1991 Australian Touring Car Championship

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1991 Australian Touring Car Championship
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The 1991 Australian Touring Car Championship was a CAMS sanctioned motor racing title open to Group 3A Touring Cars.[1] The title, which was the 32nd Australian Touring Car Championship,[2] was contested over a nine round series which began on 24 February 1991 at Sandown Raceway and ended on 11 August at Oran Park Raceway,[3] The series was promoted as the Shell Australian Touring Car Championship[4] and was won by Jim Richards driving a Nissan Skyline GT-R.

Teams and drivers[edit]

Series winner Jim Richards

The following teams and drivers competed in the 1991 Australian Touring Car Championship.

Team Car No Driver
Nissan Motor Sport Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R 1 New Zealand Jim Richards
2 Australia Mark Skaife
Lansvale Racing Team Holden VN Commodore SS Group A SV 3 Australia Trevor Ashby
Australia Steve Reed
Bob Forbes Racing Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R 4 Australia Mark Gibbs
Holden VL Commodore SS Group A SV
Holden VN Commodore SS Group A SV
21
Perkins Engineering Holden VN Commodore SS Group A SV 05 Australia Peter Brock
11 Australia Larry Perkins
Alf Grant Racing Nissan Skyline HR31 GTS-R 6 Australia Tim Grant
Caltex CXT Racing Team Ford Sierra RS500 8 Australia Colin Bond
Bob Holden Motors Toyota Sprinter 13 Australia Bob Holden
Toyota Corolla E80 75 Australia Frank Binding
76 Australia Mike Conway
Warren Jonsson Holden VL Commodore SS Group A SV 14 Australia Warren Jonsson
Holden Racing Team Holden VN Commodore SS Group A SV 16 United Kingdom Win Percy
Australia Allan Grice
Dick Johnson Racing Ford Sierra RS500 17 Australia Dick Johnson
18 Australia John Bowe
Benson & Hedges Racing BMW M3 Evolution 20 Australia Alan Jones
25 Australia Tony Longhurst
Terry Finnigan Holden VL Commodore SS Group A SV
Holden VN Commodore SS Group A SV
27 Australia Terry Finnigan
Playscape Racing Ford Sierra RS500 28 New Zealand Kevin Waldock
Wayne Park Holden VL Commodore SS Group A SV 29 Australia Wayne Park
Peter Jackson Racing Ford Sierra RS500 30 Australia Glenn Seton
Toyota Team Australia Toyota Corolla FX-GT 31 New Zealand John Faulkner
PACE Racing Holden VL Commodore SS Group A SV 32 Australia Kevin Heffernan
Pro-Duct Motorsport Holden VN Commodore SS Group A SV 33 Australia Bob Pearson
Brian Bolwell Ford Sierra RS500 43 Australia Brian Bolwell
44 Australia Mike Twigden
Peter Verheyen Toyota Sprinter 48 Australia John Vernon
Australia Peter Verheyen
M3 Motorsport BMW M3 52 Australia John Cotter
53 Australia Peter Doulman
David Sala Toyota Corolla E80 72 Australia David Sala

Changes[edit]

With Australia in the middle of a economic downturn, entry numbers were significantly down on 1990 at almost every round, with only eleven cars appearing at Wanneroo Raceway. Notable absentees included Allan Moffat Racing and Toyota Team Australia, while Peter Brock closed his Mobil 1 Racing team and took his sponsorship to Perkins Engineering.[5]

Tony Longhurst Racing became a factory BMW team, racing two former Schnitzer Motorsport BMW E30 M3 Evolutions, delivered after the 1990 Wellington 500. Team owners Tony Longhurst and Frank Gardner had a previous association with BMW and the M3, Longhurst having raced a M3 for Gardner's factory JPS Team BMW in 1987.[6]

With the economic downturn making it unlikely Holden Special Vehicles would be able to sell the required 500 evolution Holden Commodore VNs to make it eligible for Group A competition, CAMS gave dispensation for the model to race and thus the Holden teams upgraded. The VN had been released back in August 1988, and would be superseded by the VP in October 1991. The Ford Sierra RS500s were also able to use six (instead of five) speed gearboxes.[6]

Season review[edit]

The season was dominated by Nissan Motor Sport. The team's two drivers won seven of the nine rounds between them, with six of those victories being part of 1-2 finishes. Mark Skaife scored more championship points than any other driver, but with each driver able to drop their worst round, Skaife lost ten points from his fourth at Round 8 at Lakeside International Raceway, giving the title to his team mate and defending champion, Jim Richards who only scored in the first eight rounds, failing to finish the Grand Finale at Oran Park. This continued the New Zealand domination of the Championship in the Group A era, with New Zealand drivers having won five of the seven Australian Touring Car Championships held under those regulations, the only Australian winner being 1988 and 1989 champion Dick Johnson.

Third place was claimed by Tony Longhurst who won two rounds, at Amaroo Park and Lakeside International Raceway in his Benson & Hedges BMW M3 Evolution. BMW's return with a top line team was underlined by team mate Alan Jones's finishing fourth in the points, after finishing the championship strongly with consecutive second placings in the final two rounds. During the series, the BMW, which were the lightest outright cars (which helped their tyre wear and gave a braking advantage), became the only consistent challengers to the GT-Rs.

1991 also saw the return of Peter Brock to Holden for the first time since 1987. After two seasons running Andy Rouse Ford Sierras which had seen Brock finish 3rd and 2nd in the championship, Brock teamed with former Holden Dealer Team co-driver/manager Larry Perkins in two Perkins Engineering built Commodore VNs, and while initially they were off the pace due to the lack of suitable Bridgestone tyres, this was rectified by half way through the series and Brock in particular became a regular challenger with strong qualifying performances, though the heavy Commodore's proved to be hard on tyres. Brock finished 6th in the championship while Perkins finished in 11th place. Perkins would later claim that part of the contract with Brock and his main sponsor Mobil stated that in championship races, he was not allowed to finish ahead of Brock unless it was unavoidable.

Brock and Perkins were joined in the fight for Holden by Holden Racing Team manager Win Percy who also had a strong season in his VN Commodore. Percy's 4th place at Amaroo Park was the best finish for a Commodore through the series. Percy finished the series in 8th place, one place ahead of five time ATCC champion Dick Johnson who endured a miserable series in his Sierra, his best finish being 4th in the opening round at Sandown Raceway.

Results and Standings[edit]

Race Calendar[edit]

The 1991 Australian Touring Car Championship was contested over a nine round series with one race per round.[3] Each round was of approximately 50 minutes duration.

Rd. Race Title Circuit City / State Date Winner Car Team Report
1 Australia Sandown Sandown Raceway Melbourne, Victoria 22 - 24 Feb New Zealand Jim Richards Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R Nissan Motor Sport
2 Australia Symmons Plains Symmons Plains Raceway Launceston, Tasmania 8 - 10 Mar New Zealand Jim Richards Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R Nissan Motor Sport
3 Australia Wanneroo Wanneroo Raceway Perth, Western Australia 12 - 14 Apr Australia Mark Skaife Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R Nissan Motor Sport
4 Australia Lakeside Lakeside International Raceway Brisbane, Queensland 26 - 28 Apr New Zealand Jim Richards Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R Nissan Motor Sport
5 Australia Winton Winton Motor Raceway Benalla, Victoria 3–5 May New Zealand Jim Richards Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R Nissan Motor Sport
6 Australia Amaroo Amaroo Park Sydney, New South Wales 31 May - 2 Jun Australia Tony Longhurst BMW M3 Evolution Benson & Hedges Racing
7 Australia Mallala Mallala Motor Sport Park Mallala, South Australia 21 - 23 Jun Australia Mark Skaife Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R Nissan Motor Sport
8 Australia Lakeside Lakeside International Raceway Brisbane, Queensland 12 - 14 Jul Australia Tony Longhurst BMW M3 Evolution Benson & Hedges Racing
9 Australia Oran Park Oran Park Raceway Sydney, New South Wales 9 - 11 Aug Australia Mark Skaife Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R Nissan Motor Sport

Drivers Championship[edit]

Championship points were awarded on a 20-15-12-10-8-6-4-3-2-1 basis for the top ten positions at each round.[7] Each driver was required to drop any points earned from the worst round result.[7]

Pos Driver Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Rd 7 Rd 8 Rd 9 Pts [8]
1 Jim Richards 1st 1st 2nd 1st 1st 2nd 2nd 3rd Ret 137
2 Mark Skaife 2nd 2nd 1st 2nd 2nd 3rd 1st (4th) 1st 132 (142)
3 Tony Longhurst (9th) 4th 3rd 3rd 4th 1st 3rd 1st 3rd 108 (110)
4 Alan Jones 6th 9th 5th 5th 5th 5th (10th) 2nd 2nd 70 (71)
5 Glenn Seton Ret 3rd 4th 4th 3rd 12th 5th 5th 4th 70
6 Peter Brock 7th 7th 9th 6th (9th) 6th 6th 6th 7th 38 (40)
7 John Bowe 3rd 11th 8th 10th 7th 4th 7th Ret Ret 34
8 Win Percy 5th Ret Ret 11th 6th 8th 4th 8th 30
9 Dick Johnson 4th 5th Ret 9th 11th 7th 8th Ret 11th 27
10 Colin Bond 11th 6th 6th 7th 8th 10th 9th 7th Ret 26
11 Larry Perkins 14th 8th 7th 8th 10th 9th 11th 12th 6th 19
12 Mark Gibbs 10th 12th Ret 10th 5th 10
13 Kevin Waldock 8th 10th 12th 13th 4
13 Terry Finnigan 12th 13th 13th 11th 9th 9th 4
15 Allan Grice 8th 3
16 John Cotter 16th 10th 1
Pos Driver Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Rd 7 Rd 8 Rd 9 Pts
Colour Result
Gold Winner
Silver 2nd place
Bronze 3rd place
Green Points finish
Blue Non-points finish
Non-classified finish (NC)
Purple Did not finish (Ret)
Red Did not qualify (DNQ)
Did not pre-qualify (DNPQ)
Black Disqualified (DSQ)
White Did not start (DNS)
Withdrew (WD)
Race cancelled (C)
Blank Did not participate
Excluded (EX)

Positions shown within brackets are those for which drivers were awarded points that were not counted towards championship totals.

See also[edit]

1991 Australian Touring Car season

References[edit]

  1. ^ Conditions for Australian Racing Titles, 1991 CAMS Manual of Motor Sport, page 170
  2. ^ Records, Titles and Awards, 2002 CAMS Manual of Motor Sport, page 14-7
  3. ^ a b 1991/92 Australian Motor Racing Year, pages 295-296
  4. ^ Official Programme, Shell Australian Touring Car Championship, Round 7, 23 June 1991, Mallala
  5. ^ Hassall, David (2009). Brocky: Peter's Own Story A Life in Top Gear. Box Hill: Hassall Publishing. p. 161. ISBN 9780646525624. 
  6. ^ a b Normoyle, Steve (1992). The Great Race 11. Hornsby: Chevron Publishing. ISSN 1031-6124. 
  7. ^ a b Nigel Greenway, The Point of It All, Commodore 25th Anniversary magazine, page 94
  8. ^ Shell Australian Touring Car Championship magazine, Special 10th Anniversary Issue, page 93

External links[edit]