1983 Australian Touring Car Championship

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1983 Australian Touring Car Championship
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The 1983 Australian Touring Car Championship was a CAMS sanctioned motor racing title for drivers of Group C Touring Cars.[1] The title, which was the 24th Australian Touring Car Championship,[2] was contested over a series which began on 6 February 1983 at Calder Park Raceway and ended on 19 June at Lakeside International Raceway after eight rounds.[3]

The championship was won by Allan Moffat, his fourth and final Australian Touring Car Championship and a first for Mazda, who were helping to fund Moffat's team and it was also the first ATCC win for a Japanese manufacturer. Moffat himself dominated the racing, taking four out of the eight race wins, but a beneficial points structure for smaller capacity cars allowed George Fury (driving a turbocharged version of the Nissan Bluebird) to push Moffat all the way to the title, despite not actually winning a race. The folly in the point system was exposed at the first round at Calder when Moffat won the race from Fury, but Fury actually led the championship by finishing second outright in a smaller capacity car. When Fury took the lead for a brief time at Calder, it was the first time that a turbo powered car had led an ATCC race.

Peter Brock in his Marlboro Holden Dealer Team VH Commodore SS finished third in the championship. Brock's early season form saw him lagging in ninth place at the midway point in the championship after failing to finish at Calder and Symmons Plains, while finishing third at Sandown and ninth at Wanneroo after spinning out of the lead in a dice with Moffat and Fury. Brock's championship got back on track with an all-the-way win in Adelaide where he won by the length of the Commodore's bumper bar from Moffat. From there he finished with two seconds and a win to round out the series.

Brock's win in the final round at Lakeside was easily one of the drives of the series. In difficult, wet conditions he lapped the entire field in the 35 laps after taking the lead on lap 2. His race almost ended coming out of the Karrasell on the first lap when the left rear tyre of his Commodore got out into the mud and pitched the car sideways, almost into the path of Gregg Hansford in the second Moffat Mazda RX-7. Brock recovered still in 3rd place and soon past an ailing Dick Johnson whose Falcon had suffered a power steering pump failure on the grid which would cause his early retirement as he could not steer the car properly. Brock then passed early leader Moffat on lap 2 and proceeded to run away from the field. Hansford also overtook Moffat who was driving with an eye on the title, but Brock lapped the #31 Mazda through the back section of the circuit on the last lap.

Moffat, Brock and Allan Grice (who won 2 rounds at Sandown and Symmons Plains before fading later in the series) were the only race winners in the 1983 ATCC. Defending champion Dick Johnson battled season long with an ill-handling Ford XE Falcon and could only manage two distant 3rd placings at both Sandown and Wanneroo (where he led for the only time in the series) to finish a disappointing 6th in the championship, 94 points behind Moffat. Johnson's 351cui, 5.8L V8 Falcon had the grunt, but not the handling to be a serious contender for the crown. It was only discovered before the final round at Lakeside that the problem with the Falcon's handling had been both a lack of rear tyres as well as the front suspension of the car.

Nissan driver George Fury, helped by consistent performances, led the series going into the final round at Lakeside and needed only to finish 9th to claim the title. However team manager Howard Marsden decided the team would skip the round (officially to further develop the car before Bathurst), and therefore give up their chance of winning the championship, unless Allan Moffat finished 8th or worse (Moffat finished 3rd behind Brock and team mate Gregg Hansford). Controversy also reigned throughout the series with some teams such as the Holden Dealer Team and STP Roadways Racing claiming that Moffat was foxing during the championship, and not racing as fast as he could in an effort to 'hoodwink' CAMS into believing the RX-7's, which ran the 12.L 12A engine in the championship, needed the larger and more powerful (by some 30 bhp (22 kW; 30 PS)) 1.3L 13B engine in order to be competitive against the V8 Holden's and Ford's at Bathurst. Ultimately CAMS approved the larger 13B engine for the RX-7's (as well as a late approval for fuel injection), but also granted concessions to the Commodore's and Falcons which ended up giving the bigger cars a speed advantage on the Mountain.

Controversially CAMS announced the concessions for the post-ATCC 1 August homologation during the race of Round 7 at Oran Park via the ABC's telecast of the race, with ABC commentators Will Hagon and John Smailes making the announcement mid-race. In a TV interview with Smailes immediately following his 2nd placing to Moffat, Peter Brock was informed of the new homologation's and expressed his displeasure with CAMS for announcing it on television during the race and not letting those who the decision affected (the teams) know first.[4] The fallout from CAMS decision led to both the Nissan and Roadways teams boycotting the final race of the series at Lakeside, though the official reason given by Nissan team manager Howard Marsden was that the Bluebird's needed further development for the upcoming 1983 Australian Endurance Championship which included both blue ribbon events, the Sandown 400 and the James Hardie 1000 at Bathurst.

Nissan's boycott of the last round also meant that series leader George Fury virtually forfeited any chance of winning the championship provided that Moffat finished. It also saw his chance of becoming the only driver other than Colin Bond to win both the ATCC and the Australian Rally Championship with Fury previously having won the Rally title in both 1977 and 1980. Despite this it was generally felt that the championship went to the right driver as Moffat and his RX-7 were usually the fastest combination and the expat Canadian was regarded as the man to beat. Moffat only failed to finish once at Sandown and finished every other race on the podium, including four wins, four pole positions and five fastest laps resulting in new lap records at Sandown, Symmons Plains, Wanneroo, Surfers (shared with Brock) and Oran Park, while Fury's best were two seconds (Calder and Wanneroo) and one third at Symmons Plains. Also in each race that both Moffat and Fury finished, the Mazda finished ahead of the Nissan.

One outcome from this series was that in the future turbocharged cars had their engine capacities multiplied for the purposes of class point score weightings, meaning that in the 1984 Australian Touring Car Championship, the Bluebird's would compete on an equal footing with the other outright class competitors (this actually took effect prior to the start of the Endurance Championship which started two months after the ATCC concluded). Despite this meaning that the Nissan would score equal points as the RX-7's, Commodore's and Falcons, Nissan team boss Howard Marsden raised no objections to the change as the 1.8 litre turbo had proven that it was able to match the speed of the outright class cars. Indeed, later in the year Fury would showcase the speed of the car, qualifying the Bluebird on the front row of the grid at Bathurst, traditionally the sole domain of the more powerful V8 powered cars.

Teams and drivers[edit]

The following drivers and teams competed in the 1983 Australian Touring Car Championship.

Team Vehicle No Driver
Masterton Homes Ford XE Falcon 2 Australia Steve Masterton
Mike Burgmann Chevrolet Camaro Z28 3 Australia Mike Burgmann
Cadbury-Schweppes Racing Holden VH Commodore SS 3 New Zealand Peter Janson
STP Roadways Racing Holden VH Commodore SS 4 Australia Steve Harrington
6 Australia Allan Grice
Marlboro Holden Dealer Team Holden VH Commodore SS 05 Australia Peter Brock
Peter Brierley Holden VH Commodore 7
62
Australia Peter Brierley
Garry Wilmington Performance Ford XD Falcon 8 Australia Garry Wilmington
Andrew Harris Ford XE Falcon 9 Australia Andrew Harris
Soundwave Discos Holden VH Commodore SS 11 United Kingdom Clive Benson-Brown
Australia Garry Rogers
Team Toshiba Holden VH Commodore SS 12 Australia Jim Keogh
Bob Holden Motors Ford Escort Mk.II 13 Australia Bob Holden
John English Ford XD Falcon 14 Australia John English
John Donnelly Ford XD Falcon 15 Australia John Donnelly
Terry Finnigan Holden VH Commodore SS 15 Australia Terry Finnigan
Rusty French Holden VH Commodore SS 16 Australia Rusty French
Re-Car Racing Holden VH Commodore SS 16 Australia Garry Rogers
Palmer Tube Mills Ford XE Falcon 17 Australia Dick Johnson
Murray Carter Ford XE Falcon 18 Australia Murray Carter
Gary Hinton Holden VH Commodore SS 18 Australia Gary Hinton
Ken Mathews Holden VH Commodore SS 19 Australia Ken Mathews
Warren Cullen Auto Salvage Holden VH Commodore SS 22 Australia Warren Cullen
Australia Ron Harrop
Everlast Ford XD Falcon 26 Australia Bill O'Brien
Bayside Spares Holden VH Commodore SS 28 Australia Geoff Russell
Peter Stuyvesant International Racing Mazda RX-7 31 Australia Gregg Hansford
43 Canada Allan Moffat
Lester Smerdon Isuzu Gemini 33 Australia Lester Smerdon
Eurocars (Northside) Pty. Ltd. Mazda RX-7 37 Australia Terry Shiel
Bernie Stack Holden VH Commodore SS 38 Australia Bernie Stack
Jim Faneco Isuzu Gemini 40 Australia Jim Faneco
Barry Jones Mazda RX-7 41 Australia Barry Jones
Bernie Parmenter Ford Capri Mk.III 46 Australia Bernie Parmenter
Ross Burbidge Mazda RX-7 46 Australia Ross Burbidge
Roger Manson Holden Isuzu Gemini PF50 48 Australia Roger Manson
Martin Power Triumph Dolomite Sprint 49 Australia Martin Power
David Parsons Holden VH Commodore SS 50 Australia David Parsons
Nissan Motorsport Australia Nissan Bluebird Turbo 55 Australia George Fury
56 Australia Fred Gibson
Hulcraft Autos Ford Capri Mk.III 56 Australia John Craft
Graham Treasure Ford XD Falcon 57 Australia Graham Treasure
Mike Imrie Ford XD Falcon 57 Australia Mike Imrie
Capri Components Ford Capri Mk.III S 51
58
Australia Lawrie Nelson
Beninca Motors Alfa Romeo Alfetta GTV 59 Australia Peter Beninca
Petrolon Slick 50 Racing Mazda RX-7 59
60
Australia Peter McLeod
Les Grose Ford Capri Mk.III 64 Australia Les Grose
John White Isuzu Gemini 65 Australia John White
Kevin Bartlett Chevrolet Camaro Z28 66 Australia Kevin Bartlett
Bob Thomson Mazda RX-3 66 Australia Bob Thomson
Alf Grant Ford XD Falcon 71 Australia Alf Grant
Graham Mein Ford Escort Mk.II 77 Australia Graham Mein
The Daily Planet Toyota Celica 88 Australia Craig Bradtke
Russell Worthington Mazda 626 100 Australia Russell Worthington
John Eaton Holden VH Commodore Australia John Eaton
Ken Hastings Ford Capri Mk.III Australia Ken Hastings
Saracino Ford XD Falcon Australia ?.Saracino
Les Verco Holden VH Commodore Australia Les Verco

Race Calendar[edit]

The 1983 Australian Touring Car Championship was contested over an eight round series across six states with one race per round.[3]

Rd.[3] Race Title [3] Circuit [3] City / State Date [3] Winner [3] Team Report
1 Victoria (Australia) Calder Park Calder Park Raceway Melbourne, Victoria 6 February Allan Moffat Peter Stuyvesant International Racing
2 Victoria (Australia) International Motor Show Trophy Sandown International Raceway Melbourne, Victoria 20 February Allan Grice STP Roadways Racing
3 Tasmania Symmons Plains Symmons Plains Raceway Launceston, Tasmania 13 March Allan Grice STP Roadways Racing
4 Western Australia Wanneroo Park Wanneroo Park Raceway Perth, Western Australia 24 April Allan Moffat Peter Stuyvesant International Racing
5 South Australia Motorcraft 100 Adelaide International Raceway Adelaide, South Australia 1 May Peter Brock Marlboro Holden Dealer Team
6 Queensland Surfers Paradise Surfers Paradise International Raceway Surfers Paradise, Queensland 15 May Allan Moffat Peter Stuyvesant International Racing
7 New South Wales Oran Park Oran Park Raceway Sydney, New South Wales 29 May Allan Moffat Peter Stuyvesant International Racing
8 Queensland Lakeside Lakeside International Raceway Brisbane, Queensland 19 June Peter Brock Marlboro Holden Dealer Team

Classes[edit]

Car competed in two classes,

  • Up to and including 3000cc
  • 3001-6000cc [1]

The "Up to and including 3000cc class" consisted of Alfa Romeo Alfetta, Datsun Bluebird turbo, Ford Capri, Ford Escort, Isuzu Gemini, Mazda 626, Mazda RX-3, Toyota Celica and Triumph Dolomite Sprint.
The "3001-6000cc class" consisted of Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Falcon, Holden Commodore and Mazda RX-7.

Points system[edit]

Championship points were awarded on a two tier system to the top twenty outright finishers in each round.[1]

Outright Position [1] 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
Points if Up to 3000cc 30 27 24 21 19 17 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2
Points if 3001-6000cc 25 23 20 17 15 13 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 0 0

Only the best seven round result could be counted by each driver.[1]

Results[edit]

Pos [5] Driver [5] Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Rd 7 Rd 8 Pts [5]
1 Allan Moffat 1st Ret 2nd 1st 2nd 1st 1st 3rd 166
2 George Fury 2nd 4th 3rd 2nd 4th 4th 5th 160
3 Peter Brock Ret 2nd Ret 9th 1st 2nd 2nd 1st 128
4 Allan Grice Ret 1st 1st Ret 3rd Ret 3rd 90
5 Steve Harrington 6th 6th 6th 4th Ret 5th Ret 71
6 Dick Johnson Ret 3rd 5th 3rd 5th Ret Ret Ret 70
7 David Parsons Ret Ret 4th 5th Ret 8th 5th 57
8 Gregg Hansford 3rd 6th 2nd 56
9 Lawrie Nelson 10th 12th 9th 10th 14th 55
10 Murray Carter 3rd 5th Ret 35
11 Warren Cullen 5th 9th 7th Ret 35
12 Bernie Parmenter 11th 11th 10th 34
13 Clive Benson-Brown 9th 8th 7th Ret 30
14 John White 12th 15th Ret 11th 28
15 Garry Rogers 4th 8th 27
15 Fred Gibson 7th Ret 10th 27
17 Steve Masterton Ret 7th 6th 24
17 Alf Grant 7th 6th 24
19 Lester Smerdon 13th 8th 23
20 Bob Holden 14th 10th 20
21 Bernie Stack 11th 7th 18
22 Barry Jones 4th 17
22 Geoff Russell 4th 17
24 Gary Hinton 14th 7th 15
24 Ken Hastings 8th 13th 15
24 Peter Beninca 13th 16th 15
27 Peter Brierly 9th 13th Ret 14
28 Garry Willmington 6th DNS Ret 13
28 Ron Harrop 6th 13
28 Russell Worthington 9th 13
31 Terry Finnigan 7th 11
32 Les Verco 8th 10
32 Jim Keogh 8th 10
32 John English 8th Ret 10
32 Roger Manson 12th 10
32 Graham Mein 12th 10
37 Andrew Harris 9th 9
37 Kevin Bartlett 9th 9
39 Rusty French 10th 8
40 Ken Mathews 11th 7
40 Les Grose 15th 7
42 Bill O'Brien 12th 6
43 Martin Power 17th 5
44 Mike Imrie 14th 4
44 Jim Faneco 18th 4
46 John Donnelly 15th Ret 3
Pos Driver Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Rd 7 Rd 8 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)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Conditions for Australian Titles, 1983 CAMS Manual of Motor Sport, pages 91-95
  2. ^ Summary of Titles 1983, 1983 CAMS Manual of Australian Motor Sport, page 41
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Paul Gover, Australian Touring Car Championship, Australian Motor Racing Yearbook 1983/84, pages 184-201
  4. ^ 1983 ATCC - Oran Park on YouTube (part 6/6)
  5. ^ a b c Graham Howard & Stewart Wilson, Australian Touring Car Championship, 30 fabulous years, 1989, page 258

External links[edit]