1983 Australian GT Championship season
|1983 Australian GT Championship season|
The 1983 Australian GT Championship was a CAMS sanctioned Australian motor racing title for cars complying with Group D regulations  for GT cars, with Group B Sports Sedans competing by invitation. It was the sixth Australian GT Championship. The championship was won by Rusty French, driving a Porsche 935.
1982 Australian GT Championship winner Alan Jones moved back to Formula One in 1983 and did not defend his title. His main opposition from 1982 returned, including, Rusty French in a Porsche 935 sponsored by John Sands, along with new team-mate Alan Browne in the ex-Jones 935. Twice former Australian Sports Sedan Champion Tony Edmondson fronted again in the Don Elliot owned, 5.0L Chevrolet powered, Alfa Romeo Alfetta GTV (upgraded to a 6.0L Chev during the year), while touring car driver Peter Brock again was to drive the Bob Jane owned 6.0L Chevrolet Monza. Also competing were the Frank Gardner run JPS Team BMW with Jim Richards driving the team's turbocharged BMW 318i that had originally been driven by Allan Grice in Craven Mild colours, and Peter Fitzgerald in his Porsche Carrera RSR. The expected challenge from the twin-turbo Chevrolet V8 powered Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC of Bryan Thompson failed to eventuate until late in the series as the car was plagued by unreliability.
The third round of the championship at the Adelaide International Raceway was the scene of a start line accident after the Chevrolet Monza of Peter Brock snapped left off the line and speared into the concrete wall before bouncing back in front of the field. With nowhere to go and little time to react, others, led by Jim Richards crashed into Brock, with the ex-Jim Richards Ford Falcon of Tony Hubbard ending up on top of the pile and the Jaguar XJS of Mark Trenoweth on the bottom. At least one third of the field was eliminated in the crash. Following the accident, the Bob Jane owned Chevrolet Monza wasn't to be seen again until the 1984 Australian GT Championship, by which time it had been purchased by Alan Browne and was driven by Allan Grice, while the BMW wasn't raced again until late in 1984 at the 1984 World Endurance Championship meeting, the Sandown 1000 in Melbourne.
Rusty French won his first Australian GT Championship with a consistent run over the six round series to score 40 points, never finishing outside of the top three positions in any round, and winning Round 3 in Adelaide and the sixth and final round at Surfers Paradise. Jim Richards finished second in the championship with 18 points, despite competing in only the first two rounds at Lakeside and Sandown, winning both convincingly. 1980 and 1981 Australian Sports Sedan Champion Tony Edmondson finished equal second with Richards in the championship. Like Richards, Edmondson won two rounds with victory at Round 4 at Calder and Round 5 at Winton. Unlike Richards, Edmondson did enter other rounds of the championship. His was one of the cars damaged in the start line crash at the Adelaide round. Alan Browne was classified fourth in the championship in his Porsche 935, scoring 13 points.
As a reward for driving his Porsche 935 to the championship win, French was flown to West Germany in 1984 by Porsche as one of their award winners for 1983. This also scured him a drive with German World Endurance Championship team Kremer Racing at the 1984 24 Hours of Le Mans driving a Porsche 956B. Alongside Englishmen Tiff Needell and David Sutherland, French finished 9th outright in the 24 hour classic.
|Round ||Name||Circuit ||Date ||Format ||Round winner ||Car |
|1||Lakeside International Raceway||10 April||One race||Jim Richards||BMW 318i Turbo|
|2||Sandown Raceway||17 April||Two heats||Jim Richards||BMW 318i Turbo|
|3||Humes Guardrail Cup ||Adelaide International Raceway||10 July||One race||Rusty French||Porsche 935/80|
|4||Calder Park Raceway||31 July||Two heats||Tony Edmondson||Alfa Romeo Alfetta GTV|
|5||Winton Motor Raceway||14 August||Two heats||Tony Edmondson||Alfa Romeo Alfetta GTV|
|6||Surfers Paradise Raceway||28 August||Two heats||Rusty French||Porsche 935/80|
|Pos.||Driver ||No.||Car ||Entrant||Lak||San||Ade||Cal||Win||Sur||Total |
|1||Rusty French||3||Porsche 935/80 ||John Sands Racing ||6||6||9||4||6||9||40|
|2||Jim Richards||11||BMW 318i Turbo||JPS Team BMW ||9||9||-||-||-||-||18|
|2||Tony Edmondson||9||Alfa Romeo Alfetta GTV - Chevrolet||Don Elliot ||-||-||-||9||9||-||18|
|4||Alan Browne||4||Porsche 935/77A ||John Sands Racing ||-||4||-||2||3||4||13|
|5||Peter Fitzgerald||5||Porsche Carrera RSR||Peter Fitzgerald ||-||3||-||3||4||-||10|
|5||John Briggs||91||BMW 318i Turbo||John Briggs BMW ||-||-||4||-||-||6||10|
|7||Bryan Thompson||17||Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC – Chevrolet||PF Motor Racing Pty Ltd ||-||-||6||-||-||-||6|
|7||Colin Bond||28||Porsche 944 Turbo||Porsche Cars Australia ||-||-||-||6||-||-||6|
|9||Bruce Lynton||18||BMW 318i Turbo||Bruce Lynton BMW ||4||-||-||-||-||-||4|
|9||Phillip Swinton||Mini Cooper ||2||-||-||-||-||2||4|
|9||Bob Jolly||31||Holden VC Commodore||Bob Jolly Racing ||-||2||-||-||2||-||4|
|9||Clem Smith||26||Chrysler VH Valiant Charger||Clem Smith ||-||-||3||1||-||-||4|
|13||Jeff Barnes||9||Chevrolet Monza||3||-||-||-||-||-||3|
|13||Mark Trenoweth||18||Jaguar XJ-S||Mark Trenoweth ||-||-||-||-||-||3||3|
|15||John Lusty||43||Holden LJ Torana||-||-||2||-||-||-||2|
|16||Bruce Smith||Ford Capri||1||-||-||-||-||-||1|
|16||Jim Keogh||Holden VH Commodore ||-||1||-||-||-||-||1|
|16||Larry Kogge||Mazda RX-3||ASSA ||-||-||1||-||-||-||1|
|16||John Bourke||77||Toyota Celica||-||-||-||-||1||-||1|
|16||Simon Harrex||69||Holden VH Commodore||-||-||-||-||-||1||1|
- Conditions for Australian Titles, 1983 CAMS Manual of Motor Sport, pages 91 to 94
- Specifications - Group D - GT, 1983 CAMS Manual of Motor Sport, pages 314 & 315
- Australian Titles, docs.cams.com.au As archived at www.webcitation.org on 16 July 2014
- Barry Catford, Australian GT Championship, Australian Motor Racing Yearbook, 1983/84, pages 218 to 231
- Humes Guardrail Cup, Official Programme, Adelaide International Raceway, Sunday, 10th July 1983, page 29
- Championship points have been calculated by applying the points system published in the 1983 CAMS Manual of Motor Sport to the round placings published in Australian Motor Racing Yearbook, 1983/84. The first six placegetters and the points scored by each of these drivers have been confirmed from the abbreviated Points Score Table published in Australian Motor Racing Yearbook, 1983/84.
- Australian GT Championship (round 1) , www.racingsportscars.com Retrieved on 1 September 2014
- Australian GT Championship (round 4) , www.racingsportscars.com Retrieved on 1 September 2014
- Australian GT Championship (round 2) , www.racingsportscars.com Retrieved on 1 September 2014
- Stewart Wilson, Holden - The official racing history, pages 358 & 359