russell Greer 16:15.464
Anna Collins 16:20.249
Tim Rush 16:35.364
Tony Roberts 16:58.957
Toby Annabell 16:59.424
Frank Karl 17:14.603
DNS Codie Banks & Tony Galbraith.
The third round of the series will be at the annual Skope Classic meeting which will be held in Christchurch from February 06 – 07.