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New Zealand Formula Pacific 1978

Fred Opert Racing returned to New Zealand with two Chevron B39s for Keke Rosberg and Bobby Rahal, and the US contingent also included Danny Sullivan in a new March 77B. Steve Millen had acquired a new Chevron B42, but fellow Kiwis Dave McMillan and Kenny Smith had to make do with older equipment. Surtees F1 driver Larry Perkins represented Australia in a new Ralt RT1.

Rosberg dominated the season with six wins and he returned to Europe for what was expected to be a season of F1 driving for the Kauhsen team. (That did not work out as planned.) Perkins won two races, with the others falling to Millen and the under-financed and under-appreciated Brett Riley.

The format of the New Zealand Internationals changed in 1978, with two races being held on each weekend, so the championship had ten rounds in total. However, this led to some problems, as MANZ still wanted there to be a single New Zealand Grand Prix winner for 1978, not two winners. This required the races to be recombined in various ways depending on which championship they counted towards.

The races

02 Jan 1978 > Baypark Raceway

02 Jan 1978 > Baypark Raceway

07 Jan 1978 > New Zealand Grand Prix at Pukekohe

07 Jan 1978 > New Zealand Grand Prix at Pukekohe

15 Jan 1978 > Manfeild

15 Jan 1978 > Manfeild

22 Jan 1978 > Teretonga Park

22 Jan 1978 > Teretonga Park

29 Jan 1978 > Wigram

29 Jan 1978 > Wigram

1978 Peter Stuyvesant New Zealand Formula Pacific Championship table

1Keke RosbergChevron B39 - Ford BDA Titan58 pts6 wins
2Larry PerkinsRalt RT1 - Ford BDA Swindon52 pts2 wins
3Bobby RahalChevron B39 - Ford BDA Morris30 pts 
4Danny SullivanMarch 77B - Ford BDA Nicholson26 pts 
5Dave McMillanRalt RT1 - Ford BDA Hart18 pts 
6David OxtonChevron B34 - Ford BDA Hart16 pts 
7Steve MillenChevron B42 - Ford BDA Hart14 pts1 win
8Andrew MiedeckeMarch 763/76B - Ford BDA Dewhurst11 pts 
9Brett RileyMarch 77B - Ford BDA Nicholson10 pts1 win
10Ken SmithMarch 76B - Ford BDA Nicholson7 pts 
11Richard MelvilleMarch 76B - Ford BDA Hooker5 pts 
12Ross StoneCuda JR3 - Ford BDA Nicholson2 pts 
13Ian GrobMarch 763/77B - Ford BDA Swindon1 pt 

Previous: the 1977 season

Next: the 1979 season

In October 1977, MANZ announced that the Gold Star series would be sponsored by Union Travel, part of the Union Steam Ship Company.