Australian Touring Car Championship

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Australian Touring Car Championship
Category Touring car racing
Country Australia
Inaugural season 1960
Drivers 25
Teams 15
Tyre suppliers Dunlop
Drivers' champion Australia Jamie Whincup
Official website www.v8Supercars.com.au
Motorsport current event.svg Current season

The Australian Touring Car Championship (ATCC) is a touring car racing award held in Australia since 1960. The series itself is no longer contested, but the title lives on, with the winner of the International V8 Supercars Championship awarded the trophy and title of Australian Touring Car Champion.

History[edit]

The first Australian Touring Car Championship was held in 1960 as a single race for Appendix J Touring Cars. This was an acknowledgement of the rising popularity of races held for passenger sedans as opposed to the more purpose built open wheel racing cars, or sports cars. The original race was held at the Gnoo Blas circuit in Orange in rural New South Wales, west of Sydney. The original race was won by journalist racer, David McKay racing a Jaguar saloon prepared by his own racing team, which to this point had been better known for its preparation of open wheel and sports racing cars.

The early years of the ATCC saw the once a year event visit mostly rural circuits, before finally visiting a major city circuit, Lakeside Raceway on the outskirts of Brisbane in 1964. This race was also the first not won by a Jaguar saloon with Ian Geoghegan driving a Ford Cortina winning the first of his five titles. From 1965 the title would largely be won by an American V8 powered muscle car, most notably the Ford Mustang which would win five consecutive titles in 1965 (Norm Beechey) and 1966–69 (Geoghegan). The first victory by an Australian car was the Holden Monaro HT GTS 350 driven by Norm Beechey in 1970. As of 4 December 2011 Jamie Whincup & Norm Beechey are the only two people to have won the championship in both a Ford and a Holden in history of the ATCC and V8 Supercars Championship Series.

1979 Champion Bob Morris (Holden Torana)

A major shift occurred in 1973. The championship had blossomed from a single race into a multi-event series in 1969, but the competition had not changed markedly. The 'Supercar scare' that had rocked the buildup to 1972 Bathurst 500 forced sweeping changes through touring car regulations. The Improved Touring Car regulations which governed the ATCC, known at the time as Group C were amalgamated with the more basic Group E Series Production Touring Cars regulations which governed the Bathurst touring car endurance race in a compromise between the two, creating a single class for touring car racing that would hold sway of Australian Touring Car racing until the introduction of Group A in 1985.

This period saw a rise in the tribal style conflicts between Holden and Ford and in particular the two marques leading drivers, respectively Peter Brock and Allan Moffat who between them would claim seven of the eras 12 championships (and nine of the associated Bathurst victories). By the mid-1980s Group C had become wracked with infighting and almost random parity adjustments between competing marques.

Attention focussed purely on Holden and Ford had blurred as European and Japanese manufacturers joined the Australian agents of the two big American companies, the trend starting in 1981 with BMW, Mazda and Nissan. The international Group A regulations, already utilised by European and Japanese touring car series, allowed them to compete on equal terms. Holden was forced briefly into catchup phase and all but backed out of the sport in 1992 after Group A had been dominated by more track focused production cars such as the turbocharged Ford Sierra RS500 and various Nissan Skylines, as well as the BMW M3.

By the mid-1980's, a number of the leading teams including the Holden Dealer Team, Dick Johnson Racing, JPS Team BMW and the Peter Jackson Nissan team had begun to make a lot of noise about the very little amount of prize money on offer for their efforts in criss-crossing the country in pursuit of the title. In 1984, the final year of the Group C rules, it was estimated that the Brisbane based Johnson team had covered some 20,000 km in travelling to and from championship meetings, often for as little as A$1,500 for a win. When CAMS increased the title to 10 rounds in 1986, with little change to the prize money, the teams were threatening that the ATCC would see smaller and smaller grids unless CAMS found a series sponsor. The sponsor that was found was oil giant Shell who put up some $200,000 worth of prize money from the 1987 ATCC, ensuring the long term future of the series.

1992 saw the unhappy demise of Group A and with the international touring car scene fragmenting in several directions (moving towards DTM, Super Touring and Super GT) Australia forged its own path evolving the Group A specification Holden Commodores and re-introducing the Ford Falcon into the new Group 3A regulations that would later be renamed as V8 Supercar.

The ATCC continued to be used until the end of the 1998 season, after which V8 Supercar organisers altered the name of the series, eventually adopting its present identity, the V8 Supercars Championship.

ATCC Champions and records[edit]

Round Starts by Driver[edit]

The Ford Mustang with which Ian Geoghegan won the 1967, 1968 and 1969 Australian Touring Car Championships. The car is pictured in 2013.

Current drivers indicated in bold.

Starts Driver Manufacturers
234 Russell Ingall Holden, Ford
225 John Bowe Volvo, Nissan, Ford
223 Craig Lowndes Holden, Ford
220 Mark Skaife Nissan, Holden
212 Peter Brock Holden, BMW, Ford
211 Garth Tander Holden
209 Glenn Seton Nissan, Ford, Holden
202 Dick Johnson Holden, Ford, Mazda
202 Jason Bright Ford, Holden
197 Greg Murphy Holden

Accurate to and including Round 1, 2014.

Round Wins by Driver[edit]

Wins Drivers Manufacturers
43 Craig Lowndes Holden, Ford
42 Mark Skaife Nissan, Holden
38 Jamie Whincup Ford, Holden
37 Peter Brock Holden, Ford
32 Allan Moffat Ford, Mazda
22 Dick Johnson Ford
Jim Richards BMW, Nissan, Holden
19 Garth Tander Holden
17 Glenn Seton Nissan, Ford
15 John Bowe Ford
Marcos Ambrose Ford

Accurate to and including Round 1, 2014.

Pole Positions by Driver[edit]

Poles Drivers Manufacturers
57 Peter Brock Holden, Ford
52 Jamie Whincup Ford, Holden
41 Mark Skaife Nissan, Holden
39 Allan Moffat Ford, Mazda
33 Craig Lowndes Holden, Ford
29 Garth Tander Holden
Mark Winterbottom Ford
27 Dick Johnson Ford
25 John Bowe Ford
18 Marcos Ambrose Ford

Accurate to and including Round 1, 2014.

Championship Wins by Marque[edit]

Championships Manufacturer Year
23 Ford 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1973, 1976, 1977, 1981, 1982, 1984, 1988, 1989, 1993, 1995, 1997, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010
19 Holden 1970, 1974, 1975, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1994, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2007, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
4 Jaguar 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963
3 Nissan 1990, 1991, 1992
2 Chevrolet 1971, 1972
BMW 1985, 1987
1 Mazda 1983
Volvo 1986

See also[edit]