Bob Jane

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Bob Jane
Nationality Australian
Born 1929 (age 86–87)
Retired 1981
Australian Touring Car Championship
Years active 1962–74
Teams Bob Jane Autoland
Wins 10
Best finish 1st in 1962, 1963, 1971 & 1972 Australian Touring Car Championship
Previous series
Australian GT Championship
Tasman Series
Australian Drivers' Championship
Australian 1½ Litre Champ.
Australian Sports Car Champ.
Australian Sports Sedan Champ.
Championship titles
Armstrong 500
Australian Touring Car Champ.
Armstrong 500
Australian Touring Car Champ.
Australian GT Championship
Armstrong 500
Armstrong 500
Australian Touring Car Champ.
Australian Touring Car Champ.
2002 V8 Supercar Hall of Fame

Robert Frederick "Bob" Jane (born 1929) is an Australian former race car driver and prominent businessman. A four-time winner of the Armstrong 500, the race that became the prestigious Bathurst 1000 and a four-time Australian Touring Car Champion, Jane is perhaps known best nowadays for his chain of tyre retailers, Bob Jane T-Marts. Jane was inducted into the V8 Supercar Hall of Fame in 2000.

Early life[edit]

Jane grew up in Brunswick, an inner-city suburb of Melbourne. In the 1950s, he started Bob Jane Autoland, a company which distributed parts for Jaguar and Alfa Romeo. Through this venture, a love of cars and motorsport blossomed and he first entered competitive racing in Australia in 1956; by 1960, he was racing with some of Australia's top sedan drivers.

Racing career[edit]

In 1961, Jane and co-driver Harry Firth won the Armstrong 500 at Phillip Island, Victoria, driving a Mercedes-Benz 220SE. Jane and Firth won the race again the following year, the last before the event moved to Mount Panorama at Bathurst, New South Wales, retaining the Armstrong 500 name. Jane, driving for the Ford works team, won a further two Armstrong 500s at the new venue, the first with Firth in 1963 and the second in 1964 with George Reynolds as co-driver. Despite the change of venue, Jane is officially credited with winning Australia's most famous endurance race four times in a row, something no other driver, not even 9 time race winner Peter Brock, has ever done.

Jane won the Australian Touring Car Championship (now known as the V8 Supercars Championship) in 1962, 1963, 1971 and 1972. His 1971 ATCC win was in a Chevrolet Camaro ZL-1 with a 427 cubic inch engine. Jane was forced by a rule change to replace the 427 engine with a 350 cubic inch engine for the 1972 championship but the Camaro still managed to beat the opposition, which included Allan Moffat's Ford Boss 302 Mustang, Ian "Pete" Geoghegan's Super Falcon, and Norm Beechey's Holden HT Monaro GTS350. Of the 38 races he started in the ATCC, he finished on the podium 21 times.

Jane also won the 1963 Australian GT Championship at the wheel of a Jaguar E-type, and the Marlboro Sports Sedan Series, in both 1974 and 1975, at his own Calder Park Raceway driving a Holden Monaro GTS 350 (at times he also drove his Repco V8 powered Holden LJ Torana GTR XU-1 which was mostly driven by John Harvey).

Jane retired from competitive motor racing at the end of 1981 due to an ongoing back problem.

Bob Jane T-Marts[edit]

In 1965, Jane opened the first Bob Jane T-Marts store in Melbourne. The company remains an independent, family-owned business to this day; Bob's son, Rodney Jane, is the current CEO. In 2011 82-year-old Jane resigned as chairman of T-Marts citing difficulties in the relationship with his son Rodney.[1]

From 2002 to 2004, Bob Jane T-Marts held the naming rights sponsorship for the Bathurst 1000, the race Jane dominated early in his career. The company also held the naming rights to the former Bob Jane Stadium, home of South Melbourne FC.[citation needed]

Bob Jane T-Marts is the only major tyre retailer in Australia who do not sell retread tyres. Jane's personal reason for this is that his second eldest daughter Georgina had died in a car accident in 1991 due to a retreaded tyre blowing out.[2]

Having lost control of Bob Jane T-Marts, Jane attempted to create a new tyre business using his name. It was blocked by son Rodney in court which also ruled Jane pay legal costs. In May 2015 his Diggers Rest farm was seized by the state sherriff in order to settle the outstanding costs.[3]

Contributions to Australian motorsport[edit]

Australian Grand Prix[edit]

From 1980 to 1984, the Australian Grand Prix was held at his Calder Park Raceway in the outer suburbs of Melbourne, Jane taking over the promoting and staging of the Grand Prix in the hope of Calder Park being granted a round of the Formula One World Championship (an ambitious plan at best as Calder was a 1.6 km long circuit which the faster cars lapped in less than 40 seconds). The 1980 Grand Prix was open to Formula 5000, Formula Pacific and Formula One cars and was won by Australia's 1980 Formula One World Champion Alan Jones driving his World Championship winning Williams FW07B-Ford. Second home was fellow F1 driver Bruno Giacomelli driving his Alfa Romeo 179, with Ligier F1 driver Didier Pironi finishing 3rd, driving an Elfin MR8 Formula 5000 for leading Australian team Ansett Team Elfin.

From 1981 until 1984 the races were run under Formula Mondial regulations and Jane succeeded in attracting many of the best Formula One drivers of the era. Each race from 1981-1984 was won by those driving the popular Ralt RT4-Ford.

The 1981 Australian Grand Prix was won by future F1 driver Roberto Moreno from Brazil. Finishing second, also in an RT4 was 1981 World Champion Nelson Piquet (Brazil) with Australian Geoff Brabham finishing 3rd in his RT4. Alan Jones and Ligier's Jacques Laffite also participated in the race, though both failed to finish. The 1981 race was the first time since 1968 that the AGP had two or more, current or past World Champions, on the starting grid. On that occasion, Jim Clark (1st), Graham Hill (3rd), Denny Hulme (9th), and Australia's own triple World Champion Jack Brabham (DNF) participated as the race was part of the popular off-season Tasman Series.

For the 1982 Australian Grand Prix, Jane again attracted F1 drivers in Piquet, Laffite, the then retired Jones, plus future Formula One World Champion Alain Prost. Frenchman Prost won the 100 lap race from Laffite and 1981 winner Roberto Moreno. When Prost later won his second AGP in Adelaide in 1986 to win his second of four Formula One World Championships, he became the only driver to ever win the Australian Grand Prix in both World Championship and non-championship formats.

The 1983 race, while only attracting one current F1 driver in Jacques Laffite, as well as Alan Jones, who had made an abortive F1 comeback earlier in the year, did attract 24 entries (mostly the Ford powered RT4), including former winner Moreno, Geoff Brabham and future F1 driver Allen Berg. Moreno won his second AGP from local drivers John Smith and Laffite. Geoff Brabham finished 4th with Jones in 5th and Charlie O'Brien. Reigning Australian Drivers' Champion Alfredo Costanzo led the race early in his Tiga FA81 before suffering a differential failure on lap 25. Moreno would later claim that had 'Alfie' not retired then he would likely have won as he didn't believe he would have caught the Australian. The 1983 race was the last time the Grand Prix was included as a round of the Australian Drivers' Championship.

During 1984 it was announced that from 1985, the Australian Grand Prix would be held on the Streets of Adelaide and would be the 16th and final round of the 1985 Formula One season, giving the Grand Prix "World Championship" status for the first time in its history. Despite this, Jane was still able to successfully attract current Formula One drivers to participate in the 1984 Australian Grand Prix. Headlining the 'imports' was three time (including 1984) World Champion Niki Lauda, and 1982 World Champion Keke Rosberg. Joining them were 1984 Ligier drivers Andrea de Cesaris and François Hesnault and 1981 and 1983 AGP winner Roberto Moreno to face off against local stars Costanzo and 1984 Gold Star champion John Bowe. Moreno would win his 3rd AGP in 4 years from Rosberg, who fought back from a bad start and a collision another car, with de Cesaris putting in the drive of the race to finish 3rd after starting early from the pit lane and being almost half a lap down when he took the green flag.


Jane is credited with bringing stock car racing to Australia. Long resistant to oval racing (seeing it as dull and monotonous when compared to circuit racing, although speedway (Dirt track racing), held on smaller ¼ or ⅓ mile oval tracks, has been popular in Australia since the 1920s), Australian motorsport fans finally had their own NASCAR-style high banked superspeedway when Jane spent A$54 million building the Thunderdome on the grounds of Calder Park Raceway. The 1.801 km (1.119 mi) Thunderdome, with 24° banking in the turns, was built as a tri-oval with Jane modelling the track on the famous Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Opened on 3 August 1987, the Thunderdome played host to the first ever NASCAR event held outside North America on 28 February 1988 with the Goodyear NASCAR 500. Several prominent drivers from the United States came to Australia for this race including Alabama Gang members Bobby Allison and Neil Bonnett, along with Kyle Petty, Michael Waltrip, Dave Marcis, and others from the Winston West Series. Bonnett, who had won the Winston Cup's Pontiac Excitement 400 at the Richmond International Raceway the previous weekend, and Allison, who had won the 1988 Daytona 500 just one week prior to that, dominated the race, swapping the lead several times on a hot summer afternoon in which cabin temperatures were reported to reach over 57° Celsius (135° Fahrenheit). Bonnet won the 280 lap race from Allison with Dave Marcis finishing 3rd.

The race was marred by an early multi-car crash in turns 3 and 4 involving 8 cars including the Ford Thunderbird of local touring car champion Dick Johnson, and the Oldsmobile of Allan Grice who, after running out of brakes, couldn't slow down coming off the back straight and ran into the wreck at speed. Grice, whose car was a write-off, suffered a broken collarbone and was taken to hospital for x-rays.

Bob Jane also owns the Adelaide International Raceway which features the only other paved NASCAR type oval in Australia with its ½ mile Speedway Super Bowl, which, unlike the Thunderdome, is a permanent part of the road circuit.

In 1992, Jane and Channel 7 television commentator also announced plans to turn the old ½ mile Harness racing track that surrounded the Parramatta Speedway in Sydney into a paved oval for NASCAR and the Australian AUSCAR category, giving Australia a third paved oval speedway. Unfortunately however the project never got past the planning stage.

Personal life[edit]

On 23 February 2007, Jane was granted a 12-month intervention order against his estranged wife, Laree Jane (born 1967). At the time, she was 39 and they had been married for 20 years. He accused her of threatening to shoot him and threatening him with a kitchen knife.[4] In a Victorian County Court, on 22 January 2009, a jury found Laree Jane not guilty of five charges, including assault, related to the domestic dispute.[5]

Jane met Laree when he performed Grand Marshal duties for the 1986 James Hardie 1000 at Bathurst.

Career results[edit]

The Elfin 400 Repco which Jane raced in the same colours during the late 1960s
Season Title Position Car Entrant
1959 Australian Tourist Trophy 3rd Maserati 300S
1961 Australian Tourist Trophy 3rd Maserati 300S
1961 Australian GT Championship 4th Maserati 300S Autoland Pty Ltd
1962 Australian Tourist Trophy 2nd Maserati 300S
1962 Australian Touring Car Championship 1st Jaguar Mark II
1963 Australian Touring Car Championship 1st Jaguar Mark II R Jane
1963 Australian GT Championship 1st Jaguar E-type
1964 Australian Tourist Trophy 2nd Jaguar E-type
1964 Australian Touring Car Championship 3rd Jaguar Mark II
1965 Australian Drivers' Championship 13th Elfin Mono Mk1 Ford Bob Jane Autoland [6]
1965 Australian Tourist Trophy 4th Jaguar E-type
1966 Australian Drivers' Championship 17th Elfin Mono Mk1 Ford Bob Jane Racing
1966 Australian 1½ Litre Championship 6th Elfin Mono Mk1 Ford Bob Jane Racing
1969 Australian Touring Car Championship 4th Ford Mustang Bob Jane Racing Team
1970 Australian Sports Car Championship 8th Ford Mustang Bob Jane Shell Racing Team
1970 Australian Touring Car Championship 3rd Ford Mustang Bob Jane Shell Racing Team
1971 Australian Touring Car Championship 1st Chevrolet Camaro ZL-1 Bob Jane Racing
1972 Australian Touring Car Championship 1st Chevrolet Camaro ZL-1 Bob Jane Racing
1973 Australian Touring Car Championship 23rd Holden LJ Torana GTR XU-1 Bob Jane Racing
1974 Australian Touring Car Championship 26th Holden LJ Torana GTR XU-1 Bob Jane Racing
1974 Marlboro Sports Sedan Series 1st [7] Holden LJ Torana Repco Brabham [7]
& Holden HQ Monaro GTS350 [7]
Bob Jane Racing
1975 Marlboro Sports Sedan Series 1st [8] Holden HQ Monaro GTS350 Bob Jane Racing [9]
1976 Australian Sports Sedan Championship 9th Holden HQ Monaro GTS350 Bob Jane T-Marts
1977 Australian Sports Sedan Championship 9th Holden HQ Monaro GTS350 Bob Jane 2UW Racing Team
1980 Australian Sports Sedan Championship 19th Chevrolet Monza Bob Jane T Marts
1981 Australian Sports Sedan Championship 9th Chevrolet Monza Bob Jane T Marts

Phillip Island / Bathurst 500 Wins[edit]

Year Pos Class No Team Co-Drivers Chassis Laps
Group E Series Production
1961 1 B 32 Australia Autoland Pty Ltd Australia Harry Firth Mercedes-Benz 220SE 167
Mercedes-Benz M127 2.2 L S6
1962 1 B 21 Australia Ford Motor Company Australia Harry Firth Ford XL Falcon 167
Ford Pursuit 170 2.8 L S6
1963 1 C 20 Australia Ford Australia Australia Harry Firth Ford Cortina Mk.I GT 130
Ford Kent 1.4 L I4
1964 1 C 15 Australia Ford Motor Co Australia George Reynolds Ford Cortina Mk.I GT 130
Ford Kent 1.4 L I4


  1. ^ Bob Jane resigns,
  2. ^ Bob Jane's Hard Road
  3. ^ "Bob Jane’s farm seized in legal wrangle with son". Velocity Magazine. 2015-05-20. 
  4. ^ Bob Jane wins order against wife,
  5. ^
  6. ^ 1965 Gold Star Retrieved from on 21 January 2012
  7. ^ a b c Pocket Rocket, Australian Muscle Car, Issue 25, pages 44-62
  8. ^ Marboro Sports Sedan Series, Australian Competition Yearbook, 1976 Edition, pages 60-62
  9. ^ Calder Preview, The Sun, 13 March 1975, page 5
Sporting positions
Preceded by
John Roxburgh
Frank Coad
Winner of the Phillip Island / Bathurst 500
1961, 1962, 1963 & 1964
(with Harry Firth and George Reynolds)
Succeeded by
Barry Seton
Midge Bosworth
Preceded by
Bill Pitt
Winner of the Australian Touring Car Championship
1962 & 1963
Succeeded by
Ian Geoghegan
Preceded by
Norm Beechey
Winner of the Australian Touring Car Championship
1971 & 1972
Succeeded by
Allan Moffat
Preceded by
David McKay
1 win
Most ATCC round wins
2nd win at the 1963 Australian Touring Car Championship
Succeeded by
Ian Geoghegan
8 wins
Preceded by
Ian Geoghegan
8 wins
Most ATCC round wins
9th win at Round 6 of the 1972 Australian Touring Car Championship
Succeeded by
Allan Moffat
25 wins