Formula One exhibition brings the race experience to windy Wellington

The exhibition tells the story of winning driver Bruce McLaren, whose legacy lives on in Formula One racing with Team McLaren featuring in the starting grid of every major Formula One race since 1966 and marks the 50th anniversary of New Zealand’s first Formula One Grand Prix victory at the 1959 US Grand Prix.

New Zealand’s other greats, Denny Hulme and Chris Amon, are also celebrated. All three began their careers at New Zealand racing events, and their early victories here laid the basis for their international success – a pattern which continues today with upcoming drivers like Brendon Hartley. Teenage friend and best mate Phil Kerr of Bruce McLaren, now resident in Auckland along with Bernie Ecclestone and Max Mosley were the three hired guns that created the organisation that manages the Formula One series today.

Nine Formula One cars will be on display, including the incredibly successful Cooper T51; Brabham BT20; McLaren-Honda MP4/4; Williams FW14B; and the mighty Ferrari F2004. The exhibition traces the design and technological innovations that have driven the sport from the 1950s to the 2000s, as well as the personalities that front it. New Zealand’s only manufacturer of full size full bodied actual race car simulators, SimDeck Formula Simulators, joins an elite group that is working towards similar success bringing the Formula One race experience into the virtual reality world of simulation.

Shell V-Power are the principal sponsors of the Formula One ™ – The Great Design Race ( on display in the Visa Platinum Gallery at Te Papa.

Te Papa’s Chief Executive, Dr Seddon Bennington said that ‘Te Papa will be the only Southern Hemisphere venue for Formula One ™ – The Great Design Race. ‘On and off the track, Kiwis have excelled at the highest levels of this prestigious, high-pressured sport and this exhibition celebrates the New Zealand contribution to Formula One.’

Visitors will get close to the action with a high-octane events programme featuring expert floortalks by former McLaren mechanic Walter Wilmott, and renowned motorsport commentator Bob McMurray. There will also be race car simulators, and special display cars, such as McLaren’s M8A Can-Am car, the Hulme Super Car, and A1Team New Zealand’s A1GP car ‘Black Beauty’. Full events details are listed at the website,

Among the world’s most popular sports, Formula One is watched by over 350 million people each race weekend. The exhibition’s principal partner, Shell, has been involved with Grand Prix racing since the 1930s, and their technical partnership with Ferrari is considered the most successful partnership in Formula One.

Associate Sponsor Bridgestone is the sole tyre supplier in the world’s foremost single-seater motorsport categories, including Formula One, and was instrumental in securing the Ferrari F2004 for the Te Papa exhibition.

Shell NZ retail general manager Mark Forsyth said, “we’re thrilled to have been part of Te Papa’s great team bringing Formula One ™ – The Great Design Race to New Zealand as ‘Shell and Ferrari have forged a fantastic partnership on the race track”.

For enthusiasts in Auckland wanting to experience the Formula One race experience are able to visit SimDeck Formula Simulators in Albany, Auckland by appointment for life size virtual reality simulation in the immersive world of SimDeck. Unlike many manufacturers of Formula One Simulators, SimDeck recreate the virtual race experience using it’s exclusive huge digital ICE Digital Daytime projection screens, custome built full size petrol powered 4m cars, full immersion impact sensors and optional DOF platforms. By the end of the year SimDeck Formula Simulators expects to be able to embed actual live Formula One races in real time into the SimDeck virtual reality world enabling drivers of a SimDeck Formula Simulator to actually race against actual drivers all in real time on a virtual version of the actual track.

About Formula One ™ – The Great Design Race
The Formula One ™ – The Great Design Race tour is organised by the Design Museum, London, and the exhibition is curated by Alicia Pivaro. New Zealand content has been developed by Te Papa in association with The Bruce McLaren Trust.

Formula One, Formula 1 and F1 are trademarks belonging to Formula One licensing B.V. Used by kind permission of Formula One Administration Limited.

About Shell V-PowerThe international Shell scientists who develop Ferrari’s Formula 1 motor racing fuels have taken what they’ve learnt on the track to create Shell V-Power’s unique formulation. It is designed to help keep new engines running like new for longer, and restore older engines to peak condition.
Shell V-Power is a high quality performance fuel available exclusively from Shell service stations throughout New Zealand.

Formula One™ – The Great Design Race
15 July – 1 November 2009
The Visa Platinum Gallery, Level 4
Te Papa

Adult, $12; child (5-15 years), $5; child (under 5 years), free; concessions, $9.50