Bathurst 1000, The Great Australian Race

By:  dave-2693993  •  2 years ago  •  8 comments

Bathurst 1000, The Great Australian Race
End of an era

This weekend in Australian Motorsports history, an era comes to an end.

For those not familiar with the race details will follow in the body of the discussion.

This will be the last time an Australian made car will "climb the mountain". It is the Ford Falcon FGX powered by the short deck 5 Litre Windsor topped by Yates D3 cylinder heads. The effort has been put on the back burner for several years, meaning little to no corporate R&D has filtered down to the teams.

The new Commodore has gotten the cold shoulder from the Aussie faithful. See, it is not a Commodore at all. It is a foreign Opel Insignia. Though a very nice car, it is not a Commodore. 

Can't fool the Aussies and they do not appreciate the back handed corporate treatment. "It's got the corporate badge, they'll buy it". Nope.

Ford got the same response with the Modeo (Fusion) trying to nudge that in as a Falcon replacement.

So, the FGX will take it's last laps at the Great Australian Race and even many Commodore fans cheering for it.

You see, both GM and Ford decided to shut down local automobile manufacturing a couple years ago.

"Build it and they will come". No.

With this single swipe of the globalized corporate wand, Ford and GM now find themselves struggling in the land down under.

Hmmmm? Aussies are a lot like us in many ways. Might give us a bit of pause to consider things.

Anyhow, I am not watching any of this weekends races until they are all completed and hoping for an Aussie made win.

Yet, there is a new beginning and the Aussies have developed a similar love affair with the Mustang and Camaro.

Next years Ford will be a Mustang powered by a Coyote powerplant. We will have to see how the acceptance goes.


jrDiscussion - desc
smarty_function_ntUser_is_admin: user_id parameter required
Find text within the comments Find 
1  author  dave-2693993    2 years ago

Early Years


Introduced to Bathurst as the Armstrong 500 (500 miles long), the event was won by Harry Firth and Bob Jane in a Ford Cortina GT. According to the rules of the race, an entrant's car must be available "as is" in a showroom somewhere in Australia. This is quite a different take on today's V8 Supercars which scarcely represent their host cars under the bonnet. The first years of the Great Race were dominated by the smaller cars, until Ford developed its 289 cubic inch V8 Ford Falcon GT. The big V8 dominated the Mount on the long up hills and down hills where its speed was unmatched by the smaller cars with their smaller engines. From here the Mountain became synonymous with the V8 and would change the face of racing at Mount Panorama forever.


The success and publicity of the Bathurst 500 during the 1960s led to most manufacturers in the country entering their brands and vehicles to attempt to tame the Mountain. Success at Mount Panorama would greatly increase the cars image and credibility in the Australian marketplace, resulting in more sales. This also coined the phrase "Win on Sunday, sell on Monday". This importance based on the Great Race created the famed rivalry between Ford and Holden, and earlier Chrysler, as the resulting wins resulted in sales. It was from this three-way-rivalry that the era of muscle cars, commonly referred to as "Bathurst Specials" was born. Cars included the Holden Monaro and Torana, Ford Falcon GT and later GT-HO Super Falcon, and Chrysler's Pacer and Charger.

1965 was the last year of the Armstrong 500, renamed the Gallaher 500 for the next two years.


The Gallaher 500 changed its major sponsor and therefore its name in 1968 to the Hardie-Ferodo 500. With this race Holden introduced its new weapon to target Ford's Falcon GT, which won the previous year's race, the Monaro. The car was a 2-door coupe based on the 4-door sedan currently being offered by Holden. However, the new coupe had a 327 cubic inch V8, giving the car the subsequent name of the Monaro GTS 327. 1968 and the new Monaro saw Holden claim its first Bathurst win, and brought new life to the fiercest of Australian rivalries.


In 1969 Ford came back at Holden's 1968 attack with a new weapon of their own: the Ford Falcon GT-HO, or "Super Falcon". The common term "bigger is better" was proved true in 1969 when Fords Super Falcon came to the party with a 351 cubic inch power plant. Holden was not to take this lying down, and also made their own improvements to last year's winner. The Monaro GTS 327 was revamped the GTS 350, and was, in the hands of Colin Bond, able to claim victory at Bathurst as the special tyres on the GT-HOs failed under the weight of the Falcons.

1969 also saw the introduction of the late Peter Brock to the circuit that would later make him a legend and a king. Ford bit back, hard, in 1970 and 1971 with its second- and third-generation GT-HO Super Falcons to take victory away from the Monaro's.

2  author  dave-2693993    2 years ago

Group A

1985 was also the first time since the 1966 Gallaher 500 when a brand other that Holden or Ford won at Bathurst, where in 1966 a Morris Cooper S took the chequered flag. In 1985, there was nothing ‘mini' about the car. Tom Walkinshaw's V12-powered XJ-S claimed Jaguars first and only victory in the Bathurst 1000.


The 1987 Bathurst 1000 saw controversy in the form of two Ford Sierras. Although the two Sierras of Rudi Eggenberger finished first and second, months later it was revealed that their bodywork had irregularities in it which caused them to later be disqualified. This means that the next in line would take a very much delayed victory at Bathurst. That man was none other than Peter Brock, and this victory would be his ninth and last at the Bathurst 1000. He would claim victory once more at Bathurst, however, in the seat of a 427 cubic inch (7 litres) Monaro V8 in the Bathurst 24 Hour.


3  author  dave-2693993    2 years ago

Group C

1972 however, saw Peter Brock claim his first of many titles in his Torana GTR XU-1, holding off competition from Allan Moffat in his Phase-3 GT-HO Super Falcon. This was also the first time a six-cylinder engine had one at Bathurst over a V8, proving that size doesn't matter.


1980 saw another name change, from Hardie-Ferodo to simply the James Hardie 1000. The late 70s and early years of the 1980s saw the dominance of Peter Brock which all racing fans in Australia have come to know him for. In 7 years he won 6 times at Bathurst, a feat as yet unrivalled by any other driver as he claimed two hat-tricks at Bathurst, in 1978, '79, '80 and again in 1982, '83 and '84.



4  author  dave-2693993    2 years ago

V8 Supercars / Super Tourers

The Skyline was a far superior vehicle for the time with its all-wheeled drive, four-wheel steering and 2.6lt twin-turbo powerplant punching out almost 450kW (600bhp). This dominance gave the Skyline the suitable nickname of ‘Godzilla'.


The 1992 win for Jim Richards and Mark Skaife caused outrage among loyal Bathurst fans. Towards the end of the race the reliably unreliable Bathurst weather provided a considerable downpour over the track that saw a number of competitors forced from the race. To reduce the risks to drivers and general public, race officials prematurely ended the race on lap 143 (of 161). The controversy came to a head because one of the casualties on that last lap was the winning car. Due to race regulations, Dick Johnson and his Ford Sierra were technically in second place since, the GT-R Skyline of Richards held the lead in the lap prior to the cancellation, even though on the last lap they overtook Richards. Race fans booed Richards and Skaife onto the podium, with Richards responding in kind by infamously addressing the crowd with "In all my years of racing in Australia, I've never seen anything like this. You're all a pack of a***holes"


1993 began the era of the V8 Supercars and Super Tourer competitions. Initially the two ran hand-in-hand as separate classes at Bathurst, but that agreement only last 2 years. In 1995 the Super Tourers Split from the V8 Supercars, but had one more race at Bathurst with them. The best performing Super Tourer finished an unspectacular 10th. The following year saw the Bathurst 1000 as a one-class race for the first time in its history. This continued into the 1996 race also.

1997 saw controversy again grace the Great Race, though this time between rival television companies. Channel 10 had signed a new deal with V8 Supercars to televise and promote its championship. Channel 7, however, had an existing deal which saw them have exclusive rights to the Bathurst 1000 with the Australian Touring Car Championship, and refused to allow Channel 10 anything. In the end, Bathurst hosted two 1000km races that year and the year following. The ATCC had the traditional first weekend in October, with the V8 Supercars two weeks later. 1998 was the last time this format ran, with fans voting with their feet and the stronger of the two ‘Bathurst 1000s', the V8 Supercars, claiming back the early October date after the Touring Cars folded.


Since 1999, the Bathurst 1000 has been a two-horse race between Ford and Holden each year in October. Although the crowds are only barracking for one or the other, crowd numbers have never been higher. Total numbers of fans through the turnstiles for the week are rapidly approaching the 200,000 mark. Since the 2007 event, in memory of the late Peter Brock, the victors at the Bathurst 1000 now receive the Peter Brock Trophy. However, since its introduction, only two drivers can say they have claimed that trophy. They are Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup, who are currently on a three-year winning streak at the Mountain.


5  author  dave-2693993    2 years ago

Ford introduces the Mustang to Bathurst in a staggered start demonstration race between a Mustang GT4, an FGX V8 Supercar and a Ford GT show car.

charger 383
6  charger 383    2 years ago

thanks for telling us about this race and it's history

6.1  author  dave-2693993  replied to  charger 383 @6    2 years ago

Thank you Charger. I am glad you appreciated the little bit of automotive history.

It is a new era for Australian version of "stock car racing" and the fan base is changing. Not terribly different from the Brian France takeover of Nascar when the car was removed from Automobile Racing here.

The Mustang promises to relight that interest in the automobile part of automobile racing there. Maybe if Holden and  HSV can get the Camaros accepted and the Mopar boys can get the Challengers accepted then automobiles will receive due recognition in Australian automobile racing as once before.

7  author  dave-2693993    2 years ago

Lowndes capitalised on an unfortunately-timed cramp to race leader David Reynolds, which denied the pacey Erebus Motorsport team a huge chance to retain the Peter Brock trophy.

The 44-year-old Lowndes overtook Reynolds for the lead with 27 laps remaining, cruising to victory ahead of fellow Commodore Scott Pye and Warren Luff.

DJR Team Penske pair of Scott McLaughlin and Alex Premat were third. With a boisterous crowd - totalling more than 206,000 across the weekend - chanting “Lowndesy, Lowndesy, Lowndesy”, their hero admitted his emotion.

A well deserved 7th Bathurst win for Craig Lowndes.

Of note is Brian France's infection of removing automobiles from automobile racing infected even the land down under years ago. These fellas must have been running around the track in their sneakers. Nary a mention of what they were actually driving.

1. Commodore, ahem, cough, cough, German Opel Insignia.

2. Commodore, ahem, cough, cough, German Opel Insignia.

3. Aussie made Ford Falcon FGX.


Who is online


44 visitors