Huge Crowds for 35th Running of Phillip Island Classic: Festival of Motorsport
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Huge Crowds for 35th Running of Phillip Island Classic: Festival of Motorsport

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By Shannons - 19 March 2024

The 35th edition of the VHRR Phillip Island Classic Festival of Motorsport enticed more-than 400 significant historic racing cars from around the world to the world-class Grand Prix Circuit, drawing in a huge crowd to the popular event despite unseasonably hot Autumn temperatures soaring into the 40s.

Among the rare and special vehicles on display and in action was one of just 32 Ferrari 250LM chassis ever made, with event patron, Spencer Martin, behind the wheel.

Martin raced a different chassis number of the same model Ferrari in 1965 when it was practically new, competing in the Australian Tourist Trophy.

A large cohort of unique McLaren Formula 5000 and Can Am cars were shipped over from New Zealand, including a 1969 McLaren M8B which was formally raced by NZ racing legend Denny Hulme, the car making its first appearance on Australian shores. 

The event also saw the inaugural running of the Phillip Island Historic Formula 5000 Grand Prix, pitching F5000 chassis from Australia and New Zealand against each other with NZ’s Codie Banks emerging victorious driving a Lola T332.

Steven Richards climbed into his father’s, Jim Richards, Nissan R31 Skyline which is the same car that claimed the 1990 Australian Touring Car Championship.

Richards found himself in an epic battle with Jonathon Webb and George Miedecke who each raced Ford Sierra RS500s, reviving the classic spectacle of Group A racing from the early 1990s.

See an epic onboard lap with Webb to see him wrestle his Sierra around a newly resurfaced Phillip Island.

Father of George, Andrew Miedecke, climbed into his original Mercedes 190E Group A car at the Island, the Mercedes looking as well prepared as it was in its racing period.

Although in action Thursday only, a pair of Group C Porsche 962s were a fan-favourite attraction as a static display in the paddock on Friday through Sunday.

V8 Supercars of old were well represented, a VZ and VE Toll HSV Dealer Team Commodores returning to the circuit where they enjoyed huge success in the hands of Rick Kelly and Garth Tander in 2006 and 2007 respectively.

A Mark Skaife Holden Racing Team chassis also featured, alongside significant cars from Triple Eight Race Engineering and Dick Johnson Racing, just to name a few.

Guest of Episode 27 of the Shannons Driven Series, Joe Calleja, was a familiar sight stepping into his menacing Chevrolet Corvette Stingray in the Group S Class, finding himself in an enthralling battle with Brett Smith (Datsun 280Z) and Terry Lawlor (Shelby Mustang).