The 1988 Australian Touring Car Championship was a CAMS sanctioned motor racing title for drivers of Group 3A Touring Cars. It was the 29th running of the Australian Touring Car Championship. Promoted as the “1988 Shell Ultra Australian Touring Car Championship”, it began on 6 March at Calder Park Raceway and ended on 17 July at Oran Park Raceway after nine rounds. The 1988 Australian Manufacturers' Championship was contested over the same nine round series.
The championship was dominated by those driving the Ford Sierra RS500, specifically the Shell Ultra-Hi Racing Sierra's of Dick Johnson and John Bowe. Between them the pair won eight of the nine rounds with Johnson winning his 4th touring car championship. Tony Longhurst was the only other driver to win a round in his Freeport Racing Sierra. Longhurst won Round 6 at Lakeside from Johnson after Dick was penalised 1 minute for jumping the start.
With Sierra's winning each round of the championship, 1988 was the first time since the Holden A9X Torana's of 1979 that a single model car had won each round of the championship.
Due to the speed of the Sierra's, the BMW M3, now being run by Peter Brock's Mobil 1 Racing was reduced to a class car rather than the outright contender it was in 1987. Defending champion Jim Richards, new to the Mobil team in 1988, had a best finish of 3rd at Winton while Brock could finish no higher than 4th at Wanneroo. Nissan debuted their new turbocharged, Skyline HR31 GTS-R for 1987 drivers Glenn Seton and George Fury which was expected to challenge the Sierra's, but the teams testing and development of the straight 6 GTS-R was in the races and the car didn't have the speed of the Fords with a best finish of 3rd for Fury at Amaroo Park. Delays in the building of the new fuel injected VL Commodore SS Group A SV also saw to it that the Holden challenge, headed by Larry Perkins in the 1987 model 'HDT' VL with backing from Holden Special Vehicles, was almost non-existent. Perkins best finish was 3rd at Sandown in Round 7.
Teams and drivers
The following drivers and teams competed in the 1988 Australian Touring Car Championship.
The 1988 Australian Touring Car Championship was contested over a nine round series with each round being a single race of just under one hour in duration.
Points were awarded on a 20-15-12-10-8-6-4-3-2-1 basis for the top ten race positions at each round. Only the best eight results could be retained by each driver.
||Finished, in points
||Finished, no points
|Not classified (NC)
||Did not finish (Ret)
||Did not qualify (DNQ)
|Did not pre-qualify (DNPQ)
||Did not start (DNS)
|Race cancelled (C)
||Did not participate
- ^ a b CAMS 1988 CAMS Manual of Motor Sport, Conditions for Australian Titles, pages 74-77 & Group 3A Touring Cars Specifications, pages 228-233
- ^ Graham Howard & Stewart Wilson, Australian Touring Car Championship, 30 Fabulous Years, 1989
- ^ Official Programme, Shell Ultra Australian Touring Car Championship, Round Five, Adelaide International Raceway, 1 May 1988
- ^ a b Australian Motor Racing Yearbook, 1988/89, pages 312-314
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w Official Programme, Shell Ultra Australian Touring Car Championship, Round Five, Adelaide International Raceway, 1 May 1988, entry list, page 27
- ^ Official Programme, Shell Ultra Australian Touring Car Championship, Round Five, Adelaide International Raceway, 1 May 1988, Points & Prizes, page 17