New Zealand Grand Prix
Pukekohe, 7 Jan 1978
|1||Keke Rosberg||Chevron B39 [39-77-08] - Ford BDA Titan
#1 Fred Opert Racing (see note 1)
|2||Bobby Rahal||Chevron B39 [39-77-06] - Ford BDA Morris
#2 Fred Opert Racing (see note 2)
|3||Larry Perkins||Ralt RT1/77  - Ford BDA Swindon
#3 Scuderia Veloce
|4||David Oxton||Chevron B34 - Ford BDA Hart
#18 Vacation Hotels (see note 3)
|5||Ken Smith||March 76B  - Ford BDA Nicholson
#11 La Valise Travel (see note 4)
|6||Danny Sullivan||March 77B  - Ford BDA Nicholson
#4 (see note 5)
|7||Ross Stone||Cuda JR3 - Ford BDA Nicholson
|8||Robbie Francevic||Modus M3 [022(B)/054] - Ford BDA Hooker
|9||Ian Grob||March 77B [763 M38] - Ford BDA Swindon
#5 Sphere Drake Racing
|10||Pierre Dieudonné||Ehrlich RP3 - Ford BDA Nicholson
|11||Eric Morgan||Chevron B29 [29-75-30] - Ford BDA BMS
#15 (see note 6)
|12||Brett Riley||March 77B ["763-U3"] - Ford BDA Nicholson
#9 (see note 7)
|13||Dave Saunders||March 722  - Ford BDA
(see note 8)
|14||Norm Lankshear||Chevron B34 [34-76-19] - Ford BDA Hart
#16 FCDC Fielding (see note 9)
|15||Andrew Miedecke||March 763/76B - Ford BDA Dewhurst
|16||Richard Melville||March 76B  - Ford BDA Hooker
#10 (see note 10)
|17||Steve Millen||Chevron B42 [42-78-01] - Ford BDA Hart
#19 Martini Team Schollum
|14||Shock absorber mount|
|18||Graeme Crawford||Birrana 273 [273-010] - Ford BDA England
#66 Paul England Pty. Ltd
|19||Reg Cook||March 742 ["U1"] - Ford BDA CMR
|20||Dave McMillan||Ralt RT1/76  - Ford BDA Hart
#0 Team McMillan (see note 11)
|DNS||Steve Emson||Modus M3 [047-F3] - Ford BDA Nicholson
||Did not start
(Elected not to start)
|DNS||Hugh Owen||Ralt RT1/77  - Ford BDA Nicholson
#20 (see note 12)
|Did not start
(Elected not to start)
|DNS||Peter Larner||Dolphin ['3'] - Ford BDA England
#65 Paul England Pty. Ltd
|Did not start
|DNA||Howard Wood||Lyncar 009  - Ford BDA
||Did not arrive|
All cars are 1.6-litre F/Pac unless noted.
|1||Dave McMillan||(F/Pac) 1.6-litre Ralt RT1/76  - Ford BDA Hart||1.04.1|
|2||Keke Rosberg||(F/Pac) 1.6-litre Chevron B39 [39-77-08] - Ford BDA Titan||1.04.3|
|3||Larry Perkins||(F/Pac) 1.6-litre Ralt RT1/77  - Ford BDA Swindon||1.04.6|
|4||Bobby Rahal||(F/Pac) 1.6-litre Chevron B39 [39-77-06] - Ford BDA Morris||1.05.0|
|5||Andrew Miedecke||(F/Pac) 1.6-litre March 763/76B - Ford BDA Dewhurst||1.05.1|
|6||Richard Melville||(F/Pac) 1.6-litre March 76B  - Ford BDA Hooker||1.05.1|
|7||Steve Millen||(F/Pac) 1.6-litre Chevron B42 [42-78-01] - Ford BDA Hart||1.05.4|
|8||Danny Sullivan||(F/Pac) 1.6-litre March 77B  - Ford BDA Nicholson||1.05.6|
|9||David Oxton||(F/Pac) 1.6-litre Chevron B34 - Ford BDA Hart||1.06.1|
|10||Ken Smith||(F/Pac) 1.6-litre March 76B  - Ford BDA Nicholson||1.06.1|
|11||Ross Stone||(F/Pac) 1.6-litre Cuda JR3 - Ford BDA Nicholson||1.06.3|
|12||Brett Riley||(F/Pac) 1.6-litre March 77B ["763-U3"] - Ford BDA Nicholson||1.06.5|
|13||Robbie Francevic||(F/Pac) 1.6-litre Modus M3 [022(B)/054] - Ford BDA Hooker||1.06.6|
|14||Ian Grob||(F/Pac) 1.6-litre March 77B [763 M38] - Ford BDA Swindon||1.07.4|
|15||Norm Lankshear||(F/Pac) 1.6-litre Chevron B34 [34-76-19] - Ford BDA Hart||1.08.4|
|16||Reg Cook||(F/Pac) 1.6-litre March 742 ["U1"] - Ford BDA CMR||1.08.4|
|17||Pierre Dieudonné||(F/Pac) 1.6-litre Ehrlich RP3 - Ford BDA Nicholson||1.08.7|
|18||Eric Morgan||(F/Pac) 1.6-litre Chevron B29 [29-75-30] - Ford BDA BMS||1.08.9|
|19||Graeme Crawford||(F/Pac) 1.6-litre Birrana 273 [273-010] - Ford BDA England||1.08.9|
|20||Steve Emson *||(F/Pac) 1.6-litre Modus M3 [047-F3] - Ford BDA Nicholson||1.09.0|
|21||Dave Saunders||(F/Pac) 1.6-litre March 722  - Ford BDA||1.09.4|
|22||Hugh Owen *||(F/Pac) 1.6-litre Ralt RT1/77  - Ford BDA Nicholson||1.09.4|
|23||Peter Larner *||(F/Pac) 1.6-litre Dolphin ['3'] - Ford BDA England||1.10.8|
|* Did not start|
Notes on the cars:
- Chevron B39 [39-77-08] (Keke Rosberg): New to Fred Opert Racing and used in the Labatts Formula Atlantic Championship. One of two cars run by the team for Keke Rosberg, this one having narrower track, but Rosberg used a B34 at four races that season and exactly how he used this B39 remains uncertain. Retained by Fred Opert Racing for the 1978 New Zealand series, where it was Rosberg's main race car as he easily won the championship. Then believed to be the car raced by Divina Galica at Long Beach in early 1978. It was sold to Dean Lundgreen (Franklin, MN) later in 1978 and raced in SCCA Nationals, scoring 13 points that season. He scored 15 points in 1979, and continued to race the car in 1980 and 1981. Advertised by Lundgreen in April 1982 and February 1983 as "Rosberg's Tasman winner". Sold to Mike Rand later in 1983, then sold on to Joe Ostrowski (Trenton, NJ) who raced it from 1984 to 1986 at least. The car remained in Ostrowski's garage until 2004, when he sold it to Mark Wehrman. It was then sold to Lee Brahin (Philadelphia, PA) in 2006 and raced by him in red bodywork with non-standard sidepods in 2008 and 2009. Then to Martin Lauber (Tiburon, CA) in August 2011 and raced by him in pink Excita livery (but still with the same distinctive sidepods) from 2012 to 2019. It was sold to Laurent Parmentier (Los Angeles, CA) in January 2020, and raced by him in 2020 and 2021.
- Chevron B39 [39-77-06] (Bobby Rahal): New to Fred Opert Racing and raced in the Labatts Formula Atlantic Championship. Believed to be the car raced by Francisco Romero at the opening round. Believed to be the car intended for Didier Pironi at St-Félicien in August, but crashed in practice. Repaired and entered for Patrick Depailler at Trois-Rivières and Québec City as the team's #2 car. Retained by Fred Opert Racing for the 1978 New Zealand series, where it was the team's #2 entry raced by Bobby Rahal. Then raced by Jim Crawley in two North American races in early 1978. It is then likely to be one of two B39s retained by the Opert team later in 1978, and as such may be the car raced by Rosberg at the final race of the season. Opert again had two B39s for the 1979 season, one in red bodywork and one in orange. He advertised both these cars in December 1979, one in "original red gelcoat" and one "repainted orange", describing them as ex-Rosberg and ex-Rahal cars. Rahal only drove 77-06, and as that was originally blue, it cannot have been the "original red gelcoat" car in the advert so must have been the orange car. Subsequent history unknown, but in December 2005 "Joe" from Northern New Jersey was seeking information about chassis "39-77-06". He said he had contacted Fred Opert who had told him that it had been used by Rosberg in New Zealand, and by Jacques Lafitte, Patrick Depailler and James Crawley in the Canadian series. It had orange bodywork, again indicating that it had been Tolama's orange car. "Joe" advertised it for sale on the Autosport Forum in January 2006. A restoration then began that included a new monocoque by Prince Race Cars and the car was advertised on race-cars.com in dark blue bodywork. It was next seen when restored by The Progress Group (Placentia, CA) in 2011/12 with pale blue B39 bodywork and white Excita signwriting, and raced by Chris Cord at the Monterey Historics in 2013.
- Chevron B34 (David Oxton): A car built by David Oxton using a spare monocoque acquired from the Opert team. Raced by Oxton in the New Zealand Formula Pacific series in January 1978, then in the 1977/78 Gold Star, and also in the January 1979 and January 1980 Internationals. Next seen in 1984 Internationals, when it was raced by Charlie Thomasen, and then in several more seasons by Heather Spurle. It is reported that this car then went via Kenny Smith to John Wigston for his daughter Joanna to race.
- March 76B  (Ken Smith): Sold via Doug Shierson to Ken Smith (New Zealand) and debuts in early 1977 New Zealand races. Retained to 1981 then sold to Warren Binning. Returned to Smith in 1982 and retained to at least 2003.
- March 77B  (Danny Sullivan): Entered by March for Danny Sullivan in the 1978 New Zealand International series. Sold to Colin Giltrap and entered by him for Dave McMillan at Baypark Mar 1978 then for Larry Perkins in the 1978/79 series. Raced by Desiré Wilson in the Jan/Feb 1980 series then John Smith in Jan 1981. Sold to Ray Hanger (Australia) and used in the 1981 AF1 and Pacific series. Also raced at Shah Alam in October 1981.
- Chevron B29 [29-75-30] (Eric Morgan): Built as a works development car, and tested by Brian Redman. Then entered by Jörg Obermoser's Team Warsteiner Eurorace for Hans Binder to drive in Formula 2 with a Rosche BMW engine, when it was reported to be chassis 32. Brian Redman drove it in the 1976 New Zealand Internationals, still with its 2-litre BMW engine, this time as part of the Fred Opert team. Sold in New Zealand to David Oxton, fitted with a Formula Pacific BDA engine and raced in the New Zealand Formula Pacific series in January 1977. Then to Eric Morgan for Gold Star and International races from 1977 to 1981. Sold to Chris Read for 1982. Later history with the car indicates that it was sold by Read to Kenny Smith in 1991, then to Brian Sampson in 1992, then Peter Whelan in 2000, and Miles Jackson in 2008.
- March 77B ["763-U3"] (Brett Riley): Brett Riley took delivery of a March 77B in December 1977 that is believed to have carried the chassis number 763-U3 when it arrived in New Zealand. Riley raced it in Formula Pacific in 1978, 1979 and 1980 before selling it to Tom Donovan who progressively modified it and ran it in hillclimbs as well as F/Pacific up to 1983. He then won the 1984 and 1985 NZ hillclimb championships running a 1800cc Cosworth engine in the car. It was sold to Stuart McChesney in 1985 and again used in hillclimbs. It then went to Kenny Smith around 1987 and then to John Mackinlay (Christchurch) around 1993 who restored it and raced it in historic racing 1994-1996. It passed to Garry Cliff (Magnum Motors, Christchurch) in November 1996 then Peter Finlay in Australia in August 1998 in exchange for a Reynard Formula Holden. It was sold to Kevin Miller in May 1999. Retained May 2003.
- March 722  (Dave Saunders): The prototype March 722 was sold to Sports Motors Manchester for Gerry Birrell to race in Formula 2 in 1972. At the end of the season, the car was sold to New Zealander Kenny Smith, and fitted with a 1930cc Cosworth FVC engine for the 1973 Tasman series. He also used it at the April 1973 Singapore Grand Prix using a 1600cc Hart Ford twin-cam. Frank Radisich bought it and bolted on the Repco Holden engine and rear end from his McLaren M10B, but this was wholely unsuccessful, and Radisich later tried a Mazda engine instead, also updating it to 1976 nose and sidepods, but again with no success. In late 1977, it reappeared with Dave Saunders who had fitted a Cosworth BDA engine for Formula Pacific, but the reliability problems persisted. According to Graham Vercoe, Dennis Dunbar later raced it, again with the Mazda engine. In the late 1980s, it was bought less engine from Dunbar by Murray Biddick, who restored the car, fitted a BDA engine and did a couple of club events. It was then sold on his behalf by Charlie Conway to Adrian Whapman. David McKinney reported that Whapman was advertising it in 1994. David also noted that it later went to Australia, where it was owned in 2003 by Kevin Miller, and then returned to NZ and was owned by David Heron. By 2008, Heron had restored it in STP livery, and it was being associated with Niki Lauda.
- Chevron B34 [34-76-19] (Norm Lankshear): Tom Bagley (Centre Hall, PA) raced a yellow-and-blue Chevron B34 run by Fred Opert Racing in three IMSA Formula Atlantic races in early 1976, with Kent Oil sponsorship. This car was then raced by Juan Cochesa (Venezuela) in the Players Formula Atlantic series, starting at Edmonton on 16 May. Chris Waddell's report from Edmonton for Autosport described Cochesa's car as "an Opert B34 driven earlier in the year by Tom Bagley". Cochesa then moved to a new car, and the ex-Bagley car was sold to RJ Nelkin (Roslyn, NY/Woodbury, NY), who first raced it in an SCCA National at Summit Point in late June. He then raced it in Pro and SCCA races for the rest of 1976. Nelkin recalls that the car was then returned to Opert to be used as a spare car for Keke Rosberg and Mikko Kozarowitzky to use in the New Zealand Formula Pacific series in January 1977. After the 1977 New Zealand series, the car was sold to Norman Lankshear (Feilding, New Zealand) and raced in the Gold Star series in 1977/78 and 1978/79, and the International series in early 1978 and early 1979. It was then sold to Bryan Hartley (Palmerston) and raced by him in the 1981/82 season. The car was then sold to John Wigston (Auckland), fitted with a Ford crossflow engine and used in hillclimbs in New Zealand in the late 1980s. Wigston was reported to still have the car in October 2016.
- March 76B  (Richard Melville): An orange March 76B invoiced to Shierson in March 1976. Believed to be the orange #4 March 76B entered by Doug Shierson Racing for Marty Loft (Olympia, WA) until Mosport Park in August when Loft crashed, but this is still uncertain. Then the black #91 car for guest driver Vittorio Brambilla at Trois-Rivières two weeks later. Sold to Richard Melville and used by him in New Zealand racing in 1977 and 1978, where David McKinney noted that is was "ex-Brambilla" and that it carried chassis plate 76B-14. Sold to Unipart for Tiff Needell to use in the 1979 Macau GP, then sold to Sonny Rajah in time for the 1980 Malaysian GP.
- Ralt RT1/76  (Dave McMillan): To Cavanaugh Racing and run for Kevin Cogan in two late-season 1976 Canadian Formula Atlantic races. Sold to David McMillan and raced in the 1976/77 New Zealand Gold Star season, and in the January 1977 New Zealand International Formula Pacific series. Taken back to Canada for McMillan to race in two Canadian series races in 1977, then back to New Zealand for the 1977/78 Gold Star series and the January 1978 International series. Retained by McMillan for the 1978/79 and 1979/80 seasons, while also used in a handful of North American races in 1979 and 1980. Rebuilt as a Formula Super Vee for McMillan in 1980. McMillan moved to Ray Lipper’s Centreline Wheels team in 1981 and the old RT1 was raced by Lipper that season. CT
- Ralt RT1/77  (Hugh Owen): New to Brian Robertson's Ralt America for Craig Hill to drive in the CASC Formula Atlantic series, backed by Quick-Trans and Castrol. To Hugh Owen in New Zealand for 1978, and raced in the New Zealand Formula Pacific series starting in January 1978. Retained by Owen for the 1978/79 and 1979/80 seasons. Then sold to Dave McMillan and used as a spare car to his Ralt RT4/81 in the 1980/81 season, McMillan's earlier RT1 having been converted to FSV specification by this time. Fitted with a Nissan LZ14 engine for the 1981/82 and 1982/83 seasons when it was raced by McMillan at some races and also by Ray Lipper. Reappeared at Baypark Raceway in January 1985 when owned by John Crawford. CT
The identification of individual cars in these results is based on the material presented elsewhere in this site and may in some cases contradict the organisers' original results.
The New Zealand race results have been provided by Chris Townsend based on material in Autosport and Motoring News reports in the UK, Motoraction in New Zealand plus the information supplied by a wide range of contributors.
All comments, clarifications, corrections and additions are most welcome. Please email Allen (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you can help in any way with our research.