Kevin Bartlett (racing driver)

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Kevin Bartlett
Kevin Bartlett and his Lola T300 at the Surfers Paradise round of the 1972 Australian Drivers' Championship
Nationality Australian
Born (1940-05-25) 25 May 1940 (age 75)
Coffs Harbour, New South Wales, Australia
Retired 1990
Australian Touring Car Championship
Years active 1960, 1966-67, 1980-83, 1985-87
Teams Alec Mildren Racing
Nine Network Race Team
Mitsubishi Ralliart
Starts 40
Wins 3
Best finish 2nd in 1980 Australian Touring Car Championship
Previous series

Australian GT Championship
Australian Sports Sedan Championship
USAC Championship Cars
Tasman Series
Australian Drivers' Championship
Australian 1½ Litre Championship
Championship titles
Australian Drivers' Championship
Australian Drivers' Championship
Macau Grand Prix
Bathurst 1000

Kevin Bartlett (born 25 May 1940 in Coffs Harbour, New South Wales), often known by his nickname "KB", is an Australian former open wheel and touring car racing driver who won the Australian Drivers' Championship in 1968 and 1969, as well as the prestigious Bathurst 1000 in 1974. Bartlett was named in Wheels magazine's annual yearbook in 2004 as one of Australia's 50 greatest race drivers. He placed #15 on the list.

Racing career[edit]

Bartlett first arrived on the Australian racing scene in 1958 when he competed in the Touring Car Scratch Race at Bathurst, driving a 950cc Morris Minor. Over the next few years, Bartlett progressed through the levels of Australian motorsport before his big break came when he was hired to drive for 1960 Australian Grand Prix winner Alec Mildren in the Tasman Series of open wheel racing. Bartlett proved competitive in this series and would become a fixture of Alec Mildren Racing for the next decade racing a long line of open-wheel racing cars and Alfa Romeo touring cars. Bartlett won the 1965 International 6 Hour Touring Car Race for the Mildren team, driving an Alfa Romeo TI Super with Frank Gardner and he also won the 1967 Surfers Paradise Four Hour, driving a similar car with Doug Chivas.

At the 1967 Bathurst Easter meeting, Bartlett became the first driver to ever lap the 6.172 km mountain circuit at an average speed of over 100 mph driving a 1964 Repco Brabham BT11A Climax.[1]

In 1970, Bartlett traveled to the United States to compete in the USAC Championship (aka Indy Car) series,[2] attempting and failing to qualify for the Indianapolis '500.'[3] Bartlett competed in three other Indy Car races, but failed to finish.

Bartlett was signed on to co-drive with John Goss in the 1973 Bathurst 1000, in a brand-new Ford XA Falcon GT Hardtop. They qualified on pole position for the race and led for over three-and-a-half hours, but crashed out of the race on lap 110. They returned the following year and won the event with Bartlett holding off the Bob Forbes Torana and bringing the Goss Falcon home in the rain.[4] Bartlett's Bathurst-winning drive in 1974 was achieved while he still carried hip and pelvis injuries from a major crash at the Pukekohe round of the Tasman Series nine months earlier.

Bartlett was a fixture of Formula 5000 throughout the 70s with a series of Lolas and briefly a modified Brabham Formula One. As the decade closed and Formula 5000 declined, Bartlett return to touring cars, developing the American Chevrolet Camaro Z28 for Australian Group C with the partnership of Kerry Packer's television network the Nine Network. The car debuted, without Bartlett, at 1979 Bathurst 1000. Bartlett was to co-drive with Bob Forbes in the James Hardie 1000, but a bad F5000 crash at Sandown saw KB watch the race from a wheelchair nursing a broken arm and leg with open wheel and Sports Sedan racer John McCormack taking his place in the car.

KB was back in 1980 and was the only driver to seriously challenge the Marlboro Holden Dealer Team Commodore of Peter Brock in the 1980 Australian Touring Car Championship. Bartlett would go on to take pole position for the 1980 Hardie-Ferodo 1000 at Bathurst in the Camaro but his race was soured by the car being forced to run drum brakes on the rear with his first stop to change the rear drums coming after only 14 laps. Later in the race Bartlett tangled with another car on top of The Mountain simply because he had run out of brakes and couldn't stop in time. The other car rolled and after coming into the pits Bartlett told a national television audience that he was sorry for the incident but that the blame lay squarely with CAMS regulations which did not allow the Camaro's to run 4 wheel disc brakes.

Bartlett only contested two rounds of the 1981 Australian Touring Car Championship in the Camaro, which by now was allowed to run 4 wheel disc brakes making it a much safer and much more formidable challenger. He then chose not to race in the 1981 Hang Ten 400 at Sandown, but still went to Bathurst as one of the favourites. He claimed his second pole in a row on The Mountain in frightfully wet conditions, recording a time that was 15.46 seconds slower than he had been 12 months earlier. After a good start where he was dicing with Brock's Holden Commodore and the Ford Falcon's of Dick Johnson and Bob Morris (who would eventually finish 1st and 2nd respectively), a number of small problems, including a crash with the Commodore of Ron Wanless saw the Camaro finally finish 13th, 11 laps down on Johnson. The crash with Wanless prompted a fired up KB to tell Channel 7 that "A complete and utter amateur nincumpoop got in the way" and that he was "Going to punch him in the mouth when the race was over", though he later told that he thankfully didn't go through with it after finding out that Wanless was also a semi-professional boxer.

The Camaro was coming towards the end of its development in 1982. He finished equal third on points with Allan Moffat in the 1982 Australian Touring Car Championship, winning his final ATCC race at Sydney's Oran Park in Round 4. He then enlisted the services of Colin Bond to be his co-driver in the Australian Endurance Championship. Bond drove the Camaro in the 250 km Perrier Gold Cup at Oran Park where the car was competitive but suffered tyre problems. They then went to the James Hardie 1000 at Bathurst as a strong contender for their third straight pole position, but suffered a set back in qualifying when a tyre blew on top of The Mountain, sending bond into the guardrail. Despite this Bartlett qualified the car in 4th place. KB then had an early race duel for third place with the Falcon of Dick Johnson and the second Dealer Team Commodore of John Harvey which went on for a number of laps. Bartlett's race ended on lap 27 when the Camaro blew its left rear tyre at Reid Park, sending him into the fence and causing the car to roll onto its roof and slide across the track with a close following Johnson only just missing him.

Kevin Bartlett's final race in the Camaro came in the Oran Park round of the 1983 ATCC, though by this time he was not competitive and he only recorded a 9th-place finish. He then went on to be Dick Johnson's co-driver in the 1983 James Hardie 1000, though the race weekend was a disaster for the team after Johnson's Hardie's Heroes crash at Forrest's Elbow destroyed the Greens-Tuf Falcon. A car swapping deal was then done and the team had another Falcon ready to run for the race, but the hastily built Ford was well off the pace and was eventually retired on lap 61.

Bartlett's autobiography entitled "Big Rev Kev" was published in 1983.

In 1984, Bartlett headed Mitsubishi's first factory backed attack on the Bathurst 1000 with the Mitsubishi Starion turbo running in the new Group A class that would become uniform in 1985. Unfortunately Bathurst would prove problematic for the team with the cars being forced to run components that weren't compatible with the engine's electronics and the car was uncompetitive. Bartlett then led Mitsubishi's first assault on the Australian Touring Car Championship in 1985, finishing in a fine 3rd place in the opening round at Winton, but ultimately dropping to 9th in the series as the established teams got their Group A cars up to speed. He and motoring journalist Peter McKay then went on to finish 9th outright and second in class in the 1985 James Hardie 1000 at Bathurst.

During 1985, Bartlett also drove a ground effects De Tomaso Pantera to finish 4th in the 1985 Australian GT Championship. Bartlett didn't drive in the 1986 ATCC, but would join the JPS Team BMW as a co-driver in the teams second BMW 635 CSi for the Sandown 500 and the James Hardie 1000 where he would co-drive with New Zealander Trevor Crowe. Unfortunately the BMW was a non finisher in both races.

In 1987, Bartlett drove a Maserati Biturbo for World Touring Car Championship team Pro Team Italia on their visit to Australia and New Zealand. While the Maserati was, on paper, a strong contender, in reality the car was well off the pace and although driving with 1985 Bathurst winner Armin Hahne and former Formula One driver Bruno Giacomelli (who failed to qualify at Bathurst), the car only lasted 29 laps of the race.

1988 saw Bartlett team with longtime rival John Harvey in a Bob Forbes owned Holden VL Commodore SS Group A SV in the Tooheys 1000 at Bathurst. After the new car had some teething problems in practice, they would start 22nd on the grid. The car initially raced faster than it qualified and Harvey (who started) was soon into the top 10, but was forced to pit after 20 laps with a clutch problem. Ultimately they would finish in 14th place, 21 laps down on the winners.

After missing the 1989 Tooheys 1000, Bartlett's final drive in racing was the 1990 Tooheys 1000, sharing a Holden Commodore with Russell Ingall and open wheel star Rohan Onslow, again in a car owned by the man he beat to win the 1974 Bathurst 1000, Bob Forbes.

In his retirement Bartlett works part-time to maintain the famous Bowden collection of historic racing cars, which includes Bartlett's Chevrolet Camaro.

On 24 October 2000, Bartlett was awarded the Australian Sports Medal for his motor racing achievements.[5]

Career results[edit]

Bartlett placed 2nd in the 1972 Australian Drivers' Championship driving a Lola T300
John Goss's reproduction of the 1974 Bathurst 1000 winning Falcon
Bartlett's Chevrolet Camaro
Season Series Position Car Team / Entrant
1960 Australian Touring Car Championship 2nd in class Morris Minor 1000 K Bartlett
1965 Australian Formula 2 Championship 3rd Elfin Imp Jim McGuire
1965 Australian 1½ Litre Championship 8th Elfin Imp Jim McGuire
1966 Tasman Series 11th Brabham BT2 Ford Alec Mildren Racing
1966 Australian Drivers' Championship 3rd Brabham BT11A Climax Alec Mildren Racing
1966 Australian Touring Car Championship 3rd Alfa Romeo GTA Alec Mildren Racing
1967 Tasman Series 6th Brabham BT11A Climax FPF Alec Mildren Racing
1967 Australian Drivers' Championship 3rd Brabham BT11A Climax Alec Mildren Racing
1967 Australian Touring Car Championship 4th Alfa Romeo GTA Alec Mildren Racing
1968 Tasman Series 13th Brabham BT11A Climax Alec Mildren Racing
1968 Australian Drivers' Championship 1st Brabham BT23D Alfa Romeo Alec Mildren Racing
1969 Tasman Series 13th Brabham BT23D Alfa Romeo Alec Mildren Racing
1969 Australian Drivers' Championship 1st Mildren Mono Alfa Romeo
Mildren Mono Waggott TC4V
Alec Mildren Racing
1970 Tasman Series 3rd Mildren Mono Waggott TC4V Alec Mildren Racing
1970 Australian Drivers' Championship 9th Mildren Mono Waggott TC4V Alec Mildren Racing
1971 Tasman Series 5th Mildren (Franklen) Chevrolet Alec Mildren Racing
1971 Australian Drivers' Championship 2nd McLaren M10B Chevrolet Kevin Bartlett Shell Racing
1972 Tasman Series 5th McLaren M10B Chevrolet Kevin Bartlett Shell Racing
1972 Australian Drivers' Championship 2nd Lola T300 Chevrolet Shell / Chesterfield Racing
1972 L&M Continental 5000 Championship 18th [6] McLaren M10B Chevrolet &
Lola T300 Chevrolet
Eisert Jones Racing
Kevin Bartlett
1973 Tasman Series 11th Lola T300 Chevrolet Chesterfield Filter Racing
1973 Australian Drivers' Championship 7th Lola T330 Chevrolet Chesterfield Racing
1974 Australian Drivers' Championship 2nd Lola T332 Chevrolet Chesterfield Filter Racing
1975 Tasman Series 8th Lola T400 Chevrolet Chesterfield Filter Racing [7]
1975 Australian Drivers' Championship 4th Lola T400 Chevrolet Shell Racing K Bartlett
1976 Peter Stuyvesant International Series 7th Lola T400 Chevrolet
1976 Rothmans International Series 4th Lola T400 Chevrolet K Bartlett Shell Sport
1976 Australian Drivers' Championship 8th Lola T400 Chevrolet Shellsport
1977 Australian Drivers' Championship 6th Lola T400 Chevrolet
1977 Australian Sports Sedan Championship 7th Holden LX Torana ShellSport
1978 Australian Drivers' Championship 3rd Brabham BT43 Chevrolet Thomson Motor Auctions
1979 Rothmans International Series 15th Lola T400 Chevrolet Thomson Motor Auctions
1980 Australian Touring Car Championship 2nd Chevrolet Camaro Z28 Nine Network Race Team
1981 Australian Touring Car Championship 11th Chevrolet Camaro Z28 Nine Network Race Team
1982 Australian Touring Car Championship 3rd Chevrolet Camaro Z28 Nine Network Race Team
1983 Australian Touring Car Championship 37th Chevrolet Camaro Z28
1983 Better Brakes AMSCAR Series 23rd Chevrolet Camaro
1985 Australian Touring Car Championship 9th Mitsubishi Starion Team Mitsubishi Ralliart
1985 Australian GT Championship 4th De Tomaso Pantera Paul Halstead/Toy Shop

American Open-Wheel[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position)

USAC Indycars[edit]

Year Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 Rank Points
1970 Webster Racing PHX SON

Complete World 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 9 10 11 DC Points
1987 Pro Team Italia Maserati Biturbo MNZ JAR DIJ NUR SPA BNO SIL BAT

Complete Asia-Pacific 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 DC Points
1988 Bob Forbes Holden VL Commodore SS Group A SV BAT


  1. ^ 1964 BT11A Repco Brabham Climax
  2. ^ "Bartlett Needs Spot To Avoid Long Trip". The Free Lance–Star. Associated Press. 22 May 1970. Retrieved 14 May 2010. 
  3. ^ "McElreath Joins Indianapolis 500 Lineup". The Palm Beach Post. Associated Press. 25 May 1970. Retrieved 14 May 2010. 
  4. ^ de Fraga, Chris (8 October 1974). "Bartlett and Goss—out of the pack". The Age. Retrieved 14 May 2010. 
  5. ^ "Kevin Bartlett". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Retrieved 17 February 2012. 
  6. ^ Wolfgang Klopfer, Formula A and Formula 5000 in America: Race by Race, page 60
  7. ^ Official Programme, Adelaide International Raceway, February 16th, 1975, page 47

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Spencer Martin
Winner of the Australian Drivers' Championship
1968 and 1969
Succeeded by
Leo Geoghegan
Preceded by
Jan Bussell
Macau Grand Prix

Succeeded by
Dieter Quester
Preceded by
Allan Moffat
Ian Geoghegan
Winner of the Bathurst 1000
(with John Goss)
Succeeded by
Peter Brock
Brian Sampson