|Venue||Mount Panorama Circuit|
Mount Panorama Circuit
|- Distance||1,000 km|
|Last Race (2014)|
|Winning Driver||Chaz Mostert / Paul Morris|
|Winning Team||Ford Performance Racing|
The Bathurst 1000 (currently branded as The Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000) is a 1,000-kilometre (620 mi) touring car race held annually on the Mount Panorama Circuit in Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia.
Widely regarded as the pinnacle of Australian motorsport, the Bathurst 1000 is known as "The Great Race" among motorsport fans and media. The race concept originated with the 1960 Armstrong 500 at Phillip Island. Annual races have since taken place in a continuous sequence. The Bathurst 500/1000 was generally a "stand alone" event, occasionally becoming a round of a national series such as the Australian Manufacturers' Championship. Since 1999, the race has been run exclusively for V8 Supercars. It is currently a round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series. The race was traditionally run on the Sunday before the first Monday in October, which is the "Labour Day" public holiday in N.S.W. In recent years it was held on the second Sunday in October; the 2012 V8 Supercars race calendar changed it to the first Sunday in October.
Race winners are presented with the Peter Brock Trophy. This was introduced at the 2006 race to commemorate the death of Peter Brock. Brockie, as he was affectionately referred to by race fans, was the most successful driver in the history of the race, winning the event 9 times. He was also one of the most popular and approachable competitors during his long career.
- 1 Mount Panorama
- 2 History and race
- 3 Famous winners
- 4 List of winners
- 5 Records
- 6 Deaths
- 7 Peter Brock Trophy
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Most tracks have a common line for starting and finishing a lap. At Mount Panorama the finish line is located much closer to the final corner than the start line. This places it before all of the pit garages to ensure that cars entering the pit lane are recorded as having completed that lap. The start line for the race is located sufficiently far down the start-finish straight (toward the first corner) to ensure that cars at the rear of the starting grid are not too far around the final corner for the standing start.
The first turn, Hell Corner, is a ninety-degree left-hander. Mountain Straight, a gentle climb where the cars reach speeds of 255 km/h (158 mph), leads into Griffin's Bend, an off-camber right-hander which then leads into The Cutting, a sharp left-hander with a steep incline. Reid Park follows, a complex corner where a number of drivers have spun after not short shifting at the apex. The course continues down to Sulman Park and McPhillamy Park. Drivers are unable to see the descending road and enter Skyline and the first of The Esses at 220 km/h (140 mph) before The Dipper, one of the most famous corners in Australian motorsport. Cars then negotiate Forrest's Elbow before powering down Conrod Straight, the fastest section of the track where cars can reach 300 km/h (190 mph). The Chase is a long sweeping chicane where cars are on the rev limiter turning at 300 km/h before an intense braking effort to exit at 130 km/h (81 mph). Murray's is the 23rd and final turn, and also the slowest part of the circuit, before cars return to the start-finish straight.
Spectator areas have spread along the track over the decades but there are a number of private properties bordering the track so spectators are unable to access all trackside vantage points.
History and race
The race has a long and colourful history, having been conducted for several categories including Series Production, Group C, Group A, Super Touring and currently V8 Supercar category. Until 1998 the Bathurst 1000 was organized and promoted by a consortium of Channel 7, the Australian Racing Drivers Club and Bathurst (City) Council. Since then it has been run on a more professional basis. Many makes, such as Morris, Jaguar, BMW, Nissan and Volvo Cars, competed over the years prior to 1998 but were excluded from 1999 to 2012. During these years the Bathurst 1000 was limited to two marques, Ford and Holden. Holden has the most overall victories at Bathurst with Ford being the second most consistent winner. In 2013 V8 Supercar rules were amended to allow other marques (Nissan, Mercedes, Volvo) to enter cars designed to emulate the performance of the highly modified Falcons and Commodores. .
The race was originally known as the Armstrong 500. It was first held on 20 November 1960 at Phillip Island in Victoria, over a 500-mile (800 km) distance. The intention was to determine which production cars had the best combination of performance and reliability in five classes based on engine capacity. It was also a showcase for the Armstrong company to promote its shock absorbers and related products. Entry was limited to standard, unmodified production saloons built or assembled in Australia. All cars had to complete the first 100 miles without stopping for fuel, oil or a driver change. Any mechanical problems in that time had to be attended to by the driver with no assistance, using only the tools that came with the car. There was no official outright winner, only class winners. Frank Coad and John Roxburgh in a Vauxhall Cresta, were the first to complete the 500 mile race distance. It was the only Vauxhall in a field of 45 cars that included N.S.U.s, Simcas, Peugeots, Morris, Austins, Fords and Vanguards.
The race was held twice more at Phillip Island. In 1961 Bob Jane and Harry Firth, sharing an Australian assembled Mercedes 220 SE, were the first drivers to complete the 167 laps. They were over a lap clear of the David McKay/Brian Foley Studebaker Lark which was a lap in front of the Vauxhall Velox of Frank Coad and John Roxburgh. Class wins were achieved by Studebaker, Mercedes, Puegeot and Renault. In 1962 the class structure changed to one based on price. Jane and Firth switched to a Falcon and once again completed the 500 miles first. Class honors went to Studebaker, Falcon, Renault and Volkswagen.
In those days the Phillip Island track was surfaced with a "cold mix" bitumen which could not stand up to the pounding of dozens of race cars going flat out for 500 miles. The track surface broke up and became unsafe during races.
In 1963 the Armstrong 500 moved to the 6.2-kilometre (3.9 mi) Mount Panorama track at Bathurst in New South Wales. Its popularity grew rapidly, chiefly because it became a means for car manufacturers to showcase their products as the race cars had to be identical to those available on the showroom floor. The first years on the Mount Panorama circuit were dominated by swift and agile small cars, such as the Ford Cortina and Mini Cooper. The class structure was retained so that were many "races within the race" but the emphasis on achieving First Outright increased. In 1963 Bob Jane and Harry Firth again triumphed, this time in a Cortina GT. In 1964 the pair drove competing Cortina GTs; Jane won with George Reynolds as co-driver. Bo Seton was second with H. Taylor. Harry Firth was third with J. Reaburn.
1965 bought victory for the first overt "Bathurst Special", the Cortina GT 500. Bo Seton and Midge Bosworth completed the 130 laps first. Bruce McPhee and Barry Mulholland were second in an identical car. Third outright and first in Class C were Brian Foley and Peter Manton in a Morris Cooper S. The Geoghegan brothers famously drove the race wearing business suits supplied by McDowells.
1966 was the last four cylinder victory for more than two decades. Rauno Aaltonen and Bob Morris drove their Mini Cooper S to a hard fought win against stiff competition which mainly consisted of other Coopers. Mini Coopers filled the first nine places in Class C and outright. Class D was won by a Valiant V8 Auto that completed 124 laps. Class A was won by the Nissan Factory backed Datsun 1300 of M. Kitamo and K. Takahashi. Class B was taken out by an 1100 cc version of the Mini Cooper.
1967 rule changes mandated a minimum number of pit-stops to negate the advantage economical smaller cars had of requiring fewer stops. This change favoured the larger, thirstier Fords and Holdens. The Minis handled the corners well and could, theoretically, run the entire race on a single tank of petrol, but the larger-engined cars were faster in a straight line. Ford's development of the 289 cubic inch V8 Ford Falcon GT signalled the end of small cars as outright contenders. 1967 was the first year that starting grid positions were allocated according to practice lap times rather than by class groupings. This was also the first year that an official trophy was awarded to the first team to cover the 500 miles.
The victory of the V8 Falcon over the smaller Alfa GTVs and Mini Coopers surprised many pundits as the Falcon GT was unproven. The highly regarded, and more expensive, Alfa GTV had been seen as the emerging force in touring cars. However, the Falcon GT's V8 power was well suited to the Mount Panorama circuit, particularly on the long uphill and downhill straights. Thus was forged the adage that "there is no substitute for cubic inches", which became synonymous with racing at Bathurst. Initially the Geoghegan Brother's Falcon was awarded victory but some hours later Harry Firth and Fred Gibson were declared winners. During the race the Geoghegan car had entered the pit area through the rear access lane off Mountain Straight and erroneously accumulated an extra lap on the ARDC timing board. Third place in Class D fell to the venerable Weldon/Hall Studebaker Lark. Class E was won by Chivas/Stewart in an Alfa GTV. Classes B and C were won by variants of the Mini and Class A was won by a Datsun 1000 piloted by John Roxburgh and Doug Whitford.
The popularity of the race grew rapidly during the 1960s. Most Australian manufacturers and assemblers became heavily involved. A good result in the long and tough race added credibility to the car and its brand, especially in terms of performance, durability and reliability. An Outright or Class Victory was a significant opportunity to increase sales and market share. It was during this period that the famous Holden-Ford-Chrysler rivalry originated. The Series Production battle between the "Big Three" was fought at Bathurst. This rivalry spawned Australia's most famous muscle cars, reverentially known as "Bathurst Specials". Ford's Falcon GT and later GT-HO, Holden's Monaro and Torana, and Chrysler’s Pacer and Charger models were the result of constant development of race worthy cars that the general public could buy.
In 1966 and 1967 an Irish tobacco company sponsored the race, which became the "Gallaher 500". In 1968 sponsorship was taken over by a brake-parts manufacturer and the race was renamed the Hardie-Ferodo (H-F) 500. In response to Ford's 1967 Bathurst victory, Holden entered the Monaro GTS. This was a coupe based on the HK model four-door Kingswood family sedan. Engineered as an affordable personal luxury car with the ability to win Bathurst it had a 327 cubic inch Chevrolet V8 (as the "GTS 327" name implies). This engine enabled the Monaro GTS 327 to outperform the updated, yet smaller-engined, 302 cubic inch Falcon GTs and win in 1968. This was Holden's first Bathurst 500 win. 1968 was also the year that advertising was first allowed to be displayed on the cars.
The 1969 Hardie-Ferodo 500 saw the first of the Ford Falcon GT-HOs. This Phase One GT-HO Bathurst special Falcon was powered by a 351 cubic inch V8 sourced from Ford America. It's 'HO' specification included upgraded suspension components such as front and rear stabiliser bars. At Bathurst it was fitted with race tyres. Holden upgraded the GTS 327 Monaro to the GTS 350, which included better race-style handling and a more powerful Chevrolet V8 engine of 350 cubic inches. The new GTS 350 Monaro, in the hands of Colin Bond and Tony Roberts, was able to hold out Ford to claim the second victory for Holden. In 1969 there was an apocalyptic accident on lap one. After the first 10 cars passed through The Esses contact between two Falcons caused one to roll over. Several cars coming around the blind corner crashed into the stationary car. The track was almost blocked with wreckage but expert flag martialing enabled the cars to pass through in single file until the debris was cleared. The race was a disaster for Ford as many Falcon tyres failed due to the speed and weight of the Falcons. Ford even a ran a post race advertising campaign using the slogan "We were a little deflated".
The 1969 race also saw the début of Peter Brock. Brock and Bond were drivers for the semi-officialHolden Dealer Team (HDT), which had been formed earlier in the year to counter the official Ford Special Vehicles division that was churning out ever evolving GT-HO Falcons. The "Old Fox", Harry Firth, had been in charge of the Ford racing effort until he was abruptly replaced by an American, Al Turner. Firth was more than happy to beat the Falcons as head of the HDT.
1970 saw a change of strategy as Holden decided to pension off the Monaro in favour of the smaller Torana GTR XU-1. The XU-1 was a special "Bathurst" version of the six-cylinder LC Torana. As the embryonic HQ Holden required too much development to be competitive Holden created an alternative to the V8 muscle car. The XU-1 was more agile, cheaper and more economical. Triple carburettors on the "Red" motor provided an excellent power-to-weight ratio. The XU-1 was easier on brakes and tyres, thereby minimizing the number of required pit stops. However, Ford refined the GT-HO to Phase Two specification with an even more powerful and better breathing 351 V8. With tyres that were able to endure the power and torque, the GT-HO reinforced the adage that "there is no substitute for cubic inches". Moffat's GTHO received the chequered flag followed by Bruce McPhee's identical car. The Torana could not compensate for the power advantage that the Falcons had on the Bathurst straights.
Rule changes for 1970 enabled a single driver to complete the entire race distance. To reduce the chances of another first lap calamity the starting grid was changed from 2-3-2 to a staggered 2-2-2 formation. This meant that the back markers had to start the race from around the corner on Conrod Straight.
1971 was another Ford victory with Moffat at the wheel. It was won by the ultimate GT-HO, the XY-model Falcon GT-HO Phase Three. This featured upgrades to engine power and aerodynamics, which made it the world’s fastest four-door production car. Chrysler replaced its Pacers with its new two-door, the Charger. This was powered by a 265 cubic inch in-line HEMI six-cylinder engine with triple Weber carburetors. The Charger was Australia’s fastest-accelerating car at the time. However, by noon on Race Day Moffat was far enough in front to pit without losing the lead. Moffat completed the 500 miles first followed by other GTHOs in second and third place. Class wins were achieved by Mazda 1300, Datsun 1600, Mazda RX2, Torana XU1 and Falcon GTHO.
1972 was the year of storm clouds. A media-driven "Supercar scare" had accumulated enough political momentum to force Holden to postpone introduction of a V8 Torana for two years. Ford abandoned the XA model based Phase Four GT-HO Falcon. Chrysler also followed by not going ahead with a competition version of its V8-powered Charger. Adding to that, the 1972 H-F 500 was the first Great Race to be run in wet weather. Allan Moffat was unable to withstand the immense pressure placed on him by Brock in his XU-1. The Torana proved more than a match in the atrocious conditions. After being challenged by Brock’s furiously driven XU-1, Moffat was unable to exploit the V8's power advantage and spun early in the race. He also incurred two one-minute penalties for starting the engine while refuelling. Brock, meanwhile, was able to hold off the Phase Three GT-HO of John French and the E49 Charger of Doug Chivas to win the 1972 H-F 500, thus temporarily refuting the "no substitute for cubic inches" adage. Brock had pushed the car to its limits in a spectacular display of car control. It was a significant victory for a number of reasons: The first of Brock’s nine Bathurst wins which led to him being nicknamed the “King of the Mountain” and “Peter Perfect”. Brock's win also signalled the first Bathurst victory for a six-cylinder engined car, an achievement that would not be repeated until 1991 when the Nissan Skyline GT-R "Godzilla" took the chequered flag. It was also the birth of the Torana legend as this uniquely Australian performance car went on to become one of Australia’s most successful touring cars, due in part to numerical supremacy on the track and the withdrawal of Ford and Chrysler from motor racing later in the seventies.
1972 was also the last year that drivers were able to drive without co-drivers.
Group C era
The race became The James Hardie 1000 in 1973. The increased pace of the cars had resulted in the 500 mile race distance being achieved earlier each year and as Australia had converted to the metric system the increased distance was considered more appropriate than 800 km for an endurance race. To reduce the threat to public safety homologation rules were relaxed to permit certain modifications to the race cars. Ostensibly this removed the need to build batches of high speed road cars and improved the durability of the actual race cars. The Series Production racing category mutated into the Group C category. Upgrades were allowed to seats, lubrication systems, camshafts, carburetors, suspensions, brakes and wheel rim sizes. These changes advantaged the better resourced teams as a great deal of testing was now needed to optimize the performance of the race cars. Factory teams had the best access to improved components that were often not readily available to private competitors.
In 1973 Holden campaigned upgraded XU-1s. Chrysler entered improved Chargers. Ford unleashed its new XA model "hard top" coupe Ford Falcon GT which had been pioneered by John Goss. While not designated as a GT-HO, race prepared Hardtop GTs incorporated most of the still born Phase Four’s componentry including the four-bolt 351 V8 engine. The 1973 James Hardie 1000 started at 9.30 am. When the flag dropped the "no substitute for cubic inches" ethic prevailed as the Goss Falcon hardtop powered away from pole position. At the end of lap one Fords held the first four places with Toranas fifth, six and seventh. The highest placed Charger was in eighth position. Brock inherited the lead when the Fords started pitting for fuel. Brock and co-driver Chivas had contrived a good lead when a miscalculation caused the Torana to ran out of fuel at the top of the Mountain. Intending to perform one less pit stop than the Ford Teams, HDT team manager Firth had instructed Chivas to "GET MAX LAPS" via a hand held sign. The XU-1 coasted down Conrod Straight and came to a halt just before the entrance to the Pits. Chivas pushed the XU-1 up hill along pit lane. His pit crew could not lend assistance as this would have resulted in disqualification. By the time the XU-1 was refueled, Moffat was well in front. Brock set off in heroic pursuit of Moffat's Falcon GT but the XU-1 suffered a deflating tyre. Moffat claimed another Falcon victory, his third in only four years. Co-driven by Ian (Pete) Geoghegan the winning Ford was the only Falcon classified as a finisher. 1973 was the last competitive appearance for Chrysler, with the marque disappearing from the Group C category almost entirely. Class wins were achieved by a Datsun 1200, an Alfa GTV, a Mazda RX2 and, of course, the Falcon GT. At the end of the year Ford Australia gave the Falcon GT race cars to their drivers and withdrew from racing.
During the 1974 Australian Touring Car Championship the Torana GTR XU-1 was gradually superseded by the wider bodied SL/R 5000. The Holden Bathurst contingent for this year included 13 SL/R 5000s, 7 XU-1s and one HQ Monaro GTS. Ford was represented in the outright category by three Falcon Hardtop headed by Moffat's Brut 33 XB Falcon Hardtop GT. He was supported by the John Goss/Kevin Bartlett XA Hardtop and Murray Carter in another XB Falcon Hardtop. The V8 Toranas ran away at the start and Holden victory seemed assured. By lap 11 Brock had already lapped 7 of the outright Class D cars. On lap 12 Moffat pitted and lost several laps as a new coil was fitted. By lap 20 the HDT Toranas of Brock and Bond were over a minute in front of Goss in the only competitive Falcon. By lap 85 the two HDT Toranas were four laps clear of the field. Around the 90 lap mark rain started to fall at the top of the mountain. he HDT Toranas soon pitted for wet weather tyres after which the Bond Torana started smoking from an oil leak. The car was eventually black flagged. While the mechanics were trying to fix the problem Brock pitted with a broken piston caused by a failed oil pump. Bond returned to the track but lost more time with a spin. Despite determined driving from Jim Richards and Wayne Negus, The Goss/Bartlett car was able to gain a slight lead as the Torana challenge faded amidst oil smoke and torrential rain. Bartlett completed the 163 laps in first place. The only other car on the same lap was the Forbes/Negus SL/R 5000. The smaller classes were won by a Morris Cooper S, an Alfa GTV and a Mazda RX3. Car number 34, a lone Morris Marina finished 6th in Class C having completed 125 laps.
Holden’s 308 cubic inch V8-powered Toranas scored Bathurst victories in 1975,1976,1978 and 1979 in L34 and A9X configuration. Ford’s 351 XC Falcon famously finished 1–2 in 1977. This was Moffat's last Bathurst 1000 victory. Group C carried over into the 1980s. Holden and Ford were the only manufacturers to win under these regulations while facing increased imported competition, notably from the Mazda RX-7 that was effectively campaigned by Moffat and Kevin Bartlett's 350 V8 powered Chevrolet Camaro. The turbo powered Nissan Bluebird piloted by George Fury also threatened the V8 'Big Bangers' and signaled a sign of things to come during the Group A era. During the 1980s the Group C category was dominated by Peter Brock, who scored victories with various model Commodores in 1980/82/83/84. Dick Johnson was the only winner for Ford during the 1980s under Group C, with a victory in 1981 whilst at the wheel of the XD model Falcon. Brock cemented his reputation as the driver to beat during this period. He achieved two Bathurst hat-tricks (three consecutive wins) with the cigarette sponsored H.D.T. In 1978 and 1979 he and Jim Richards drove an A9X Torana to victory. In 1980 the pair won in a Commodore. His second hat trick consisted of victories in 1982, 1983 and 1984, partnering with Larry Perkins. Group C was replaced by the International Group A Touring car rules in 1985 although a few cars competed in a separate "Group A" class in 1984.
Group A era
From 1985 to 1992 the Great Race was run to international Group A regulations. Imported turbocharged cars, initially Ford Sierra RS Cosworths and then Nissan Skyline GT-Rs, achieved dominance during this period while Holden Commodores managed to claim three hard fought wins. John Player Special sponsored B.M.W. 635s and M3s were highly competitive during these races. Group A enabled Australian teams to develop cars that could be raced overseas. Locally built cars were driven in Europe by Alan Grice, Peter Brock, John Harvey, Allan Moffat, Dick Johnson and John Bowe. Tom Walkinshaw briefly campaigned VL Commodores in Europe.
Holden based race teams continued development of the 304 cubic inch V8 powered Commodore. The HDT and later the Holden Racing Team (HRT) were at the forefront of Commodore development. With almost no support from Ford Australia Group A Ford Falcons never eventuated. Dick Johnson Racing switched to a 1983 Zakspeed developed Ford Mustang GT formerly raced successfully in Europe by German ace Klaus Ludwig. Johnson and co-driver Larry Perkins were very competitive in the agile Mustang but it lacked top end power. Ford teams went on to adopt the more powerful, though less reliable, Ford Cosworth Sierra Turbo. These were available race ready from Europe and were campaigned by many teams including Alan Moffat, Dick Johnson and eventually even Peter Brock after he abandoned the M3 BMW.
1985 was the first year that the Bathurst 1000 was run under Group A rules. The race was dominated by Tom Walkinshaw Racing's three car V12 Jaguar XJ-S team. 1974 winner John Goss and West German ace Armin Hahne claimed Jaguar's only Bathurst 1000 win. The following year, 1986, the VK model Commodore of privateer racer Allan Grice and Graeme Bailey took the honors. Grice had honed his skills in Europe, competing alongside compatriot Commodore drivers Peter Brock and his newly recruited HDT team mate, Allan Moffat.
1986 saw the race's first fatality. Sydney driver Mike Burgman died when his Holden Commodore hit the concrete base of the bridge over Conrod Straight at over 250 km/h (155 mph). Consequent to Bergman's death the circuit was altered prior to the 1987 race by the incorporation of "The Chase" two thirds down Conrod Straight. This series of bends added 41 metres to the length of the track and was designed to reduce the approach speed to Murray's Corner by approximately 100 km/h (62 mph).
In 1987, the Great Race became a round of the short lived 1987 World Touring Car Championship. European teams raced against local Australian teams at Bathurst. The resulting culture clash caused considerable angst between officials and team management. Local scrutineers diligently applied the Group A regulations as written. The global organizing body (FISA, the ancestor of the FIA) allowed more liberal, negotiated interpretations “back home”. Some European Teams, most prominently Rudi Eggenberger, ran questionable vehicles. With the race complete, it was still unclear as to who was the legitimate winner. Eggenberger's cars finished first and second on the road but were disqualified months later due to bodywork irregularities. The race win was therefore awarded to third placed Peter Brock, who drove two of his VL model Group A Commodores during the race. Brock broke his '05' HDT Commodore early in the event so he and co-driver David Parsons took over the team's second car, the #10 Commodore of Peter McLeod, to cross the line third behind the two Sierras.
Local Sierra teams dominated and won the next two Bathurst 1000s. 1988 saw Tony Longhurst and Tomas Mezera win in the Frank Gardner prepared, cigarette sponsored, RS500. In the 1989 race Peter Brock claimed pole in his first Bathurst drive for Ford. Dick Johnson and John Bowe won a hard fought race.
In 1990 the Sierras again looked strong but the HRT Holden Commodore of Allan Grice and Win Percy won. Their VL model 'SS Group A SV' Commodore was able to set a fast pace early in the race which the Sierras could match but not sustain due to reliability issues. High turbo boost pressures gave the Sierras more than ample power but generated extreme engine heat that compromised engine longevity. The HRT claimed a popular Bathurst victory for Holden after three seasons of Sierra domination.
A fierce new opponent was waiting in the wings. Nissan and team manager Fred Gibson, had campaigned Skylines in Australian competition for a few years. For the 1990 race they debuted the R32 four-wheel drive, four wheel steer, twin turbo Nissan Skyline GT-R. It initially suffered from the related problems of complexity and reliability but the GT-R went on to dominate Group A racing worldwide. Gibson’s lead drivers, Jim Richards and Mark Skaife easily won the 1991 Bathurst 1000 and repeated the win in controversial circumstances in 1992. The car gained the nickname 'Godzilla'. With four-wheel drive, four-wheel steer, and a powerful turbo 2.6-litre six-cylinder engine producing almost 600 horsepower (450 kW), the RWD Sierras and Commodores simply could not equal or compensate for the Skyline's superior handling and power output. In an attempt to achieve parity between the makes weight penalties were applied to the Nissan.
The Skyline's 1992 victory was particularly controversial. The parochial Bathurst crowd, and Touring Car fans in general, had been conditioned to view the Great Race as a perpetual struggle between Holden and Ford. Although the racing Commodores and Sierras were far removed from road going examples the Nissans were seen as being unfairly advantaged and received much negative comment in the buildup to the race.
Late in the 1992 race severe rainstorms swept the track. Several accidents happened as dry weather tyres caused extreme aquaplaning. During the ensuing mayhem the leading Skyline of Jim Richards and Mark Skaife slid into two wrecked cars. Simultaneously officials red flagged the race due the perilous condition of the wet track. The surviving cars were marshalled in single file on Pitt Straight. Regulation decreed that, as the leaders had completed more than 75% of race distance, the race was not to be restarted.
Under these regulations red flag race results were based on positions held at the end of the last completed lap. As Richards had been leading the race on that lap his team was declared the winner. This was an unpopular decision with some race fans, many of whom couldn't understand how a wrecked Nissan could beat a perfectly healthy Sierra that had passed it on the track. As the rain clouds dissipated many unhappy campers loudly voiced their opinions. Race winners Mark Skaife and Jim Richards were challenged by a rowdy, confused and alcohol fueled crowd. On the winners’ podium the normally affable Richards responded to the boos of the crowd with "This is bloody disgraceful" and "You're a pack of arseholes" during the nationally televised trophy presentation.
This was the end of Group A at The Mountain.
Super Touring, Tega and the Australia 1000
Group A as an international formula faded away in the late 1980s. CAMS had planned to replace Group A at the end of 1991. This was postponed to the end of 1992 due to the inability of FISA to specify a new International formula. As any new regulations were unlikely to suit large engined cars CAMS created a uniquely Australian Touring Car formula for 1993. This iteration evolved into the current V8Supercar category. Entry became limited to V8 powered Ford Falcons and Holden Commodores (with, in 1993 only, the exception of weight limited normally aspirated Group A cars like the M3s of Frank Gardner’s BMW team).
The new regulations created a separate class for 2 litre cars, based on the BTCC's regulations of the time. This class excluded turbochargers and four wheel drive, effectively ending the Nissan's GT-R’s eligibility. In response Nissan withdrew from Australian motorsport. The two classes of touring cars competed in the same races for two Championships in 1993. The 1993 Tooheys 1000 was won by Larry Perkins and Gregg Hansford after a race long duel with the Mark Skaife/ Jim Richards Commodore. The winner of the 2 Litre Class was the John Cotter/Peter Doulman BMW M3 which had reverted to 2 Litres capacity.
In 1994, the 2 litre Super Touring championship was run separately to the ATCC, though both categories ran as two classes in the Bathurst 1000. The top placed 2 litre car was the works BMW of Paul Morris and Altfrid Heger which finished 10th outright. The 1994 Outright winner of the Tooheys 1000 was the EB Falcon of Dick Johnson and John Bowe. The winner of the smaller capacity class was the Morris/Heger BMW 318 that was six laps behind the outright winner. In 1995 due to fears about the growing speed difference between the V8s and the 2-litre cars the Bathurst 1000 became a one-class race. Just 32 Ford and Holden V8s faced the starter in what was, at the time, the smallest grid in the history of the race. The 1995 Champions were Commodore drivers Larry Perkins and Russell Ingall followed by Alan Jones and Alan Grice in a Falcon. 1996 saw Craig Lowndes and Greg Murphy, in a Commodore, cross the finish line ahead the Falcon of Dick Johnson and John Bowe. Tony Longhurst and Steve Ellery were third in another, Castrol backed, Falcon.
In 1997, TEGA (who had held the rights to market V8 since 1994) signed a deal with International Management Group, to market the category which had been renamed as V8Supercars. The New joint venture company (AVESCO) signed a TV deal with the Network Ten for expanded coverage of the championship. This was not an issue for the ATCC races, but the Bathurst 1000, organized and promoted by a consortium that included Channel 7 was a major issue. Channel 7 had televised the race since 1963 and had a contract that was binding into the 21st century. Stalemate! Seven was not prepared to drop the race. AVESCO required a Bathurst race for Ten to broadcast.A similar dispute effected the V8 Supercar race at Albert Park after 2007, where Ten held rights to the Australian Grand Prix Broadcast and Seven had the V8 Supercar rights.
Despite talks resolution proved impossible. AVESCO announced that V8 Supercars would not compete in the traditional Bathurst 1000 held on the October long weekend in 1997. TOCA Australia filled the void with a 2-litre Super Touring field, featuring a number of British Touring Car Championship drivers and teams including Alain Menu, John Cleland and Rickard Rydell. This race was won by Paul Morris and Craig Baird in a BMW 320i. This pairing was later disqualified as Baird had exceeded the mandated time limit for a continuous solo driving period. The race was awarded to their BMW Motorsport Australia teammates David and Geoff Brabham. This event format continued for 1998, with Jim Richards winning his seventh Bathurst 1000 in a Volvo S40, with his son Steven in a Nissan Primera.
As well as the race for 2 litre cars, a separate 5 litre was held in 1997 and 1998. The "Australian 1000 Classic" was run for V8Supercars after AVESCO hastily made a deal with Bathurst City Council for the use of the Mt Panorama Circuit. AVESCO had received a backlash after announcing they would not race at Bathurst. The 1997 edition of this "Bathurst 1000" was branded the "Primus 1000 Classic" and held two weeks after the traditional race. The 1998 "FAI 1000 Classic" was held in mid-November. Both races claimed to be the legitimate Bathurst 1000: the V8 Supercars' case was that they were the truly Australian class of racing and, through contractual binding had the "star" Australian drivers. The Super Touring claim to legitimacy was based on it being held on the traditional date by the ARDC who had run the event every year since 1963.
The fans voted with their feet and, due to a reducing number of competitors and spectators, the Super Touring class disappeared from Bathurst competition in 1999. The race became exclusively for V8 Supercars even though it never returned to the traditional date.
In 1999 the ARDC event became mired in controversy. Due to the small number of competitive Super Tourers an attempt was made to combine them with the, short lived, V8 Future Touring Cars and obsolete super-speedway AUSCARs. This was prevented by court action. The event devolved into a 300-kilometre race for mixed V8s, which was won by Peter Brock's step-son James Brock, and a 500-kilometre race for Super Touring won by Paul Morris. This would be the last ARDC race at Bathurst and the last race held on the traditional Labour Day holiday weekend.
V8 Supercars continues
From 1999 to 2005, Holden won all the V8 Supercar Bathurst 1000s. In 1999, Steven Richards and Greg Murphy became Bathurst champions in the Gibson Motorsport Holden VT Commodore. Garth Tander teamed with Jason Bargwanna became the Bathurst Champions in 2000 with Garry Rogers Motorsport.
In 2001, Mark Skaife teamed with Tony Longhurst won the Bathurst 1000 and continued dominating with the Holden Racing Team (HRT) for the following year in his Holden VX Commodore. During this time the race remained in November despite the lack of a clashing race. In 2000 the Sydney Olympics blocked out sport in October. In 2001 when the long weekend became available the National Rugby League shifted their grand final into the weekend, permanently denying V8 Supercar a return to the traditional weekend.
Despite having cooling problems in the closing laps of the Great Race due to plastic bags in the air intake, Mark Skaife won the Bathurst 1000 again in 2002 teamed with Jim Richards ten years after they were both 'booed' off the podium after winning the 1992 Bathurst 1000 in a Nissan Skyline GT-R. This time, Jim Richards jokingly said they were all a lovely bunch of people in contrast to his comments made on the podium ten years earlier after the Bathurst 1000 victory. Greg Murphy was given the biggest penalty (five minutes) in V8 racing history because of a pitlane infringement by his team. His car was released early, rupturing a refuelling hose and spilling fuel in the pit box.
In 2003, Greg Murphy set the fastest lap ever (later referred to as 'the Lap of the Gods') on the 6.213 km Mount Panorama Circuit during the Top 10 Shootout, with a time of 2:06.8594. Murphy won the Bathurst 1000 with Rick Kelly in 2003 and 2004 for K-Mart Racing.
In 2006, Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup won the first race for Ford in eight years. They were also the first winners of the Peter Brock Trophy (so named following the passing of Peter Brock only the month before). Lowndes and Whincup then won the next two races to make the first three-peat since Peter Brock and Larry Perkins won the Bathurst 1000 from 1982 to 1984 (the 1983 win was also shared with John Harvey). Holden then started a run of four straight wins from 2009 to 2012. The 2009 race was won by Garth Tander and Will Davison. In 2011, Nick Percat became the first rookie to win the Bathurst 1000 since Jacky Ickx in 1977. The last winners of this era were Jamie Whincup and Paul Dumbrell in 2012, in the second closest non-formation finish in Bathurst 1000 history, with David Reynolds and Dean Canto finishing 0.31 seconds behind the Triple Eight Race Engineering Commodore. The closest non-form finish came the year before, when Tander and rookie Nick Percat lifted the trophy 0.29secs ahead of Lowndes and Skaife.
2013 saw manufacturers other than Ford and Holden enter The Great Race for the first time since 1998 under the New Generation V8 Supercar regulations that were introduced that year. Nissan returned with four Nissan Altimas run by Kelly Racing. Mercedes-Benz returned through Australian GT Championship team Erebus Motorsport with its three Mercedes-Benz E63 AMGs. In 2013, the Bathurst 1000 was a nail-biting finish between two competitors. This time it was Ford's factory team drivers from Ford Performance Racing, Mark Winterbottom and Steven Richards, versus Triple Eight Race Engineering's Jamie Whincup and Paul Dumbrell. In 2013 the 1000 km was completed in the record time of six hours, eleven minutes and twenty-seven seconds. This was Ford's first victory since 2008. It was also the first time since 1977 that an overtly Ford factory backed car triumphed.
The 2014 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 was another year of controversy. The 2014 event was, once again, run for New Generation V8 Supercars. Volvo competed in the race for the first time since 1998, with Garry Rogers Motorsport entering two Volvo S60s. In preceding years various teams had tapped into the heritage of Bathurst by running cars painted in livery based on earlier cars from the same manufacturer. This "retro" theme inadvertently carried over into the conduct of the 2014 race. Federal funds paid for resurfacing of the track much as the Federal Government had paid for the 1930s road work. This improvement was reflected in a marked reduction of lap times. During free practice many of the drivers recorded times that were under the existing practice lap record as had happened in 1967. As with the Phillip Island races some of this new surface started to break up early in the race, particularly at Griffin's Bend. Many drivers were caught off guard and ran into the tyre wall due to the debris on the track. With 100 laps remaining, the officials suspended the race with a red flag as had happened in 1984 and 1992. The cars were then lined up on pit straight. Controversy ensued as teams exploited the regulations and performed repairs on the cars. Once the track repairs were finished the race resumed in single file under the safety car. Racing recommenced shortly after but competition was interrupted by a number of safety car periods. The race was run to its full distance and finished late in the afternoon with Ford Performance Racing drivers Chaz Mostert and Paul Morris taking victory on the final lap after the lead car of Jamie Whincup and Paul Dumbrell ran out of fuel. Morris and Mostert had started the race from last position after being excluded from qualifying.
The most successful driver at Bathurst is Peter Brock, whose nine victories (1972, 1975, 1978–80, 1982–84 and 1987) earned him the nickname King of the Mountain.
Bob Jane won the race four times in succession from 1961 to 1964. Jane's racing exploits assisted in the creation of his automotive businesses, originally with automotive vehicle dealerships, then later more prominently with a national chain of tyre retailers. He later assisted the race through a naming rights sponsorship deal in the early part of this century,
Jim Richards won the race seven times (1978–80, 1991–92, 1998 and 2002) and also holds the record for the most starts (35) at this event. Larry Perkins is the third most successful driver at Bathurst, with six victories (1982–84, 1993, 1995 and 1997). Both Richards and Perkins achieved three of their victories as co-drivers with Brock.
Canadian-born Allan Moffat is Ford's most successful Bathurst driver, winning the race four times (1970, 1971, 1973 and 1977). The 1977 race saw Moffat and team-mate Colin Bond cross the finish line side by side after opening up an indomitable lead in the early laps. He almost achieved victory with highly competitive Mazda RX 7s.
Dick Johnson first rose to fame during the 1980 race when his privately entered Ford Falcon hit a rock that had fallen (or been pushed; the subject is still debated to this day) onto the track. Thanks to public donations of over A$70,000 – and a matching donation from Ford Motor Company – Johnson was able to rebuild his car and win the Bathurst race the following year. He went on to win twice more, in 1989 and 1994.
In 2008 Craig Lowndes, who in many ways has become Australian touring car racing successor to Brock in terms of success and popularity, won the race for the fourth time, and with his co-driver Jamie Whincup joined Jane, Harry Firth, Brock, Richards and Perkins in the group of drivers to have won the race in three successive years. Only Jane went on to win a fourth consecutive race. Lowndes won the race for the fifth time in 2010.
List of winners
^1 – Race was stopped before full race distance.
^2 – First and second position finishers were disqualified post race.
^3 – Denotes Australia 1000 races for V8 Supercars category.
^4 – Race was stopped for over an hour due to the track surface breaking up and requiring repair. Stoppage time is included in final race time.
Multiple race winners
Number of victories by vehicle brand
- Outright race winner was not officially recognised until 1965. Prior to that official results reflected four or five class races occurring simultaneously rather than a single race. The first car across the finish line has been retrospectively referred to as outright race winner since then.
In the 50 years of racing, three drivers have died while competing in the Bathurst 1000.
In 1986, Sydney accountant and privateer entrant Mike Burgmann became the first fatality in the race's history when his car (Holden VK Commodore), travelling at 268 km/h (167 mph), struck the tyre barrier at the base of recently constructed Bridgestone Bridge (Then called John Player Special) on the high-speed straight known as Conrod Straight. "The Chase", a large three-corner chicane, added in 1987 to the straight was dedicated to Burgmann with a plaque embedded in the concrete barriers.
In 1992, former Formula One world champion Denny Hulme, after complaining of blurred vision, suffered a heart attack at the wheel of his BMW M3 whilst travelling along Conrod Straight. After veering into the wall on the left side of the track, he managed to bring the car to a relatively controlled stop on the opposite side of the course. When marshals reached the scene, Hulme was unconscious; he was pronounced dead at Bathurst Hospital after suffering a second heart attack.
Additionally the 2006 event was marred by the death of New Zealand driver Mark Porter in a Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series support race on the Friday of the meeting. Porter had been scheduled to compete in the 1000 as a driver for the Brad Jones Racing team.
Peter Brock Trophy
Following Brock's death in an accident during a rally (Targa West Event) in Western Australia, V8 Supercars Australia announced that from 2006 onwards, the drivers in the Bathurst 1000 would be racing to win the Peter Brock Trophy. The 2006 race also honoured Brock with special tributes, such as the front row of the starting grid being left vacant, all cars bearing an '05' number made famous by Brock, and a champions' lap of honour featuring Brock's past co-drivers parading cars that Brock won Bathurst in.
- List of Bathurst 1000 vehicles
- National Motor Racing Museum is a museum located adjacent to the racing circuit at Murrays Corner, exhibiting racing memorabilia
- Official 2006 Race Program, Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, 5–8 October 2006, front cover
- "Memorial trophy and champions lap to honour Peter Brock". V8 Supercars Australia. 12 September 2006.
- "Peter Brock Trophy to last a lifetime". The Sydney Morning Herald. 2006-10-06. Retrieved 2013-10-15.
- The official website for the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000
- V8 Supercars Australia
- National Motor Racing Museum — Bathurst
- All about Bathurst
- Chequered Flag Motorsport's Virtual Lap of Bathurst