Fred Gibson (racing driver)

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Fred Gibson
Nationality Australian
Born 16 January 1941 (age 76)
Retired 1983
Australian Touring Car Championship
Years active 1968, 1972-74, 1982-83
Teams Ford Works Team
Nissan Motorsport Australia
Best finish 4th in 1968 Australian Touring Car Championship
Championship titles
1967 Bathurst 1000
Awards
2004 V8 Supercars Hall of Fame

Fred Gibson (born 16 January 1941) is a former Australian racing driver and race team owner.

Career[edit]

A replica of the Ford XR Falcon GT driven to victory in the 1967 Gallaher 500 by Fred Gibson and Harry Firth

After a career that began in small production sports cars, first an MGA, and later the first Lotus Elan to run in Australian competition, Gibson quickly moved up into the touring car ranks. In just his second Bathurst start he claimed second place in the 1966 Gallaher 500.[1]

In 1967, Frank Matich, who was to co-drive one of the new Ford XR Falcon GTs at Bathurst with Harry Firth, had to pull out due to other commitments, and recommended Gibson as his replacement.[1] Gibson first met Firth on the Thursday before the Gallaher 500 and later set the second fastest qualifying time behind their Sydney based team mates Ian and Leo Geoghegan, 1967 was the first year at Bathurst that grid positions were determined by qualifying times and not by class.

Alongside his team boss, Gibson scored his first major win, defeating the Geoghegans after a re-count of laps (the Geoghegans were flagged in 1st but a lap scoring error had been made during their first pit stop). The leading V8 Falcon GT's battled for most of the race with the Alfa Romeo 1600 GTVs, but for the first time in the history of the race, the bigger cars proved up to the challenge and went on to a strong win over the leading GTV of Doug Chivas and Max Stewart.[2]

Gibson became a mainstay with the Ford Works Team for the next six years, taking much success at Sydney's Oran Park and Amaroo Park in particular. He won the competitive Oran Park production sedan series, the Toby Lee Series, in 1970 and 1971 driving his Falcon GTHO supported by his Sydney speedshop, Road & Track.[1] At Bathurst however in the early 1970s he suffered a string of retirements. When the racing industry went into decline during the 70s Gibson raced less frequently but was a still regular at Bathurst.

In 1981 Gibson joined the newly formed Nissan touring car team, headed by his former Ford Australia boss Howard Marsden. Gibson became the team's regular number two driver alongside George Fury driving the Group C Nissan Bluebird Turbo, pioneering turbo charged touring cars in Australia. Gibson's racing involvement generally was as lead driver of the team's second car at the Sandown and Bathurst enduros, selected Australian Touring Car Championship races and at the AMSCAR series at Amaroo Park.[1]

Fred Gibson gave Nissan its first touring car race win in Australia (and the first turbocharged win in Australian touring car racing) when he won heats 2 and 3 of Round 3 of the 1983 AMSCAR series.[1] After finishing 2nd in heat 1, Gibson won the round, going on to eventually finish 3rd in the series final pointscore.

Gibson's win in the AMSCAR round was his first major touring car win since he drove the Ford team's new XA Falcon Hardtop to win the Chesterfield 250 at the Adelaide International Raceway in 1973, giving him the distinction of being the first winner in both the Falcon Hardtop and the turbocharged Bluebird. His 1983 AMSCAR win would also prove to be the last win of Gibson's driving career.

During the early 1980s Gibson's Road & Track business also built Group C Ford Falcons for Sydney privateer Joe Moore. The Ford XD Falcon built by Gibson and raced by Moore at the 1981 James Hardie 1000 was co-driven by Fred Gibson's wife Christine.

Team Owner/Manager[edit]

Gibson retired from driving after 1983 and replaced Marsden as Nissan team boss at the end of 1984, overseeing the introduction of the turbocharged Nissan Skyline DR30 in 1986.[1] Highlights included winning the Australia Touring Car Championship in 1990 and 1991 with Jim Richards and 1992 series with Mark Skaife. Richards and Skaife won the 1991 and 1992 Bathurst 1000s.

With Nissan being forced out by the new for 1993 V8 formula, Gibson Motorsport switched to Holden Commodores with Skaife winning the 1994 series. The team would go through a down period following the banning of tobacco sponsorship at the end of 1995, running only a limited program in 1997. The team returned to full-time competition in 1998 with Steven Richards and Greg Murphy winning the 1999 Bathurst 1000. At the end of 1999, Gibson sold the team to Garry Dumbrell.[3]

In 2001, Gibson returned as the public face of Gibson Motorsport. Although initially portrayed as Gibson buying back his own team, it later emerged that it was Bob Forbes and not Fred Gibson who had bought the team, with Gibson only have purchased the franchise. A falling-out between Forbes and Gibson saw the latter leave the team after Bathurst. As Forbes owned his own franchise, Gibson sold his to Briggs Motor Sport.[4] After leaving the team, Gibson retained ownership of the team's Dandenong workshop. It was later leased to Paul Weel Racing and today is Garry Rogers Motorsport's base.

In 2004 Gibson was inducted into the V8 Supercars Hall of Fame.[5] In 2013, Gibson reformed Gibson Motorsport with Alan Heaphy as a race car preparer for cars participating in the Heritage Touring Cars series. Amongst its clients are the owners of former Gibson Motorsport Nissans.[3][6][7]

Personal life[edit]

In the mid-1970s, Gibson married to fellow former racing driver, Christine Gibson (née Cole); herself a successful racer, the couple have two daughters.[8]

Career results[edit]

Season Series Position Car Team
1968 Australian Drivers' Championship 9th McLaren M4A Ford NE Allen Comp. Pty Ltd
1968 Australian Touring Car Championship 4th Ford Mustang NE Allen Competition Pty Ltd
1970 Grace Brothers / Toby Lee Series 1st Ford XW Falcon GTHO Phase I Road & Track Services
1971 Grace Brothers / Toby Lee Series 1st Ford XW Falcon GTHO Phase II Road & Track Services
1972 Australian Touring Car Championship 17th Ford XY Falcon GTHO Phase III Road & Track Services
1973 Australian Touring Car Championship 6th Ford XY Falcon GTHO Phase III Road & Track Services
1974 Australian Touring Car Championship 31st Ford XB Falcon GT Hardtop Road & Track Services
1975 Australian Sports Car Championship 3rd Alfa Romeo T33 Fred Gibson's Road & Track
1982 Australian Touring Car Championship 28th Nissan Bluebird Turbo Nissan Motorsport Australia
1982 Australian Endurance Championship 3rd Nissan Bluebird Turbo Nissan Motor Co
1982 AMSCAR Series [9] 3rd Nissan Bluebird Turbo Nissan Motor Co
1983 Australian Touring Car Championship 15th Nissan Bluebird Turbo Nissan Motorsport Australia
1983 AMSCAR Series [10] 3rd Nissan Bluebird Turbo Nissan Motorsport Australia

Complete Australian Touring Car Championship results[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Team Car 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 DC Points
1968 N.E. Allen Competition Pty Ltd Ford Mustang WAR
4
4th -
1972 Road & Track Auto Services Ford XY Falcon GTHO Phase III SYM CAL BAT
4
SAN AIR WAR SUR ORA 17th 4
1973 Road & Track Auto Services Ford XY Falcon GTHO Phase III SYM CAL
2
SAN WAN SUR
4
AIR ORA
3
WAR
Ret
6th 19
1974 Road & Track Auto Services Ford XB Falcon GT Hardtop SYM CAL SAN AMA
DNS
ORA
6
SUR AIR 31st 1
1982 Nissan Motorsport Australia Nissan Bluebird Turbo SAN
7
CAL SYM ORA LAK WAN AIR SUR 28th 4
1983 Nissan Motorsport Australia Nissan Bluebird Turbo CAL
7
SAN
Ret
SYM WAN AIR SUR ORA
10
LAK 15th 27

Complete Bathurst 500/1000 results[edit]

Year Team Co-Drivers Car Class Laps Pos. Class
Pos.
1963 Australia Ken Nicholson Morris 850 A 89 44th 12th
1966 Australia Vaughan & Lane BMC Australia Bill Stanley Morris Cooper S C 129 2nd 2nd
1967 Australia Ford Australia Australia Harry Firth Ford XR Falcon GT D 130 1st 1st
1968 Australia Ford Motor Company of Australia Australia Barry Seton Ford XT Falcon GT D 113 31st 11th
1969 Australia Ford Australia Australia Barry Seton Ford XW Falcon GTHO D 93 DNF DNF
1970 Australia Ford Motor Co of Australia Australia Barry Seton Ford XW Falcon GTHO Phase II E 33 DNF DNF
1971 Australia Road & Track Auto Services Australia Barry Seton Ford XY Falcon GTHO Phase III E 32 DNF DNF
1972 Australia Ford Motor Company of Australia Ford XY Falcon GTHO Phase III D 22 DNF DNF
1973 Australia Ford Australia Australia Barry Seton Ford XA Falcon GT Hardtop D 17 DNF DNF
1975 Australia Alfa Romeo Dealers Australia United Kingdom John Fitzpatrick Alfa Romeo 2000 GTV B 12 DNF DNF
1977 Australia Pioneer Electronics Australia Ron Dickson Ford XB Falcon GT Hardtop 3001cc – 6000cc 147 10th 7th
1978 Australia Moffat Ford Dealers Australia Colin Bond Ford XC Falcon Cobra A 59 DNF DNF
1979 Australia King George Tavern Australia Joe Moore Holden LX Torana SL/R 5000 A9X 4-Door A 125 DNF DNF
1980 Australia King George Tavern Australia Joe Moore Ford XD Falcon 3001-6000cc 51 DNF DNF
1981 Australia Nissan Motor Co. Australia George Fury Nissan Bluebird Turbo 4 Cylinder 30 DNF DNF
1982 Australia Nissan Motor Co. Australia George Fury Nissan Bluebird Turbo B 40 DNF DNF
1983 Australia Nissan Motor Co. Australia P/L Australia John French Nissan Bluebird Turbo A 134 22nd 20th

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Where are they now? Fred Gibson Speedcafe 15 April 2013
  2. ^ "Falcon Wins Gallaher 500 Outright!". The Age. 4 October 1967. p. 10. Retrieved 27 August 2010. 
  3. ^ a b Fed Gibson Part 2 Speedcafe 25 April 2013
  4. ^ Gibson Motor Sport Merchandise Pty Ltd vs Robert James Forbes Federal Court of Australia 29 June 2005
  5. ^ Hall of Fame V8 Supercars
  6. ^ About Us Gibson Motorsport
  7. ^ Phillip Island: Gibson Motorsport Classic Report Heritage Touring Cars 25 March 2014
  8. ^ Christine Gibson Speedcafe 1 June 2012
  9. ^ Stuart Wilson, Better Brakes AMSCAR, Australian Motor Racing Yearbook 1982/83, pages 198 to 209
  10. ^ Stuart Wilson, Better Brakes AMSCAR Series, Australian Motor Racing Yearbook 1983/84, pages 254 to 263

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Bob Holden
Rauno Aaltonen
Winner of the Bathurst 500
1967
(with Harry Firth)
Succeeded by
Bruce McPhee
Barry Mulholland