Bill Farmer – A Race History 1984 to 2015
Bill Farmer was born on 8th July 1959 in Auckland. He began racing in 1984 in a Porsche 911SC at the Wings and Wheels meeting in Christchurch. Bill gained extensive race experience in the 1990s in a range of Porsche cars. As a member of the Porsche Club of NZ, he was instrumental in the mid-1990s to the organisation of the ‘Porsche Le Mans Intermarque Relay’ series held annually at Pukekohe. He raced Porsches for three seasons from 1991 until 1993 in the international endurance races – the ‘Nissan Mobil 500’ series held annually at Wellington and Pukekohe.
After some single seater experience in Formula Vees he gained his International Race Licence and raced in a Formula Holden single seater in New Zealand and Australia in 1994/5. Bill raced Porsches overseas in 1994 at Montlhery (France); in 1995 at Donington (UK), Montlhery (France), Suzaka (Japan), Manfeild (NZ); and in 1996 at the Daytona 24 Hour, Jarama (Spain) and the Le Mans 24 Hour race.
A summary of Bill’s racing is as follows:-
Racing debut at Country Gentlemen’s ’Wings and Wheels’ event at RNZAF Base Wigram, Christchurch, driving a Porsche 911SC
Winning team Porsche Le Mans relay races at Pukekohe in each year
Bridgestone-Porsche Club Championship series:
1987 Porsche 930 3.3 – Winner Class A, 2nd overall
1988 Porsche 2.7 RS (replica) – Winner Class A, 5th overall
Wellington Nissan Mobil 500 – 1st December 1991 – Drivers Owen Evans/Bill Farmer.
Porsche 911 3.0 RS 3200cc – Qualified 11th of 42 cars to start. Finished in 9th place overall and 2nd in Class B. Completed 130 of the winner’s 144 laps.
Pukekohe Nissan Mobil 500 – 8th December 1991 – Drivers Owen Evans/Bill Farmer. ‘Evans European’ sponsored #7 Porsche 911 Carrera 3.0 RS 3200cc – Qualified 12th of 32 entries. Did not finish (DNF – only 12 of 130 laps)
Wellington Nissan Mobil 500 – 6th December 1992 – Drivers Owen Evans/Bill Farmer. ‘Evans European’ sponsored #7 Porsche 911 RS – Qualified 7th of 38 starters. Finished in 3rd place overall and 1st in class on 136 of 146 laps
Pukekohe Nissan Mobil 500 – 13th December 1992 – Drivers Owen Evans/Bill Farmer. ‘Evans European’ sponsored #7 Porsche 911 RS 2994cc – finished in 5th place overall and 1st in class on 119 of 130 laps
Evans/Farmer were equal third place on overall points in the two-race Nissan Mobil series.
Wellington Nissan Mobil 500 – 5th December 1993. #9 1991 ‘Lighting Direct’ Porsche 911 Carrera RS 3600cc –Bill Farmer/Bill Fulford. Finished in 3rd place and 3rd in class on 132 of 134 laps. Race won by Owen Evans/Bruno Eichmann Porsche 911 Carrera RS 3600cc
Pukekohe Nissan Mobil 300 – 12th December 1993 – #9 ‘Lighting Direct’ 1991 Porsche 911 Carrera RS 3600cc – Bill Farmer/Bill Fulford – finished in 4th place/3rd in Class on 100 of 107 laps.
Farmer/Fulford were placed second overall on points (to the Porsche of Evans/Eichmann) in the two-race Nissan Mobil series.
Montlhery (France) ‘Paris 1000km’ – 29th May 1994. Bill Farmer/Justin Bell/Eric Henriksen #38 Porsche 968 Turbo RS – Qualified 23rd finished 15th
NZ Formula Vee
NZ Premiere Racing Series – Formula Brabham. Bill can’t remember all results but the NZGP meeting at Manfeild was his worst result ever when he spun out on a restart in his Formula Holden with 10 laps to go and a commanding lead !
Australian Drivers Championship – #25 Dome F102 Holden V8. At Phillip Island, Vic, for Round 1 of the 3 Round Championship, Bill took 4th place in both Race 1 and Race 2. He finished in 10th place in the Championship, having competed in only one Round.
‘Karcher Global GT Championship’ of 12 Rounds. Bill drove his brand new 1995 Porsche 993 GT2 3.6 Twin Turbo Flat 6
- Round 6 – Donington 4 Hour (UK) – 8th May 1995 – #14 Bill Farmer/Robert Nearn/Edwards. Qualified 19th of 27 cars. Finished 7th overall and 3rd in Class for a podium in their 1st race.
- Round 7 – Montlhery ‘Paris 1000km’(France) – 14th May 1995 – #14 Farmer/Nearn 2nd place and 2nd in class
- Round 9 – Suzaka ‘Pokka 1000km’ (Japan) – 27th August 1995 – #14 Farmer/Nearn/Owen Evans – Qualified 50th, finished 13th and 3rd in class
Manfeild – Sports & GT Races (NZ) – Nov ‘95 – Bill brought the GT2 back to New Zealand to race in the Nissan- Mobil series, but the race was cancelled for that year. Before shipping the car to USA for the 24 Hours of Daytona, Bill had two short 8 lap sprint races at Manfeild in the #14 Porsche GT2 LM Turbo. Said by many to be amongst the best GT races ever at Manfeild, Bill and Owen Evans diced closely with the lead swapping many times on each lap of the two 8 lap races. After such a tight tussle with this very good friend in Owen , Bill was very pleased to take first place in the second race after Owen had won the first.
Daytona 24 Hours – 3rd & 4th Feb 1996 – #79 Bill Farmer/Greg Murphy/Robert Nearn/Stephane Ortelli (Fr)/ Alex Tradd reserve (USA ). Qualified 23rd of 76 cars. Retired when lying 3rd at 16 Hours (engine). Classified 32nd
‘Global GT Championship’
Round 3 ‘Jarama 4 Hours’ (Spain) – 14th April 1996 – #92 Farmer/Nearn/Ortelli. Qualified 27th of 49 cars, finished 11th of 30 cars and 8th in class
Le Mans 24 Hours – 15/16 June 1996 – (Le Kiwi Comeback 1996 – 30th Anniversary of Ford entry at Le Mans in 1996 with New Zealand’s Bruce McLaren/Chris Amon and Denny Hulme – there was a one-two for the Kiwis!). With sponsorship from ’New Hardware Clothing/Klondike/Parr Motorsports (UK)’ Red/White #71 Porsche – Bill Farmer/Greg Murphy/Richard Nearn (UK) – Qualified 48th started 46th, finished 14th overall on 313 laps of winner’s 354, 2nd in GT2 class (4 laps behind class winners). 48 cars started, 25 finished.
Bill has done some V8 racing with Miles Pope in a John Deere sponsored car and a number of 6 hour endurance races. While the V8 results were ‘mixed’ he won the Enduros for three consecutive years. Bill continues to race occasionally up to the present day – in 2015!
NZ Festival of Motor Racing celebrating Porsche – January 2016
Kiwi Porsche Racers
By Jim Barclay