SupercarXtra Magazine Issue 126

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ISSUE 126 AUS $10.95 ISSN 1442-9926

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your guide to the 2022 repco bathurst 1000

celebrating holden’s storied history what it means to win the bathurst 1000 new zealand’s domination of supercars the history & lineage of each team ‘super carS’ scare & what could’ve been 5/09/2022 3:24:17 PM

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INCORPORATING V8X MAGAZINE PUBLISHER Allan Edwards Raamen Pty Ltd trading as V8X PO Box 225, Keilor, VIC 3036 EDITOR Adrian Musolino SUB EDITORS Krystal Boots, Amanda Cobb DESIGNER Thao Trinh CONTRIBUTING JOURNALISTS Mark Fogarty, John Bannon PHOTOGRAPHERS Peter Norton,, Glenis Lindley, James Baker, Ben Auld, Justin Deeley, Mark Horsburgh, P1 Images, Paul Nathan, Scott Wensley, Danny Bourke, Matthew Norton, Jack Martin


5 THE 2022 REPCO BATHURST 1000 PREVIEW Looking ahead to the 2022 edition of the Great Race, which will be the final Holden versus Ford battle in the Bathurst 1000.

37 THE FINAL ROAR, A FAREWELL TO HOLDEN Celebrating Holden’s storied history in the Australian Touring Car Championship/ Supercars and the Bathurst 500/1000.

6 THE 2022 REPCO BATHURST 1000 TEAM & DRIVER PROFILES The drivers and teams that will do battle in the 2022 Repco Bathurst 1000, your musthave guide to the Great Race contenders.

45 THE KIWI DOMINATION How New Zealand punches above its weight to succeed in international motorsport, including its domination in Supercars.

32 WINNING THE GREAT RACE What it means to win the Repco Bathurst 1000 and how it can change a life and career, as detailed by Lee Holdsworth.

51 WH0 DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? Tracing the lineage and history of each full-time Supercars team, dating back to the formation of the licensing system.

Ed’s Note

56 THE ‘SUPER CARS’ SCARE How a report on the front-page of a leading newspaper 50 years ago changed the course of Australian touring cars. 60 TORANA XU-1 V8: WHAT COULD’VE BEEN? The plan to race a V8 in the Holden Torana that Peter Brock drove to his first Bathurst win in 1972. 66 FROM THE ARCHIVES: GROUP A’S CONTROVERSIAL FAREWELL Remembering the drama, controversy and tragedy from the 1992 Bathurst 1000, the final Great Race under the Group A rules.

/SupercarXtra @SupercarXtra @SupercarXtra

Welcome to SupercarXtra Magazine issue #126, our preview of the 2022 Repco Bathurst 1000. This edition of SupercarXtra Magazine is also included in the official Repco Supercars Championship event programs for the ITM Auckland SuperSprint and the Repco Bathurst 1000. Therefore, the page numbers beginning with P relate to the pagination within those programs, while the numbers on their own relate to the pagination within issue #126. Visit for the latest news, to purchase the print programs and more!

ADVERTISING Matt Rice Mobile: 0404 672 196 EDITORIAL ENQUIRIES Phone: (03) 9372 9125 ACCOUNTS Bookkeeper: Mark Frauenfelder MERCHANDISE & SUBSCRIPTIONS Phone: (03) 9372 9125 Published by Raamen Pty Ltd trading as V8X. Material in Supercar Xtra is protected by copyright laws and may not be reproduced in full or in part in any format. Supercar Xtra will consider unsolicited articles and pictures; however, no responsibility will be taken for their return. While all efforts are taken to verify information in Supercar Xtra is factual, no responsibility will be taken for any material which is later found to be false or misleading. The opinions of the contributors are not always those of the publishers. SUPERCAR SUPERCAR XTRA XTRA P19 / 3

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23/08/2022 12:33:49 PM

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alkinshaw Andretti United conquered Mount Panorama with Chaz Mostert and Lee Holdsworth in 2021. While the winning co-drivers from last season have been split, the team remains a red-hot contender in the final Bathurst race for Holden. Championship dominator

Shane van Gisbergen and Triple Eight Race Engineering will be amongst the leaders, with the Holden team’s line-up including multiple Bathurst winners Garth Tander, Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes. Tickford Racing and Dick Johnson Racing lead the Ford charge, with the former headed by two-time Bathurst runner-up Cameron Waters and the latter spearheaded by

2022 race winners Anton De Pasquale and Will Davison. Walkinshaw Andretti United, Triple Eight Race Engineering, Tickford Racing and Dick Johnson Racing shape as the leading teams, with Erebus Motorsport not far behind with the Holden team scoring provisional pole position and a podium across its two entries at Bathurst last season. Grove Racing, Brad Jones

Racing and Team 18 will be looking to get in the mix for the podium, while Matt Stone Racing, PremiAir Racing and Blanchard Racing Team could feature in the top 10. Then there’s the wildcard entrants, ranging from highprofile names from Triple Eight Race Engineering and Erebus Motorsport to the family-run Matt Chahda Motorsport.


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Top 10s:


2021 results:

4th, 18th, DNF

Triple Eight Race Engineering once again enters three cars for the Repco Bathurst 1000 with a formidable line-up of drivers. The 2020 winners Shane van Gisbergen and Garth Tander return after a late-race puncture in 2021; Jamie Whincup is back in the driver’s seat alongside full-time rookie Broc Feeney; and Craig Lowndes moves across to the team’s wildcard entry alongside debutant Declan Fraser. With 16 Bathurst 1000 wins and 13 Supercars championships across its three entries, the team is in a strong position to give Holden one final win at the Mount Panorama Circuit. Fast fact: As it enters its 20th Bathurst 1000, Triple Eight is tied with Walkinshaw Andretti United (formerly the Holden Racing Team) in second on the all-time Bathurst 500/1000 wins' list with eight, one behind the Holden Dealer Team.

#88. BROC FEENEY / JAMIE WHINCUP The master and the apprentice combine in the #88 entry with Jamie Whincup back in the driver’s seat after retiring from full-time driving to take on the role of team manager at Triple Eight Race Engineering. Broc Feeney has acquitted himself well in his full-time rookie season, with the added experience of leading the team’s wildcard entry in 2021. Whincup is balancing his off-track duties with being Feeney's co-driver, with the former’s experience and undisputed speed a great asset to the youngster. After narrowly missing out on a podium in his last Bathurst as a full-timer, Whincup will be determined to get back on the podium a decade since his last Great Race win.

FEENEY BATHURST 1000 STATS: Debut Starts Best finish Best qualifying Podiums Top 10s Finishing rate 2021 result P22 / 6

2020 2 10th (2020) 15th (2021) 0 1 1/2 (50%) DNF

WHINCUP BATHURST 1000 STATS: Debut Starts Best finish Best qualifying Podiums Top 10s Finishing rate 2021 result

2003 20 1st (2006, 2007, 2008, 2012) 1st (2013, 2016) 7 13 18/20 (90%) 4th


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#97. SHANE VAN GISBERGEN / GARTH TANDER Shane van Gisbergen and Garth Tander team up for a fourth consecutive year in the hopes of repeating their victory together in 2020. Their run of Bathurst podiums came to an end after a puncture while in contention for the win in 2021. They return in 2022 with van Gisbergen the dominant driver in the championship. This is not only one of the most experienced entries in the field but also one of the most successful in terms of combined victories, with van Gisbergen’s form over the last two seasons and Tander’s Bathurst pedigree making it one of the entries to beat in 2022.

VAN GISBERGEN BATHURST 1000 STATS: TANDER BATHURST 1000 STATS: Debut Starts Best finish Best qualifying Podiums Top 10s Finishing rate 2021 result

2007 15 1st (2020) 1st (2014) 3 7 13/15 (86%) 18th

Debut Starts Best finish Best qualifying Podiums Top 10s Finishing rate 2021 result

1998 23 1st (2000, 2009, 2011, 2020) 1st (2008, 2009) 7 10 16/23 (69%) 18th

#888. CRAIG LOWNDES / DECLAN FRASER Triple Eight Race Engineering enters a wildcard entry for the second straight year with an all-new line-up. Craig Lowndes moves from co-driving the #88 entry into the #888 wildcard entry, driving the number he ran during his full-time career with the team. He is joined by the team’s Dunlop Super2 Series driver Declan Fraser, who makes his Supercars main game debut at Bathurst. Lowndes’ experience will be a crucial asset to the entry and Fraser across the weekend, with his 2022 start seeing the veteran moving into third outright on the all-time Bathurst 500/1000 starts' list.

LOWNDES BATHURST 1000 STATS: Debut Starts Best finish Best qualifying Podiums Top 10s Finishing rate 2021 result

1994 28 1st (1996, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2015, 2018) 1st (1995, 2005) 14 20 24/28 (85%) 4th

FRASER BATHURST 1000 STATS: Debut Starts Best finish Best qualifying Podiums Top 10s Finishing rate 2021 result

2022 0 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A


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Top 10s


2021 results

10th, DNF

P24 / 8

Dick Johnson Racing will be looking to bounce back at the Mount Panorama Circuit after a challenging 2021 Repco Bathurst 1000. Will and Alex Davison finished in 10th place after Anton De Pasquale and Tony D’Alberto retired. With an unchanged line-up and both entries winning races in 2022, the Ford team is well positioned to challenge at the front of the field with two of the leading Mustangs in the field. After waiting 25 years for its fourth Great Race win (from 1994 to 2019), Dick Johnson Racing will be hoping it doesn’t have to wait so long for its fifth. Fast fact: Dick Johnson Racing has only won one Bathurst 1000 without Dick Johnson in the car – Scott McLaughlin and Alexandre Prémat in 2019. Johnson led the team’s other winning entries in 1981, 1989 and 1994.


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#11. ANTON DE PASQUALE / TONY D’ALBERTO Anton De Pasquale and Tony D’Alberto team up for a second consecutive season at Dick Johnson Racing, eager to make amends after qualifying in second place but suffering a driveline failure at Bathurst in 2021. De Pasquale is in his second season with the team, emerging as a championship contender with regular poles, podiums and wins, though he’s yet to finish on the podium at Bathurst. D’Alberto scored a Bathurst podium in 2017 and will make his seventh appearance for the team at Bathurst. With Ludo Lacroix leading the engineering team, the #11 entry should be in contention.

DE PASQUALE BATHURST 1000 STATS: Debut Starts Best finish Best qualifying Podiums Top 10s Finishing rate 2021 result

2018 4 9th (2020) 2nd (2021) 0 1 2/4 (50%) DNF

D’ALBERTO BATHURST 1000 STATS: Debut Starts Best finish Best qualifying Podiums Top 10s Finishing rate 2021 result

2005 17 3rd (2017) 15th (2013) 1 7 10/17 (58%) DNF

#17. WILL DAVISON / ALEX DAVISON Brothers Will and Alex Davison reunite at Dick Johnson Racing for their sixth Bathurst 1000 as co-drivers – two with Erebus Motorsport, two with 23 Red Racing and now a second for Dick Johnson Racing. The Davisons finished in 10th place at Bathurst in 2021 after a troubled run following a sixth place on the grid. They have yet to share a Bathurst podium together, finishing in fourth place with Erebus in 2014. Two-time Bathurst winner Will Davison is in his second stint with the team, getting back on the top step of the podium in 2022 for the first time since his Bathurst win in 2016.

W. DAVISON BATHURST 1000 STATS: Debut Starts Best finish Best qualifying Podiums Top 10s Finishing rate 2021 result

2004 18 1st (2009, 2016) 1st (2012) 4 9 15/18 (83%) 10th

A. DAVISON BATHURST 1000 STATS: Debut Starts Best finish Best qualifying Podiums Top 10s Finishing rate 2021 result

2004 17 4th (2014) 12th (2011) 0 8 17/17 (100%) 10th


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2003 (as Ford Performance Racing)









Top 10s


2021 results

2nd, 7th, 15th

P26 / 10

Tickford Racing returned to running four entries in 2022, after downsizing to three entries in 2021. The Ford team has been runner-up at Bathurst over the last two years, both courtesy of the #6 entry led by Cameron Waters. With two pole positions and two second places over the last three years, the team will be desperate to add to its two Bathurst wins, the last of which was now eight years ago when the team was known as Ford Performance Racing. While Waters and co-driver James Moffat will be expected to lead the way, the other entries could also be in the top-10 mix. Fast fact: Tickford Racing’s six pole positions is the second most for a team in the history of the Bathurst 500/1000, two shy of the record held by the Holden Racing Team/Walkinshaw Andretti United. However, while the latter also has eight race wins, Tickford Racing only has two victories, neither of which were from pole position, with the aim for a third in its 20th start.


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#5. JAMES COURTNEY / ZANE GODDARD A mix of experience and youth combine in Tickford Racing’s #5 entry with James Courtney teaming with Zane Goddard. Courtney is chasing his first Bathurst 1000 win in what will be his 17th start, with four podiums and three consecutive top 10s over the last three years. Goddard joins the team after two seasons at Matt Stone Racing, switching to a Mustang with the goal of putting himself in the spotlight for a main-game return. Courtney has led entries alongside Broc Feeney and Thomas Randle to top 10s with the team, so history could repeat with another youngster alongside.

COURTNEY BATHURST 1000 STATS: Debut Starts Best finish Best qualifying Podiums Top 10s Finishing rate 2021 result

2005 16 2nd (2007) 3rd (2008) 4 9 13/16 (81%) 7th

GODDARD BATHURST 1000 STATS: Debut Starts Best finish Best qualifying Podiums Top 10s Finishing rate 2021 result

2020 2 DNF 23rd (2021) 0 0 0/2 (0%) DNF

#6. CAMERON WATERS / JAMES MOFFAT Cameron Waters will be hoping it is a case of third time lucky at Bathurst, arriving in 2022 off the back of two second-place finishes in the Great Race. Waters has been one of the leading contenders at Mount Panorama in recent seasons, though ultimately just missed out on the win. He is once again joined by James Moffat, with both drivers now sitting on two Bathurst 1000 podiums but without a win. If the pace carries over from recent years at Bathurst and from recent Supercars events, then this entry should not only be the leading Tickford Racing entry but also one of the favourites for victory.

WATERS BATHURST 1000 STATS: Debut Starts Best finish Best qualifying Podiums Top 10s Finishing rate 2021 result

2011 9 2nd (2020, 2021) 1st (2020) 2 3 8/9 (88%) 2nd

MOFFAT BATHURST 1000 STATS: Debut Starts Best finish Best qualifying Podiums Top 10s Finishing rate 2021 result

2010 12 2nd (2014, 2021) 5th (2015) 2 5 10/12 (83%) 2nd


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#55. THOMAS RANDLE / ZAK BEST Tickford Racing young-guns Thomas Randle and Zak Best join forces in 2022. Randle stepped up into a full-time drive with the team after regular wildcard and endurance co-driver starts, impressing at Bathurst with two top-10 finishes. He will lead an entry at Bathurst for the first time, joined by the team’s Dunlop Super2 Series driver, Best. Best made his Bathurst debut with the team last season and has impressed in his main-game wildcard outings this season. The talented duo shape as the future of the team with the combination potentially an entry to watch as a bolter from the pack.

RANDLE BATHURST 1000 STATS: Debut Starts Best finish Best qualifying Podiums Top 10s Finishing rate 2021 result

2019 3 7th (2021) N/A 0 2 3/3 (100%) 7th

BEST BATHURST 1000 STATS: Debut Starts Best finish Best qualifying Podiums Top 10s Finishing rate 2021 result

2021 1 15th (2021) N/A 0 0 1/1 (100%) 15th

#56. JAKE KOSTECKI / KURT KOSTECKI Brothers Jake and Kurt Kostecki team up for a second consecutive season at Bathurst, with a switch of teams and cars from a Matt Stone Racing Holden ZB Commodore to Tickford Racing’s Ford Mustang. The Kosteckis finished a career-best 13th at Bathurst in 2021, while cousin Brodie Kostecki celebrated a first Bathurst podium for the family with third place. While the brothers exceeded expectations in 2021, there will be more pressure on them in 2022 with more comparable references amongst Tickford Racing’s four-car line-up.

J. KOSTECKI BATHURST 1000 STATS: Debut Starts Best finish Best qualifying Podiums Top 10s Finishing rate 2021 result P28 / 12

2019 3 13th (2021) 21st (2021) 0 0 1/3 (33%) 13th

K. KOSTECKI BATHURST 1000 STATS: Debut Starts Best finish Best qualifying Podiums Top 10s Finishing rate 2021 result

2020 2 13th (2021) N/A 0 0 1/2 (50%) 13th


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18/08/2022 9:40:27 AM



1990 (as Holden Racing Team)









Top 10s:


2021 results:

1st, 5th

P30 / 14

Walkinshaw Andretti United defends its Great Race title with two new combinations, in the team’s final Bathurst with General Motors before a switch to Ford in 2023. Chaz Mostert won with Lee Holdsworth in 2021, replacing the latter this year with another recent full-timer in Fabian Coulthard. Nick Percat leads the second entry with the experienced Warren Luff alongside. Considering the team’s pace across both its entries at Bathurst in 2021 and the emotion of its final Great Race with Holden, the will and the way are there for Walkinshaw Andretti United to go back-to-back in 2022. Fast fact: This event is one last chance for the team to equal the record for most wins for a team in a Holden in the Great Race. The record is held by the Holden Dealer Team with nine, with Walkinshaw Andretti United scoring its eighth win in 2021.


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#2. NICK PERCAT / WARREN LUFF Nick Percat and Warren Luff team up for the first time with both drivers no strangers to the Bathurst podium. Percat won on debut as a co-driver with the team when it was known as the Holden Racing Team in 2011, with a further two podiums at Bathurst. In 2022 he makes his first Great Race start with the team since 2014, after a stint at Brad Jones Racing. Luff has been part of the team’s stable of drivers since 2014, scoring six Bathurst podiums since 2012 – equal with Brad Jones and Cameron McConville for most podiums without a win. After a challenging season, Percat could turn it around at Bathurst with one of the most consistent co-drivers alongside him.

PERCAT BATHURST 1000 STATS: Debut Starts Best finish Best qualifying Podiums Top 10s Finishing rate 2021 result

2011 11 1st (2011) 7th (2018, 2019, 2021) 3 6 10/11 (90%) 6th

LUFF BATHURST 1000 STATS: Debut Starts Best finish Best qualifying Podiums Top 10s Finishing rate 2021 result

1997 21 2nd (2017, 2018) 14th (2009) 6 11 15/21 (71%) 5th

#25. CHAZ MOSTERT / FABIAN COULTHARD The winning entry from 2022 swaps one former full-timer with another with Chaz Mostert joined by Fabian Coulthard, in place of Lee Holdsworth. Coulthard shaped as a prize co-driver when he lost a full-time drive for 2022, in a repeat from last season when the team snapped up the similarly positioned Holdsworth. Mostert was in dominant form at Bathurst in 2021, scoring his second pole position and win in the Great Race, adding further wins in his third season with the team in 2022. Coulthard meanwhile will be determined to prove he belongs on the grid full-time as a strong replacement for Holdsworth.

MOSTERT BATHURST 1000 STATS: Debut Starts Best finish Best qualifying Podiums Top 10s Finishing rate 2021 result

2013 8 1st (2014, 2021) 1st (2019, 2021) 3 5 8/8 (100%) 1st

COULTHARD BATHURST 1000 STATS: Debut Starts Best finish Best qualifying Podiums Top 10s Finishing rate 2021 result

2004 18 3rd (2017) 4th (2016) 1 7 13/18 (72%) 19th


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Top 10s:


2021 results:

3rd, 20th

Last year Erebus Motorsport returned to the Mount Panorama podium for the first time since its 2017 victory, though it was a day of mixed emotions across its two entries. While Erebus Motorsport’s full-time entries remain the same with an unchanged driver line-up, the team also fields a wildcard entry for Richie Stanaway and Greg Murphy after their planned entry in the 2021 race was scuppered by travel restrictions from New Zealand. With a mix of youth and experience across all three of its entries, Erebus Motorsport is likely to be a team to watch in 2022. Fast fact: Erebus Motorsport celebrates its 10th Bathurst 1000 start in 2022. Erebus Motorsport took over from Stone Brothers Racing from the start of 2013, winning Bathurst on its fifth attempt with David Reynolds and Luke Youlden in 2017.

#9. WILL BROWN / JACK PERKINS After topping Friday’s qualifying session in 2021, it was all downhill for Will Brown and Jack Perkins with an exclusion from the top 10 Shootout for underweight parts and power steering troubles in the race. Brown and Perkins will be hoping to convert their outright pace from 2021 into a race result in 2022 in their second Bathurst start as co-drivers. Brown has a second season of full-time experience and has committed to the team long-term, eager to get a result after previous troubled runs at Bathurst. Perkins was on the podium three years ago, adding experience to the entry.

BROWN BATHURST 1000 STATS: Debut Starts Best finish Best qualifying Podiums Top 10s Finishing rate 2021 result P32 / 16

2018 4 15th (2020) 9th (2021) 0 0 3/4 (75%) 20th

PERKINS BATHURST 1000 STATS: Debut Starts Best finish Best qualifying Podiums Top 10s Finishing rate 2021 result

2006 16 3rd (2019) 7th (2014) 1 4 12/16 (75%) 20th


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#51. RICHIE STANAWAY / GREG MURPHY Erebus Motorsport’s all-New Zealand wildcard entry of Richie Stanaway and Greg Murphy makes its long-awaited appearance at Bathurst after being forced to miss out in 2021. Stanaway returns to Supercars after walking away from motorsport at the end of 2019, in what shapes as a decisive event for his future prospects in the category. Joining Stanaway is Bathurst legend Murphy, who will race in the Bathurst 1000 for the first time since 2014. The four-time Bathurst winner has confirmed this will be his 23rd and final Great Race start, lured back to not only make one last appearance at Bathurst but also to assist Stanaway in his return.

STANAWAY BATHURST 1000 STATS: Debut Starts Best finish Best qualifying Podiums Top 10s Finishing rate 2021 result

2016 4 12th (2019) 11th (2019) 0 0 4/4 (100%) N/A

MURPHY BATHURST 1000 STATS: Debut Starts Best finish Best qualifying Podiums Top 10s Finishing rate 2021 result

1994 22 1st (1996, 1999, 2003, 2004) 1st (2003, 2011) 8 11 15/22 (68%) N/A

#99. BRODIE KOSTECKI / DAVID RUSSELL Brodie Kostecki and David Russell teamed up at Bathurst for the first time in 2021 and scored their first Great Race podiums. It was an impressive drive from the duo, overcoming a grid penalty for a technical infringement in the top 10 Shootout to finish in third place. They return for another tilt with Kostecki, like teammate Will Brown, recently recommitting to the team on a long-term deal. Kostecki has impressed at Bathurst in recent seasons, making a name for himself with his aggressive driving style. Russell, like Brown's co-driver Jack Perkins, adds experience to the team, buoyed by his podium breakthrough last season.

KOSTECKI BATHURST 1000 STATS: Debut Starts Best finish Best qualifying Podiums Top 10s Finishing rate 2021 result

2019 3 3rd (2021) 10th (2021) 1 2 2/3 (66%) 3rd

RUSSELL BATHURST 1000 STATS: Debut Starts Best finish Best qualifying Podiums Top 10s Finishing rate 2021 result

2003 12 3rd (2021) N/A 1 3 8/12 (66%) 3rd


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Top 10s:


2021 results:

6th, 8th, 12th, 17th

P34 / 18

Brad Jones Racing notches up its 25th Bathurst 1000 start with four entries chasing that elusive first win in the Great Race. With Nick Percat and Todd Hazelwood moving on to new teams in 2022, Brad Jones Racing recruited André Heimgartner and Bryce Fullwood to lead two of its entries, alongside Jack Smith and Macauley Jones. There’s continuity amongst its co-drivers with Dale Wood and Dean Fiore back after racing for the team in 2021, while Jordan Boys returns after making his Bathurst debut with the team in 2020. After an up and down season and off the back of two top 10s at Bathurst last season, Brad Jones Racing will be hoping its 25th race start delivers some luck. Fast fact: Brad Jones and his Brad Jones Racing team have come close to Bathurst success. Jones shares the record for most Bathurst 500/1000 podiums without a win with six topthree finishes (three second places), along with Warren Luff and former Brad Jones Racing driver Cameron McConville. The team also has three second-place finishes, two of which were with Jones and one with McConville.


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#4. JACK SMITH / TO BE ANNOUNCED Jack Smith makes his fourth Bathurst 1000 and third straight for Brad Jones Racing, finishing the race for the first time in 2021. It has been another challenging season for Smith, in his bid to get on par with his teammates after staying out of trouble at Bathurst to finish in 17th place in 2021, though as the last of the trouble-free runners. The driver alongside Jack Smith was yet to be announced when we went to print. Visit for the co-driver announcement and confirmation of the 2022 Repco Bathurst 1000 entry list.

SMITH BATHURST 1000 STATS: Debut Starts Best finish Best qualifying Podiums Top 10s Finishing rate 2021 result

2019 3 17th (2021) 22nd (2020) 0 0 1/3 (33%) 17th

TO BE ANNOUNCED Debut Starts Best finish Best qualifying Podiums Top 10s Finishing rate 2021 result

#8. ANDRÉ HEMIGARTNER / DALE WOOD André Heimgartner quickly established himself as Brad Jones Racing’s unofficial team leader in 2022, with this year's Bathurst marking five years since he stepped into the team at the event as a late injury replacement and impressed with a top-10 finish. Heimgartner has challenged at the pointy end of the field on occasions in 2022, and is hoping the team is once again in the top-10 mix as it was last season. Dale Wood is a seasoned campaigner alongside, with multiple Bathurst starts and even full-time seasons with Brad Jones Racing. This shapes as Brad Jones Racing’s leading entry with hopes of another top-10 result.

HEIMGARTNER BATHURST 1000 STATS: Debut Starts Best finish Best qualifying Podiums Top 10s Finishing rate 2021 result

2014 8 9th (2017) 12th (2015, 2019) 0 1 4/8 (50%) DNF

WOOD BATHURST 1000 STATS: Debut Starts Best finish Best qualifying Podiums Top 10s Finishing rate 2021 result

2008 13 4th (2017) 8th 0 5 11/13 (84%) 6th


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#14. BRYCE FULLWOOD / DEAN FIORE Bryce Fullwood impressed at Bathurst in 2021, scoring a fifth-place finish in his final race with Walkinshaw Andretti United. He moved to Brad Jones Racing in the offseason, in his attempt to establish himself in the championship. The 2021 result was a breakthrough performance after a challenging run at Bathurst before then, while he’s been second in the Brad Jones Racing pecking order in terms of pace in 2022. He teams up with Dean Fiore for the first time, though Fiore remains in the same entry having partnered Todd Hazelwood with the team in 2021. With the entry and both drivers in the top 10 in 2021, a repeat performance isn’t out of the question in 2022.

FULLWOOD BATHURST 1000 STATS: Debut Starts Best finish Best qualifying Podiums Top 10s Finishing rate 2021 result

2018 4 5th (2021) 11th (2020) 0 1 2/4 (50%) 5th

FIORE BATHURST 1000 STATS: Debut Starts Best finish Best qualifying Podiums Top 10s Finishing rate 2021 result

2009 13 6th (2017, 2020) 21st 0 4 9/13 (69%) 8th

#96. MACAULEY JONES / JORDAN BOYS Macauley Jones narrowly missed out on a third top 10 at Bathurst in 2021, in his seventh Great Race start in the team owned by father Brad Jones. Matching the pace of André Heimgartner and Bryce Fullwood will be the goal for Jones, in the hopes of adding to his top-10 tally. While he has been paired with experienced veterans in the past, his experience will be even more important with youngster Jordan Boys alongside. Boys made his Bathurst debut with the team in 2020, though missed out on a start in 2021. He made two solo main-game wildcard starts for Image Racing in 2022, bringing that experience into his endurance return.

JONES BATHURST 1000 STATS: Debut Starts Best finish Best qualifying Podiums Top 10s Finishing rate 2021 result P36 / 20

2015 7 7th (2018) 17th (2020) 0 2 6/7 (85%) 12th

BOYS BATHURST 1000 STATS: Debut Starts Best finish Best qualifying Podiums Top 10s Finishing rate 2021 result

2020 1 DNF N/A 0 0 0/1 (0%) N/A


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Top 10s:


2021 results:

16th, DNF

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Team 18 makes its 10th Bathurst 1000 start in 2022; the seventh as an independent entity and the third with two entries. The Triple Eight Race Engineering customer team returns to Bathurst with Mark Winterbottom and Scott Pye as its lead drivers, while Michael Caruso is back alongside Winterbottom with Tyler Everingham replacing the PremiAir Racing-bound James Golding as co-driver to Pye. A challenging race in 2021 saw the team’s run of Bathurst 1000 top 10s come to an end. With continuity amongst its driver line-up, it is a question of whether the team can rediscover its top-10 pace to be amongst the contenders for a podium. Fast fact: Team 18 has the most top-10 finishes at Bathurst without a podium of any team in Supercars, but none of those results have been in the top five with two sixth-place finishes, one eighth and one ninth. Yet three of its 2022 drivers have stood on the Bathurst 1000 podium.


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#18. MARK WINTERBOTTOM / MICHAEL CARUSO Mark Winterbottom notches up his 20th Bathurst 1000 start in 2022, the most amongst the full-time drivers. It is nine years since his victory at Mount Panorama, and he is determined to win another in what will be his fourth Great Race with Team 18. Winterbottom is joined once again by Michael Caruso, forming one of the most experienced pairings in the field. After a disappointing Bathurst in 2021, the duo will be hoping for a better run to convert that experience into a result with a top 10 not out of the question.

WINTERBOTTOM BATHURST 1000 STATS: Debut Starts Best finish Best qualifying Podiums Top 10s Finishing rate 2021 result

2003 19 1st (2013) 1st (2007, 2010) 2 10 13/19 (68%) 16th

CARUSO BATHURST 1000 STATS: Debut Starts Best finish Best qualifying Podiums Top 10s Finishing rate 2021 result

2006 16 3rd (2009) 6th (2016) 1 7 13/16 (81%) 16th

#20. SCOTT PYE / TYLER EVERINGHAM Scott Pye was the first retirement at the 2021 Repco Bathurst 1000, stopped in the early stages of the race by power steering issues that ended a run of five consecutive top-10 finishes at Bathurst. He returns with Team 18 aiming for a third podium finish in the Great Race. With 2021 co-driver James Golding moving into a full-time drive at PremiAir Racing, Team 18 has recruited Dunlop Super2 Series front-runner Tyler Everingham as its new co-driver. Everingham made his Great Race debut in a Garry Rogers Motorsport wildcard entry in 2020, though he missed out on a drive in 2021.

PYE BATHURST 1000 STATS: Debut Starts Best finish Best qualifying Podiums Top 10s Finishing rate 2021 result

2012 10 2nd (2017, 2018) 7th (2015) 2 6 6/10 (60%) DNF

EVERINGHAM BATHURST 1000 STATS: Debut Starts Best finish Best qualifying Podiums Top 10s Finishing rate 2021 result

2020 1 19th (2020) 24th 0 0 1/1 (100%) N/A


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2009 (as Kelly Racing)









Top 10s:


2021 results:

11th, DNF (as Kelly Grove Racing)

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The Groves completed the takeover of the team formerly known as Kelly Racing from the start of 2022, after running as Kelly Grove Racing in 2021. The Ford team features two one-time Bathurst 1000 winners as its full-time drivers, with reigning champion Lee Holdsworth joining David Reynolds in 2022. Both drivers have been on the podium over the course of 2022, with the combination of their Bathurst pedigree and their highly-rated co-drivers making this a team that could threaten for the top three. After missing out on a top-10 result in 2021, Grove Racing will be out to make amends with a strong showing in 2022. Fast fact: Todd and Rick Kelly bowed out as Supercars team owners following the 2021 Repco Bathurst 1000. It was the first Great Race not to feature at least one of the brothers on the grid since 1997.


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#10. LEE HOLDSWORTH / MATTHEW PAYNE Lee Holdsworth's impressive performance as co-driver to Chaz Mostert in Walkinshaw Andretti United’s 2021 Bathurst-winning entry led to his full-time return with Grove Racing. After setting the pace amongst the co-drivers last season, he switches into the main-driver role with the goal of returning to the Bathurst podium. He is joined by Matthew Payne, forming a combination of youth and experience. The highly-rated New Zealander makes his Supercars debut at Bathurst, following race wins for Grove Racing in the Dunlop Super2 Series in 2022.

HOLDSWORTH BATHURST 1000 STATS: Debut Starts Best finish Best qualifying Podiums Top 10s Finishing rate 2021 result

2004 18 1st (2021) 4th (2009, 2010, 2015) 2 7 11/18 (61%) 1st

PAYNE BATHURST 1000 STATS: Debut Starts Best finish Best qualifying Podiums Top 10s Finishing rate 2021 result

2022 0 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

#26. DAVID REYNOLDS/ MATT CAMPBELL Five years since his win in the Bathurst 1000, David Reynolds returns to Mount Panorama determined to get back on the top step of the podium. Reynolds is in his second stint with the team, bringing up his 15th Great Race start in 2022. After a string of podium finishes to start the season and with his impressive pace at Bathurst, Reynolds should be in contention with sportscar ace Matt Campbell alongside. Campbell is making his fourth Bathurst start and third with the team, buoyed by his promotion into Porsche Penske Motorsport’s outfit across the World Endurance Championship and IMSA SportsCar Championship in 2023.

REYNOLDS BATHURST 1000 STATS: Debut Starts Best finish Best qualifying Podiums Top 10s Finishing rate 2021 result

2007 14 1st (2017) 1st (2015, 2018) 2 5 11/14 (78%) 11th

CAMPBELL BATHURST 1000 STATS: Debut Starts Best finish Best qualifying Podiums Top 10s Finishing rate 2021 result

2016 3 5th (2017) N/A 0 1 1/3 (33%) DNF


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Top 10s:


2021 results:

13th, DNF

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Matt Stone Racing entered 2022 with an all-new driver line-up, recruiting Jack Le Brocq and Todd Hazelwood from Tickford Racing and Brad Jones Racing respectively. The decision to opt for more experience has seen an improvement in results over the course of the season, with the team adding youth to its Bathurst entries with a Supercars debut for Aaron Seton and the return of Jayden Ojeda. The Triple Eight Race Engineering customer team enters its fifth Bathurst with the hopes of scoring a top-10 result in the Great Race for the first time, with Le Brocq and Hazelwood now having the experience to lead the team into more competitive positions. Fast fact: Matt Stone Racing debutant Aaron Seton will become the first third-generation racer to compete in the Bathurst 500/1000. Seton’s grandfather Barry ‘Bo’ Seton and father Glenn Seton have a combined total of 48 Bathurst 500/1000 starts between them, including one together in the latter’s debut in a Ford Capri Mk.III in 1983.


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#34. JACK LE BROCQ / AARON SETON Jack Le Brocq made the move to Matt Stone Racing in 2022, and will race in a Commodore at Bathurst for the first time since 2019. After narrowly missing out on a podium in his second start in 2016 and with experience at Mount Panorama across five different cars (AMG Mercedes-Benz E63, Ford FG X Falcon and Mustang, Nissan Altima and Holden ZB Commodore), Le Brocq has the experience to lead the entry to a strong result. Aaron Seton faces a steep learning curve in his main-game debut, after just two seasons in the Dunlop Super2 Series.

LE BROCQ BATHURST 1000 STATS: Debut Starts Best finish Best qualifying Podiums Top 10s Finishing rate 2021 result

2015 7 4th (2016) 8th (2021) 0 2 6/7 (85%) 15th

SETON BATHURST 1000 STATS: Debut Starts Best finish Best qualifying Podiums Top 10s Finishing rate 2021 result

2022 0 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

#35. TODD HAZELWOOD / JAYDEN OJEDA Todd Hazelwood returned to Matt Stone Racing in 2022, five years since his Dunlop Super2 Series championship win with the team in 2017. In 2021 Hazelwood bounced back from a run of retirements at Bathurst with an eighth place at Brad Jones Racing and is eager to repeat that feat to give his current team its first Great Race top-10 result. Jayden Ojeda will make his third Bathurst 1000 start alongside, remaining with the team having driven with Zane Goddard in the same entry in 2021. He has also benefited from making his solo debut in two wildcard appearances with Walkinshaw Andretti United in 2022.

HAZELWOOD BATHURST 1000 STATS: Debut Starts Best finish Best qualifying Podiums Top 10s Finishing rate 2021 result

2017 5 8th (2021) 14th (2019) 0 1 3/5 (60%) 8th

OJEDA BATHURST 1000 STATS: Debut Starts Best finish Best qualifying Podiums Top 10s Finishing rate 2021 result

2020 2 19th (2020) N/A 0 0 1/2 (50%) DNF


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Top 10s:


2021 results:


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PremiAir Racing makes its debut in the Bathurst 1000 in 2022. Peter Xiberras took over the ownership of the team formerly known as Tekno Autosports/Team Sydney by purchasing the two licenses and assets in the off-season. While it is a new team, its former incarnation has Bathurst pedigree with a win for team owner Jonathon Webb and lead driver Will Davison in 2016. It is a youth-oriented driver line-up for the Bathurst debutants, who run Triple Eight Race Engineering-built Holden ZB Commodores, with only Chris Pither making more than 10 Great Race starts amongst its entrants. Fast fact: PremiAir Racing competes in both Supercars and drag racing. Team owner Peter Xiberras has enjoyed success in the Australian Top Fuel Championship, looking to complete a rare double of Supercars and drag racing success.


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#22. CHRIS PITHER / CAMERON HILL Chris Pither stayed with the team formerly known as Team Sydney through its change to PremiAir Racing, becoming the most experienced driver in the team when James Golding replaced Garry Jacobson mid-season. Pither’s experience will be an important asset for the team at its Bathurst debut, with rookie Cameron Hill alongside. Hill won the 2021 Porsche Carrera Cup Australia championship and moved into Supercars in 2022, driving for Triple Eight Race Engineering in the Dunlop Super2 Series. With teammate Declan Fraser getting the spot in Triple Eight’s wildcard entry alongside Craig Lowndes, Hill slots in at customer team PremiAir Racing.

PITHER BATHURST 1000 STATS: Debut Starts Best finish Best qualifying Podiums Top 10s Finishing rate 2021 result

2007 12 4th (2012) 12th (2016) 0 2 9/12 (75%) 12th

HILL BATHURST 1000 STATS: Debut Starts Best finish Best qualifying Podiums Top 10s Finishing rate 2021 result

2022 0 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

#31. JAMES GOLDING / DYLAN O'KEEFFE Garry Rogers Motorsport may be missing from the Bathurst 1000 grid, but its legacy lives on with two of its former prodigies, James Golding and Dylan O’Keeffe, combining for PremiAir Racing. Golding took over the second PremiAir Racing full-time entry mid-way through 2022, moving across from his co-driver role at Team 18. Golding leads an entry at Bathurst for the first time since 2019, after an early retirement with Scott Pye in 2021. O’Keeffe, like Chris Pither, remains with the team through its ownership change, with the benefit of remaining in the same car after switching between a Ford Mustang and Holden ZB Commodore in his first two Bathurst starts.

GOLDING BATHURST 1000 STATS: Debut Starts Best finish Best qualifying Podiums Top 10s Finishing rate 2021 result

2016 6 8th (2018, 2020) 12th (2018) 0 2 4/6 (66%) DNF

O'KEEFFE BATHURST 1000 STATS: Debut Starts Best finish Best qualifying Podiums Top 10s Finishing rate 2021 result

2020 2 11th (2020) N/A 0 0 2/2 (100%) 14th


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Top 10s:


2021 results:


The Blanchard Racing Team debuted as a standalone entry in 2021, after being run from within the Brad Jones Racing stable from 2017 to 2020, switching from a Holden ZB Commodore to a Ford Mustang in the process. The team has been quick at Mount Panorama, qualifying for the Bathurst 2021 season opener on the front row before a big crash for Tim Slade in the race and backing that up with fourth place on the grid for the Repco Bathurst 1000. Slade is once again joined by team owner Tim Blanchard, sharing the only full-time single-car entry in Supercars. Fast fact: With a second and fourth place in its two qualifying attempts at the Mount Panorama Circuit, the Blanchard Racing Team has a qualifying average of third place at Bathurst.

#3. TIM SLADE / TIM BLANCHARD Driver and team boss combine in the Blanchard Racing Team entry for a second consecutive year, with Tim Slade and Tim Blanchard eager to convert their qualifying speed from 2021 into a better race result. Neither driver has scored a podium finish in the Bathurst 1000, and while their ninth place in 2021 was a strong result for the single-car team in its Great Race debut, it was still a drop down the field from fourth on the grid. Slade and Blanchard form one of the most experienced combinations in the field, looking to punch above their weight yet again at Mount Panorama.

SLADE BATHURST 1000 STATS: Debut Starts Best finish Best qualifying Podiums Top 10s Finishing rate 2021 result P46 / 30

2009 13 5th (2020) 4th (2020) 0 6 11/13 (84%) 9th

BLANCHARD BATHURST 1000 STATS: Debut Starts Best finish Best qualifying Podiums Top 10s Finishing rate 2021 result

2011 11 9th (2021) 21st (2013) 0 1 9/11 (81%) 9th


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Top 10s:


2021 results:


After eight seasons in the Dunlop Super2 Series, Matt Chahda Motorsport steps up into the main game for a wildcard appearance in the 2022 Repco Bathurst 1000. The family-run team will field a Walkinshaw Andretti United-supplied ZB Commodore with some technical support from the Holden team, with veteran engineer Wally Storey steering the ship as team manager. Matt Chahda will be the lead driver alongside fellow rookie Jaylyn Robotham. The duo has been running at the front of the field on occasions in the Dunlop Super2 Series, with the goal of making it to the finish in their and the team’s Great Race debuts. Fast fact: Matt Chahda Motorsport is the seventh team not competing in Supercars on a full-time basis to race in the Bathurst 1000 since wildcard entries were allowed back into the Great Race in 2009, following in the footsteps of the Sieders Racing Team, MW Motorsport, Greg Murphy Racing, Novocastrian Motorsport, Kostecki Brothers Racing and Garry Rogers Motorsport.

#118. MATT CHAHDA / JAYLYN ROBOTHAM Matt Chahda has raced in the Dunlop Super2 Series since 2015, enjoying his best season in 2022 with a string of podium finishes in his Ford FG X Falcon. Robotham races for the Erebus Motorsport-aligned Image Racing in the second-tier category, winning the 2022 season opener in Sydney after joining the series in 2021 following race wins in the Super3 Series in 2020. The duo and the team are in for a steep learning curve, though they have a competitive car with the ex-Walkinshaw Andretti United ZB Commodore and the experience of team manager Wally Storey in the garage.

CHAHDA BATHURST 1000 STATS: Debut Starts Best finish Best qualifying Podiums Top 10s Finishing rate 2021 result

2022 0 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

ROBOTHAM BATHURST 1000 STATS: Debut Starts Best finish Best qualifying Podiums Top 10s Finishing rate 2021 result

2022 0 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A


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IMAGES Supercars, Peter Norton

Lee Holdsworth went from losing his drive in Supercars and moving towards a career in real estate at the end of 2020 to winning the Repco Bathurst 1000 and signing on as a full-time driver by the end of 2021, highlighting how the Great Race and a strong showing at Mount Panorama can change your life.


t his 18th Bathurst 1000 attempt, after tackling the Great Race with seven different teams across three manufacturers dating back to 2004 and with just one previous podium finish, Lee Holdsworth finally conquered Mount Panorama alongside Chaz Mostert in 2021. It was the culmination of a remarkable 12 months for Holdsworth. A year earlier, Holdsworth finished in seventh place at Bathurst in what seemed like his final full-time start in Supercars. After the game of musical chairs that is the silly season, Holdsworth

lost his drive at Tickford Racing and faced the end of his professional motorsport career. Holdsworth signed as endurance co-driver to Mostert at Walkinshaw Andretti United for Bathurst 2021 and pursued non-motorsport work options, which culminated in landing a full-time job with industrial real estate firm CBRE. From 31 races as a full-time driver in 2020, Holdsworth returned to Supercars for just one race in 2021 and showed his pace and poise with a faultless display at Bathurst to win from pole position with Mostert. Coming full circle, Holdsworth returns to Bathurst


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as a full-time driver with the Penrite-backed Grove Racing in 2022. “Everyone always said it would change my life, and it certainly did in a lot of ways; in more ways than I would’ve ever thought,” reflected Holdsworth. “Obviously, it helped me get a drive back in the series with Penrite Racing and that’s fantastic, but also for what it’s done outside of motor racing for your general credibility. “We all want to win that race, and it’s pretty cool to get the monkey off the back. I’ve had plenty of chances where I thought it might be my weekend but it never came about, so it was really cool and something that I’ll be very proud of for the rest of my life.” Holdsworth is an example of what could be for the endurance co-drivers, who race in other categories or sit on the sidelines all year and join Supercars for the biggest race of the year at the most challenging circuit on the calendar. Not only do they have their co-driver and team’s championship considerations to worry about, their own lap times are carefully scrutinised against their main driver and rival co-drivers for future employment considerations. One mistake and the perception of a driver can change instantly. And all this without another Supercars race start throughout the year, with limited time in the car at the odd practice session and test day and, for some, racing in another category where the cars are usually quite different. “There’s a lot of pressure, as you’ve got the weight

“EVERYONE ALWAYS SAID IT WOULD CHANGE MY LIFE, AND IT CERTAINLY DID IN A LOT OF WAYS; IN MORE WAYS THAN I WOULD’VE EVER THOUGHT.” – LEE HOLDSWORTH of a team and the teams’ championship but also, and probably more importantly, you’re racing for another driver’s championship,” said Holdsworth. “That puts a hell of a lot of pressure on the co-driver, especially to go in there for one race and have those expectations to be close to or as fast as the main driver and not put a foot wrong. It’s more pressure than I ever knew about, what co-drivers go through. But it was just brilliant to be able to pull it off and bring home that result.” Holdsworth did indeed bring home the result at Bathurst in 2021, topping two of the practice sessions and holding his own in his stints. Despite an early-race puncture with Mostert behind the wheel, Holdsworth handed back the car in a strong position for Mostert to bring it home for the win. And, suddenly, from being forced out of the field the year before, Holdsworth was once again being spoken about for full-time drives. “To be honest, at that stage, I was pretty satisfied with my future because I’d landed a good job outside of motorsport and I was at ease with finishing up my career and being a co-driver and taking the odd

LEFT & ABOVE: Chaz Mostert and Lee Holdsworth claimed victory in the 2021 Repco Bathurst 1000, a year after Holdsworth lost his full-time drive in Supercars.


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race here and there to have a bit of fun,” explained Holdsworth. “That weekend came around and, obviously, it was brilliant and I was able to show my ability in great equipment alongside Chaz. We had a hell of a lot of fun and it brought back a lot of that love for the sport that I had and still have. “It certainly gives you confidence that if you get the right car you can do the job, and I believed that and it was reaffirmed with the win. “So when the opportunity came back up to get back involved full-time, I jumped at it. But at the same time, I wasn’t going to do it with anyone because I’ve seen both sides of the fence. I’ve been in teams that have struggled and I’ve been in teams that have performed really well, and it’s not fun when you’re on the bad side of the fence.” Holdsworth now switches back into lead-driver mode at Bathurst. He will steer the set-up direction throughout the practice sessions, qualify the car and hope to make it into the pressure-filled top 10 Shootout. Then, come the race, he will likely be in the car for the decisive final stints and, hopefully, cross the line to take the chequered flag. So, which is the most intense role, main driver or co-driver? “I feel there’s probably more pressure on the codriver than the main driver,” said Holdsworth. “It’s very rare to have two drivers that want the exact same thing and we had that last year. So we were pretty relaxed, both of us, going into that race and in the lead up. But as the main driver, you push really hard. You don’t leave an inch on the table because you’re expected to push as hard as you can. “As a co-driver, you’re expected to push very hard but not make a mistake, so there’s a small shift in mentality.” Holdsworth’s success continued the trend of former full-timers winning as co-drivers since the main drivers were stopped from teaming up in the endurance events in 2010. With co-drivers either former fulltimers, career co-drivers (no full-time seasons), international-based drivers or up-and-coming youngsters, it’s unsurprisingly the most successful and recent fulltime retirees that succeed as co-drivers. Nick Percat scored one for the youngsters as a rookie at Bathurst in 2011. Luke Youlden had never driven outside of an endurance event when he won the Great Race as a co-driver in 2017. Aside from that, it’s the former full-timers who hold sway. The Bathurst-winning former full-time co-drivers since 2010 include: Mark Skaife in 2010 (two years since being full-time), Paul Dumbrell in 2012 (one year since being full-time), Steven Richards in 2013, 2015 and 2018 (three, five and eight years since being full-time), Paul Morris in 2014 (six years since being full-time), Jonathon Webb in 2016 (three years since being full-time), Alexandre Prémat in 2019 (six years since being full-time), Garth Tander in 2020 (two years since being full-time) and Holdsworth in 2021 (one year since being full-time). All of the above had won Supercars races before P50 / 34

their Bathurst wins as co-drivers, with only Prémat not doing so in a solo drive. It’s why there’s such a demand for successful former full-timers in the codriver market. With Holdsworth now leading the way in Grove Racing’s #10 Ford Mustang, Fabian Coulthard slots in as co-driver in the #25 Walkinshaw Andretti United Holden ZB Commodore alongside Mostert. Coulthard follows a similar path to Holdsworth, having missed out on a full-time drive in 2022 and hoping a strong showing at Bathurst puts him back in the full-time frame for 2023. “The cars are so close now that you only need that small edge to be fast, so you’ve got to do the job as main driver and co-driver,” said Holdsworth. “So, for guys like Fabian and the others that are sitting on the sidelines, when you get back in, if you place yourself in the right seat, you can show your skill and talent, and that can sometimes put you back on the grid, like happened to me.” Whatever happens now, Holdsworth is immortalised in Great Race history, with his name forever on the list of Bathurst winners alongside the likes of Brock, Moffat, Johnson, Perkins, Skaife, Lowndes and so on. For the rest of the field and in particular the co-drivers, it’s a lesson in perseverance and how one day can change your life.

RIGHT: Lee Holdsworth returned to a full-time drive in Supercars with Grove Racing in 2022. BELOW: As a lead driver once again, Holdsworth will be in charge of set-up direction and qualifying the car at Bathurst.

Scan below to watch highlights of the 2021 Repco Bathurst 1000.


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THE FINAL ROAR A FAREWELL TO HOLDEN Holden is a marque synonymous with Australian motorsport and, in particular, Australian touring cars. Holden was on the grid for the first Australian Touring Car Championship race in 1960 and the first Great Race at the Mount Panorama Circuit in 1963. Since then, alongside great rival Ford, it has been a key pillar in Australian touring cars with iconic Toranas, Monaros and Commodores being driven by legends such as Peter Brock, Mark Skaife and Craig Lowndes. With the Holden brand retired and the name leaving Supercars at the end of 2022, we look back at its history in Australian touring cars, particularly in the Bathurst 500/1000, and what comes next for General Motors. SUPERCAR SUPERCAR XTRA XTRA P53 / 37

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Holden was on the grid for the first Australian Touring Car Championship race with the 48-215 (FX).

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rom saddlery manufacturing in Adelaide in 1856, Holden grew into an Australian automotive giant. After moving into automotive manufacturing in the early 1900s, Holden became a subsidiary of the American General Motors (GM) brand in the 1930s. Along with Ford, it was a major player in the Australian automotive landscape, dominating the market for decades with local manufacturing at its core. However, with the influx of overseas-based brands into the Australian market and local manufacturing becoming economically unfeasible in recent decades, the news of its demise wasn’t unexpected when announced in February 2020. Despite the expected confirmation, it was still felt acutely not only within Supercars but across Australia. After all, Holden has been part of the Australian automotive and motorsport fabric since its formative years. When the Australian Touring Car Championship was born at Gnoo Blas in New South Wales in 1960, 23 of the 44 cars on the grid were Holdens, the majority being the 48-215 (FX). It set the tone for the future of the championship, with Holden not only a constant presence but often having the most cars on the grid. Six decades on, Holden still contributed more than half of the cars on the grid with 16 of the 24 entries in 2020. When the Armstrong 500 moved from Phillip Island to Bathurst in 1963, marking the beginning of what became Australia’s ‘Great Race’, Holden was present on the grid in an unofficial capacity with six EH S4s and an older model FB. The EH S4 of Ralph Sach and Fred Morgan finished in second place, one lap behind the winning Ford Cortina Mk.I GT of Bob Jane and Harry Firth.

Ford gained the ascendancy in the early years of the Bathurst 500, with Harry Firth leading the Blue Oval’s factory-backed team. Holden answered the challenge from 1968, with the privately-entered HK Monaro GTS327 of Bruce McPhee and Barry Mulholland prevailing over its more fancied opponents. Holden’s first Bathurst win was part of a podium sweep for the Monaro. Holden committed to Australian touring cars with the creation of the Holden Dealer Team. But with General Motors not allowing its manufacturers to race in an official capacity, Holden garnered the support of

HOLDEN’S BATHURST 500/1000 RECORD HOLDERS Most wins by a driver Peter Brock – 9 Most wins by a team Holden Dealer Team – 9 Most wins in a row by a driver Peter Brock/Jim Richards, Peter Brock/Larry Perkins – 3 Most podiums by a driver Peter Brock, Larry Perkins – 12 Most pole positions by a driver Peter Brock – 5 Most pole positions by a team Holden Racing Team/Walkinshaw Andretti United – 8 Most wins from pole position Peter Brock/Jim Richards – 2 Most starts by a driver Peter Brock – 28 Biggest winning margin Peter Brock/Jim Richards – 6 laps, 1979


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TOP RIGHT: Bruce McPhee and Barry Mulholland gave Holden its first win in the Great Race at Bathurst in 1968. MIDDLE RIGHT: Peter Brock became a household name with championship and Bathurst success in the Torana. BOTTOM RIGHT: The Commodore debuted in 1980 with a championship and Bathurst double.

its dealer network to overcome that limitation. Firth moved from Ford to spearhead the new Holden team, which won the 1969 Bathurst 500 with Colin Bond and Tony Roberts in a HT Monaro GTS350. Ford ruled the Australian Touring Car Championship when it switched from Appendix J to Improved Production, with the Mustang winning five consecutive titles. That run came to an end in 1970 with Norm Beechey winning the championship in the HT Monaro GTS350, Holden’s response to not only the Mustang but also Ford’s success with the locally-derived Falcon. The Monaro became a cult classic for Holden, with the two-door coupe the fitting winner of Holden’s first championship and first Bathurst. Holden entrants switched from the Monaro to the Torana in the 1970s, coinciding with the rise of the Holden Dealer Team and the arrival of Peter Brock. Brock scored a podium in his Bathurst debut in 1969 and three years later won the event singlehandedly in a dominant display in wet conditions in 1972. By the time he added a championship win in 1974, Brock had emerged as Holden’s number one. The 1970s was a period of extraordinary growth for Australian touring cars, with the introduction of the locally-derived Group C rules and Bathurst’s change to 1000kms in 1973. At the foundation of that was the battle between Holden and Ford, the Torana and Falcon and Brock and Allan Moffat. Holden and Ford traded championships and Bathurst wins. And while Ford’s support wavered in this period, the support of Holden’s dealer network kept the Holden Dealer Team going. Even when Brock moved away from the team to privateer entries, he and Holden kept winning. The Torana won four championships and five Bathurst 500/1000s during the 1970s. There were SUPERCAR XTRA

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various iterations of the mid-sized car, from the LJ Torana GTR XU-1 driven by Brock to victory at Bathurst in 1972 to the LX Torana A9X SS that Brock and Jim Richards drove to a six-lap win at Bathurst in 1979. The Torana was discontinued in 1979, at the end of a decade in which it helped Holden cement its market strength in Australia. The Commodore replaced the Torana as Holden’s racer in 1980. The four-door sedan would prove a more equivalent combatant for Ford’s Falcon, leading to a new chapter for the Holden and Ford rivalry. The two brands still shared the majority of the market share, though the arrival of new makes and cars from overseas would change the landscape. The Commodore made a winning debut with Brock claiming the championship and Bathurst double in 1980. Brock was instrumental in the success of the Commodore, just as he was with the Torana. He won four Bathursts from five attempts with the Commodore between 1980 and 1984. The 1984 win was the most memorable with the famed VK Commodore, giving Holden a winning end to the Group C era. The international-based Group A rules that Australian touring cars ran from 1985 to 1992 didn’t suit Holden. The manufacturer struggled to compete against the international specials that dominated the era, such as the Ford RS500 Sierra and Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R, leaving Holden without a championship win under those rules. There were three underdog wins for Holden at Bathurst in 1986, 1987 and 1990. The 1987 victory came in the midst of an ugly split between Holden and Brock that led to the collapse of the Holden Dealer Team. Following the demise of the Holden Dealer Team, a new factory-backed team emerged in the shape of the Holden Racing Team, in a union between Tom Walkinshaw and Holden that also formed Holden Special Vehicles. After initially being run by Perkins Engineering, the Holden Racing Team then came under the leadership of Win Percy on Walkinshaw’s behalf. A surprise win at Bathurst in 1990 legitimised the team and set the foundations for the success that would come under more favourable regulations in the coming years. The Australian Touring Car Championship and Bathurst 1000 moved away from the Group A rules at the end of 1992 to a V8-only formula featuring Holden Commodores and Ford Falcons from 1993. The new category was built around the popularity of Holden and Ford in the marketplace, with the two manufacturers becoming instrumental to what became known as Supercars. Holden contributed the majority of cars on the grid in 1993, a numerical dominance that continued throughout the V8 era. Holden mastered the team-manufacturer partnership with the Holden Racing Team in the 1990s and 2000s. Between 1996 and 2002, the Holden Racing Team won six drivers’ championships. Craig Lowndes won three titles between 1996 and 1999, emerging as Brock’s protégé to become the new Holden hero. Lowndes moved to Ford in 2001, by which time Mark P56 / 40

HOLDEN’S BATHURST 500/1000 WINNING CARS HK Monaro GTS327 HT Monaro GTS350 LJ Torana GTR XU-1 LH Torana SL/R 5000 L34 LX Torana A9X SS VC Commodore VH Commodore SS VK Commodore VK Commodore SS VL Commodore SS VL Commodore SS SV VP Commodore VR Commodore VS Commodore VT Commodore VX Commodore VY Commodore VZ Commodore VE Commodore VF Commodore ZB Commodore

The Holden Racing Team ruled the late 1990s and early 2000s with a string of championship and Bathurst wins.

In chronological order.


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Skaife had become the leader of the Holden Racing Team. Skaife won three titles in a row between 2000 and 2002, also winning Bathurst in 2001 and 2002. When the Holden Racing Team stuttered under ownership wrangles, the HSV Dealer Team sister operation picked up the pieces with two Bathurst 1000 wins (as Kmart Racing) in 2003 and 2004 and two championship wins in 2006 and 2007. Holden once again gained the ascendancy over Ford with Triple Eight Race Engineering’s switch in 2010, taking over the mantle of Holden’s leading team from the Holden Racing Team. The arrival of the then dominators of Supercars cemented Holden’s strength over Ford, leading to a successful relationship that led to the team becoming the sole factory team seven years later. Holden and Triple Eight celebrated their union with a one-two formation finish at Bathurst in 2010. Triple Eight gained exclusive factory support from Holden in 2017, taking over the Holden Racing Team

name. It was a reward for its dominant performances since making the switch to Holden in 2010, particularly in contrast to the decline of the team that once held the Holden Racing Team name. Triple Eight has won Holden’s last seven drivers’ championship titles and five of its last nine Bathurst 1000 wins since 2010. However, despite the success on the race track, dwindling sales and the closure of Holden’s Australian manufacturing plant saw the Commodore discounted. Controversially, the Commodore name remained with the ZB Commodore, a rebadged Opel Insignia built in Germany. When Matt Stone Racing’s Todd Hazelwood drove his VF Commodore across the finish line in 21st place in the last race of the 2018 Supercars season in Newcastle, it marked the end of an era for the Commodore. Hazelwood was the last driver to race an Australianmanufactured Commodore in Supercars, with the VF phased out by the ZB into 2019.

Holden scored its 35th Bathurst 500/1000 win in 2021, extending its Great Race lead over Ford to 15 victories.


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HOLDEN’S BATHURST 500/1000 WINNING DRIVERS Bruce McPhee Barry Mulholland Colin Bond Tony Roberts Peter Brock Brian Sampson Bob Morris John Fitzpatrick Jim Richards Larry Perkins John Harvey Allan Grice Graeme Bailey Peter McLeod David Parsons Win Percy Gregg Hansford Russell Ingall Craig Lowndes Greg Murphy Steven Richards Garth Tander Jason Bargwanna Mark Skaife Tony Longhurst Rick Kelly Todd Kelly Will Davison Nick Percat Jamie Whincup Paul Dumbrell Jonathon Webb David Reynolds Luke Youlden Shane van Gisbergen Chaz Mostert Lee Holdsworth

In chronological order.

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Keeping the Commodore nameplate on the imported ZB would prove to be a fateful decision that contributed to the demise of Holden. Due to poor sales figures, Holden announced that the Commodore would be discontinued in late 2019. Then, in February 2020, General Motors announced the retirement of the Holden brand, just days before the start of the 2020 Supercars season. With its sales figures continuing to plummet and the Commodore already axed, the news was inevitable. But, in a cruel twist, it was announced in a week when the Supercars season was starting in Adelaide, South Australia, where Holden was not only born but housed. Fittingly, Triple Eight’s Jamie Whincup gave Holden a winning start to the season, just a couple of kilometres away from where James Alexander Holden first established the company that became known as Holden. At the 2022 Repco Bathurst 1000, Holden will be on the grid for the Great Race at Mount Panorama for a 60th and final year, hoping to bow out with a 36th and last Bathurst 500/1000 win. And, also, a 25th pole position, which would equal the record held by Ford. Holden already holds the record for most wins in the Bathurst 500/1000, most wins in succession (seven between 1999 and 2005), most wins for a team (nine for the Holden Dealer Team) and most pole positions for a team (eight for the Holden Racing Team/Walkinshaw Andretti United). And when the Commodore races for a final time on home soil at the season-ending Adelaide 500, it’s likely to be celebrating its 18th drivers’ championship win, moving one ahead of the mark set by its great rival, the Falcon. While the Holden name is consigned to the history books at the end of 2022, General Motors’ involvement continues. The Holden and Commodore is replaced by Chevrolet and the Camaro into the Gen3 era in 2023, giving the ‘red side’ of the Supercars fan base a link to what they had with Holden. It has been a remarkable ride for Holden over the last six decades. Now it has one final shot at glory at Mount Panorama to go out on a high.

The Gen3 Chevrolet Camaro that will replace the Holden ZB Commodore in Supercars in 2023.


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IMAGES Supercars, Justin Deeley, Peter Norton


New Zealanders have ruled the Repco Supercars Championship in recent seasons, only adding to the country’s remarkable success in motorsport across the world. This is how New Zealand has punched above its weight in motorsport, and looks set to continue to upset bigger countries such as Australia.


ew Zealand ranks as the 75th ‘biggest’ country in terms of land mass and 121st for population size. Compare that to its Tasman neighbour, Australia, which is the sixth biggest country and 53rd for most people. And yet the “land of the long white cloud” has one of the most impressive records in international motorsport, rivalling and, in some ways, outmatching Australia. New Zealand has accumulated one Formula 1 world championship; 12 Formula 1 grand prix wins, including two at the famed Monaco Grand Prix; seven victories in the Le Mans 24 Hours; six IndyCar Series championships; one win in the Indianapolis 500; four motorcycle grand prix championships; three World Endurance

Championship drivers’ titles; a World Rally Championship round win; and, closer to home, 18 Bathurst 1000 wins and 10 Australian Touring Car Championship/Supercars titles. In 2021 alone, Shane van Gisbergen won the Supercars championship; André Heimgartner claimed his first Supercars victory; Marcus Armstrong and Liam Lawson scored race wins in Formula 2 (repeating the feat with multiple wins each in 2022), with the latter also runner-up in the DTM championship; Scott McLaughlin took rookie of the year honours in the IndyCar Series (adding race wins in 2022) and Indianapolis 500; Brendon Hartley finished runner-up in the Le Mans 24 Hours (going one better with victory in 2022); Mitch Evans was a championship contender in Formula SUPERCAR SUPERCAR XTRA XTRA P61 / 45

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E; and Jaxon Evans won a race in the International Porsche Supercup. From the pioneering efforts of Formula 1 world champion Denny Hulme, long-time grand prix driver Chris Amon and legendary team founder Bruce McLaren in the 1960s to the international achievements of IndyCar great Scott Dixon and sportscar aces Earl Bamber and Hartley today, New Zealand well and truly punches above its weight in motorsport. The only other country that can also claim New Zealand’s motorsport impact relative to its size is Finland, also with a population of just over five million. Finland has won four Formula 1 world championships and a remarkable 14 World Rally Championship titles, also owing its success to a strong motorsport landscape. But when it comes to wins across the breadth of international motorsport, New Zealand still comes out on top. In the Australian Touring Car Championship/ Supercars, New Zealand-born drivers have won 10 championships since 1985. That’s more than a quarter of the titles awarded over the last three decades-plus. And with van Gisbergen set to defend his title in 2022, the percentage will edge closer to one-third. If van Gisbergen does indeed win the 2022 title, it will be five championships in a row for New Zealand drivers thanks to the domination of McLaughlin and van Gibsergen, leaving Jamie Whincup in 2017, who narrowly beat McLaughlin, as the last Australian champion of the Australian-based championship. Since Jim Richards scored the first Bathurst 1000 win for New Zealand in 1978, New Zealand-born drivers have won the Great Race 18 times, including in five of the last nine races. Of the 82 drivers who have won a race in the Australian Touring Car Championship/Supercars, 13 of them hail from New Zealand. And the rate at which New Zealand’s winning run is increasing over time is noteworthy. The number of first-time New Zealand winners in each decade reads: two in the 1980s, two in the 1990s, four in the 2000s, four in the 2010s and one so far in the 2020s. So how has a country of only five million people, one fifth the population size of Australia, achieved so much success? It has invested in facilities and development, beginning with go-karts and progressing up to the Toyota Racing Series, New Zealand’s premier open-wheeler category, with the New Zealand Grand Prix the main event on its calendar. This has helped turn a driving lifestyle into motorsport success. “A lot of young guys, particularly ones that are on farms, are driving vehicles at a young age,” said former MotorSport New Zealand CEO, Brian Budd. “We’ve got a very strong karting scene and most major towns and cities have a kart club and track. If you look at most of those drivers that are succeeding internationally, they have all come through karting. “We have a junior license regime where young competitors can get a competition license that allows them to compete at quite a wide range of events – hillclimb and some clubman racing events.” SUPERCAR SUPERCAR XTRAXTRA 46 / 46 P62

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– Jim Richards – Robbie Francevic – Greg Murphy – Steven Richards – Craig Baird – Paul Radisich – Simon Wills

– Jason Richards – Shane van Gisbergen – Fabian Coulthard – Scott McLaughlin – Richie Stanaway – André Heimgartner In order of first wins.


LEFT: Jim Richards scored his seventh and final Bathurst 1000 win in 2002, alongside Mark Skaife for their third win together. ABOVE: Greg Murphy followed in the footsteps of countrymen Jim and Steven Richards by winning back-to-back Bathurst 1000s in 2004.

New Zealand has eight permanent FIA-licensed circuits across the country: Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park (Taupo), Circuit Chris Amon (Manfeild Autocourse), Hampton Downs Motorsport Park, Highlands Motorsport Park, Pukekohe Park Raceway, Ruapuna Park, Teretonga Park and Timaru International Motor Raceway. Compare that to Sydney, also with a population of around five million, where Sydney Motorsport Park is the only permanent motorsport facility. “There’s a chance that a lot of young guys will do a heck of a lot more racing because it’s not a big thing to travel the length and breadth of the country to do events,” added Budd. While Pukekohe is set to cease motorsport activities in April 2023, after hosting Supercars’ New Zealand round over two spells since 2001, Hampton Downs and Highlands both opened in the 2000s and have given New Zealand new high standard circuits across both of its islands. It means New Zealand’s motorsport interests are catered for with easily accessible circuits and plenty of categories across the various motorsport disciplines. But it’s not just facilities that develop talent. New Zealand’s Elite Motorsport Academy is a collaboration between the New Zealand Sports Academy and the Otago University physical education department; a sports science-focused academy with a mentorship program for its participants. While workshops cover physical training, psychology and nutrition, there’s also a big motorsport focus with classes on data analysis, regulations, procedures and media training. Academy alumni include Bamber, Evans, Heimgartner, van Gisbergen and more. “We’re talking about mental skills, diet, managing hydration and core body temperature, especially in heat conditions,” said Budd. “It was felt that drivers in that part of the world [Europe] were given these skills and drivers from New Zealand trying to break in over there were disadvantaged because they didn’t have it. We certainly think the program has had a huge bearing on the way our competitors are performing.”

YEAR 1978 1979 1980 1991 1992 1996 1998 1999 2002 2003 2004 2013 2015 2018 2019 2020

DRIVERS Jim Richards Jim Richards Jim Richards Jim Richards Jim Richards Greg Murphy Steven Richards, Jim Richards* Steven Richards, Greg Murphy Jim Richards Greg Murphy Greg Murphy Steven Richards Steven Richards Steven Richards Scott McLaughlin Shane van Gisbergen

*Super Touring Bathurst 1000


YEAR 1985 1986 1987 1990 1991 2016 2018 2019 2020 2021

DRIVERS Jim Richards Robbie Francevic Jim Richards Jim Richards Jim Richards Shane van Gisbergen Scott McLaughlin Scott McLaughlin Scott McLaughlin Shane van Gisbergen

New Zealand can also thank philanthropic competitors who have invested in facilities and talent. Ken Smith, three-time winner of the New Zealand Grand Prix who raced well into his 70s, played a key role in the careers of Dixon, Hartley and more. Tony Quinn, an Australian GT regular who moved to New Zealand from Scotland, owns the Hampton Downs, Highlands and Taupo circuits and recently added Queensland Raceway to his portfolio, in addition to being a coowner of Triple Eight Race Engineering. With strong developmental programs and impressive facilities to foster talent, New Zealanders can also SUPERCAR SUPERCAR XTRA XTRA P63 / 47

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“IN THE AUSTRALIAN TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP/SUPERCARS, NEW ZEALAND-BORN DRIVERS HAVE WON 10 CHAMPIONSHIPS SINCE 1985. THAT’S MORE THAN A QUARTER OF THE TITLES AWARDED OVER THE LAST THREE DECADES-PLUS.” ABOVE: Scott McLaughlin and Shane van Gisbergen have dominated Supercars since 2018, sharing all the championship wins since then between them.

now more easily cross the Tasman and make a name for themselves in Australia, where they have well and truly made their mark in the Australian Touring Car Championship/Supercars and Bathurst 1000. Richards set the benchmark for New Zealanders in Australian touring cars, starting out with that breakthrough win for his country at the 1978 Bathurst 1000. It was the start of a hat-trick of Bathurst wins for Richards alongside Peter Brock at the Holden Dealer Team. He went his own way and scored his and New Zealand’s first championship win in 1985, followed in 1986 by countryman Robbie Francevic before Richards was back on top in 1987. With further championship wins in 1990 and 1991, Richards remains the most successful New Zealander in the championship with four titles. Those three Bathurst wins as co-driver to Brock were just the start for the Richards family at Bathurst. Richards won the Bathurst 1000 for Nissan, Volvo and another for Holden, recording seven Great Race victories between 1978 and 2002. Richards’ son Steven Richards added to the family tally with five Bathurst 1000 victories between 1998 and 2018, going into the record books as the first driver to win the Great Race in both a Ford and Holden, doing so in consecutive years in 1998 and 1999. Greg Murphy, like Jim Richards, started his Bathurst-winning run as a co-driver to a Holden legend, alongside Craig Lowndes in 1996. After teaming with Steven Richards for the only all-New

Zealand-born combination win in Great Race history in 1999, Murphy set Mount Panorama alight with his ‘Lap of the Gods’ pole effort in 2003 ahead of consecutive wins in 2003 and 2004. He also won the hearts of New Zealand with his remarkable record on home soil at Pukekohe, winning Supercars’ New Zealand round four times between 2001 and 2005 to earn the nickname the ‘King of Pukekohe’. McLaughlin and van Gisbergen have been the recent dominators in Supercars, winning each title since 2018 and claiming a Bathurst 1000 win each since 2019. There seems to be no stopping the New Zealanders. Van Gisbergen is at the peak of his career in Supercars and could rewrite the record books while also expanding further into other categories; Heimgartner is establishing himself as a regular contender; and Matthew Payne looks set to graduate into the main game after impressing in the Dunlop Super2 Series. There’s also third-generation racer Clay Richards, grandson to Jim Richards and son to Steven Richards, setting out on his motorsport journey in Formula Ford and Toyota 86. However, New Zealand may struggle to claim the youngster considering he was born in Australia! Elsewhere, McLaughlin is only getting started in IndyCars; Hunter McElrea is leading the way in Indy Lights; Lawson and Armstrong are knocking on the door of Formula 1; Hartley and Bamber continue to rack up sportscars wins; and Nick Cassidy has joined Evans as a contender in Formula E. As Murphy prepares for his final Bathurst 1000 start, he can only look on with pride at the legacy he and his countrymen have left for the following generations. “It’s very humbling and I’m proud to have played a part in their build up, their growth, their desire and the history and memories of what it is all about,” he said. “The thing is they are going to experience exactly the same thing because there are kids that are sitting in the grandstands watching saying I want to be like him. And the kids will remember all these amazing moments that these guys are creating now.”


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Beyond the Mountain


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IMAGES Peter Norton

WH DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? Twenty-five years ago, V8 Supercars was launched with a new level of professionalism for what was known as the Australian Touring Car Championship. And with it, in its formative years, the creation of a licensing system for teams. Two decades-plus on, this is how the current Repco Supercars Championship teams can be traced back to the foundation entries.


he more things change, the more they stay the same. And while there’s been a number of changes to the teams that compete in V8 Supercars/Supercars over the last couple of decades, some remain the same. And the ones that have changed have some link back to the foundation entries. The movement of licenses amongst teams has become as vital to the silly season as driver changes, dating back to the time the licensing system was introduced in 1999 to the 25 full-time entries in 2022. Back in 1999, as the professionalism of V8 Supercars increased, there was an inevitable need to condense an oversubscribed grid. There were 39 entries at the first Adelaide 500 in 1999 and 53 starters for the Bathurst 1000 later that year. In order to professionalise and streamline the grid, V8 Supercars introduced a licensing system that would form the foundation of

the Racing Entitlement Contract (REC) structure, now known as the Teams Racing Charter (TRC). A Level 1 license required a team to compete at all rounds, Level 2 licenses were for part-timers and Level 3 licenses for second-tier Development Series entrants. The original Level 1 license holders were the Holden Racing Team, Dick Johnson Racing, Garry Rogers Motorsport, Gibson Motorsport, Glenn Seton Racing, Perkins Engineering, Stone Brothers Racing, John Faulkner Racing, Lansvale Racing Team, Larkham Motor Sport, Longhurst Racing and Romano Racing. Other entrants would have their Level 2 licenses elevated to Level 1 as the licensing system evolved to the point where there were only Level 1 entrants, with all required to compete at every event of the championship. The following is a rundown of how the current teams competing in Supercars link up with the original license holders and the evolution of the RECs/TRCs. SUPERCAR SUPERCAR XTRA XTRA P67 / 51

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Walkinshaw Andretti United’s two licenses remain the same from when the team was known as the Holden Racing Team, even as the ownership changed hands from Tom Walkinshaw to Mark Skaife and then back to the Walkinshaw family with the more recent addition of Michael Andretti (Andretti Autosport) and Zak Brown (United Autosports) as co-owners. Other licenses were run from within the same stable known as the Holden Racing Team/Walkinshaw Racing/Walkinshaw Andretti United, such as the Holden Young Lions, Kmart Racing/ HSV Dealer Team, Team 18 and James Rosenberg Racing entries. But, eventually, the team downsized to run just two entries. Soon after losing the Holden Racing Team name and factory team status to Triple Eight Race Engineering in 2017, the team rebranded to Walkinshaw Andretti United in 2018 with the arrival of its international co-owners. And after an association with Holden dating back to its creation in 1990, the team will switch to Ford in 2023.


The most successful team in recent seasons had humble beginnings as long-time racer John Briggs’ privateer Briggs Motor Sport team. Briggs Motor Sport made its debut in 1997 and expanded its operation by incorporating the PAE Motorsport outfit that ran John Bowe’s Caterpillar-backed entry. Briggs also purchased a Level 1 license for 2002 from Fred Gibson, who had split with the Bob Forbes-owned 00 Motorsport, originally known as Gibson Motorsport. Briggs sold his team to British outfit Triple Eight Race Engineering in 2003, with Triple Eight running two cars until 2015. Triple Eight acquired a third license from Supercars for the 2016 season, the ex-James Rosenberg Racing license that had been run by Stone Brothers Racing/Erebus Motorsport and Walkinshaw Racing and links back to Paul Cruickshank Racing (an original Level 2 license previously owned by Rod Nash), which was handed back to the series by James Rosenberg for 2015. The third Triple Eight license was returned to Supercars at the end of 2018, after the full-time retirement of driver Craig Lowndes.


Dick Johnson Racing was a foundation member of V8 Supercars with two entries, while also running the occasional customer car for Tekno Autosports, Triple F Racing and Paul Morris Motorsport. After Charlie Schwerkolt split with the team and took the #18 entry elsewhere in 2013, the team leased a license from Triple F Racing (formerly an independent runner for Dean Fiore) to retain a two-car presence. The Triple F license, previously owned Team Kiwi Racing, then returned to Fiore, who in turn handed it back to Supercars in 2014. It forced Dick Johnson Racing to purchase a license from Paul Morris that had underpinned the Paul Morris Motorsport entry since 2000 and was leased to Tekno Autosports for its second entry in 2012 and 2013. Dick Johnson Racing became DJR Team Penske after the purchase of a majority stake in the operation by Team Penske in 2014, downsizing to one entry by leasing its second license to Super Black Racing for 2015. DJR Team Penske expanded back to two entries for 2016 with the reacquisition of the leased license, returning to Dick Johnson Racing following the departure of Team Penske at the end of 2020.


Two of Tickford Racing’s four entries originate from Glenn Seton Racing. British racing outfit Prodrive took over the team from 2003 and rebranded as Ford Performance Racing, using Glenn Seton Racing’s two licenses, with another entry from Rod Nash being part of the team’s stable since 2010. Nash had purchased a Level 1 license formerly held by Team Dynamik from Tony Longhurst, but struggled to find a home for his entry with alliances with Team Brock, Ford Performance Racing, Perkins Engineering, Paul Morris Motorsport and Tony D’Alberto Racing. Ford Performance Racing housed Charlie Schwerkolt’s Team 18 entry in 2013 and 2014, the Super Black Racing entry in 2015 and 2016 and Jason Bright’s Britek Motorsport entry in 2017, until what became known as Tickford Racing expanded to four cars with a license purchased from Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport for 2018 before handing it back to Supercars in 2019. The team instead ran the 23 Red Racing entry in 2019 and 2020, which was from the other Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport license. Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport can be traced back to Tasman Motorsport and Lansvale Racing Team for one license and Paul Morris Motorsport, Tony Longhurst, Team Dynamik and Romano Racing for the other. When 23 Red Racing left Supercars midway through 2020,


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Tickford Racing leased the license for the remainder of the season before it was sold to Brad Jones Racing for 2021. In order to expand back up to four cars for 2022, Tickford Racing acquired one of the licenses that was parked in the hands of Supercars.


Erebus Motorsport took over Stone Brothers Racing for the 2013 season. Stone Brothers Racing evolved out of Alan Jones Racing, which debuted in 1996 but was taken over by Ross and Jim Stone to create Stone Brothers Racing in 1998. Stone Brothers Racing expanded to two entries in 2000, while also running customer cars for Larkham Motor Sport, Team Kiwi Racing, Britek Motorsport and James Rosenberg Racing over the years. James Rosenberg Racing’s license remained with the team as the third entry when Erebus Motorsport took over, though the team would scale back to two cars with Rosenberg taking his license to Walkinshaw Racing in 2014.

of, ironically, the license formerly owned by Bright that had been leased to Matt Stone Racing for two years. Blanchard ran his license within the Brad Jones Racing stable until the end of 2020 before going his own way in 2021. This forced Brad Jones Racing to find another license to retain a four-car presence, which it found by purchasing the 23 Red Racing license that had been at Tickford Racing until the end of 2020.


Brad Jones Racing made the switch from Super Touring to Supercars in 2000, taking over the Level 1 license of Longhurst Racing. The Jones family-owned team ran two entries from 2002, taking on a third entry from 2010 with the arrival of Jason Bright’s Britek Motorsport license. The Britek license had been run independently from 2005 to 2008 after stepping up from a Level 2 license into a two-car commitment. When Bright moved his license from Brad Jones Racing to Prodrive Racing Australia (Tickford Racing) in 2017, Brad Jones Racing fielded Tim Blanchard’s newly acquired license, which was formerly held by Super Black Racing. Brad Jones Racing expanded to running four cars in 2020 with the acquisition, along with Peter Smith (father of Jack Smith),


Grove Racing completed its takeover of Kelly Racing ahead of the 2022 season, after running as Kelly Grove Racing in 2021. The Kelly family, John and Margaret Kelly, parents of Todd and Rick Kelly, took over the Kmart Racing Team following the collapse of Tom Walkinshaw Racing, which had used licenses leased from Romano Racing and John Faulkner Racing before purchasing Level 1 licenses from 00 Motorsport owner Bob Forbes in 2003. Kmart Racing Team became the HSV Dealer Team, though the Kellys would split from Walkinshaw and take their two licenses to SUPERCAR SUPERCAR XTRA XTRA P69 / 53

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form Kelly Racing in 2009. Kelly Racing joined forces with Perkins Engineering for a four-car effort, utilising the two licenses from the Kellys and Perkins Engineering’s original Level 1 licenses. Perkins Engineering had run various customer cars throughout its time in Supercars, though always entered the two licenses that eventually formed half of the four-car Kelly Racing operation. Larry Perkins retained ownership of the two licenses until he sold them to the Kellys in 2013 ahead of the season in which the long-time Holden team rebranded as Nissan Motorsport. With the departure of Nissan, Kelly Racing downsized from four to two entries in 2020 with the sale of licenses to Team 18 and Matt Stone Racing, leaving the two entries that now form Grove Racing.


Team 18 may have only run as an independent entity since 2016, but its lineage can be traced back to foundation teams. The #18 entry belonged to Dick Johnson Racing before the licensing system began and remained with the iconic Ford team when forklift entrepreneur Charlie Schwerkolt became part of the ownership structure. When Schwerkolt split with Dick Johnson Racing, he took ownership of one of the team’s two licenses, the #18. After his attempt to run Dick Johnson Racing’s 2010 championship winner James Courtney with the license at Ford Performance Racing for 2011 failed, he instead leased the #18 back to Dick Johnson Racing for two years. Schwerkolt did eventually utilise the license by running an entry out of Ford Performance Racing in 2013 and 2014 before Super Black Racing partnered with the factory Ford team and the #18 moved to Walkinshaw Racing for 2015. Team 18 went its own way and ran independently from 2016 with a single car until 2020, when it expanded to two entries with the acquisition of a license from Kelly Racing. Kelly Racing, now Grove Racing, was in the process of downsizing from four to two cars, with its four licenses originating from Perkins Engineering and the Kmart Racing Team/HSV Dealer Team.

Garry Rogers Motorsport held two Level 1 licenses, the other of which was handed back to Supercars, while Kelly Racing’s four licenses can be traced back to Perkins Engineering and the Kmart Racing Team/HSV Dealer Team.


The newest team in Supercars took over from Tekno Autosports/ Team Sydney at the start of 2022. The Webb family-owned Tekno Autosports entered Supercars with the purchase of Britek Motorsport’s second license for the 2010 season, running as a third car at Dick Johnson Racing before going its own way from 2011. The license, which was one of two former Level 2 licenses run by Britek Motorsport from 2005, was leased to Paul Cruickshank Racing for a second entry in 2009 before being sold on to the Webbs for 2010 to underpin Tekno Autosports’ entry. Tekno Autosports ran two entries in 2012 and 2013, using a license leased from Paul Morris Motorsport for the permitted twoyear period that was then sold to Dick Johnson Racing for 2014. The team expanded back to two entries with the rebrand to Team Sydney in 2020, acquiring one of the licenses that was being parked in the hands of Supercars, which now form the basis for PremiAir Racing.



Matt Stone Racing entered Supercars on a full-time basis in 2018, initially with a license leased from Jason Bright. The latter held the license from his Britek Motorsport team, which had two former Level 2 licenses with Bright running his remaining entry at Stone Brothers Racing, Brad Jones Racing and Prodrive Racing Australia before leasing to Matt Stone Racing for 2018 and 2019. When the two-year lease ended and Bright sold the license to Peter Smith/Brad Jones Racing, Matt Stone Racing needed a license to remain on the grid and another for its plans to expand to two entries. It found them courtesy of Garry Rogers Motorsport and Kelly Racing, the former leaving Supercars and the latter downsizing from four to two entries.

The only single-car Supercars team started out being run out of Brad Jones Racing, when Tim Blanchard purchased the license that underpinned Super Black Racing for 2017. Super Black Racing entered the championship in 2015 with a license leased from DJR Team Penske (Dick Johnson Racing). With DJR Team Penske taking back that license for its expansion in 2016, Super Black Racing purchased a license from Walkinshaw Racing, which was run as a third entry alongside its Holden Racing Team entries. One of the Walkinshaw licenses was acquired from Paul Weel Racing, while V8 Supercars reactivated the other (previously used by Romano Racing). While the Romano Racing Level 1 licenses had been sold on to Team Dynamik for 2003, Romano’s Level 2 entry would eventually find its way to Walkinshaw Racing. Paul Weel Racing’s two licenses were acquired from original holder John Faulkner Racing. From 2021, after four seasons running as a satellite team of Brad Jones Racing, the Blanchard Racing Team set up its own shop to run as an independent entity.


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Fifty years ago, the landscape of Australian touring cars changed forever with a newspaper front-page that killed Australia’s ultimate road racers. Mark Fogarty, one of Australia’s most decorated and experienced motor-racing journalists, recalls the day when “bullets on wheels” Bathurst specials were scuttled in the ‘Super Cars’ scare of 1972. IMAGES TOP LEFT: The front page of The Sun-Herald featuring the ‘Super Cars’ scare article. TOP: The start of the 1972 Bathurst 500, the last held under the Series Production rules.

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t started as a normal early 1970s Sunday morning in outer suburban Melbourne. A car-mad schoolkid, I had walked to the local shops to buy the newspapers, which I would scour for motoring and motorsport stories. Back then, newsagents in Victoria weren’t open on Sundays and the papers were sold at milk bars. What’s more, they were early editions of the Sydney Sunday tabloids, The Sun-Herald and The Sunday Telegraph. Melbourne didn’t get a mainstream seventh day newspaper until 1973, so until then the New South Wales country editions of the ‘Sydney Sundays’ were trucked south. Both had a motoring page and often some racing coverage in the sports section. In those days, newspapers’ motoring writers reported on major races as well as the automotive industry, mainly new car reviews. Half a century ago, one of those scribes changed Australian performance cars and local productionbased car racing forever. It was June 25, 1972. I will never forget it. On that fateful winter Sunday, even before I entered the shop, The Sun-Herald poster got my attention, screaming about “160 mph Super Cars”. Back then, that speed was almost beyond imagination in an era when few mainstream models could exceed the magic ‘ton’ – 100 miles per hour (160km/h). The front page of the paper, normally the domain

of crime or politics, shouted “160 MPH ‘SUPER CARS’ SOON”, adding “Minister ‘horrified’” for good measure. As a car-crazy 15-year-old just beginning his nascent journalistic career, I eagerly bought it – the cover price was the princely sum of 10 cents – and read the report with wide eyes. I was agog that a car story was such big news and too naïve to realise its implications. It was compelling reading for a young and impressionable petrol-head just a few months into what became a life-long career of writing about cars and car racing. No event had such a far-reaching effect on locallymade performance vehicles and domestic touringcar racing until the end of Commodore and Falcon production. The story was by influential and respected motoring writer and motor-racing television commentator Evan Green, who was usually very measured in his writings. But in this case, tremendous tabloid spin had been added to concoct a front-page headline yarn that sparked a huge controversy which had a profound effect on performance cars and racing. The story outlined Holden, Ford and Chrysler’s plans to make special V8 road cars for their assaults on the 1972 Bathurst 500. “Australia’s three major car-makers are about to produce ‘super-cars’ with top speeds up to 160 miles an hour,” the Green by-lined story began, using the


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imperial measure rather than the metric 257km/h. It was just 18 months into Australia’s official move to metrication. He continued: “But NSW Transport Minister Milton Morris said yesterday he was appalled at ‘Bullets on Wheels’ being sold to ordinary motorists. “The automotive ‘big three’ – General MotorsHolden, Ford and Chrysler – are building the cars for a head-on confrontation in Australia’s most important motor race, the Hardie Ferodo 500, at Bathurst on October 1. “The cars will be available to the general public for use on the open road. “The new models, developed from family saloons, are among the fastest and most powerful cars available in the world. “Their introduction is sure to arouse bitter controversy.” Green couldn’t have anticipated how prescient that comment was. In the inflammatory story, he went on to detail the “super cars” – LJ Torana XU-1 V8, XA Falcon GT-HO Phase IV sedan and VH Valiant Charger V8 – in a story that spilled inside the newspaper under the headline “SUPER CARS ‘HORRIFY’ TRANSPORT MINISTER”. There was more indignant reaction from NSW transport minister Milton Morris, creating shockwaves that swept through the corridors of power at Broadmeadows, Fishermans Bend and Tonsley Park. A week later, the “super cars” were dead. A SunHerald follow-up on July 2, 1972, reported “‘BIG 3’ DROP SUPER CAR PLANS”, crowing about the manufacturers’ climb down and cancellation of the GT-HO Phase IV and XU-1 V8, as well as the never-confirmed Charger V8. “FAST CARS OUT” was another condemning headline. A story that Green – who, ironically, was appointed a director of Holden in 1980 as PR boss – possibly never intended to be controversial ended the early 1970s Bathurst arms race and closed the era of overt factory made racers for the road. Actually, it didn’t read like a typical Green story. He was a great writer and story teller but not a trained reporter. Racy hard news reports really weren’t his style, especially not spin-laden sensationalism. Not that I knew that at the time. As an impressionable youngster, I was just devastated that these Bathurst-bound homologation specials were abandoned. Green was one of my early motoring/motor racing journalistic heroes. I still held him in awe when I worked for him in the PR department of Holden in

1980, when he was appointed director of public affairs of GM-H – a board position. He was a great boss, a natural communicator whose achievements and authority imbued him with terrific credibility. He was as comfortable in the boardroom as he was behind the wheel or behind the camera and microphone. He’d done all of it – and more – with exceptional aplomb. Smooth and suave, not to mention his broad automotive expertise, Green was the antithesis of a tabloid writer. He was normally measured and authoritative. And yet, he incited one of the greatest controversies in Australian motoring, almost certainly unwittingly. In hindsight, Green’s overwrought front-page story was a lesson in my formative years as a writer of the power of the press and the consequences of sensationalising stories. Still, it was a classic exposé that shone a light on borderline socially unacceptable practice. It was also a great hard-hitting yarn that influenced my approach to news reporting. Green died in 1996, aged 65, as a revered figure of Australian motoring and motorsport. He was inducted into the Australian Motor Sport Hall of Fame for his influence as a commentator and achievements as a competitor. But the stain of the ‘Super Cars’ scare he authored endured, which is unfair. A gentleman in the truest sense, extremely professional and authoritative, Green was for many years vilified by senior series production racing figures, enthusiasts and pro-racing car company executives for the scandal. Holden Dealer Team boss Harry Firth, who masterminded the LJ XU-1 V8 to production readiness, shunned him, years later commenting, “Evan Green was no friend of mine.”

Ford, Holden and Chrysler all planned to make special V8 road cars for the 1972 Bathurst 500.


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The Ford Falcon GT-HO Phase III raced in the 1972 Bathurst 500, instead of the Phase IV.

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He didn’t deserve such condemnation. He was just doing his job, reporting what he had learned with a legitimate ‘scoop’. That it may have been twisted would have been out of his control. There is debate, if not dispute, about whether Green intended an incendiary story, much less a front-page blockbuster. Motoring journo-turned-flack Harvey Grennan, who was NSW transport minister Morris’s press secretary, maintains he colluded on the sensationalism, claiming to have coined the emotive ‘bullets on wheels’ catchphrase. He came up with it in response to Green’s approach for a comment from the minister. Grennan asserts that the honey-voiced Green – whose vocal tones were a slightly Australian-ised version of British broadcasting diction – was looking for a ‘big story’ to cement his relatively new position as motoring editor of the big-selling The Sun-Herald. Ironically, Green’s predecessor at the paper was Grennan, who shares the blame for killing Australia’s greatest performance road cars. Holden’s motorsport manager in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Joe Felice, who was embroiled in the homologation war, contends that Green’s story was a motoring page item elevated to the front page on a slow news day. The fact that it may have started as a more moderate story for his motoring column, only to be hijacked by the news desk and thrust onto – and ‘beat up’ for – the front page is an example of how journalists’ work can be spun out of their orbit. It was perhaps a salutary lesson to outsiders that what a journo writes is hostage to what editorial management decides. Just as reporters for metro dailies don’t write the headlines – well, certainly not 50 years ago – they don’t have ultimate control of how their stories appear. In the end, although it arguably robbed Australian motoring of the ultimate race-bred muscle cars, the furore over ‘Super Cars’ – newspaper sub-editors never did decide on a consistent presentation of the evocative wording – ultimately resulted in better, if

more covert, homologation specials for racing. The Torana XU-1 V8, Falcon GT-HO Phase IV and mythical Charger V8 weren’t the best Bathurst homologation specials. Their more-subtle successors – notably, L34 and A9X V8 Toranas and XB/XC Falcon Hardtop racing-related specials – were less conspicuous, but more capable. However, the still-born roadgoing racers would have been the ultimate examples of Aussie V8 muscle cars produced with the sole purpose of winning at Bathurst. They were no-comprise machines aimed directly at the track. On the road, they would have been cantankerous and unrefined. Epically quick in a straight line, cornering and braking would still have been under-par for their performance. Subsequent permitted racing freedoms removed the ‘racers on the road’ stigma, even if enthusiasts knew better. Well after even notional homologation ended in the early 1990s, “160 MPH SUPER CARS” on the road were no longer feared. HSVs and Tickfords/FPVs were almost as fast, but not aimed at racing, with explosive straight-line performance matched by the stability, control and comfort absent in late 1960s and early 1970s muscle cars. Ironically, today, many affordable high-performance sedans and coupes are capable of that velocity in a much more sensitive and restricted road safety environment. Australia’s top touring car racing category was rebranded as V8 Supercars in 1997. Now known simply as Supercars, you could argue that the nomenclature exists and thrives because of that dark day 50 years ago. Because before then, except perhaps in exotic European car magazines rhapsodising about Ferraris and Lamborghinis, the term supercar hadn’t been popularised. In its infamy, ‘Super Cars’ became a shorthand description of local V8 muscle cars. And Supercars, with or without the V8 prefix, remains an Aussie synonym for loud, fast and relatable road-looking racers. Perhaps the seminal ‘Super Cars’ controversy wasn’t so bad after all…


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IMAGES, Peter Norton

Fifty years ago, Peter Brock scored his first Great Race victory in the Holden LJ Torana GTR XU-1. But had it not been for the ‘Super Cars’ scare, could it have been in a V8-powered XU-1? Mark Fogarty talks to two key figures in the doomed development of what could have been the most fearsome Torana ever. TOP & RIGHT PAGE: The Holden Dealer Team’s Peter Brock won the 1972 Bathurst 500 in the nimble Holden LJ Torana GTR XU-1, despite plans for a V8-powered option failing to materialise.


he ‘Super Cars’ scare in mid-1972 killed the ultimate homologation specials – V8 racers for the road that Ford, Holden and Chrysler were developing in the escalating arms race to win the Bathurst 500. The controversy over 260km/h V8 production cars, ignited by a front-page newspaper report by motoring journalist/television commentator Evan Green, created such a storm that the then ‘big three’ cancelled them. Ford canned the Falcon GT-HO Phase IV; Holden kyboshed the Torana GTR XU-1 V8; and if Chrysler really was concocting a V8 Valiant Charger for racing, which is highly disputed, that was also still-born. The Phase IV, an XA update, is well-recorded. Four were built and tested before government pressure in the wake of the ‘Super Cars’ scandal forced Broadmeadows to bin what would have been the fastest four-door Ford ever. More mystery surrounds the V8 ‘E55’ Charger and the Torana XU-1 V8. A V8 successor to the Charger R/T E49 was never formally acknowledged. Later 340 cubic inch-powered luxury models were alleged

to have been produced to use up engines originally intended for the series production racing version. However, the XU-1 V8 was very much a real thing and under development when Green’s exposé – which was probably never intended as a screaming frontpage story – ended the era of overt homologation specials. In 1970, the LC Torana GTR XU-1, powered by a hotted-up version of the 186 ci (three litres) six cylinder, replaced the Monaro GTS350 as Holden’s racing weapon in time for the Sandown 250 and Bathurst 500 production car enduros. Compact and lightweight, XU-1s hounded the HOs at racetracks around the country, but at circuits with long straights, six cylinders were no match in the dry against the big-capacity V8 Fords. The Torana GTR XU-1 V8 was all set to go until the ‘Super Cars’ scare stopped it dead. Production plans were cancelled and the prototypes were destroyed, or were they? The XU-1 V8 mystique lives on amid conjecture and conflicting stories. What we do know is that it was then Holden Dealer Team (HDT) manager Harry


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“THE XU-1 V8 MYSTIQUE LIVES ON AMID CONJECTURE AND CONFLICTING STORIES. WHAT WE DO KNOW IS THAT IT WAS THEN HOLDEN DEALER TEAM MANAGER HARRY FIRTH’S VISION OF A FALCON GT-HO-BEATER TO REPLACE THE GIANTKILLING LC TORANA GTR XU-1.” Firth’s vision of a Falcon GT-HO-beater to replace the giant-killing LC Torana GTR XU-1. Ironically, in the wake of the ‘Super Cars’ storm, Peter Brock won the rain-affected 1972 Bathurst 500 in a hastily homologated 202 ci (3.3-litre) LJ Torana XU-1. But well before then, Firth could see the writing on the wall. The XU-1 replaced the ’69 Bathurst-winning Monaro GTS350, but was out-gunned by the 351 ci (5.8-litre) Falcons at Mount Panorama. Firth may first have experimented with a 253 ci (4.2-litre) Holden V8-engined Torana – although this is disputed – before settling on the 308 ci (five-litre) version, which was a little heavier and much more powerful. The configuration was tested extensively by Brock and raced as a sports sedan at the 1972 Bathurst Easter meeting by Colin Bond. In typical Firth fashion, the XU-1 V8 racing prototype was built up from a worn-out HDT rally car. Despite Brock’s reservations about the nose-heavy XU-1 V8’s handling, it convinced Firth because it easily reached 225km/h (140mph) down Conrod at Mount Panorama. Former Holden motorsport manager Joe Felice remembers the XU-1 V8 as a difficult sell to top management at Fishermans Bend. “Harry said to me, ‘There’s no bloody way a sixcylinder is going to beat the Ford V8,’” recalled Felice. “So he said, ‘I want to put a V8 in the XU-1’. I said ‘Oh, geez, Harry, I don’t know about this.’” Then Holden sales director John Bagshaw, a big

supporter of racing, gave the idea a cool reception, but Firth persisted. “He kept at me and at me and, in the end, we relented and said you can fit a 253 in one and give it a try, which he did, and we’ll have a look at it,” said Felice. “We took the car out to Calder with Peter, and he did a series of tests and reckoned it was a waste of money. He said it’s no bloody faster than the six. “Harry came back and said, ‘Oh, listen, if a 253 fits, a 308 will fit.’ I thought, ‘Oh, no, here we go again.’” Bagshaw approved the project, which was kept top secret. According to Felice, now in his late 70s, three LJ Torana XU-1 road cars were converted to V8s – one orange and one white, both built by Holden engineering staff, and the other pink, which was concocted by Firth at his back-street HDT workshop in inner eastern Melbourne. The orange V8 became Felice’s company car, with the bonnet pins fitted with padlocks so no one could see what was in the engine bay without authorisation. “It was all going well and it was a top-secret thing until Evan Green got wind of it and the Phase IV GT-HO,” he said. “Evan claimed it started as a small story in the motoring section, but then a big story fell over and the piece moved to the front-page lead, incited by then NSW transport minister Milton Morris’s ‘bullets on wheels’ quote.” According to Felice, then GM-H managing director Bill Gibbs caved under the threat of lucrative government fleet sales contracts being cancelled and killed the XU-1 V8. Felice’s orange car was stolen from outside the Old Melbourne Motor Inn in North Melbourne and eventually recovered, missing its V8 powertrain. It was reconverted to a 202 six cylinder and sold complete with a 40-gallon (182 litres) fuel tank, which Firth had ordered to counter increased consumption. Whether it still exists is unknown. The other two XU-1 V8 prototypes were sent to Holden’s Lang Lang proving ground to be destroyed in crash testing, although there is no record of that happening. Conjecture continues that the pink and white cars may have escaped destruction. “Now, as far as I was concerned, the message was they were going to be used in crash barrier tests,” commented Felice. “By then, I’d lost interest and moved on. The project was dead. But there’s a guy in Tasmania who reckons he has the pink car. Now whether he has or not, I just don’t know. A few people at Lang Lang claim they were put aside with covers on them and were left there for years.” By then, an official V8-powered Torana was in the product planning program, destined to become the LH SL/R 5000 and subsequent L34 homologation version. Another slightly different take on the XU-1 V8’s development is provided by Firth’s long-time lieutenant Ian Tate, who recalled that the trio of prototype SUPERCAR SUPERCAR XTRA XTRA P77 / 61

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The LJ Torana GTR XU-1 remains a mythical car, driven by Peter Brock to the first of his nine Bathurst 500/1000 wins and demonstrated by Brock’s protégé Craig Lowndes at Bathurst in 2016.

road cars were completed just before Christmas 1971. According to Tate, also now in his 70s, Firth took his pink car away over the holiday break and tested it with Holden chief engine engineer Fred James to refine the concept. Tate said: “I drove it home for a couple of weeks... it was a good thing. It would have been very handy as a race car. It would’ve won Bathurst.” However, he cast doubt on early trials with a 253 ci V8, remembering only 308s being used. He confirmed the XU-1 V8’s Phase III HO-rivalling top speed, recounting an incident with then HDT mechanic and later V8 racing legend, Larry Perkins. “Larry was clocked at 145mph (233km/h) by the cops coming back from Adelaide,” smiled Tate. “Harry got him off through his contacts in the Victoria Police Motorsports Club.” He also noted that the V8 put more strain on the Torana’s already weak structural rigidity, twisting the bodyshell, which would have worn out quickly in racing, as did the six-cylinder cars. Tate recalled that Firth stockpiled long-range 40-gallon fuel tanks, which were fed by twin fillers. “Harry had 20 odd fuel tanks next door – I don’t know what happened to them,” he said. “It would have been a handful with a full tank of fuel.” He was later told by then senior Holden engineer – and later engineering director – Ray Borrett that the XU-1 V8 prototypes were destroyed in crash barrier tests at Lang Lang. Tate’s recollection is that the converted rally car XU-1 V8 racer – complete with exaggerated front spoiler and large rear wing – was run in sports sedan events by Brock at Sandown and Bond at Bathurst and Oran Park in the first half of 1972. Despite enthusiast myth, the LJ V8 Torana was never going to be called XU-2 because it was planned to be sold alongside an updated six-cylinder version (which ended up being Brock’s ’72 winner). “There was a proposal knocked up by the styling department that had XU-2 decals, but we decided just to leave it as another option for the XU-1 – so it’d

be XU-1 and XU-1 V8,” said Felice. “There was never really an XU-2.” Furthermore, the designations were engineering codes rather than marketing labels, just as the later L34 appellation designated the Repco-developed engine option and A9X was for the LX racing overhaul. The still-born Torana GTR XU-1 V8 is one of the great ‘what ifs?’ of Australian muscle-car history, along with the speculated successor to the VH Valiant Charger R/T E49 and the fabled Phase IV GT-HO proposals. A lightweight, compact XU-1 V8 would have been a formidable muscle car and series production racer. Like the Phase IV GT-HO, it at least existed and was on course for production until the ‘Super Cars’ scandal made such outright road racers politically unpalatable. The prospect of 160mph (260km/h) V8s on the road struck fear into the hearts of road authorities 50 years ago. The furore forced motor racing authorities to change the eligibility rules in 1973, replacing the ‘showroom stock’ requirements with Group C, which required much less production line homologation and allowed more dedicated racing modifications. It ushered in a more-subtle homologation regime that created less incendiary, but arguably more capable, race-bred Australian muscle cars like the XA/XB/XC Falcon GT Hardtop variants and L34/A9X Toranas. The legacy continued with the Brock HDT Special Vehicles Commodores, homologated with Holden for Group C and then international Group A in the 1980s, and followed by the HSV Group As into the early 1990s. The still-born Aussie ‘Super Cars’ of 1972 would have been the greatest road-going racers. It was the time when Bathurst specials went directly from the showroom to the track. Killed by a media-fuelled political outcry and therefore never reaching production, the Torana XU-1 V8, Falcon GT-HO Phase IV and mythical Charger V8 are true legends.


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It has been 30 years since the Group A era of Australian touring cars ended in controversy, drama and tragedy at Bathurst in 1992. A late rain shower turned the race on its head and led to the most famous podium moment at Mount Panorama.


he international Group A regulations that debuted in Australian touring cars in 1985 became bogged down in parity debates and political spats by 1992. With the Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R dominating despite technical measures to slow it down, leaving the Ford Sierra RS500, BMW M3 and uncompetitive Holden Commodore in its wake, the end was near for Group A. The angst against Group A and the Skyline in particular reached its boiling point at the Bathurst 1000 in 1992, the curtain call for Group A before it was replaced by the V8-powered formula in 1993. Nissan arrived at Mount Panorama in 1992 following its third consecutive championship win courtesy of Mark Skaife, prevailing over teammate Jim Richards. Skaife and Richards seemed destined to win Bathurst for a second consecutive year, and while qualifying went the way of the Sierra with pole position to Dick Johnson; Larry Perkins performed heroics to put the older model VL Commodore ahead of the lead Skyline. Normal service was resumed when Skaife took the lead early in the race when

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the rain started to fall. Then, tragedy struck when 1967 Formula 1 world champion Denny Hulme suffered a fatal heart attack, coming to a stop on Conrod Straight. The race continued with the Skyline leading, with the Sierra of Johnson and John Bowe its only challenger. The weather cleared in the midway point of the race, only for late torrential rain to bring proceedings to an early end. A number of cars were caught out by the sudden downpour, including the leading Skyline with Richards behind the wheel. Richards hit the wall at Reid Park, ripping the left-front wheel. His attempt to return to the pits ended at the exit of Forrest’s Elbow, sliding into the fence and hitting beached cars. Johnson continued and waved in delight when the red flag came out, believing he and Bowe had just won their second Bathurst together in a Sierra. But the red flag rules saw the results taken back to the last completed lap before the carnage and Richards and Skaife were declared the winners. An annoyed Johnson took to the podium and told the crowd, “Obviously you can be beaten by a crashed car!” It only fuelled the crowd further,

with anti-Skyline feelings already high. Richards and Skaife were greeted onto the podium by a chorus of boos, leading to Richards’ infamous reaction: “I’m just really stunned for words; I can’t believe the reception. I thought Australian race fans had a lot more to go than this. This is bloody disgraceful. I’ll keep racing, but I tell you what, this is going to remain with me for a long time. You’re a pack of arseholes!”

A tragic day at Mount Panorama came to an end, as did the Group A era at Bathurst. Scan below to watch the race highlights and podium drama from the 1992 Bathurst 1000.


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