The MotorSport Wall of Fame was established in 1994 and located in MotorSport House as a permanent reminder of the achievements of past and present members who, through their endeavours, have been instrumental in bringing MotorSport achievements to the world at large.
Inducted as inaugural members in 1994
Widely regarded as New Zealand’s most talented driver, Chris Amon’s ability led him to Europe and Formula One at just 19 years old. Although he managed to stay at the top of his field for 14 years - he was number one for the Ferrari F1 team from 1967 to 1969 - victory eluded him. However, wins did come in events like the Le Mans and Daytona 24-hour races and the New Zealand Grand Prix. Now back in New Zealand Chris Amon has strong links with Toyota developing road cars.
The Late George Begg
An engineer by trade, George Begg started to engineer and build cars in 1964. After a stint at the McLaren factory in Great Britain, he came home and built the single seater McBegg. Between 1969 and 1973 he teamed up with Fred McLean to build the FM series of V8-engined Formula A cars. A change in tax laws ended George Begg’s construction days but not before he had played his part in an important and exciting time in New Zealand’s motor sport history.
The Late Peter "Possom" Bourne
From the time when he finished third in his first rally, Possum Bourne was destined to become one of New Zealand’s top rally drivers and one of the countries leading personalities. After starting in V8 powered Mk 1 Fords, his professional career took off when his linked up with Subaru. Although devastated by the death of his long time co-driver, friend and business partner Rodger Freeth in the 1993’s Rally of Australia, Possum Bourne continued driving and with expatriate Tony Sircombe won the Asia/Pacific title dedicating it to his friend’s memory. Sadly Possum died as the result of injuries received in a car accident at Cardrona in 2003. His funeral brought the nation and the motorsport world together in their grief over arguably one of New Zealand's most admired sporting ambassadors.
Always outspoken, Robbie Francevic was able to back up his words with success on the track. He became a household name in 1966 when he and his team designed and built the famous “Colour Me Gone” Custaxie in which he won the twenty races and the 1967 Saloon Car Championship. In his time Robbie Francevic also won two rounds of the Australian Touring Car Championship and the inaugural Wellington Street race in 1985 and the following year won the ATCC title. Robbie still has an occasional outing in events like the Dunlop Targa.
The late Dr Roger Freeth PfD, MNZEI, MNZIP
From a doctorate of Philosophy in Physics to winner of the inaugural New Zealand Motorsport’s Personality of the Year award, Rodger Freeth had a glittering academic and motorsport career. Although his first love was motorcycles, he went on to become one of New Zealand’s most respected rally co-drivers, first with Neil Allport and then with Possum Bourne. As a driver he also won TraNZam titles in his Starlet. Rodger lost his life in a tragic accident during the 1993 Rally of Australia.
The late Ron Frost MBE
Ron Frost’s 40-year involvement in the administration of motorsport could justifiably win him the title "Mr New Zealand Motorsport". During the heyday of the Tasman Championships, it was his contacts and negotiation skills that brought many of the world’s top drivers to the Australasian fixture. He was President of the Association of New Zealand Car Clubs (later MotorSport New Zealand Inc) from 1958 to 1977 and took an active part in the international scene through his involvement with the FIA and the World Council of Motorsport.
The late Denny Hulme OBE
Another of the illustrious names to have come from the NZIGP Driver to Europe Scholarships, "Denny" Hulme went on to win the 1967 Formula 1 Driver’s World Championship and eight Formula 1 Grand Prix from 1967 to 1974. With fellow Kiwi Bruce McLaren he also dominated the CanAm series from 1968 to 1972. He continued to compete into his 50s in historic and celebrity-style events as well as being in demand for Bathurst where he died of a heart attack doing what he knew and loved best.
The late Bruce McLaren
After being awarded a scholarship to drive in Europe in 1958, Bruce McLaren quickly established himself as a force to be reckoned with. In 1959 he became the youngest driver to win a Grand Prix when he won his first Formula One Grand Prix in America; it was the start of a career which would see many high profile victories. Bruce McLaren died testing a car in 1970, but his name lives on with the team he created and the work he did developing racing cars.
Graham McRae was a successful engineer/driver much in the mould of Bruce McLaren. In 1969 he was awarded the Driver to Europe scholarship and showed a promising start in Formula 2. Often driving cars he had designed, he was a consistent winner of F5000 in Australasia, Great Britain and America. He also won the Australian Grand Prix three times and clinched the Australian Drivers Championship. An extremely talented driver and engineer, he could have reached the pinnacle of motorsport, but chose a different route.
One of New Zealand’s top rally drivers, Rod Millen achieved success in many parts of the world. After teaming up with Mazda to develop and race the RX3, he quickly established himself as New Zealand’s number one rally driver with three championship wins. In 1978, he moved to America where he continued to win races and where he set up a successful business in special vehicle projects. A frequent visitor to New Zealand, he is still regarded as a kiwi by fans who take pride in his achievements.
Steve Millen is one of a breed of drivers New Zealand seems to produce, capable of winning anything with four wheels while at the same time enjoying every minute of their racing. His greatest success at home came in circuit racing when he won the New Zealand International Grand Prix in 1980. Like his brother, Rod, he moved to America where he also set up a successful business and has raced Indy Lights and trucks. He won the Sebring 12-hour and Daytona 24-hour races in 1994.
Paul Radisich exemplifies the qualities needed to succeed in any endeavour; dedication and perseverance. He competed in Formula Pacific in New Zealand before trying to break into Formula 3 in Britain. When his lucky break failed to come, he turned to American Super Vee racing then the British Touring Car Championship. He went on to win the FIA Touring Car Challenge at Monza in 1993 and moved to Australia to continue with his career in the Australian V8 Supercar Championship.
Throughout his career "Gentleman Jim" Richards earned a reputation as a fair and honest racer, always giving his best but never displaying the win-at-all-costs attitude that some others show. Although he raced in rallies and speedway, his greatest success came in saloon cars. His association with Sidchrome meant a move to Australia in 1975 where he won the Bathurst 1000 five times. Australian journalists gave him his nickname, a fitting tribute to one of New Zealand’s most successful ex-pat racers.
Inducted in 1995
Kenneth James Smith MBE
In a career spanning many decades, Ken Smith has achieved success against the best local drivers and against those from overseas who have competed here. In his time he has won the New Zealand International Grand Prix and has picked up five New Zealand Gold Star Championships. Many thought his career was over when he underwent a triple heart bypass in 1987, but within three months he was back on the track and winning races; a perfect example of his talent, determination and courage.
Inducted in 1996
Since placing fifth in his first race in Levin in 1965, Graeme Lawrence has had a long and distinguished career in motorsport. In 1969 he won the Tasman Cup in the ex Chris Amon’s 2.5 litre Ferrari. A career highlight came in 1975 when he won the New Zealand Gold Star and placed second in the Tasman Championship. Despite serious injuries from a racing accident in a Formula 5000 Lola, he went on to find success largely in Southeast Asia in the seventies and eighties.
The late Ron Roycroft
A true all-round motorsports person, Ron Roycroft achieved success driving on sand, cinders, gravel and seal and collected over 200 awards in all types of speed events during a long career which started in 1933. He gave New Zealand one of its great motorsport moments in 1957 when he led the country's own Grand Prix for ten laps before retiring; the next year he placed third. He retired from driving in 1963 but never lost his interest in the sport or his enthusiasm for sharing his knowledge of cars.
Inducted in 1998
Morris Chandler ONZM
As president of MotorSport New Zealand from 1977 to 1998, "Morrie" Chandler’s never diminishing drive and energy led the sport. As founding chairman of Rally New Zealand, he succeeded in getting the country on the map through its inclusion in the World Rally Championships. His contribution to international motorsport came through his involvement with the FIA. One of the sport’s most dedicated promoters, Morrie Chandler was also an accomplished rally driver in a Skoda and later in Mitsubishis.
Craig Baird MNZM
With a host of New Zealand Motor Racing titles to his credit Craig Baird can rightfully claim to be one of New Zealand’s most successful racing drivers. After making his mark in karts then Formula Ford and Formula Pacific, he made the transition to saloons winning the New Zealand Touring Car Championship four years in a row. After two seasons in the UK Craig set up home in Australia and took up a drive in the successful Australian V8 Supercar Championship.
Inducted in 2003
An outstanding driver from an early age in karting, Greg Murphy went on to win all the major single seater titles in New Zealand before taking on Australia. Top Formula Brabham and two litre touring car drives in 1994/95 caught the eye of the Australians and slingshotted a successsful start to a saloon car driving career that to date has included two Bathurst 1000 and two Sandown 500 titles. Lack of funding hampered efforts to gain an Indy Lights driving contract in 1998 and he turned back to Australia where he has pursured the V8 Supercars title, finishing second in 2003.
Inducted in 2006
Dave McMillan started racing single seaters in the early 1960s then travelled overseas, working briefly for the McLaren team before moving to the US. He regularly returned to New Zealand for the summer season achieving success as the Gold Star champion in 76/77, 78/79 and 79/80 and winning the New Zealand Grand Prix in 1981 after bouncing back from a serious racing accident in 1980. He went on to win the North American Formula Atlantic Championship in 1982. Dave subsequently forged a very successful career managing teams which have won, among other trophies, the Long Beach Grand Prix. He has never lost his love for and interest in New Zealand motorsport and over the years has helped many young mechanics, and more recently drivers, to gain experience or launch careers in the States.
Inducted in 2009
Scott Dixon MNZM
When, in 1993 at the age of 13, Scott Dixon was granted a racing licence under a special MSNZ dispensation, few predicted what a prolific race winner he would become. Scott won the Formula First championship in his first season. In 1997, Scott crossed the Tasman to take third place in the Australian Formula Holden Championship and was named Rookie of the Year, winning the championship the following year. In 1999 Scott earned a test drive in a PACWEST IndyLights car and he was awarded the prestigious Jim Clark Trophy, an award he received again in 2001 and 2004. He switched to the CART series in 2001, taking another Rookie of the Year award. In 2003 he shifted to the Indycar Racing Series winning the championship. In 2008 he claimed his greatest victory to date, winning the famous Indianapolis 500 from pole. It was one of a record-equalling six IndyCar wins for the season and delivered him his second championship. He continues to be a great ambassador for his country and motorsport.
Inducted in 2012
From Geraldine, Hayden Paddon began go-karting at the age of six, then began rallying. In 2006, aged 19, Hayden debuted in the NZ Rally Championship, winning junior and rookie titles in his Group N Mitsubishi Evo 8. He won the 2008 and 2009 NZ Rally Championships. These victories earned Hayden the Pirelli Star Driver Scholarship for a fully funded year in the 2010 Production World Rally Championship (PWRC) where he finished third overall. In 2011 Hayden returned to the PWRC with a new brand – Subaru – winning the first four rounds and the championship. Hayden's achievements were also recognised by New Zealand's highest sporting honour, gaining nomination for the prestigious Halberg award. In 2012 Hayden is driving a Skoda Fabia S2000 in the Super 2000 World Rally Championship – the feeder series to the World Rally Championship (WRC).
John Kennard began navigating in 1972. He made his World Rally Championship debut in Finland in 1985 by filling in for a regular co-driver who was ill. John returned to New Zealand and co-drove for various drivers, scoring his best WRC result on Rally NZ in 1988: 3rd overall with the late-Malcolm Stewart in an Audi Quattro. Moving to England in 1990, John made a living from rallying as a logistics planner and a team co-ordinator. After returning home, John was approached by Hayden Paddon to co-drive for him in 2005 and became New Zealand champion co-driver in 2008 and 2009. With Hayden winning a Pirelli Star Driver Scholarship for 2010, they finished third in the Production World Rally Championship. In 2011 they won PWRC outright. For 2012 John and Hayden have stepped up to the WRC Super 2000 category, competing in a Skoda Fabia.
Inducted in 2013
A mechanic by trade, Ganley worked for Bruce McLaren’s Formula One team. McLaren spotted Ganley’s driving talent and put him into a semi-works F5000 McLaren in 1970, an opportunity which saw him finish second in the British Championship. In 1971, Ganley was signed by BRM and, to-date, is the only person to have worked as a F1 mechanic and driver. His F1 career, which saw him start 35 Grand Prix, was cut short by a serious foot and ankle injury. In 1976, Ganley formed ‘Tiga’, which produced over 400 racing cars over ten years.
Inducted in 2016
David Oxton’s success in open-wheelers saw the Aucklander win eight NZ championships between 1967 and 1984, including the prestigious Gold Star title five times – three in a row in Formula 5000 Beggs. Winning New Zealand’s first Formula Ford title in 1972 season earned Oxton entry into the Formula Ford World Cup at Brands Hatch at the end of 1972 where he put the oldest car in the field on pole position. In 1973 with one mechanic and a meagre budget, Oxton contested Formula 5000 events in the UK and Europe, fighting hard for solid results in a competitive year. In 1977 he again ventured offshore with a one-off car, the Tui, designed by New Zealander Allan McCall. Oxton and the Tui often finished just behind future Formula 1 stars Gilles Villeneuve and Keke Rosberg in the hard fought North American Formula Atlantic Championship. Following some time in Group A saloons, Oxton focused on his family and business while mentoring many up-and-coming drivers.
Jim Palmer, from Hamilton, totally dominated open wheeler racing in New Zealand through the 1960s to the extent that he won the coveted Gold Star title four times. Palmer was also first resident New Zealander home in the New Zealand Grand Prix for five years in succession from 1964, and on four occasions at the prestigious Lady Wigram Trophy race. He also raced at Bathurst for Australian entrants in their Gold Star as a result of his reputation as a fast but safe pair of hands – it was in a Scuderia Veloce Brabham that he set a new lap record at Bathurst. He was back at Bathurst in 1968 in a Holden Monaro as part of the factory team and shared the runner-up car. He was successful in saloons in New Zealand during occasional long distance events when he stepped away from open-wheelers. He then slipped out of motor racing and devoted his time to his car sales yard and his family. Despite his modesty and natural shyness, his time at the top of New Zealand single-seater racing produced such a string of results that may never be bettered. He’d had opportunities to race in Europe and his performances in the Tasman left no one in any doubt that he had the ability to race in Formula 1.
World Endurance Champion Brendon Hartley was born in Palmerston North and began his motor racing career in karts at age six. In 2002, aged 12, he contested his first full championship, Formula First, finishing seventh. He competed in the Formula Ford championship and then in the first season of the Toyota Racing Series, and won the first ever TRS race at Timaru in 2005. At 16 years of age, he made the move to Europe where he raced in a two-litre Formula Renault in the German and European Championships. In 2007 he won the World Series by Renault. Hartley was selected for the Red Bull talent pool and in the 2008 Formula 3 Grand Prix in Macau – having started 20th, he finished third and set the fastest lap of the race. He made his debut as Formula 1 reserve and test driver at the Spanish Grand Prix on 8 May 2009, becoming the first New Zealander to achieve F1 driver status since Mike Thackwell in 1984. Hartley had a F1 contract up to and including 2013 – first with Red Bull Racing, and then for the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula 1 Team. In 2012 he started as a long distance racer, driving for Murphy Prototypes in the 2013 European Le Mans Series. In 2014 Hartley secured a Porsche factory contract to drive the Porsche 919 Hybrid in the FIA World Endurance Championship. In 2015 at the age of 25, he made New Zealand motorsport history when he was crowned a world champion alongside Porsche teammates Mark Webber and Timo Bernhard when the trio won the FIA World Endurance Championship.