Tasman Series

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Tasman Series
Category Tasman Formula
1964–69 2.5 litre
1970–71 F5000 & 2.5 litre
1972–75 F5000 & 2.0 litre
Country Australasia
Inaugural season 1964
Folded 1975
Drivers 28 (1975)
Constructors 12 (1975)
Engine suppliers 3 (1975)
Last Drivers' champion Australia Warwick Brown
Jim Clark won the 1965 Tasman Series with a The Lotus 32B, the Tasman Series variant of the Formula Two Lotus 32, with a 2.5L engine in place of the 32's 1L unit.

The Tasman Series was a motor racing competition held annually from 1964 to 1975 over a series of races in New Zealand and Australia. It was named after the Tasman Sea which lies between the two countries. The Tasman Series races were held in January through to late February or early March of each year, during the Formula One off season, taking advantage of winter in the Northern Hemisphere to attract many top drivers to summer in the south.

History[edit]

From 1964 to 1969, the Tasman Formula specified open-wheel single-seater racing cars similar to Formula One cars, yet retaining F1 engine rules that were in effect until 1960. Thus, engines of 2500 cm³ that were obsolete for the contemporary Formula One class were eligible for the Tasman Formula.

After F1 upgraded to 3000 cm³ in 1966, the Tasman Formula regulations continued to specify a 2500 cm³ limit for another four years. Usually, the chassis of the previous F1 season were fitted with "Tasman" engines, and entered "down under". In what many consider Tasman's zenith season, 1968, Cosworth even produced a Tasman variant of its legendary DFV V8, known as the DFW, and BRM equipped its cars with a reduced capacity version of their F1 V12.In 1969 both Lotus and Ferrari contested the series with two cars teams, Rindt and Hill in Lotus 49BTs and Amon and Bell in 2.4 Dino V6 cars which used F2 chassis fitted with modernised versions of the late 1950s F1 Dino engine. Piers Courage strongly challenged the work teams in a Frank Williams Cosworth 2.5 BT24 Brabham which beat the Lotus and Ferrari teams at Teretonga. However the expanding F1 calendar saw the Tasman series abbreviated to 7 rounds with Longford being cancelled to give the teams time to prepare for the SA GP at Kyalami.

Unfortunately for the Tasman Series, F1's "return to power", coupled to ever increasing costs, reduced the cachet of its Antipodean sister and after 1969 teams became increasingly unwilling to invest significant funds into what many perceived as a lesser championship. Only one Cosworth DFW 2.5 powered car appeared in the 70 and 71 Tasman series, Bell driving a uncompetive Goodyear shod Wheatcroft Brabham BT26 in 3 rounds in 1970 and Amon and Oxton each contesting 2 rounds of 1971 series in the ex Andretti March 701.

In an attempt to reduce costs, the Tasman Formula was extended to incorporate Formula 5000 cars from 1970[1] and the limit on pure racing engines was reduced from 2.5 litres to 2.0 litres from 1972.[2] Even these changes failed to contain spiralling costs and at the end of the 1975 event the series folded.

The four Australian former Tasman races became the Rothmans International Series from 1976 to 1979 (still under Formula 5000 regulations). The four New Zealand races became the 'Peter Stuyvesant Series' and after 1976 changed to Formula Pacific.

Many high-profile local drivers from that era, such as Jack Brabham, Bruce McLaren, Chris Amon and Denny Hulme took part in their home event, but the series also attracted international F1 stars like Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Phil Hill, Jochen Rindt, Pedro Rodríguez and Jackie Stewart, who travelled the long way from Europe.

For two brief years beginning in 1999 the Tasman Series was revived as a series for Formula Holden racing cars with Simon Wills and Andy Booth winning the two series held exclusively in New Zealand.

Champions[edit]

Season Driver Car Wins Podiums Points Margin
(pts)
1964 New Zealand Bruce McLaren Cooper T70-Climax FPF 3 5 (7) 39 6
1965 United Kingdom Jim Clark Lotus 32B-Climax FPF 3 (4) 4 (5) 35 11
1966 United Kingdom Jackie Stewart BRM P261 4 5 45 15
1967 United Kingdom Jim Clark Lotus 33-Climax FPF 3 (5) 6 (8) 45 27
1968 United Kingdom Jim Clark Lotus 49T-Cosworth DFW 4 5 44 8
1969 New Zealand Chris Amon Ferrari 246T Ferrari V6 4 6 44 14
1970 New Zealand Graeme Lawrence Ferrari 246T Ferrari V6 1 5 30 5
1971 New Zealand Graham McRae McLaren M10B-Chevrolet 3 5 35 4
1972 New Zealand Graham McRae Leda GM1-Chevrolet 4 4 39 11
1973 New Zealand Graham McRae McRae GM1-Chevrolet 3 5 40 11
1974 United Kingdom Peter Gethin Chevron B24-Chevrolet 2 5 41 15
1975 Australia Warwick Brown Lola T332-Chevrolet 2 4 31 1

Note: values in parentheses include the results from all races, not all of which counted towards the championship.

References[edit]

  1. ^ 1970 Season Retrieved from www.sergent.com.au on 26 July 2009
  2. ^ 1971 Season Retrieved from www.sergent.com.au on 26 July 2009

External links[edit]