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26 Feb 2018 12:26
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Motorsports

    Veteran Smith to race 47th NZ Grand Prix

    Venerable Kiwi driver Kenny Smith will suit up for his 47th New Zealand Grand Prix - a race which will also determine the winner of the Toyota Racing Series.

    It's a New Zealand Grand Prix featuring an evergreen veteran and titanic teenage tussle.

    Spectators at Manfield on Sunday will have plenty to take in when 76-year-old Kenny Smith lines up in the same grid as drivers contesting the final round of the Toyota Racing Series.

    The single seater series for rising drivers has featured a different winner through each of the first four rounds, setting up a gripping finale.

    Christchurch 17-year-old Marcus Armstrong holds a narrow advantage over 18-year-old Robert Shwartzman following the Russian's win in Taupo last weekend.

    Dutchman Richard Verschoor is also in contention to stop Armstrong becoming the first Kiwi series winner since 2013.

    At the opposite end of his career is Smith, who will extend his record for NZ GP appearances to 47.

    The three-time winner says his first appearance, at Pukekohe in 1964, had faded from the memory banks.

    "I can't remember where I came. It might have been last. I was certainly down the back somewhere," he said.

    That race was won by Kiwi motor racing icon Bruce McLaren, one of many notable drivers to clinch the national GP title.

    Smith's first win in 1976 meant more than those in 1990 and 2004.

    "Whenever you win it's exciting but that one meant the most because of all the famous names on the trophy up to that time."

    TRS leading standings: Marcus Armstrong (NZ, 761 points) 1, Robert Shwartzman (Russia, 728) 2, Richard Verschoor (Netherlands, 701) 3, Juan Manuel Correa (USA, 612) 4, James Pull (UK, 581) 5.


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