Max Stewart won the Manfeild round in his Lola T400, seen here later in the year at Phillip Island.  Copyright Steve Annabel 2016.  Used with permission.

1976 New Zealand Peter Stuyvesant F5000

After 12 seasons of the Tasman Cup, New Zealand and Australia went their separate ways in 1976 and ran separate championships, but still for F5000 and still in their traditional dates. Once the pre-series hype had died down, the Peter Stuyvesant series only attracted one non-Australasian name, the US F5000 champion Brian Redman, but after RAM Racing pulled out their planned entries, Redman found himself driving a F2 Chevron B29 entered by Fred Opert.

A large Australian contingent was promised but only five arrived, led by Max Stewart and Kevin Bartlett in Lola T400s and Bruce Allison in an older T330/T332. The locals were consistently quickest, Graeme Lawrence (T332) and Ken Smith (T330) dominating practice and leading all four races. Redman was spectacular and led at Pukekohe but his horsepower disadvantage was too great.

The races

04 Jan 1976 > New Zealand Grand Prix at Pukekohe

11 Jan 1976 > Manfeild International

18 Jan 1976 > Lady Wigram Trophy

25 Jan 1976 > Teretonga International at Teretonga Park

1976 Peter Stuyvesant New Zealand Formula 5000 Championship table

1Ken SmithLola T330 - Chevrolet V824 pts2 wins
2Bruce AllisonLola T332 - Chevrolet V816 pts 
3Jim MurdochBegg 018 - Chevrolet V810 pts 
4=Graeme LawrenceLola T332 - Chevrolet V89 pts1 win
4=Brian Redman2-litre Chevron B29 - BMW M129 pts 
4=Max StewartLola T400 - Chevrolet V89 pts1 win
4=Kevin BartlettLola T400 - Chevrolet V89 pts 
8John EdmondsElfin MR5 - Repco Holden V83 pts 
9Graham BakerBegg FM5 - Chevrolet V82 pts 
10Baron RobertsonElfin MR5 - Repco Holden V81 pt 

Previous: the Tasman Cup

Next: the 1977 Internationals

Before the International series, the POSB Gold Star had been run over seven races with Ken Smith generally winning and Lawrence generally finishing second.

Immediately after the International series, MANZ announced that they were dropping F5000 and adopting Formula Atlantic, but calling it Formula Pacific. With hardly any suitable cars in the country, Smith and Lawrence were allowed to run their F5000s in the Gold Star but on a handicap system. So although Smith won every heat of every race with Lawrence always second, the championship was awarded to Dave McMillan whose Formula Pacific Ralt RT1 almost always finished third. It was not a pretty way for F5000 to finish.