SupercarXtra Magazine Issue 128 Special Ford Edition

Page 1





cortina – mustang – falcon – sierra moffat – johnson – ambrose – mclaughlin FE Cover v2.indd 1

16/03/2023 9:52:39 AM

ORDER NOW! THE LEGEND OF BATHURST The Story of Australia’s Iconic Motor Race

$85 +p&h



6/03/2023 3:24:43 PM


4 FORD’S GEN3 MUSTANG The introduction of Ford’s new-look Gen3 Mustang. 8 MUSTANG’S RACING PEDIGREE The history of the Mustang’s first two stints in Australian touring cars. 12 TRUE BLUE Where it all began for the Ford’s homegrown Falcon. 18 CELEBRATING THE FALCON A model-by-model history of the Falcon in Australian touring cars. 26 THE PHASE III DOMINATOR Allan Moffat’s record-breaking Ford XY Falcon GT-HO Phase III.

30 MOFFAT’S MAGNIFICENT ’77 Allan Moffat on his team’s famed formation finish at Bathurst in 1977. 36 TRUE BLUE LEGEND Dick Johnson recounts his life-changing tangle with a rock at Bathurst in 1980. 42 SENSATIONAL SIERRA The turbo-charged Sierra rockets that dominated in the Group A era. 48 BABY FACED ASSASSIN Celebrating the career of two-time champion Glenn Seton. 54 THE DEVIL RACER Marcos Ambrose and Stone Brothers Racing: Ford’s saviours in the 2000s.

60 ICONIC CARS: THE BA FALCON The Falcon that overcame Holden domination in V8 Supercars. 64 FORD FIGHTERS The long-awaited championship win for Prodrive Racing Australia with the FG X Falcon. 70 PONY POWER The development of the Mustang Supercar that replaced the Falcon. 74 FROM SALVATION TO DOMINATION The remarkable rises and falls of Dick Johnson Racing over the decades. 82 FORD’S HONOUR ROLL The Blue Oval’s championship and Bathurst winners.

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 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 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.


FE p03 Contents.indd 3

3 6/03/2023 9:45:48 AM




FE p04-07 Gen3.indd 4

30/03/2023 10:54:53 AM

IMAGES Supercars, Blanchard Racing Team, Peter Norton


From the formative years of Australian touring cars to today, Ford has been a constant in the Australian Touring Car Championship (ATCC)/ Supercars and Bathurst 500/1000. Today, it races on into the Gen3 era of Supercars, outlasting its great rival, Holden.


rom the Zephyr on the grid for the first Australian Touring Car Championship race in 1960 to the 11 Mustangs on the Supercars grid in 2023, Ford has amassed quite the history in Australian touring cars. And after a long and storied rivalry, it is Ford that remains standing after the retirement of Holden. Ford has enjoyed decades of success with the Cortina, Mustang, Falcon and Sierra, despite various levels of support from the head office. While factory backing has come and gone, the current Supercars effort is backed by Ford with the new Gen3 Mustang Supercar amongst its stable of international motorsport programs. Ironically, while Holden had a better track record of backing its Australian touring car efforts, whether it was in an official or unofficial capacity while Ford’s involvement came and went, it is Ford that races on after the Holden name is gone. This means the Gen3 Mustang will carry the Blue Oval legacy into the next era of Supercars beyond Holden’s involvement in the category. Significantly, long-time Holden team Walkinshaw Andretti United (previously the Holden Racing Team) switches to Ford in 2023, tempted into the move by the prospect of manufacturer support. The team joins Dick Johnson Racing, Tickford Racing, Grove Racing and the Blanchard Racing Team in fielding Mustangs in 2023, helping balance out the split between Mustangs and Chevrolet Camaros on the grid. Walkinshaw Andretti United is the third team to have switched to the Blue Oval from Holden in recent years, following in the footsteps of Grove Racing and the Blanchard Racing Team, highlighting the importance of some level of manufacturer support for teams. As a result, the Gen3 Mustang will build on Ford’s track record after Holden’s presence. And what a track record it is, with the likes of Ian Geoghegan, Allan Moffat, Dick Johnson, Glenn Seton, Marcos Ambrose and Scott McLaughlin winning Bathurst 500s/1000s and championships for the Blue Oval, driving for iconic teams such as Allan Moffat Racing, Dick Johnson Racing, Glenn Seton Racing, Stone Brothers Racing and Tickford Racing. Gen3 is, in a sense, history repeating, with the Camaro and Mustang twodoor coupes going head-to-head for the championship in the early 1970s. The new Gen3 cars have been designed with an eye on increased road relevance, with a greater likeness to their road-going counterparts. And that’s the most visible change with Gen3; they are lower and more akin to the Mustang AS TOLD BY V8X / SUPERCAR XTRA MAGAZINE

FE p04-07 Gen3.indd 5

5 30/03/2023 10:55:22 AM


The difference between the Gen2 and Gen3 Ford Mustangs.


and Camaro road cars. The Camaro and Mustang share the same wheelbases and dimensions, helping the category achieve parity between the two cars. With the centre of gravity lowered, the Gen3 cars are also 100 millimetres wider for a more musclecar look. There’s a significant reduction in weight, estimated to be around 100 kilograms. There’s also a big decrease in downforce, more than 50 percent down from the Gen2 cars, with the rear-wing size noticeably smaller, the front undertray removed and the rear-wing mainplane common between the Mustang and Camaro. With less weight, less downforce and more

mechanical grip, expect a harder to tame car that moves around more and, therefore, should produce better racing with cars able to follow one another more closely. There are a few carryover parts from the current cars. They include the transaxle, rear suspension wishbones and rear uprights. After initial talk of a move to a paddle-shift gearbox, Supercars opted to retain the stick-shift gear system. There’s also a new engine, with Ford running 5.4-litre quad overhead-cam Coyote engine with four valves per cylinder, developed by Herrod


FE p04-07 Gen3.indd 6

30/03/2023 10:56:06 AM

Performance in association with Ford homologation team Dick Johnson Racing. In contrast, the Chevrolet teams run a Camaro LTR engine with a pushrod design single camshaft with two valves per cylinder, developed by KRE Race Engines in association with Chevrolet homologation team Triple Eight Race Engineering. All eyes will be on parity between the Camaro and Mustang. The Gen3 Mustang had its first public outing at Bathurst in 2022 with Blue Oval legend Dick Johnson behind the wheel, more than 35 years since he raced the Group A version of the Mustang at Mount Panorama. The Blanchard Racing Team was the first Ford

team to unveil and run its own Gen3 Mustang, an impressive achievement for the only single-car team in Supercars. “The build of the new Gen3 car started back September last year, when we started planning and preparing our resources in anticipation,” said the Blanchard Racing Team co-principal, John Blanchard. “It’s obviously a very exciting time for Supercars with the introduction of the Gen3 project, which will truly level the playing field for competitors.” As the Gen3 era gets underway, this publication is a celebration of all things Ford in Australian touring cars, featuring the best Blue Oval content from V8X Magazine/SupercarXtra Magazine.

Ford legend Dick Johnson drove the Gen3 Ford Mustang in its first outing at Bathurst in 2022.


FE p04-07 Gen3.indd 7

7 30/03/2023 10:56:27 AM



IMAGES, Justin Deeley, Peter Norton,


Before the Ford Mustang entered Supercars in 2019, the Blue Oval’s iconic pony car had a history in the Australian Touring Car Championship dating back to the 1960s.


hen the sixth generation of Ford’s iconic Mustang went on sale in Australia in 2015 as a fully imported, right-hand-drive showroom model, it represented the obvious replacement for the allAustralian Ford Falcon in Supercars when the latter went out of production in late 2016.


When the Mustang eventually replaced the Falcon as Ford’s front-line weapon in Australia’s premier tin-top racing category in 2019, it was history repeating itself for the third time. This is the story of the Mustang’s first stints in Australian touring cars, which achieved very different levels of success.


FE p08-11 Mustang Pedigree.indd 8

2/03/2023 9:42:10 AM



Touring car great Stormin’ Norm Beechey was the first driver to blood the mighty Ford Mustang in Australia, and it was a stunning debut, racing away to a first-up win and new lap record in his freshly imported 1964 model Hardtop at Melbourne’s Calder Park in January of 1965. Powered by a full-house Shelby Cobra race version of the 289ci (4.7-litre) Windsor small-block V8, Beechey’s typically bold decision to chance his racing future on the imported American pony car paid big dividends as he went on a race-winning rampage in the early months of 1965. Beechey not only won the 1965 Australian Touring Car Championship (ATCC) at Sandown, when it was decided by a single race, but also wrapped up the NSW and South Australian championship titles. Beechey’s Neptune Racing Team Mustang proved so brutally effective as a race winner that his arch rivals at the time were left with no choice but to rustle up some Mustangs of their own. Ian “Pete” Geoghegan and Bob Jane both promptly headed to the USA to buy their own 1965 Mustang Hardtops, which included a visit to Carroll Shelby and a shopping trip through his high-performance warehouse to source all the bits they would need to succeed. Jane’s car was completed just in time for the 1965

ATCC clash, and although it promptly took pole position, it succumbed to an overheating engine in the race. Sadly, Jane’s 1965 Mustang was destined for a short career after it was destroyed in a fearful 200km/h crash at Catalina Park a few months later. Geoghegan’s new Hardtop, though, was destined for greatness. Armed with a 400hp Cobra race engine and numerous other Shelby components, the John Sheppard-built Mustang blew Beechey and Jane into the weeds on its debut at Calder Park in August 1965 and just kept on winning. In the space of two electrifying seasons, Geoghegan won 68 races from 74 starts – an astonishing winning ratio of more than 90 percent. This avalanche of victories included the single-race 1966 ATCC at Bathurst, the New South Wales, Queensland and Victorian titles plus lap records at every track Geoghegan and his Mustang competed at. The Geoghegan/Mustang magic was destined to continue when the mighty 1965 model was replaced with the latest 1967 Hardtop. Armed with a Sheppard-built 289ci (4.7-litre) Windsor V8 fed by a quartet of Weber twin-choke carburettors, Geoghegan made a dazzling debut



FE p08-11 Mustang Pedigree.indd 9

9 2/03/2023 9:42:41 AM


Dick Johnson scored the Group A Ford Mustang’s only win at the nonchampionship Australian Grand Prix support race in Adelaide in 1985.

when he raced away to a well-judged victory over arch rival Beechey’s Chevrolet Nova in the 1967 ATCC held at Queensland’s Lakeside Raceway. Like its predecessor, the speed and reliability of Geoghegan’s new 1967 Mustang on debut was an ominous sign of things to come. Although the number of Mustangs on the ATCC grid continued to grow, Geoghegan was simply untouchable when he claimed his third successive ATCC at Sydney’s Warwick Farm in 1968 (his fourth in total). He claimed his fifth and final crown in the same car in 1969 when it had been upgraded with a larger 302ci (4.9-litre) V8 with slide-throttle fuel injection. Unlike his four previous titles, though, Geoghegan’s last ATCC victory came in the first year Australia’s premier touring car title expanded to a multi-round series with races held in most states. This included the nail-biting finale at Symmons Plains in Tasmania, when he beat Alan Hamilton’s Porsche 911TR to the crown by a single point. Geoghegan continued to race his much-loved Mustang in the 1970 and 1971 ATCC battles, when it sprouted large wheel-arch flares to house the fatter 10-inch wide tyres permitted for the Improved Production cars by that stage. Even so, the ageing Mustang faced increasingly tough competition from potent new muscle cars like Beechey’s HT Monaro GTS 350, which in 1970 became

the first Holden and first Australian car to win the ATCC, and Jane’s exotic seven-litre big block Camaro ZL-1, which won the 1971 and 1972 titles. Arguably Geoghegan’s greatest competition, though, came from another Mustang driven by Allan Moffat, which is widely regarded as the most famous and desirable Australian race car of all. Moffat’s 1969 Boss 302 Trans-Am, resplendent in the bright red paint of his sponsor Coca-Cola, was one of only a handful built by Ford’s factory teams to tackle rival Chevrolet in the 1969 US Trans-Am series. Hand-built by Bud Moore Engineering, the 1969 Boss 302 Mustang Fastback used only the best competition components. It featured the latest Boss 302 race engine, superbly designed roll cage and suspension and even subtle body re-profiling for better air penetration at high speeds. It was the closest thing you could get to a purpose-built race car in a production car body shell. Although Moffat and the Boss didn’t win the ATCC title, the mighty Mustang finished its six-season career in Moffat’s hands with a staggering 101 race wins from 151 starts. It also set lap records at every circuit Moffat raced on and was involved in many thrilling battles with Geoghegan’s 1967 Mustang from 1969 to 1972. A change in the touring car rules for 1973 saw the creation of a new class called ‘Production Touring – Group C’, which in effect combined the old Series Production and Improved Production classes into one new category. As these cars were to compete for the ATCC and Manufacturers’ Championship, Moffat’s Mustang was consigned to the Sports Sedan ranks. The first Mustang ATCC era was over.



Ford fans expecting a repeat of the Mustang’s 1960s dominance when the pony car returned in the 1980s were to be disappointed. The switch from home-grown Group C to the FIA’s



FE p08-11 Mustang Pedigree.indd 10

2/03/2023 9:42:51 AM

international Group A rules in 1985 may have opened the doors to more makes and models from overseas, but it did nothing to help Australian cars. Overnight Holden’s VK Commodore became an underpowered and overweight slug as its 308ci (5044cc) V8 placed it in the over-5000cc engine group, which meant it was burdened with about 180kg of ballast to bring it up to a hefty 1400kg minimum weight. The tight new engine restrictions also knocked the power output back to around 300hp. Holden performed a partial fix for 1985 by slightly de-stroking its V8 from 5044cc to 4987cc, which dropped the Commodore into the under-5000cc division to get a crucial 75kg drop in minimum weight (1400kg to 1325kg). By comparison, Ford Australia found itself in a similar situation to the mid-1960s as it had nothing in its Falcon line-up that could be remotely competitive. So reigning champion Dick Johnson and other Ford loyalists were realistically left with the choice of two imports – the UK’s 2.8-litre V6-powered Sierra XR4i or the 4.9-litre (302ci) V8 Mustang from the USA. On paper the Mustang was the more practical choice given that Eric Zakowski’s Zakspeed team in Germany had already homologated and built Mustang GTs for European Group A touring car racing in 1983. And Australian teams were more familiar with the Mustang’s venerable small-block Windsor V8 and muscle-car mechanicals. Johnson purchased two of the Zakspeed-built Mustangs in 1984 with a view to finishing what Zakowski’s team had started by making the compact V8 American coupe into a race winner. However, the Mustang faced the same handicaps as the Commodore in being underpowered and overweight. Under Group A rules, the Ford V8’s 4942cc engine capacity required a hefty minimum vehicle weight of 1325kg, but like the Commodore, an 11-inch tyre was the widest that could be stuffed under the standard wheel arches.

However, while Holden was able to address this power-to-weight issue by building a much tougher and more powerful 400hp version of its 4.9-litre V8 for 1986, Johnson could not get any assistance from Ford US in homologating a fuel-injection system and other engine parts he needed to unleash more power. As a result the carburettor-fed Group A Mustang started with around 300hp in 1985, which after constant development improved to barely 350hp by 1986. Against the benchmark BMW 635 CSi, which had the same power and tyre width as the Mustang but a smaller 3.5-litre six that allowed it to run a much lower 1185kg minimum weight, it’s not hard to see why Johnson and other Ford runners found little joy in the Mustang’s second ATCC era. Not surprisingly, Jim Richards and his JPS BMW, in winning seven of the 10 rounds, dominated the 1985 ATCC. Johnson, despite not winning a round in his Mustang, finished a fighting second overall through dogged consistency more than anything else. In 1986 Johnson’s Mustang showed good reliability, but the crippling lack of engine power left it with no answer to Holden’s new VK Commodore SS Group A and the new breed of blisteringly fast turbocharged cars from Nissan (DR30 Skyline) and Volvo (240T). Johnson had to settle for being a regular top-10 finisher in the ATCC on his way to sixth overall. Ford runners opted for the Sierra instead. The Mustang’s second ATCC era certainly failed to provide the overwhelming success and excitement of the first, thanks largely to Group A’s restrictive rules and Ford’s lack of interest in developing the car. Fortunately, when the Mustang replaced the Australian Falcon in Australian touring cars for a third time, it didn’t face the same handicaps that it did under Group A. Supercars’ more equitable technical rules, based on engine, chassis and aerodynamic parity for all makes and models, saw a revival of the Mustang magic of the 1960s.

Dick Johnson gets to grips with the Ford Mustang V8 at Oran Park in 1985.


FE p08-11 Mustang Pedigree.indd 11

11 2/03/2023 9:43:01 AM


IMAGES, Ford Australia, Peter Norton

The Falcon may have won the last Armstrong 500 held at Phillip Island in 1962, but it wasn’t until the V8-powered Falcon XR GT conquered Mount Panorama that the name entered Australian motorsport folklore. Here we retrace the rise of the Falcon on the race track.


alcon was already a name with winning credentials in the Great Race when the new XR GT model fronted up to 1967’s Gallaher 500 at Bathurst. Harry Firth and Bob Jane, after all, had won the Armstrong 500, the precursor to the Bathurst event, in an XL Falcon in 1962. But that was an age ago… a deed done with a different Falcon, a full generation older, with a six-cylinder engine, not a V8, on a different track. Touring cars had moved on and small, quick fourcylinders were the winning ticket. Ford’s Cortina GTs and GT500s cleaned up the first three 500s at Bathurst (1963 to 1965), then the Mini Cooper won in 1966. A big V8 was a leap of faith. Sure, there was this new V8 Falcon – then the fastest, most exciting car ever pitched to buyers by an Australian carmaker – but also the memory of big barges like the Studebaker


Lark. They’d torn smaller cars to pieces up Mountain Straight with their bountiful torque, even led the race, but always self-destructed with tyre, brake and fueleconomy issues. By the end of that weekend, however, a new era had dawned, and the Falcon badge was on its way to being an Australian institution for racers, petrolheads and everyday car buyers alike.


The 1967 XR Falcon GT was something else. The official story is it was the brainchild of then Ford Australia MD Bill Bourke; he had sampled an XR V8 prototype being developed as a police-pursuit car and, being an American with a fine sense for the then burgeoning muscle-car culture in that country, thought a hot Falcon might go down well with young Aussies. Bathurst clearly entered into the equation pretty


FE p12-17 True Blue.indd 12

6/03/2023 1:10:29 PM

early, too. Ford factory racing team boss Firth, who had mastered the art of the Bathurst special with 1965’s Ford Cortina GT500, was one of the engineers charged with its development. There had never been an Australian car like it. Ford’s famous 289 cubic-inch V8 (4.7-litre) had just joined the Falcon line-up with the XR. In the GT version it picked up a host of changes to crank out 225 horsepower (167kW). A four-on-the-floor manual gearbox, unique suspension, bigger wheels and radial tyres were its other key features.

The first GT could cut a 15.8-second 0-400 metre sprint on its way to a top speed of 122mph (195km/h). All of the nearly 600 built were bronze with black stripes, except a half-dozen in a fetching silver/red-stripe combo for the Gallaher tobacco company that was then sponsoring Bathurst. The Ford factory team fronted up to Bathurst that year with three of its new babies. It cleaned up the front row in qualifying and – after being threatened by some Alfa GTVs early on – cleared out to finish with a dominant one-two. There was a sprinkle of rain on the factory Ford team’s parade. A lap-scoring error initially gave the chequered flag to the Leo Geoghegan/Ian Geoghegan car rather than its Harry Firth/Fred Gibson sibling. But when the dust settled and the order was reversed, it was still a one-two for the very first Falcon GT on its very first Bathurst outing. And with that, the legend was born. For a long time in Australia the Falcon had been associated with the suspensiondurability problems of the original XK series. Now it stood for something else. The following year wouldn’t be so easy. A new Falcon, the XT, had arrived and with it a new GT. It had a bigger 302ci V8 (five-litre), which was only a little more powerful (230hp, 171kW) but a lot torquier. Its suspension had been refined and it came in five colours, including the XR’s bronze. You could even have an auto gearbox. At Bathurst the Ford factory again fielded three cars, one of them an auto, but there was a new threat, Holden and its Monaro GTS 327, powered by a Chev 327ci V8 (5.4-litre). The template for the tribal Ford versus Holden battle was being set. And in this first Bathurst stoush, the General had the bigger V8 club. Fred Gibson and Bo Seton drove out of their skins in their XT GT to threaten for the win until a holed radiator ruined their chances, but when the flag flew the new Monaros had a grip on the top four spots. AS TOLD BY V8X / SUPERCAR XTRA MAGAZINE

FE p12-17 True Blue.indd 13

13 6/03/2023 1:10:47 PM


Allan Moffat’s team enjoyed Ford backing until the end of 1973, though the factory would return.


These first tentative jabs in the growing Ford versus Holden battle were nothing compared to the haymakers that were about to come. By 1969 Firth had departed to run the first iteration of the Holden Dealer Team – now with access to 350 Chev-powered Monaros – and big, brash American Al Turner had taken his place. That year’s XW Falcon GT was a brash and altogether more hardcore package than its predecessors – it boasted an even bigger V8, the first of the 351s (5.8-litre), with 290hp (217kW), bigger brakes and a Bathurst-friendly 164-litre fuel tank, plus the first appearance of the famous SuperRoo decals on the front guards. And that was the feeble one. With this GT you could now spec the HO pack (for Handling Option), which added a front spoiler, beefed-up suspension and thicker tailshaft and unleashed more grunt from the 351 (300hp, 223kW). With that your GT would now be an XW Falcon GTHO and – if you matched the best published times for this beast – you could hose the quarter (and most cars then on the road) in a sizzling 14.8 seconds. But 1969 would be another year for the Monaro at Bathurst. New factory Ford driver Allan Moffat and John French gave the first HO a debut win in the Sandown curtain raiser, but the factory team’s issues with new semi-slick tyres killed its Mountain chances. The pole-winning Geoghegan brothers popped their first tyre while leading a little more than an hour into the race… then the Seton/Gibson entry popped one and

rolled before the two-hour mark. Moffat, in the third car, lost time when he was pulled into the pits for tyre checks. As it turned out, his tyres were fine, but in any case his chance for the win in his first Bathurst had evaporated. By 1970, even with its Bathurst underperformance, the XW GTHO had established itself as a force in Production Series racing, but Ford was still chasing Bathurst glory with total commitment. In August, just months before the new XY Falcon was due to appear, it committed to an even more focused XW GTHO, the Phase II. The Windsor V8 that had underpinned other models in various capacities was ditched for the new Cleveland 351, which wasn’t a lot more powerful than the old 351 but had more torque and could rev harder. It had an even bigger four-barrel carburettor than its predecessor, bigger front brakes and other changes. With arch-rival Holden having retreated from the muscle-car arms race and fielding the smaller, sixcylinder Torana GTR at Bathurst that year, the XW GTHO Phase II absolutely mauled the field. Twenty-three of them filled the grid, and Moffat and Bruce McPhee, both driving solo in their factory cars, cleared out to finish a dominant one-two. The Bathurst trophy was now back in Ford’s corner. And still the Blue Oval wouldn’t let go of the bone. In 1971 came the XY GTHO Phase III, with its even bigger carby, baffled sump, bigger radiator and famous ‘Shaker’ air intake that popped through the bonnet.


FE p12-17 True Blue.indd 14

2/03/2023 9:45:04 AM

Its power officially remained pegged at the 300hp (223kW) mark but is reputed to have been closer to 290kW in reality. At Bathurst, Moffat slashed more than 10 seconds off the 1970 lap record in practice on his way to pole position. In the race his biggest challenge was a VB carton that got stuck to his grille. He cruised to his second straight Bathurst crown by more than a lap, and GTHOs filled the first six places. In just five years the Falcon had gone from a name treated with suspicion to a giant of the Australian road and touring cars. And another Bathurst special, the XA Falcon GTHO Phase IV, was being readied for 1972. But the Phase IV would never make it to the track or the showroom. A front-page story in Sydney’s Sun-Herald on June 25, 1972, about the upcoming Falcon and V8-powered versions of Holden’s Torana XU-1 and Chrysler’s Charger kicked off a scare campaign that quickly enveloped the political class. All of these ‘supercars’, as they were called, were canned by their makers, who came under serious government pressure – the subtext was they could build their racers for the road or sell cars to the government, but not both. Four XA GTHO Phase IVs made it through the production process before Ford pulled the pin, and three of these mythical ‘nearly-were’ GTHOs survive today. The ‘Supercar scare’ also led to massive changes to touring cars. In 1973 the Production Series and Improved Production regulations would both make way for the new Group C formula, which allowed competitors significantly more freedom in terms of the modifications they could make to their cars. The Australian Touring Car Championship, which

FE p12-17 True Blue.indd 15

had long been the domain of Improved Production, and the Bathurst enduro would now be the domain of a single variety of more track-biased touring cars. The days of manufacturers selling Bathurst-ready racers to the public were over.


Holden would continue the Australian muscle-car madness through the 1970s with homologation-special road cars that helped to increase the competitiveness of its LH Torana SL/R 5000 and LX Torana SS hatchback racers, but it was done on the sly – their existence wasn’t widely publicised and Holden dealers had a strict vetting process (i.e. if you weren’t a racer or didn’t have the right contacts, you weren’t getting one). The glory days of the Falcon GT, contrastingly, were drawing to a close. The 1972 XA GT would continue on with 351 grunt and a rakish new two-door Australian-designed hardtop body, which complemented the staple four-door. Some of the Phase IV parts would even make their way onto a special batch of XA GTs, but the singleminded HO option was gone – and with it much of the madness and magic. By the time the XC Falcon rolled around in 1976, the GT – which had softened further with the imposition of a pollution-spec engine in 1973’s XB series – had been put out to pasture. In any case, the Falcon name stayed up in lights on the track through much of the 1970s. Allan Moffat, after winning the 1973 ATCC in an XY Phase III, gave the XA hardtop a Bathurst win on debut in 1973, and John Goss followed up in his XA in the big wet of 1974. 1976 brought another ATCC crown for Moffat in


1960 1962

SECOND GENERATION XR Falcon GT 1967 XT Falcon GT 1968 XW Falcon GTHO 1969 XW Falcon GTHO Phase II 1970 XY Falcon GTHO Phase III 1971

THIRD GENERATION XA GT Hardtop XB GT Hardtop XC Falcon GS XC Falcon Cobra

1973 1974 1977 1978


1980 1983


1992 1995 1997


1999 2003 2007


2009 2015


15 2/03/2023 9:45:16 AM


Fred Gibson and Bo Seton’s legendary XY Phase III at Mount Panorama in 1971.


an XB hardtop. 1977, the year after the GT officially departed the road scene, was a whitewash for the big Ford, with Moffat winning the ATCC and leading home a famous one-two at Bathurst. Even into the 1980s, when Ford had all but washed its hands of overt involvement in the sport, the Falcon – now into the XD and XE generations, and being steered by a certain Queenslander called Dick Johnson – would keep on winning. Not for long, though. By 1982, Ford had parlayed the Falcon’s good name to market leadership after decades of chasing Holden’s tail. It was now a different company with different priorities, and performance cars and racing were no longer part of its agenda. By the end of that same year, the curtain on its V8 production would come down. This was the death knell for the Falcon on the track. When Group A regulations were announced for 1985 that tightened the relationship between road and race cars again and required a greater level of manufacturer involvement, Ford was left holding the can. The Falcon, without a V8, was never going to be a competitive proposition, and Ford racers like Johnson were forced to look overseas for Mustangs and Sierras. It would take until 1992 for a Falcon touring car to reappear on Australian tracks. By then Ford had done an about-face on its no-V8s/no-performancecars policy and wanted back in with the sport that had helped make the Falcon’s name. It would get its wish, and the Falcon would once again make its presence felt on the Bathurst and Australian touring cars honour roll, but that’s another story.


Gibson, along with Firth, brought the Falcon GT its first Bathurst success in 1967. His racing career is inextricably linked to the Falcon, but when the XR GT first appeared, he had no idea of the significant role this new performance car would play in his career. Like any petrolhead of the day, though, he was bowled over by it. “It was the first of the muscle cars, wasn’t it?” he says. “Everyone was like, ‘Wow!’ They had the 289 in the Falcon bodyshell, and that’s what it was all about. For Australia to have a V8 in a normal road car, a family car, was pretty unique. “I think Ford took a pretty big gamble to do that… and it really paid off.” Gibson only found out he’d be driving for the factory Ford team at Bathurst a fortnight before the event when Frank Matich had to pull out and his name was put up as a substitute. It didn’t leave much time to get acquainted with his new ride. “They leant me one to virtually drive around the block… and that was the first time I ever drove one at all,” he says. “I didn’t sit in the race car until the first practice session at Bathurst.” Even then he suspected the new Falcon was going to be a pretty competitive prospect. “I drove a gold road car and I thought, ‘Wow, what a good car this is to drive,’” says Gibson. “Then you thought about the name Harry Firth. Anything he seemed to do back in the day right through to the Monaros was going to be a winning package; he had the expertise for doing that thing. “So I knew there was a chance the car would go pretty well if it would last the distance.”


FE p12-17 True Blue.indd 16

2/03/2023 9:45:28 AM

“WE HAD ALL THESE CARS BECAUSE ONCE YOU USED THEM FOR YEARS, FORD DIDN’T WANT THEM BACK. IF I’D KEPT THOSE OLD CARS, THINK OF THE MONEY THEY’D BE WORTH NOW!” – FRED GIBSON As it turned out, Firth was right on the money, and Gibson would finish the weekend with a Bathurst win next to his name. “They were just the car to have on that particular weekend,” says Gibson. “You could drive the wheels off them. You could do it all day; we had no reliability worries. “As far as Harry was concerned, we could drive it as hard as we had to drive it and it would be okay… and that’s exactly what happened.” Gibson would go on to race all of the XR GT’s successors for the Ford factory team, plus the XA twodoors of the Group C era. “The XW with the Windsor engine, that was the best HO racer as a track car,” he says. “It was nice to drive and reliable. Anyone could have raced one of those for a year and not touched it, just put tyres and brakes on it. “Once we got the Cleveland engine, boy, were they a drama. It was a harder working car, it had a lot more power, and it wasn’t easy finding tyres to do the job properly on the small rims. “It was just a testing time for the car, and I suppose developing that car, the more power you put into it, the worse it got. “They got better as they went along, but the more we got the handling and tyres better, that’s when we had big oil-surge problems. You drove the Phase III by the oil-pressure gauge.

“We used to have to count it out... ‘one, two, three, four, five’ before you could put your foot down again because you had no oil pressure.” Gibson’s personal favourite is the XA hardtop that thrived in the early Group C era. “With the big rubber and everything on it, it was a great car,” he says. “They were just powerful, good beasts to drive. And being able to get harnesses and proper seats in the car was a big advantage. But you couldn’t compare them to the production-series cars; they were a different thing.” Mind you, if he could choose any Falcon GT for road duties today, he wouldn’t be able to go past the legendary XY Phase III. “The Cleveland was an issue on the track, but as a road car it just honks on – you gas it and it just goes,” he says. “And the skinny wheels, it didn’t have a lot of grip, so it’s still a nice car to drive; an exciting car to drive.” Like many from the era, though, he’s still kicking himself for not recognising their future value then. “I had HOs sitting around the workshop there. Max Douglas had one of my old cars next door in the panel shop; we had another one in a shed,” he says. “We had all these cars because once you used them for years, Ford didn’t want them back. If I’d kept those old cars, think of the money they’d be worth now!”

Allan Moffat won at Sandown in the XB GT hardtop, despite the loss of support from Ford Australia.


FE p12-17 True Blue.indd 17

17 2/03/2023 9:45:42 AM


IMAGES, James Baker, Justin Deeley

Celebrating the The Falcon name has gone from Australian showrooms and race tracks. But it will always be remembered as Ford Australia’s muchloved home-grown car, especially amongst fans of Australian touring cars who saw the Falcon race across six decades.


hen that last Falcon crossed the line in Newcastle in 2018, it had been 58 years since the first left an Australian touring car grid. In that time 14 of Ford’s Bathurst wins and 17 of its Australian Touring Car Championship (ATCC) titles have been grasped, grabbed, stolen or simply run away with in racers wearing the badge. The Mustang Supercar may have history on its side and will continue to build on that into the Gen3 era, but it still has big shoes to fill. Here, through seven generations, we revisit the highlights of an Australian touring car legend, the Falcon.

and John Reaburn went one better in their XK with second in class. It would be the first time the Blue Oval prevailed in a direct Ford versus Holden battle in the Great Race, with an EK also contesting Class B but not posting a result. In 1962 the Armstrong 500 glory was all Ford’s. Five of the then-new XL Falcons fronted and wrapped up the first four positions in their class ahead of the first EJ Holden. The winning Jane/Harry Firth car was also first over the line for the then-unofficial outright win. The Falcon’s first Great Race victory was under its belt.


1960 was a big year for Australian touring cars – the first Australian Touring Car Championship ran in February at the Gnoo Blass circuit near Orange in NSW, then in November the first Great Race, the inaugural Armstrong 500 at Phillip Island in Victoria. And the first Falcon, the XK, was in the latter, just two months after its release. Two started and eight and a half hours later the Bob Jane and Lou Molina XK – after overcoming a roll – finished third in class. In the 1961 Armstrong 500, Ken Harper, Sid Fisher



FE p18-25 Farewell Falcon.indd 18

6/03/2023 10:20:18 AM

But just like the Phillip Island track – which was so comprehensively torn up in 1962 organisers had to look elsewhere to host the 1963 Great Race – the Falcon was destined for the racing shelf. When the event decamped to Bathurst, Ford had a new touring car coal in the fire, its Cortina small car, and it would spend the next few years dominating with it at Mount Panorama, winning in 1963, 1964 and 1965.


• 1st, Class B, 1962 Phillip Island 500 – Harry Firth/Bob Jane, XL Falcon


Ford might have shone during Australian touring car racing’s Appendix J era, but it would be an even more definitive presence as the late 1960s came into view. In the new Improved Production category of 1965 – the class that now determined the Australian Touring Car Championship – its V8-powered Mustang became the weapon of choice, winning five straight ATCC titles between 1965 and 1969. In the Series Production category that had ownership of the Bathurst 500 and other events, the Falcon would once again become Ford’s front-line racer and make an even bigger impact. When the new XR GT finished one-two in its first

time out at Bathurst in 1967, the first win for a V8 at the Mountain, it set a Bathurst-winning blueprint that still prevails today. Dominant Bathurst victories in 1970 and 1971 for its XW and XY successors, plus countless other Series Production wins, would cement this generation of Falcon as a touring car legend of legends. But it would only just sneak in an ATCC title. While Falcons did contest Improved Production events during the early 1970s, including Ian ‘Pete’ Geoghegan’s famous Super Falcon, they never managed to truly get one over the Mustangs, the other American muscle cars that had owned the category from the start. But when the ATCC and Bathurst were brought together under the same wing for 1973’s new production-based Group C formula – stripping the Mustangs and other American muscle cars of their status as Australian touring cars’ premier attraction – it would be Ford factory driver Allan Moffat and his mighty XY GTHO Phase III that claimed the maiden Group C title, giving the soonto-be superseded Falcon racer a final battle victory.


• 1st, 1967 Bathurst 500 – Harry Firth/Fred Gibson, XR Falcon GT • 1st, 1970 Bathurst 500 – Allan Moffat, XW Falcon GTHO Phase II • 1st, 1971 Bathurst 500 – Allan Moffat, XY Falcon GTHO Phase III • 1st, 1973 Australian Touring Car Championship – Allan Moffat, XY Falcon GTHO Phase III

BELOW: The XR Falcon was the first V8-powered car to win the Great Race at Mount Panorama.


FE p18-25 Farewell Falcon.indd 19

19 6/03/2023 10:20:36 AM



TOP RIGHT: The XA GT Hardtop claimed a second Bathurst 1000 win in 1974. MIDDLE RIGHT: Dick Johnson became a household name with the XD Falcon, winning the championship and Bathurst double in 1981. BELOW: The XC GS500

Hardtop delivered Ford a famous one-two finish at Bathurst in 1977.


As Moffat was winning the 1973 ATCC in his XY, the next generation of Falcon touring car – the XA GT Hardtop – was already being blooded by privateer John Goss. It wasn’t a smooth debut for the Goss car, which only clocked two ATCC points finishes, but the XA soon showed a knack for winning. When the Ford factory team moved into its own for the endurance races, Fred Gibson gave the new car victory straight-up in the opening round at Adelaide. At Bathurst, Moffat and Ian Geoghegan sealed the Falcon’s fourth win at the Mountain. The XA and its XB and XC successors would keep on winning through the 1970s, despite famously onand-off support from Ford Australia. Its withdrawal from the sport at the end of 1973 saw the balance of power swing towards Holden and its new V8-powered Toranas in 1974, but the Holden’s mechanical frailty meant the big Ford walked away with the Sandown 250 and Bathurst wins that year. 1975 was a depressingly lean year for Falcon runners, but in 1976 Moffat, after encouraging Ford back into the fold, tapped into a form upsweep in his XB and took another ATCC title. In 1977, with the factory now back behind the Moffat Ford Dealers team in a big way, the Ford star swept all before him to not just steal the ATCC and Bathurst honours but make it a team one-two in each. The Hardtop, however, was running out of puff. In 1978 a horde of Torana A9Xs would keep it to just a pair of ATCC wins and little in the way of enduro glory. In 1979, with Ford having pulled out of touring car racing again, the Holdens won everything in sight.


• 1st, 1973 Bathurst 1000 – Allan Moffat/Ian Geoghegan, XA Falcon GT Hardtop • 1st, 1974 Bathurst 1000 – John Goss/Kevin Bartlett, XA Falcon GT Hardtop • 1st, 1976 Australian Touring Car Championship – Allan Moffat, XB Falcon GT Hardtop • 1st, 1977 Australian Touring Car Championship – Allan Moffat, XB Falcon GT Hardtop/XC Falcon GS500 Hardtop • 1st, 1977 Bathurst 1000 – Allan Moffat/Jacky Ickx, XC Falcon GS500 Hardtop


There wasn’t a lot to suggest a revival for the Falcon as the 1980s kicked off. As Holden star Peter Brock strode to the ATCC title in his all-new VB Commodore, Ford was largely AWOL – no factory team, no big star (Allan Moffat didn’t contest the series) and, by the end of the season, not a single win. Yet things were bubbling. A Group C version of the new XD had contested the 1980 ATCC in the hands of Ford privateer Murray Carter, who had quietly clocked up four podiums. As the enduro season approached, other Ford runners saw the potential. Moffat was one, but he and the XD never got on – a rushed Bathurst entry ended in an early retirement and, with Mazda beckoning for 1981, he’d never race a Falcon again. Instead, it would be Queensland privateer Dick Johnson who harnessed the promise. He put everything on the line to build the ultimate XD for the 1980 enduros, and its destruction at Bathurst that year after hitting ‘The Rock’ while in the lead would be followed by a famous outpouring of public support


FE p18-25 Farewell Falcon.indd 20

6/03/2023 10:20:54 AM

and an unprecedented funding boon for Johnson. In 1981 Johnson, now in a new Tru-Blu XD, beat Brock to the ATCC title, then took victory in a shortened Bathurst 1000. In 1982 he and his XD snared another ATCC crown. Then – after struggling with the new XE model’s handling gremlins during the 1982 enduros and much of 1983, then destroying a newly green, newly sorted car at Bathurst later that year – he and the Falcon were back on top in the ATCC in 1984. But the Falcon’s front-line touring-car career was about to hit a roadblock. With new Group A regulations coming, Ford no longer building a V8 Falcon or much interested in building anything that would translate to competitiveness on the track (a necessary evil of Group A), Johnson and other loyal Ford runners would have to look overseas to stay on the grid from 1985.

rounds in his EB to wrap up his first ATCC title in a team one-two ahead of Alan Jones. In the Sandown 500, a Glenn Seton Racing EB would prevail again in the hands of Geoff Brabham and David Parsons. The early days of the five-litre era were all about ‘parity’, where one side of the Ford/Holden divide would argue that its car was fundamentally compromised and lobby for balancing actions. Exactly such a ‘readjustment’ ahead of the 1993 enduros would make the Commodores more competitive. By that stroke of fortune for Holden, bad luck or whatever, a Falcon didn’t win Bathurst that year. This parity fight would continue until the standardisation of key components with 2003’s Project Blueprint regulations, but look back today and the winning spoils seem to be shared as they should have been in a series of two – pretty evenly. In 1994 a Holden won

ABOVE: The XE didn’t replicate the success of the XD, though it did win the final Group C title in 1984.

BELOW: The EB made its Bathurst debut ahead of schedule in 1992, against Group A benchmarks such as the Sierra.


• 1st, 1981 Australian Touring Car Championship – Dick Johnson, XD Falcon • 1st, 1981 Bathurst 1000 – Dick Johnson/John French, XD Falcon • 1st, 1982 Australian Touring Car Championship – Dick Johnson, XD Falcon • 1st, 1984 Australian Touring Car Championship – Dick Johnson, XE Falcon


The Ford Australia of the mid to late 1980s was more interested in fleet sales than motorsport, but avowed petrolhead Jac Nasser’s arrival into the top job saw the V8 Falcon return with 1991’s EB model. With Australian touring cars moving to a V8-powered Ford versus Holden formula for 1993, the EB would also be the first top-level Falcon to hit racetracks in nearly a decade. It didn’t take long for it to get back in the winning swing of things. Glenn Seton won four of the nine AS TOLD BY V8X / SUPERCAR XTRA MAGAZINE

FE p18-25 Farewell Falcon.indd 21

21 6/03/2023 10:21:10 AM


• 1st, 1995 Australian Touring Car Championship – John Bowe, EF Falcon • 1st, 1997 Supercars Championship – Glenn Seton, EL Falcon • 1st, 1998 Bathurst 1000 – Jason Bright/Steven Richards, EL Falcon


RIGHT: The BA broke Holden’s stranglehold on Supercars with a run of three consecutive championships.

the ATCC, but Dick Johnson and John Bowe reset the ledger with Sandown and Bathurst glory in their EB. In 1995 and 1997, successes for the Falcon in the ATCC were followed by a Commodore winning at Bathurst, while Holden’s ATCC-dominating VT lost out to a soon-to-be-pensioned EL in the Great Race of 1998. Only in 1996, when Holden newbie Craig Lowndes won almost everything, did the first generation of Falcon Supercar not give its fans something to cheer about.

BELOW: The AU failed to win a Bathurst or championship, despite the speed shown by the likes of Dick Johnson Racing.

• 1st, 1993 Australian Touring Car Championship – Glenn Seton, EB Falcon • 1st, 1994 Bathurst 1000 – Dick Johnson/John Bowe, EB Falcon

ABOVE: The EL scored a surprise Bathurst win in 1998.


The much-heralded AU of 1998 was a product misfire, and the Supercar version that debuted in 1999 suffered a similarly sad fate on the track. It never lacked speed – Bathurst poles in 1999, 2000 and 2001 proved that. But fragility (its front airdam/ splitter would regularly shatter in bump-and-grind V8 races, forcing pitstops), some bad luck (retiring while in a strong position at Bathurst became a depressingly familiar trait) and an increasingly dominant Holden Racing Team would see it end its career in 2002 with only a handful of race wins to its name, and no championship or Bathurst success whatsoever. But the next in this line of Falcons, the BA, would turn it all around. A newly ascendant Stone Brothers Racing and Marcos Ambrose won six of 13 rounds with it in 2003 to claim the championship and did it again in 2004; the first double for the Falcon in years.



FE p18-25 Farewell Falcon.indd 22

6/03/2023 10:21:51 AM

Teammate Russell Ingall repeated the feat in 2005 to make it an unprecedented three titles for the Falcon on the trot. Bathurst glory was less forthcoming for the BA, but when then-Ford stars Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup bagged the big one in 2006 – eight long years after the Falcon’s last win at the Mountain – the dam burst and two more Bathurst wins in succession followed, the only time the three-peat has been done in a Falcon. And in a cherry on top not seen since the days of the XD, Whincup bagged the 2008 championship – his first – to go with his Bathurst crown.


• 1st, 2003 Supercars Championship – Marcos Ambrose, BA Falcon • 1st, 2004 Supercars Championship – Marcos Ambrose, BA Falcon • 1st, 2005 Supercars Championship – Russell Ingall, BA Falcon • 1st, 2006 Bathurst 1000 – Craig Lowndes/Jamie Whincup, BA Falcon • 1st, 2007 Bathurst 1000 – Craig Lowndes/Jamie Whincup, BF Falcon • 1st, 2008 Bathurst 1000 – Craig Lowndes/Jamie Whincup, BF Falcon • 1st, 2008 Supercars Championship – Jamie Whincup, BF Falcon

The BF won two Bathursts in a row in 2007 and 2008.


When Triple Eight Race Engineering switched from Ford to Holden in 2010, the dominant team in Supercars switched the pendulum in the manufacturer battle in favour of Holden. There was a title win for Dick Johnson Racing’s James Courtney in a Triple Eight-built FG in 2010, before Jamie Whincup and Triple Eight took control of the championship. However, Ford did claim backto-back Bathurst wins for Ford Performance Racing with the FG in 2013 and 2014. The introduction of the FG X broke Prodrive Racing Australia’s (formerly Ford Performance Racing) championship drought with Mark Winterbottom in 2015, though the wins soon dried up for what was the factory-backed Ford team. Dick Johnson Racing/DJR Team Penske soon became the leading Ford team with Scott McLaughlin winning the title in the FG X Falcon in 2018, in the final year of the Falcon. Fittingly, the #17 entry made famous by team owner Dick Johnson gave the Falcon its 17th and final championship win.

The FG scored two titles in 2009 and 2010.


• 1st, 2009 Supercars Championship – Jamie Whincup, FG Falcon • 1st, 2010 Supercars Championship – James Courtney, FG Falcon • 1st, 2013 Bathurst 1000 – Mark Winterbottom/Steven Richards, FG Falcon • 1st, 2014 Bathurst 1000 – Chaz Mostert/Paul Morris, FG Falcon • 1st, 2015 Supercars Championship – Mark Winterbottom, FG X Falcon • 1st, 2018 Supercars Championship – Scott McLaughlin, FG X Falcon The FG X claimed the title on debut in 2015. AS TOLD BY V8X / SUPERCAR XTRA MAGAZINE

FE p18-25 Farewell Falcon.indd 23

23 6/03/2023 10:22:11 AM



The British-built Cortina gave Ford its first Australian Touring Car Championship win courtesy of Ian Geoghegan in 1964. It also won the first three Bathurst 500s from 1963 to 1965, before being phased out and eventually replaced by the Australian-made Falcon.


The American-built Mustang was the car to beat under the Improved Production rules, scoring five consecutive championship wins from 1965 to 1969 before it was ruled out of contention 24

by the change to Group C from 1973. The Mustang reappeared in Group A in 1985 but didn’t trouble the European-made cars. The pony cars returned under a third iteration in Supercars in 2019.


The Sierra replaced the Mustang in Group A in 1987, going on to become the dominant car with championship and Bathurst sweeps in 1988 and 1989. The Dick Johnson Racing Sierras were the cars to beat, eventually superseded by the all-conquering Nissan Skyline BNR32 GT-R from 1990, before Group A was put to bed at the conclusion of 1992.


FE p18-25 Farewell Falcon.indd 24

6/03/2023 10:22:42 AM


Allan Moffat and Dick Johnson stand out in terms of Falcon legends, taking the fight to Holden hero Peter Brock across three decades. Moffat started the Falcon success in the championship in 1973 and battled for supremacy against Brock at Mount Panorama. When Moffat moved on to Mazda, Johnson stepped up and took over the Ford mantle with his heroics at Mount Panorama. Glenn Seton and John Bowe were the dominant Falcon drivers at the start of the V8 era, winning three championships. After Holden became the dominant force, Marcos Ambrose endeared himself to Ford fans by ending the Commodore’s rule with two successive championship wins. Mark Winterbottom will also go down as a Falcon legend for winning Bathurst and a championship in the midst of a period of Holden rule. Triple Eight’s Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup claimed the only Bathurst three-peat for the Falcon at Bathurst before Triple Eight’s defection to Holden, with Scott McLaughlin flying the Ford flag in recent years with a run of titles.

It is impossible to name one Falcon as the most loved above the rest. The XC GS500 delivered Ford its most famous moment with the one-two formation finish at Bathurst in 1977. For a fairytale moment, it is the XD

and Dick Johnson’s recovery from ‘The Rock’ incident in 1980 to winning the championship-Bathurst double in 1981.The XY GTHO Phase III is probably the most soughtafter Falcon, while the XR will go down in history as the

first V8-powered winner at Mount Panorama. The BA ended Holden’s rule with a dominant three-year period, while the FG X marked the end of the Falcon era. All could be considered iconic Falcons.


FE p18-25 Farewell Falcon.indd 25

25 6/03/2023 10:23:02 AM





FE p26-29 Phase III Dominator.indd 26

9/03/2023 9:52:36 AM


It is more than 50 years since one of the most iconic and highly sought-after Australian-built cars dominated at Bathurst. Allan Moffat’s Ford XY Falcon GT-HO Phase III crushed the opposition at the Mount Panorama Circuit in 1971, making a legend of the car and driver. AS TOLD BY V8X / SUPERCAR XTRA MAGAZINE

FE p26-29 Phase III Dominator.indd 27

27 9/03/2023 9:52:53 AM


1971 CHAMPIONSHIP TOP 10 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. =6. =6. =8 =8. =10. =10. =10.

Bob Jane Allan Moffat Ian Geoghegan Jim McKeown Norm Beechey Graham Ritter John French John Rushford Brian Foley Trevor Meehan Colin Bond Bill Fanning

Bob Jane Racing Team Allan Moffat Racing Total Team Shell Racing Shell Racing B.S. Stillwell and Co. Allan Moffat Racing/Total Team Rushford Engineering Brian Foley M. Brewster Holden Dealer Team Bill Fanning

1971 BATHURST 500 TOP 10 1. 2. 3. 4. 5 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Allan Moffat Phil Barnes/Bob Skelton David McKay Colin Bond John French John Goss/Barry Sharp L. Geoghegan/P. Brown Peter Brock Brian Foley/Don Holland Bob Beasley


Ford Motor Co. of Australia Byrt Ford Pty Ltd Finnie Ford Pty Ltd Holden Dealer Team Ford Motor Co. of Australia McLeod Ford Pty Ltd Geoghegan’s Sporty Cars Holden Dealer Team Max Wright Motors Reg Papps & Sons

ifty-plus years ago, the Ford XY Falcon GT-HO Phase III was breaking records on the race track. Today, it is breaking records off the track. In February 2021, a fully restored 1971 Phase III set an auction record for an Australian-built road car when it sold for $1.15 million. The Phase III is one of the most iconic Australian cars of all-time, a road car built primarily for success on the race track that made Allan Moffat a household name and put Ford at the forefront of the Australian automotive market. Ford gambled on going its own way with an Australian designed and built Falcon heading into the 1970s, to not only counter the threat of Holden’s Monaro but also to differentiate from the American-built Mustang. The brainchild of Al Turner, with the backing of Bill Bourke, there were only 300 Phase IIIs made. Success at Bathurst was the focal point for Ford as the battle between the Blue Oval and rivals Chrysler 28

Chevrolet Camaro ZL-1 Ford Boss 302 Mustang Ford Mustang Porsche 911S Holden HT Monaro GTS350 Ford Escort Mark I Ford XY Falcon GTHO Phase III Ford Escort Mark I Alfa Romeo GTAm Morris Cooper S Holden LC Torana GTR XU-1 Ford Escort Mark I

Ford XY Falcon GT-HO Phase III Ford XY Falcon GT-HO Phase III Ford XY Falcon GT-HO Phase III Holden LC Torana GTR XU-1 Ford XY Falcon GT-HO Phase III Ford XY Falcon GT-HO Phase III Chrysler VH Valiant Charger E38 Holden LC Torana GTR XU-1 Holden LC Torana GTR XU-1 Chrysler VH Valiant Charger E38

and Holden intensified. The Phase III may have looked just like the Falcon GT version it was based on, but it featured an upgraded engine, improved four-speed top-loader gearbox, a nine-inch differential, a larger fuel tank and race-ready brakes. With an engine output in excess of 350hp, producing more than 7000rpm, it was generally considered to be the fastest four-door production car in the world. There were 13 GT-HOs in the field for the 1971 Bathurst 500, including the factory-backed entries of Moffat and John French and privateer entries for the likes of David McKay, John Goss, Kevin Bartlett, Murray Carter and Bob Morris. The challengers were the recently developed Chrysler VH Valiant Charger R/T E38 and Holden’s nimble XU-1 Torana, with works teams from Toyota, Datsun, Mazda, Chrysler, Ford and General Motors highlighting the growing status of the race. Moffat stamped his authority on the event with

Above: Sixty entries competed in the 1971 Bathurst 500, including 13 Ford XY Falcon GT-HO Phase IIIs.


FE p26-29 Phase III Dominator.indd 28

9/03/2023 9:53:07 AM

a crushing time in the opening practice session that was more than 13 seconds under the lap record from 1969, with that level of performance continuing throughout the race meeting. The Phase III filled the top seven places on the grid with Moffat three seconds clear of the rest on pole position and the first non-Ford, the Charger of Leo Geoghegan, almost seven seconds off the time set by the polesitter. The Holden Dealer Team Toranas of Peter Brock and Colin Bond were a distant 11th and 15th respectively. Moffat raced away from the start. His only threat was a stray beer carton that lodged itself on his GTHO’s radiator grille, as a result of windy conditions on race day. The Ford team signalled to Moffat to pit so they could remove the debris, but Moffat drove on with a close eye on the car’s heating. It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the other Falcons. Bill Brown survived one of the most spectacular crashes in Bathurst history when a tyre blew on his Phase III at McPhillamy Park. The Falcon rolled several times along the guard rail, which cut into the Falcon with the roll bar saving Brown’s life. He suffered bruising, cuts and a concussion, but it could’ve been so much worse. Moffat took the chequered flag to claim his second consecutive Bathurst win, with a new racetime record and the first average speed in excess of 130km/h. Phase IIIs completed the podium with Phil Barnes/Bob Skelton in second and McKay in third. Bond was best of the rest in fourth with the Chrysler challenge never materialising with the top Charger in seventh place. The biggest concern for the Phase III at Bathurst was whether its brakes would survive the race distance. But new pads developed by Bill Collins were so good that the leading Phase IIIs went the distance without a change of pads, for the first time for the winner of the event. The stunning performance of the Phase III is best illustrated when comparing the times set by Moffat in the XW Falcon GT-HO Phase II in 1970. The pole time from 1971 was almost 10 seconds quicker than 1970, while Moffat’s race time was lowered by 33 minutes. He called the Phase III “one of the best cars in the world,” comparable to GT cars of the time. Moffat drove the Phase III to Australian Touring Car Championship title success in 1973, the first championship run to the locally-derived Group C regulations. By Bathurst that year, it was replaced by the XA Falcon, featuring a significantly different body shape. Plans for a Phase IV version for the XA model were abandoned following the ‘Supercar scare’ of 1972, with fears the Phase IV and Holden’s V8-engined Torana would be too dangerous on Australian roads, only adding to the mystique of the Phase III. Five decades on, the Phase III remains a cult classic, even amongst non-Ford fans. It kicked off the Group C era as a legendary Bathurst special and is now a million-dollar classic. AS TOLD BY V8X / SUPERCAR XTRA MAGAZINE

FE p26-29 Phase III Dominator.indd 29

29 9/03/2023 9:53:32 AM

MOFFAT IMAGES, Andrew Hall, James Baker, Justin Deeley



FE p30-35 Moffat magnificent 77.indd 30

9/03/2023 9:46:45 AM

Ford’s most famous moment in Australian touring cars is Allan Moffat Racing’s one-two formation finish at the 1977 Bathurst 1000. Allan Moffat recounts that iconic moment in the history of not only Ford but also the Great Race at Mount Panorama.


ind the clock back to 1967 and you’ve got the first Falcon V8 rocking up at Bathurst, winning and ushering in a new age for Australian-made cars. Fast forward to 1987 and it is the Sierra heralding a new era for the brand. Trip onwards to 1997 and the maiden V8 Supercars title with Glenn Seton, 2007 and another Bathurst win for Triple Eight Race Engineering with Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup and 2017 and DJR Team Penske’s rise to the top. Slap two sevens together, meanwhile, and you arrive at a year when Ford’s biggest star of the day, Allan Moffat, absolutely steamrolled the opposition, first to his third championship, then to his fourth and final Bathurst win, the latter with a crushing

one-two formation finish that would haunt Holden fans until Peter Brock and his Holden Dealer Team finally equalled the feat in 1984. For many Australian touring car devotees who view the world through a blue tint, 1977 might just be the most sacred year of all in Australian motorsport.


Nothing could touch Moffat and his Moffat Ford Dealers team in 1977. There were 11 rounds in that year’s Australian Touring Car Championship (ATCC) – in a forerunner to today’s all-in-one championship seasons, it included the Sandown, Adelaide, Surfers Paradise and Phillip Island enduros – and Moffat ran away with seven of them. Teammate Colin Bond, who had controversially


FE p30-35 Moffat magnificent 77.indd 31

31 9/03/2023 9:48:29 AM


been tempted away from the factory Holden Dealer Team to drive for arch-rival Ford, won another race. Six of their combined eight wins were done with onetwo finishes. Add the famous Bathurst one-two finish to that and you’ve got nine wins out of 12 for the team, seven of them one-twos. That’s a lot of winning, but ask Moffat about 1977 and, like most fans, his thoughts jump straight to the big one, Bathurst. Or, more specifically, the brake issue that slowed him late in the race. “Would you believe me if I told you I only drove about 12 laps towards the end there with the brake pedal on the floor?” he says. “(It happened) when I went across the top of the hill, across McPhillamy. The moment I went down through the Dipper the pedal went down to the floor. “I thought, ‘Shit! I’ve got to turn left at the end of this corner!’ I was ready to throw it into first gear, I can assure you of that!” The team orders that followed, sealing the MoffatBond one-two running order, have generated plenty of debate over the years, but to Moffat it’s all pretty simple. If there had been a threat to the team victory, he would have let Bond go. With their nearest rivals more than a lap behind, the pressure was off and the ultimate form finish could be enacted. “I was conscious of the one-two aspect even before I had no brakes, we were so far ahead of everyone else,” he says. “I was already slowing down and trying to close the gap. At one stage I had a full lap ahead of him (Bond). I wanted him up with me so we could get the one-two finish. “So he was second in command. He was there and as long as I was in front and keeping going, I wasn’t getting on the phone going, ‘By the way, mate, I haven’t got any brakes so, you know, you better come up and catch me.’ It was really only with about four laps to go that he got up to me.” In any case, says Moffat, the final call was made out

on the track. There was nothing stopping Bond from nipping in front of his boss, but he respected the deal. “We get up to that last little bridge,” says Moffat, using his hands to illustrate the two Falcons’ relative positions. “I’m already in first gear because I didn’t need to bother with the brake pedal; I didn’t have one! And Colin’s come down here like this, and I’m here and he’s there, and we’re trying to go around the bend. “I remember saying to myself, ‘I’m sending you a telepathic message, back off, we’re going around the corner together!’ and, well, he did back off and we came around the corner like that. “By the time we got to the last straight we were already like that [places one hand slightly in front of the other] and Colin never went to pass and that’s how we finished. And to this day the photographs show the number one of my car and the number two of his, the best bloody form finish of all time!” While competitive angst between teammates is common today, Moffat says it wasn’t a factor back in 1977. “Colin was never anything other than pleasant about it,” says Moffat. “I was in charge of the team and he was very gracious about it. He’d got more money that year than he’d ever seen in his life!”


Another potential Bathurst victory to go with his 1969 success wasn’t the only thing Bond missed out on that October weekend in 1977. Thanks to Moffat’s teammate, Belgian multiple grand prix and Le Mans winner Jacky Ickx, he also lost the number two car’s driver’s seat. “We picked Jacky up at Mascot, then got on another plane and got out early to the circuit. The other guys hadn’t arrived yet,” says Moffat. “So Jacky’s come over and looked at the car. I open my door and say, ‘Jump in.’ Then he gets out and I



FE p30-35 Moffat magnificent 77.indd 32

9/03/2023 9:48:54 AM

say, ‘What’s wrong Jacky?’ and he says, ‘Let me try the number two car.’ I don’t think he would have even known for sure at that stage we were a two-car team! “So he’s got into Colin’s car, moved around in the seat and says, ‘Can we take this and put it in the other car?’ And I’m thinking, ‘Oh no, not one of these drama queens!’ But the real joke was I never said a word and Colin never ever felt the fact he wasn’t in the right seat!” The winning Falcon’s brake failure has been commonly attributed to Ickx – who was more used to wielding top-grade European race machinery than big, boofy Aussie touring cars – pushing too hard. Moffat doesn’t see it that way. “The brake failure happened while I was driving; it wasn’t his fault,” he says. “He might have contributed by pushing harder trying to keep up with me, but the Falcon’s brakes had only a small single piston.” The Falcon’s brakes, however, did crop up on the Belgian’s radar long before race day. “We’ve done the seat and off he goes,” says Moffat. “But then he’s stopped and come straight back in. I say, ‘Jacky, why have you stopped, what’s wrong?’ and he says, ‘The car, Allan, it does not stop!’ I’m thinking, ‘Oh no, don’t tell me something’s wrong’, because it only takes the littlest things to happen, so I say, ‘I’ll double-check it.’ So I get in, do a lap, come back in and I say, ‘The whole car is perfect.’ When he heard that, he was like, ‘Oh, okay!’” And why choose the Belgian with no previous experience of Bathurst when there were plenty of locals who could have taken the drive? According to Moffat, Ickx was just too good not to take a punt on. “The biggest thing with Jacky is he had won Le Mans many times and there was no-one else who’d matched that,” says Moffat. “He drove for Ferrari, not many people get that. “When he was in his days at Le Mans, he never had a crash, he never got into trouble. In that respect, everybody thought, ‘What are we waiting for?’” Mount Panorama has put the frighteners on plenty of top-level drivers, but for Ickx, who’d taken on certified driver killers such as the Nurburgring and Spa-Francorchamps and won, it was apparently just another day in the office. And a pleasant change from the high-stakes, high-pressure environments and number-one status he usually had to deal with. “Jacky had been on enough places around the world to know what he was doing,” says Moffat. “He was always pleasant. I think he understood that a lot was going on just with the circuit itself and that we weren’t a team with 500 people working for us. “He didn’t put on an act saying, ‘Is this all you can do?’ The only thing he asked to do was change the seat. “I was the lead driver and he was there as the second driver, and he was quite happy with that. We won the race, I put him in the plane to Sydney, he flew back to his European headquarters and that was that!”


Ford scored a unique double in the Australian Touring Car Championship and Bathurst. Ian Geoghegan scored his third championship win and second in the Ford Mustang, the height of the pony car’s domination of the single-race championship deciders. Bathurst, run under different technical regulations, saw the Ford XR Falcon GT of Harry Firth and Fred Gibson lead home a factory team one-two finish. It was the first win for a locally-produced V8 car in the event, setting the foundation for the link between Falcon road and race cars. Ford’s most iconic Bathurst moment. The one-two formation finish, the first of its kind, completed a season of domination for Allan Moffat Racing. With Peter Brock having split with the Holden Dealer Team, Ford officially ruled Australian touring cars. The introduction of the Sierra to Australian touring cars proved a game changer. Dick Johnson only won one round in the championship that season, though the domination of the European teams at Mount Panorama (pre-disqualification) highlighted it was the car to have in Group A. Johnson ended the year with victory in his updated RS500 at the non-championship Australian Grand Prix, ushering in the domination that would follow. Glenn Seton won the title in the first year of the rebranded V8 Supercars series, the last owner-driver and single-car team to achieve the feat, ahead of Ford rival John Bowe of Dick Johnson Racing. Seton’s sponsorship from Ford Credit paved the way for Ford Australia to step up its involvement with the team in the coming seasons. Triple Eight confirmed its status as Ford’s leading team with a second consecutive Bathurst 1000 win with Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup. Ford entries filled the podium, with Stone Brothers Racing’s James Courtney and David Besnard in second and Dick Johnson Racing’s Steven Johnson and Will Davison in third. DJR Team Penske emerged from the pack to challenge reigning champions Triple Eight for the championship. The combination of Dick Johnson Racing and Team Penske, Shell Australia as title sponsor, plus the arrival of Scott McLaughlin and Ludo Lacroix, paid dividends with the teams’ championship title.




2007 2017


FE p30-35 Moffat magnificent 77.indd 33

33 9/03/2023 9:49:12 AM



Moffat’s 1977 successes and those of the previous season had come with the help of backdoor factory assistance from Ford. But the post-race reaction from the Blue Oval, which had yanked its factory team out of the sport at the end of 1973 and would cut factory funding to Allan Moffat Racing at the end of 1978, didn’t fill Moffat with confidence for the future of the relationship. “The race finished on the Sunday and on the Wednesday I was having lunch with Ford’s head man, Sir Brian Ingliss, and his top brass,” says Moffat. “We’re all eating and all of sudden there’s a glass being tapped, ‘Gentleman, I just want to bring it to your attention the tremendous race we’ve just had. Allan’s pulled it off; we’ve got something for him.’ “Then Brian hands me an envelope. As he’s handed me the envelope, as I’ve seen it coming across, I’ve already decided, ‘Whatever you do, don’t open that envelope.’ That’s how fast it happened and I took it and put it in my pocket. “Well, I got down into that carpark, ripped it open and – you’ve got to bear in mind that we were working in hundreds of thousands of dollars to achieve what 34

we did with the two cars – how much would you expect to be in it? Would you expect a bit of a pat on the back? It was $1000. I just thought, ‘If this is what we’re up against...’” Such feelings were in the past and Moffat – after more than a little prodding, according to his manager Phil Grant – was having a grand old time getting out and about in the motorsport world, re-engaging with the people and cars that defined his career, especially with the Blue Oval. At a recent Rolex Monterey Motorsport Festival, Ickx was so surprised to see his former co-driver he hugged Moffat up on stage in front of a select group of motorsport luminaries gathered for a reunion of Ford’s 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans-winning effort with its GT40. “Jacky couldn’t believe Allan was there,” says Grant. “He kept saying, ‘What are you doing here?’” And just to illustrate how far and wide Moffat’s star shone in its day, Ickx wasn’t the only global motorsport icon who enjoyed a catch-up with his former teammate at Monterey. For Moffat, it was a chance to say thanks for some of the best advice he ever got.


FE p30-35 Moffat magnificent 77.indd 34

9/03/2023 9:49:31 AM

“In 1967, Dan Gurney and I were getting ready for a Trans-Am event in Ford Cougars for Bud Moore Racing,” he remembers. “We were on the pitlane and the two cars are parked there, jacked up. They’re changing the diff, checking something. And I’m me and he’s, well, he’s Dan Gurney. “I said something to Dan in the manner of, ‘How do you think I should get going?’ and he said, ‘Whatever you do, Allan, don’t wait for the phone to ring. Get out there; I don’t care if it’s a dune buggy, don’t sit at home waiting for the phone to ring.’ “A lot of people do that – ‘I’m waiting for the phone call’ – and how many years do you want to do that? He was absolutely fantastic and it was such great advice. “That night at the GT40 reunion, he whispered to me and said, ‘Do you remember what I said to you? Just get on with it and do it?’ I whispered back to him, ‘Thanks for everything you did for me.’”



What would be the next best thing to driving Moffat’s 1977-slaying Falcon Hardtop? Well, it would have to be Tickford’s Bathurst ’77 special. This pack, designed for the Mustang, has the 1977 Bathurst winner’s fingerprints all over it. Upgrades over the standard car include a whopping big supercharger (“The biggest one that goes on,” says manager Phil Grant), uprated suspension and rolling stock, all tied together with Tickford’s engineering nous. A red, blue and white exterior theme that evokes Moffat’s iconic winning two-door and unique cabin treatment seal the deal. The Bathurst ’77 won’t be cheap – about $120,000 at the time of release, or about double a bog-stock Mustang GT V8 – but owners were in for all kinds of exclusive treats and experiences, from Moffat presenting each car and handing over the keys to special drives and events. Sound like your kind of trip? Well, don’t hang around. Just 77 were set to be built. AS TOLD BY V8X / SUPERCAR XTRA MAGAZINE

FE p30-35 Moffat magnificent 77.indd 35

35 9/03/2023 9:49:50 AM




FE p36-40 True Blue Legend.indd 36

6/03/2023 1:13:03 PM

IMAGES Justin Deeley



The Dick Johnson legend was born at Bathurst in 1980. The heartbreak of hitting a rock while leading and the support it garnered built the foundation of the success that followed over the following four decades.


ick Johnson is the epitome of a true-blue Aussie battler. He won over the heart of the nation following the now infamous incident with a rock at Bathurst in 1980, which led to a public appeal and his first Bathurst win a year

later. “There’s a lot from 1980 that attributes to the win in 1981,” explains Johnson, who created Dick Johnson Racing in 1980 following the demise of his former team, Bryan Byrt Racing. “We went to Bathurst in 1980 with a car that we built from a second-hand ex-police car, and we had one race prior to that, which was at Amaroo. “Amaroo was a pretty good thing for us; we were leading most of the race until right near the end the back tyre wore out and I had a spin and ended up coming second.” In light of the good result at Amaroo, the team was ready to take on the Mountain, even though a Holden had won the last two races there. “We went to Bathurst and we were fairly confident the car was going to go well there because it had been a long time since a Ford had been up front, let alone leading the race,” says Johnson. “We went there and pole position was worth $10,000 and second was worth nothing. We missed pole by about a tenth of a second or something to Kevin Bartlett.” Johnson’s team had plans to run the car “pretty hard” early in the race. “Unlike today when you can run the cars flat out all day, you had to be a little conservative with these things because they weren’t as technologically advanced as what the cars are today,” he explains. “We ran around there at a fairly hot sort of pace and pretty much broke the field up.” When Johnson’s two main rivals, Peter Brock and Bartlett, AS TOLD BY V8X / SUPERCAR XTRA MAGAZINE

FE p36-40 True Blue Legend.indd 37

37 6/03/2023 1:13:25 PM


struck trouble, his Tru-Blu Falcon appeared to be the likely winner, even though it was still in the first stint of the race. “We were then looking really comfortable, just cruising around, when I came around through The Cutting and saw the white flag out saying there’s a slow moving vehicle there,” he reflects. “That was in the days when they had tilt tray trucks picking up all the broken down and crashed cars. And I just rounded the corner, and at the crest you can’t see much, but what I saw was the truck, and once I really got over the top of the hill, I saw there was a rock in between the truck and the bank. “I really had nowhere to go, so I tried going up the bank and ended up hitting the rock.” What happened next not only saved his career, it also set the foundations for the success of Dick Johnson Racing that followed over the next four decades. “It was the best thing that happened,” explains Johnson. “At the time, it was the worst thing, but it turned out to be the best thing. “We had put an awful lot on the line to get there, and it seemed like it was going to be the end, but because of one of the callers to Channel Seven (who launched a fundraising appeal), what happened saved us. “Seven’s switchboard was absolutely jam-packed with people ringing in to donate money to get us back on track, and one of the callers was Edsel B Ford II (Ford Motor Company heir and then assistant managing director of Ford Australia). “Edsel said that for every dollar donated he would match it one-for-one – and he did. “He may have thought it was only going to be four or five grand, but 78 grand later, he’d given us a pretty good budget to do the full season the following year, which I needed really bad. In a sense, that put an awful lot of pressure on me. “I’m not one to let people down, so it made me, not try harder, but it made it more important for me to get out there and make sure I did the best job for all the people who supported us. “That was a lot of money in 1980. But we never really did it easy because there was only the two of us. It was (Dick’s brother) Roy and I. We were building the car together, and I was building the engines and gearboxes. “Roy and I used to drive the truck everywhere and we would live in the truck. We didn’t have the budget to stay in motels. There were some interesting times, I’ll tell ya.” Fast forward to 1981 and Johnson had a brand-new car and won the first of five Australian Touring Car Championships. “It was an absolute blinder of a championship because it was one that came down to the last race between Brock and myself and there was only one point in it,” he recalls. “It was a race around Lakeside, and we were wheelto-wheel for the entire duration of the event. “Fortunately, I won, which meant it was the first 38

championship, and then to go to Bathurst that year was really something special.” Johnson was again confident of winning the Great Race, but this time it was with the public wholeheartedly backing him. “We had a really good, strong car; we had a good combination in (John French) Frenchy and myself, and the car was really strong leading the race quite easily,” he says. “And it just so happened that we did everything right during the day, and I think it was about lap 121 where there was a big shunt on top of the Mountain, and it was between Bob Morris and Christine Gibson, and that sort of blocked the track a fair bit because a lot of cars came around unaware of what was in front of them and completely blocked the track. “So they red flagged the race and because the race had done more than 75 percent, they declared us the winners. “They went back a lap and actually Bob Morris, who was second at the time, ended up coming second even though his car had crashed, so that’s obviously what the rules were all about. “It was a hell of a relief for me because all those people had really stuck their faith behind us back in 1980, and to come back the following year and not only win the championship but win the race (Bathurst), which was pretty cruel to us the year before, was special. “The same as 1980, I had no doubt our car was more than capable of winning the event even though a lot of people said, ‘Oh, but in ’81 it was leaking oil.’ “It was only when the engine was turned off because it was on a suction pipe that the oil was leaking. “When the engine was running it wasn’t leaking oil at all. And that engine went in another car for Surfers Paradise, and it would have well and truly done Bathurst (had the race not been called) without any problems at all.” Johnson described his next Bathurst win in 1989 with John Bowe as “really special” because of his “trick” Ford Sierra. “We led every single lap of the race, which was something that is pretty much unheard of these days,” he says. “That was a real awesome motor car. We made all the right decisions at the right time and made the right calls as far as strategy goes and put the right tyres on etcetera, etcetera, and it just worked out very well for us. “Bowie and I just trucked around there and it was just a pleasure to drive.” However, Johnson said his favourite car to drive around the Mountain was the EB Falcon, which won him and Bowe the race in 1994. “We had been battling the car during practice earlier in the week and it was a bit of a dog to drive,” he observes. “It wouldn’t respond to what we were trying to achieve and it was very nervous. “And then we made one change to the rear of the


FE p36-40 True Blue Legend.indd 38

6/03/2023 1:13:39 PM

car with the shock absorbers, and all of a sudden this car, without a doubt, was the nicest thing to drive and you could do anything with it. “When you get in a car that’s like that, it’s just so easy to drive because you can drive it at 110 percent and it wouldn’t really matter because it’s not going to bite you. It was very predictable and it just did everything right. “I think it would have had to have been one of the best cars I have driven around there.” Johnson said his team made all the right strategy calls, but a certain rookie driver in a Holden Racing Team Commodore nearly derailed his third Bathurst win. “We were almost 30 metres from putting a lap on Brad Jones and Craig Lowndes before they had a safety car and caught back up,” Johnson says. “And bugger me dead, with about 12 laps to go, Lowndes passes John Bowe and I got on the radio to John and I said, ‘You are kidding me, you’re not going to let some snotty-nosed kid beat you, for crying out loud!’ “That sort of hyped Bowie up a bit more, and he put his head down and really dug deep and got back.” Johnson said Bowe had to really fight to ensure the EB crossed the line first. “Brad was in the car when I was doing my stints, and I didn’t have any trouble with Brad,” he says. “He was driving his backside off to try to nail me, but he couldn’t get near me, and Bowie got in for the last stint against Craig and it was a bit of a nail-biter. “And our car was really, really strong and it went to the end of the race and it was fantastic; it was a really good win.” Johnson says he has plenty of memorable Bathursts. “I can assure you,” he laughs. “Especially in 1983 when we went through the trees in qualifying in the shootout and getting the car ready overnight and starting the next day. “It was just the spirit of the team. We’ve always had a good team, and the backbone of any race team is its people.” Johnson remembers what are some of his most painful motorsport moments. “The most disappointing result I’ve ever, ever had in my entire career was at Bathurst in ’92 when we had the Sierra and we were up against the might of the Nissan GT-Rs and the weather was just changing like you wouldn’t believe it,” he says. “It went from wet to dry to intermediate. And if


FE p36-40 True Blue Legend.indd 39

39 6/03/2023 1:13:56 PM


you have to say have you ever done a perfect race that would have been it. “Then the weather sort of changed. You only had to be one lap out to come in and put certain tyres on for the conditions and it was history. And that’s what actually happened to the Nissan and a lot of other cars too. “We came in and actually put wet tyres on right at the right time and went back out and the Nissan (driven by Jim Richards and Mark Skaife) crashed going up the hill and then ran across the Mountain with one wheel hanging off. “It got to Forrest’s Elbow and it fired off the road and crashed into a bunch of other cars that were crashing too while we kept plonking on, and they were very difficult, very trying conditions because it was so wet. “You had to actually look out the side window to see where the side of the road was going down the straight

because the spray was horrendous. “Anyway we crossed the finish line and we thought we had sort of won it and they put the red flag out, but they went back two laps not one, which put us second, so that was in itself very, very disappointing to be beaten in that way after we’d fought so god-damn hard. But they’re the rules...” Johnson cannot talk highly enough of the circuit which has given him both the most devastating career lows and yet exhilarating career highs, including victory as a co-owner to Scott McLaughlin and Alexandre Prémat in 2019. “For anyone who’s driven around Bathurst to say they don’t enjoy it doesn’t deserve to be there,” he frankly states. “I would even say that a lot of the overseas drivers would class Bathurst in the top three in the world. “It is the most awesome piece of road.”


1981 Australian Touring Car Championship 1981 Bathurst 1000 1982 Australian Touring Car Championship 1984 Australian Touring Car Championship 1988 Australian Touring Car Championship 1989 Australian Touring Car Championship 1989 Bathurst 1000 1994 Sandown 500 1994 Bathurst 1000 1995 Sandown 500 40


FE p36-40 True Blue Legend.indd 40

6/03/2023 10:42:03 AM


The Legend of

The Story of Australia’s Iconic Motor Race

Proudly supported by


6/03/2023 3:33:34 PM



The Ford Sierra took Australian touring cars by storm in the late 1980s. Dick Johnson looks back on the turbocharged weapon that turned his Dick Johnson Racing team into a dominator.


sweat-drenched Dick Johnson fiddles with an ear plug. He smiles, almost sinisterly, as his interviewer asks him about the race so far. Johnson is happy; he had led the opening stint of the race at Silverstone before handing his Ford Sierra to co-driver John Bowe at the first stop, and even a fuel-filler problem that dropped them to 11th wasn't enough to dislodge the grin. "Were you surprised to be so competitive over here?" comes the question, asked with a syrupy British accent. Johnson's smile grows wider; his eyes sparkle as he quietly chuckles to himself. "Ah, yeah, okay," is his response, dripping with sarcasm. "I mean, you're obviously quite a match for the other Sierra Cosworths," the interviewer insists, desperate to pull some morsel of


genius from the man who had dominated the opening laps. Johnson duly delivers, the smile fixed across his face as he retorts, "Mate, we convicts can do anything!" Now, decades on from that interview at Silverstone in August 1988, Johnson considers the weekend one of his proudest moments. His eyes sparkled that day not simply because he’d taken on the world with his Australian-developed Sierra and shown that he was as good as anyone. He had also claimed revenge for Bathurst in 1987, where he had been left a spectator from lap four as a bunch of foreigners went on to dominate Australia’s biggest race. "One of my favourite, bar none, photos was at Silverstone, down the Hanger Straight there where on lap one we've got 200 metres on two Eggenberger cars and a Rouse car is another 50 metres


FE p42-46 Sensational Sierra.indd 42

2/03/2023 9:47:44 AM

"IT’S DEFINITELY ONE OF THE CARS THAT except for the fact that it had a 2.3-litre single overhead REALLY MADE OUR TEAM MAKE ITS cam four-cylinder engine with a turbocharger on it," Johnson recalls. MARK. IT'S SOMETHING THAT I THINK "I knew nothing about electronics or management ALL OF OUR GUYS HAVE BEEN VERY, VERY systems or anything like that, so the only other Ford PROUD OF OVER MANY YEARS BECAUSE that was homologated as a race car back then, or a Group A car, was the Mustang. So I chose to run the WE LITERALLY BUILT A CAR THAT BEAT Mustang for a couple of years until the Sierra came THE WORLD." – DICK JOHNSON out, which was the RS Cosworth, and then in 1988 behind that," he says with the mischievous twinkle that was there all those years ago. After switching from the Ford Mustang to Sierra at the start of the season, 1987 was a struggle. Over the course of the year, the team blew 37 turbochargers, while its two-car Bathurst effort ended with both cars out before the start of the fifth lap. "On lap two Neville Crichton and Larry Perkins came together coming out of the Cutting, and it put both of them out, so I was the lone ranger. I got to the top of the Mountain and broke a diff on lap four,” says Johnson. "I walked back to the bloody pits and spent the whole day in a corporate box, which is very uncomfortable when both their cars are out and all their customers are there wanting to see their vehicles perform. It's very uncomfortable, for six or seven hours, trying to explain why these things happen." Johnson had moved to the Sierra in 1987 in an effort to move up the order. The previous two years had been a struggle with the Mustang, a heavy, normally-aspirated car that handled well but lacked the top speed needed to be competitive. The Sierra XR4Ti had debuted in Britain in the hands of Andy Rouse, despite the fact it was never sold outside of North America, where it was known as the Merkur. "The body was very similar or the same as the Sierra

they bought out the RS500 Cosworth. "The Mustang handled extremely well; it was just far too heavy for the amount of horsepower it had. It was only a normally-aspirated 382 Windsor engine, which I might add is the same bloody engine we're running now if I'm quite honest. It was just far too heavy. It handled well, it stopped well, but the way the rules were structured, the car was, as I said, far too heavy. It didn't have an awful lot of straight-line speed. But the Sierra itself, when it first came out, it was only 980kg or something, the homologated weight. It was a bloody rocketship because we could make a fair bit of horsepower, but they were popping turbos." Throughout the course of 1987, Dick Johnson Racing struggled to come to terms with the car, though he did give the Sierra its first win with victory at Adelaide International Raceway. The car was fast but fragile, with the differential a key concern, one that wasn't addressed until the release of the Sierra RS5000 Cosworth in 1988, which solved the turbocharger problem and gave the car more power. "When the RS500 came, shit, we made a fair bit of bloody horsepower,” says Johnson. “But then we started splitting blocks in half, right across where the welch plugs go in the side of the block. Because we'd run so much boost, it would try and split the thing in half, which it used to do. "We ended up overcoming that by some good


FE p42-46 Sensational Sierra.indd 43

43 2/03/2023 9:48:07 AM


Dick Johnson in the Sierra at Mount Panorama in 1987, before retiring in the early stages.

Australian engineering. In fact, we made some special head studs that went from the cylinder head, like it used to hold the head on but went all the way through and bolted into the main bearing studs at the same time, so it holds the whole thing together, so it never blew in half. It was bloody ripper! "When we used to run them in on the dyno, we ran them in without a turbo hooked up, and they had all of, flat out, they had 90hp. After it was running, we hooked the turbo up, give it about 2.4 bar of boost, and it had 680hp." Aside from the difficult power delivery, the Sierra handled well, though Johnson admits it did suffer initially from understeer. His solution to the problem landed him in court. "Yeah, it was pretty good in that respect," he recalls of the handling. "It was well balanced; it was just the fact that it needed more front grip. Kevin Waldock took us to bloody court saying we stole his bloody design on a steering arm. What a joke. It was a piece of aluminium with holes drilled in and he reckoned he owned the design. I mean, give me a break. Obviously the judge threw it out." With the car's handling sorted, the differential remained a weakness and source of frustration stemming back to Bathurst 1987. 44

"The diffs that they had in them were very unreliable and very fragile," explains Johnson. "So we thought, well, why don't we try and homologate, make something here." The task fell to Ron Harrop, who worked to have Ford homologate a tried and tested nine-inch differential. It was a battle, but eventually the manufacturer gave in and the new diff received the rubber stamp it needed for competition. It also proved a revenue stream for Dick Johnson Racing, with it quickly becoming popular among fellow Ford Sierra runners despite a lighter though more expensive 'factory' alternative being developed soon after. Johnson didn't stop there and homologated a six-speed Hollinger gearbox in place of the fivespeed Getrag in an effort to overcome the turbo lag that made the cars such a handful. It also improved the car’s reliability, making it more suitable to the demands of Mount Panorama. The refined suspension, upgraded turbo, new differential and gearbox were all well and good, but fundamentally there was no escaping the fact that Johnson was wholly reliant on Andy Rouse in the UK, who drove the engine development. The engine was governed by an ECU, and a machine designed to burn the programming onto the chip was needed to make any changes, and Rouse wasn’t prepared to share.


FE p42-46 Sensational Sierra.indd 44

2/03/2023 9:48:21 AM

The Ford Sierra reached cult status with its performances in Group A.

"He wouldn't sell us the equipment so we could sort of program our own chips or our own computers,” says Johnson. “So I told him he could shove it fair up the clacker and walked out of his bloody office. I ended up going to see a mate of mine who I used to get some parts off. He put us onto this guy named Graham Dale Jones, and he was a guy who, on contract, did all the rally cars for Ford. They ran a Bosch system, so he said, 'I'll help, I'll put you onto a Bosch system.' So that's how we sort of got things honking." Jones visited Johnson on his way back to the UK from Pikes Peak, stopping at the Queenslander's

workshop to teach the crew how to use the Bosch system to program the car's ECU. It was a critical moment in Johnson's relationship with the Sierra and one that transformed him from a customer to a world beater. "That was it, that was the one thing, the key to the whole thing," Johnson admits. "We could actually control the development of the engine and sort of not have to rely on anyone from the UK to tell us you can have this and we'll charge you a bloody fortune for it and give you five horsepower." Transformed, Johnson and teammate John Bowe, who joined the squad in 1988, dominated the season.

The Sierra was the car to have in the late 1980s into the 1990s and dominated in terms of numbers.


FE p42-46 Sensational Sierra.indd 45

45 2/03/2023 9:48:34 AM


Johnson went on to win the championship that year, backing it up in 1989. He and Bowe won Bathurst in 1989, leading every lap of the race after qualifying on pole. But while Johnson is proud of that achievement, it was his last Bathurst in a Sierra that he considers on par with his Silverstone performance. "Thinking back to 1992, where the Nissan won by default when the race was stopped and they went back not one lap but two, that was probably one of the most perfect races that JB and I ever did,” says Johnson. "We really took the fight up to them all day from start to finish. If ever we say we did a perfect race, that would have been it because our pitstops were spot on, our strategies were spot on, we put the right tyres on at the right time, both JB and myself probably drove better than we ever have, so it was one of those situations where it was disappointing not to win." By 1992 the Sierra had been outclassed by its Japanese challenger, though the writing had been on the wall much earlier than that. In 1990 the tide began to turn when Jim Richards won the title from Peter Brock in a Sierra while Johnson could only manage third. Johnson’s wins that year would be his last in a Sierra. Bowe went on to win two rounds in 1992, the last at the car’s penultimate event at 46

Barbagallo, before it was retired and replaced with the Ford EB Falcon for 1993 as the sport waved goodbye to Group A. “We knew damn well that things weren’t going to last forever and, unfortunately, the Nissans really started to get their act together; twin-turbo V6, four-wheel-drive and everything else that went with it,” says Johnson. “It was a bit of a David and Goliath battle, or a tortoise and the hare, and we were the bloody tortoise. To try and keep up with the likes of the Nissan, we would have had to go to what they had over in the UK, which was called a Ford Sapphire, which was a four-wheel-drive Sierra basically. We never went down that road because we never had the funds to do it.” Though well past its prime by the time it was retired, the Ford Sierra holds a special place in Johnson's memory. It was a championship winner, both in Australia and in Britain. “It’s definitely one of the cars in my eyes that really made our team make its mark,” he says. “It’s something that I think all of our guys have been very, very proud of over many years because we literally built a car that beat the world.” Johnson may not have won the race that day at Silverstone, but he proved his point. We convicts really can do anything.


FE p42-46 Sensational Sierra.indd 46

2/03/2023 9:48:45 AM

p47 Adelaide Grand Prix.indd 1

6/03/2023 3:12:01 PM


IMAGES James Baker,

Glenn Seton led the way for Ford in the V8 era from 1993, winning two championships with his own Glenn Seton Racing team.


lenn Seton was still buzzing. He had just got back from the kind of week any racing driver lives for – a week at Mount Panorama, Bathurst. He was officially at the Bathurst 12 Hour in an engineering capacity, but then came the chance to have a steer himself. That wasn’t something he was about to turn down. “Any opportunity you get to run at Bathurst you grab with open arms,” he says. “Even though I’ve been there about 30 times now, you still miss the place when you haven’t been there in a while. It’s a pretty special bit of road.

“That’s why we all say it’s the best track in this country and probably one of the best in the world.” It wasn’t a bad Bathurst weekend on the results front, either. His Castrol-sponsored MARC Focus V8 ended the day second in the Invitational class, just 8.855 seconds behind winning teammates. It was another chance to step onto the most celebrated podium in Australia. Of course, any talk of the Bathurst podium and Seton inevitably ends up in one place – its top step and the fact he famously never managed to stand on it during his touring-car career. But he’s not

too worried about it. “At the end of the day, I’ve stood on the podium many times, just not on the top step, and had a huge amount of rewards every time I’ve been to Bathurst regardless, whether it’s pole positions or standing on second or third,” he says. “I look back on it based on how lucky have I been to do that and have the achievements I’ve had rather than looking at it on a negative side and getting screwed up about not winning it.” Using the ‘best driver to never win Bathurst’ tag to describe Seton, frankly, does him a disservice anyway. The first title

Glenn Seton defeated John Bowe to win the 1997 V8 Supercars title.



FE p48-52 Seton.indd 48

2/03/2023 9:49:24 AM


FE p48-52 Seton.indd 49

49 2/03/2023 9:49:35 AM


winner of the V8 era, the first V8 Supercars (now Supercars) champion, factory driver, team-owner/driver and member of one of Australia’s great touring-car dynasties. Vanguard of our sport’s transition from the vocation of old hands to young, hungry guns.


Seton’s recent Bathurst gallop was notable for the fact his son Aaron was one of his co-drivers. It was like the 1983 Bathurst 1000 all over again, except then he was the 18-year-old Seton and his father, Bo, was acting in the senior role. They came close to clocking a father/son class win that day back in 1983, building a huge lead in their Ford Capri until the crankshaft upped and left for the boozer with just 16 laps to run. “It has been history repeating; it’s amazing when you look at it,” he says. “You don’t think much about your earlier days until later on in life, but to have that opportunity back in 1983 to race with my dad and my first time at Bathurst, it was really special, and to run with Aaron has been very special, too.”

Aaron now plies his trade in the Dunlop Super2 Series, after making his main-game debut at Bathurst in 2022. In the process, the Setons became the first family to have three generations take part in Australia’s Great Race. “He’s in the early part of his career and I’m at the end of my career. It was so great to be able to put that together because you never know if that opportunity to have a drive together might ever pop up again,” says the middle Seton. “He’d really like to do Supercars, there’s no doubt about that, but it’s a hard road to get there. “Financially it’s going to be quite draining to get there. The stepping stones to get there can be intensive. “He’s a really grounded kid and really thinks about what he’s doing. A good thing also is he doesn’t throw cars away and tear them up, so that’s a really good sign of being able to show the pace but at the same time not tear cars up as he’s making the pace.” And for the progenitor of the Seton motorsport dynasty, Bo. It must be special for him to see the whole Seton father/son thing playing out again on the track?

“He watches everything that Aaron’s doing now and really takes a lot of interest in it,” says Seton. “Naturally, being the third generation racer, being a motorsport family for all of our lives, we’re all very proud of what Aaron’s done, especially my dad. It’s pretty special.”


If Craig Lowndes is the guy who threw open the door to young guns, then Seton nudged it open first. His Bathurst debut at 18 in the family Capri and some championship outings in early 1984 were soon followed by an offer to join the factory Nissan outfit, run by Fred Gibson. Outings were initially sporadic – Bathurst that year in the EXA, a run in the Bluebird at Baskerville in the final Group C race held in the country – and 1985 was a write-off as Nissan sat on the sidelines gearing up its new Skyline challenger for Group A. But when the Skyline finally arrived in 1986, Seton was ready to do the same. A shared drive in the team’s second car during the championship immediately showed his promise, and soon he had his

Peter Jackson backing allowed Glenn Seton to set up his own team, which would go on to win two championships.



FE p48-52 Seton.indd 50

2/03/2023 9:49:54 AM

Seton senior and junior teamed up at Gibson Motorsport under team boss Fred Gibson.

first podium finishes in the bag (Calder and Barbagallo). By the ripe old age of 21, he had won the second-biggest touring-car race in the country, the Sandown 500, with teammate George Fury. “Fred was great,” says Seton. “He was a really good boss, very fair and he brought a lot of good young guys on, which was fantastic for motorsport. That’s one of the big reasons the sport today is flooded with good young talent. “And I was hugely lucky throughout my career. I got great opportunities... Fred, naturally my dad – he had a touring car when I first started in sedan racing. So I got the introduction straight into it, from the ground floor, to become a professional race driver in this country. Those opportunities are much more difficult to get these days without a huge amount of finance.” Seton attributes a big part of finding his feet so quickly in 1986 to having the best teammate a young driver could hope for. “George was a really, really good team partner to have for the years I was with Nissan,” says Seton. “I really enjoyed my time with George, and I learnt a hell of a lot from him. When you’ve got blokes like that mentoring and being a help to you, it makes it pretty easy

when you’re a young bloke at that age competing in a factory team. I’m really grateful for that era and being involved in that era with George.” By 1987, the protégé was starting to outgrow the mentor, and it was Seton who led the factory Nissan charge that year, winning his first championship races and famously battling BMW star Jim Richards for the championship. He didn’t win it – or Bathurst, where he finished second after bad luck with safety-car timing dropped his car behind the Peter Brock Commodore that would eventually be awarded the race win – but he found out that year he was good enough to win. “That was a pretty key year, knowing I could match it with them. It was definitely a turnaround in confidence and where I was heading,” he says.


Trace the history of today’s Tickford team all the way back to the beginning and you end up in 1989 with the formation of Glenn Seton Racing. It was a bold move for a driver still yet to turn 24 and not without its challenges, but one he doesn’t regret making. “Nissan no longer wanted to be associated with cigarette advertising, so Peter

Jackson were forced to move on for 1989,” says Seton. “They approached my dad and myself and asked if we were interested in setting up a race team. My dad and I looked at it based on it being an opportunity to set up a professional race team and make my career, make it so at least we could control my destiny in motor racing, not only as a driver but also as a team owner. I look back on it now and, gee, I probably would never have achieved as much as I have without doing that.” It was tough going early on. The first Ford Sierra the team built for 1989 was destroyed in a fiery crash at Lakeside, putting it right on the back foot. “That was an unbelievably tough year; to put together a race team and then to have to build another car halfway through the season as well, it nearly broke us to be honest,” says Seton. But pressure makes diamonds. While Dick Johnson Racing’s dominance of the time, then the arrival of the Skyline GT-R, meant the big wins and titles escaped Seton’s grasp in the sunset years of Group A, his team would get its head around the Sierra and become a more and more potent player.


FE p48-52 Seton.indd 51

51 2/03/2023 9:50:04 AM


In 1990 he won the Sandown 500 again and that year’s Endurance Championship. In 1991 he finished the ATCC as the best of the Sierras and in 1992 he scored the team’s first championship race win at Symmons Plains. When the V8 formula took over from Group A in 1993, he and his team were ready to make the big time. “That introduction of the V8 formula was probably the turnaround point for our race team,” says Seton. “I’ll never forget the first time I tested the Falcon, which was at Phillip Island when we built the first car in 1992, the car we took to Sandown and Bathurst, and I couldn’t believe the grip it had with the wings and the front undertrays they had on them and how easy it was to drive compared to the Sierra. “We spent a lot of that year building that car and getting ready for 1993. That was a really good decision in terms of where we went because we were straight out of the blocks in 1993; we were very competitive.” Dominant is probably a more accurate way to describe Glen Seton Racing’s 1993. Seton won four of the nine rounds, two more went to his teammate Alan Jones and they finished one-two in the championship. Today, Seton’s only regret is the way

he wrapped up that first crown. “I won the championship sitting in a gravel trap at Wanneroo because I’d gone down the back to Kolb corner, locked the rears and I ended up parked in the gravel,” he says. “That was a little bit of an anti-climax, but it was pretty rewarding in terms of what we’d gone through for years with the Sierras and then with the Falcon and a new formula.”


The team’s maiden title success was like the cork in a champagne bottle, and the team would stay right up with the front-runners for almost the next half decade. While Seton didn’t win the title in 1994, ’95 or ’96, he did finish on the title podium each of those years (second, second and third) and kept clocking up the wins. Then in 1997, the first year of V8 Supercars, he won his second championship, and the one he is most proud of today. “When I look back on it and think about 1997, which was the year I won the championship when it was first renamed V8 Supercars, I had a very small team of guys,” says Seton. “One single car, I engineered the

car myself and ran the car, drove it. “It was the end of the cigarette era at the end of 1995, so we didn’t even know if we were going to go racing in 1996. The Ford Credit deal came along at the last minute, and we had to phase back to a single car because it wasn’t a lot of money. We sort of spent 1996 focusing on getting the package back together and everything working again. In 1996 (at Bathurst) we qualified on pole. We had a really fast car, and that car rolled into 1997. “We were a staff of six people, we had a very limited budget, we had a car that was really strong, really good, and we went out and beat the Holden Racing Team and many others who were spending a lot more than us. I’m pretty proud of that year.” Today, Seton is still the last team-owner/ driver to have won a championship. Can he see it ever happening again? “I see where it is today and see that a single guy couldn’t do all that sort of stuff in a race team and win a championship,” he says. “I don’t know if it’ll ever be achieved (again). There are not many out there who are team owners who can actually run the team and things like that. I don’t think there’s anyone, really.”




FE p48-52 Seton.indd 52

2/03/2023 9:50:15 AM

P.O.Box 3186, The Pines, VIC, AUS 3109

p53 Autopics.indd 1

6/03/2023 2:56:36 PM





FE p54-58 Ambrose.indd 54

2/03/2023 9:50:54 AM

IMAGES Justin Deeley,

Marcos Ambrose stormed onto the scene with Stone Brothers Racing in 2001, soon putting Ford back on top after a period of Holden rule. We reflect on the game-changing arrival of the ‘Devil Racer’. AS TOLD BY V8X / SUPERCAR XTRA MAGAZINE

FE p54-58 Ambrose.indd 55

55 2/03/2023 9:51:04 AM


Marcos Ambrose sensationally scored pole position for his first Bathurst 1000 in 2001.



wenty-plus years ago, the Holden Racing Team was dominant. Mark Skaife was in the middle of a threepeat in the championship, while Ford seemed to be on its knees. The AU Falcon was hard work relative to the speedier VX Commodore, but there was a changing of the guard in the Ford ranks. Dick Johnson Racing and Glenn Seton Racing were fading from their former glory, while Stone Brothers Racing (SBR) was emerging. Enter a young Marcos Ambrose for the #4 Pirtek Falcon, with an equally young David Besnard in the #9 Caltex Falcon. Ambrose was talented, ambitious and committed to success. He fitted into the team like a hand fits into its favourite glove. It was, in essence, the perfect combination to unseat the best. He signalled his intent with pole position for his first-ever race at the non-championship Australian Grand Prix. Four race meetings into the season he had his first round win at Hidden Valley Raceway. He went on to finish on the podium eight times and started from pole position three times, including for his first Bathurst 1000. For SBR, Ambrose was a key part of the plan to win championships. He brought the talent and focus it needed to take the next step. It was a risk, but it was calculated.

“It did work well and people said it was a gamble,” says Ross Stone on the recruitment of the two young drivers. “Jimmy and I both thought that if you could drive a Formula Ford, well, you could drive a V8 Supercar. “Marcos didn’t drive us any harder than we were already going, although he knew how to get people around him, but any good driver does that. “We had what we thought was a reasonable car and good engineering. But he was perfect; he was just what we were looking for.” There was a new edge to SBR, and they continued building on a path to the top of the tree. “The timing was right; we had been going for a while and starting to get a bit established with everything we needed, and it was time to get the job done,” adds Stone. “Marcos obviously had a lot of talent, but the second thing is he was a smart operator. He knew what was needed to get the job done, and he just focused on that and whatever it took. He was away in no time.” After Ambrose left Australia to race in open-wheel junior categories in Europe between 1998 and 2000, he stayed in constant contact with the Stones, which kept him on their radar. Honda had a youngguns invitational race on the Gold Coast in 2000, for which he was a late addition having just returned from Europe.


FE p54-58 Ambrose.indd 56

2/03/2023 9:51:17 AM

“We watched how seriously he took that project; he was all eyes and ears and in there doing everything that needed to be done, so I guess that’s what started it all off,” says Stone. Ambrose was solely focused on what he needed to do to win races. He didn’t suffer fools outside the team, and that gave him a reputation. Most people never got to see the real Ambrose because he was so focused on what he needed to do to win. He built a great understanding with a young Paul Forgie, who had been promoted at SBR to engineer the #4 car, and together they set about winning and building the sort of driver-engineer relationship that makes all the difference. “He had such a good feel for the car even though he hadn’t driven a V8 Supercar before, but coming from the hard racing he’d done in Europe in Formula 3 and Formula Ford, he’d learnt a lot,” says Forgie. “He was pretty determined and had a great skill level. Even that first race meeting he ended up getting pole position there straight away. “The AU, to be fair, wasn’t really competitive with the aero-balance that was more rearward, and we lacked in the front compared to the Holden at the time, so we were on the back foot to start with. “We managed to chip away at the car from what he could notice and feel from racing around the other guys near the front. His feedback was good, and we knew what we had to do. “He was also good at feeling small changes, stuff that sometimes is hard to pick up on a data trace. He was able to pinpoint understeer, half a tyre width wider than he wanted to be at a corner when we couldn’t see it. “We had some pole positions, even pole at Bathurst that year, so his outright speed was there. But the speed for the whole race, there was some stuff to work on. Sometimes his starts weren’t the best in the field, as they are hard cars to get off the line, and he worked on that until he had it mastered. “The following year with the AU, the last round of the year at Sandown was a big turning point. You don’t do it very often, but he was quickest in every session for the weekend and won the races. We knew we were competitive at that stage, and the following year the new BA was a definite upgrade for us, and the work we’d done on the AU helped us to get on top of that quickly. “It’s a whole package to win races. You’ve got to have the car, the engine, the driver, and the team in the pits.” Only Craig Lowndes in 1996 had made such an immediate impression. With round and race wins with the AU Falcon in 2001 and 2002, including the dominant weekend in the 2002 season finale at Sandown, Ambrose was ready to capitalise on the arrival of the new BA Falcon in 2003. “I came back at the right time, fell into a fantastic team with fantastic people, and the timing was perfect for my run into the sport… and for Ross and AS TOLD BY V8X / SUPERCAR XTRA MAGAZINE

FE p54-58 Ambrose.indd 57

57 2/03/2023 9:51:34 AM


After his rookie heroics in the AU Falcon, Marcos Ambrose took the BA Falcon to back-to-back championships.


Jim too with their team,” says Ambrose. “They were up and coming as well and still fairly new as a team, and they were transitioning from older and more established drivers to a couple of young guys. “I didn’t view the Falcon as being inferior; I was paid to race cars and just drove it as fast as I could and tried to help the team set it up as good as they could. I had Paul Forgie and Ben Croke and a whole bunch of young guys with some older guys with amazing talent and so much depth in the team.” The pole positions at the Australian Grand Prix and Bathurst 1000 as a rookie set the tone for the Ambrose-SBR combination, sending a clear message to the rest of the field. “I was brand new in the car and I was an ambassador for the Grand Prix, so they had me running around in the week of the race sort of doing all sorts of things,” reflects Ambrose. “I was sort of pushed and pulled all over the place, and I had never really driven a V8 around a street track. I had never even driven on new tyres, and I didn’t know what I was doing. I bobbled around there for the first three or four laps, and I just didn’t do a good lap. I had about three or four minutes to go out at the end of the session and do a time. I thought, ‘Right, well, this is going to be the lap right here!’ And I made it stick and the rest is history. “I got the pole and Mark [Skaife] came in the window and looked at me with those big eyes and said, ‘Oh, you cut the track! You must’ve cut the

track! You cut the track, didn’t you?’ I am like, ‘Nah, I didn’t cut the track, mate.’ And that’s where it started, the whole thing kicked off. “It was going to be a battle for the next five years between Ford and Holden, and me and Mark and [Greg] Murphy. “It was a shock to me too, to be honest. I started the race the next day and we had completely missed on the tyre pressures and I went from pole to eighth and I was wobbling around and I couldn’t keep the car on the track. “In many ways, I was out of my league but somehow managed to survive. And that is what my first year was. I didn’t really understand the dynamics of a big, heavy race car or who I was racing against. Even the politics in the sport. I just jumped in the car and drove, and it is a sink or swim situation.” The rest is history. Ambrose won two consecutive championships with the BA Falcon in 2003 and 2004 and was in contention for a third in 2005, which was won by teammate Russell Ingall. At the start of the 2005 season he announced he was leaving at season’s end to race NASCAR, where he made history as one of only a few non-American drivers to win a NASCAR Cup race. Ambrose started his first race from pole in 2001 and left with a pair of race wins in 2005. His time in Supercars may have been limited, including his ill-fated comeback in 2014 and 2015, but his impact on the sport and Ford cannot be understated.


FE p54-58 Ambrose.indd 58

2/03/2023 9:51:49 AM





*P&H costs for Aus & NZ deliveries only. 126A HOLDEN AT BATHURST Frame not included





Available to order online at p59 SCX Posters.indd 1

6/03/2023 3:44:35 PM


IMAGES James Baker, Justin Deeley




he rebranded V8 Supercars category had been built on the rivalry between Holden and Ford. But into the 2000s it was a one-sided fight that threatened to derail the category. Led by Mark Skaife and the Holden Racing Team, the Commodore ruled on the race track with a string of championship and Bathurst wins, while the VT and VX Commodores also dominated in the marketplace. Ford was left trailing with what many consider to be the worst Falcon produced, the AU. The AU was rushed into production to compete with Holden’s


VT Commodore and released in September of 1998. But the radical design of the front grille, which varied greatly from the standard range to the XR series that formed the basis for the V8 Supercar, coupled with interior-design flaws and reliability issues, set Ford back. Ford Australia reported a pre-tax loss of $33.6 million in 2001, and sales of Falcon sedans slumped to a 35-year low. Design plans for a new model, including the involvement of head office designers and a new philosophy within Ford Australia, began ahead of schedule in 1999. A clean slate was required to undo the damage caused by the AU Falcon, which was failing in


FE p60-62 Iconic Cars BA Falcon.indd 60

2/03/2023 9:52:15 AM

the marketplace and on the race track. Ford Australia ended the AU’s manufacturing cycle in four years, the shortest in the manufacturer’s history, and the BA series was unveiled in July of 2002. Every panel was new except for the carry-over door skins. The design was more in line with Ford’s global designs with a cleaner and more sophisticated appearance. The XR range would also feature a more dynamic look with a lower ride height and wide-open air intake. The BA Falcon is said to have cost Ford Australia half a billion dollars to design and develop, though it was considered a worthy investment with its success in the marketplace undoing the stain of the AU. Wheels magazine named the BA the ‘Car of the Year’ for 2002, describing it as “the most eloquent ever expression of Australia’s unique automotive identity” with “a more sophisticated and worldly outlook.” Ford Australia reported a $14.85 million gain in 2002 followed by a profit of $204.23 million in 2003. The V8 Supercar version of the BA would conform to new technical regulations to even the playing field and end the squabbles over parity between the Falcon and Commodore. Chassis pick-up points, wheelbase, track and driving position and double frontwishbone suspensions were shared across both models under the ‘Project Blueprint’ regulations. Ford Australia’s in-house-developed BA V8 Supercar made its public debut at Mount Panorama in October 2002. Ford hero Dick Johnson took then Ford boss Geoff Polites for a lap on the morning of the Bathurst 1000, giving Blue Oval fans hope on a day when Skaife and Holden dominated yet again. Ford teams were well positioned to take advantage

of the new technical regulations in 2003. Stone Brothers Racing had emerged as the most competitive Ford team with the AU, with Marcos Ambrose leading the way. Elsewhere, the British-owned Ford Performance Racing carried the factory-team status with its owners Prodrive also taking over road-car division Tickford to form Ford Performance Vehicles. Later in the year, Triple Eight Race Engineering purchased Briggs Motorsport to add to the British influence in V8 Supercars. The BA made a winning debut, with Ambrose taking victory in the first race of the season in Adelaide. While Skaife took out the round in Holden’s new VY Commodore, the BA won the next seven rounds, six of them for Stone Brothers Racing. Holden teams bounced back with endurance wins at Sandown and Bathurst, but Ambrose had the momentum in the championship. He sealed his first title with a round sweep at the Eastern Creek season finale, ending a six-year championship drought for Ford. Ambrose won the title again in 2004 in addition to victory in the Sandown 500, with teammate Russell Ingall finishing second in the championship standings. It was Ingall’s turn to win the title in 2005; making it three consecutive drivers’ and teams’ championships for Stone Brothers Racing. Triple Eight was coming of age, too, with the arrival of Craig Lowndes leading to breakthrough wins in 2005, including at the Sandown 500. Lowndes had left Ford Performance Racing after two uncompetitive seasons, though the factory team would turn things around in 2006. The team won the

ABOVE: Marcos Ambrose and Stone Brothers Racing emerged as a dominant force with the BA Falcon. TOP LEFT: The BA replaced the AU, in a significant design change for Ford. TOP RIGHT: Ford Australia’s initial sketch of the BA Falcon Supercar.


FE p60-62 Iconic Cars BA Falcon.indd 61

61 2/03/2023 9:52:30 AM



2003 Drivers’ championship: Marcos Ambrose 2003 Teams’ championship: Stone Brothers Racing 2004 Drivers’ championship: Marcos Ambrose 2004 Teams’ championship: Stone Brothers Racing 2004 Sandown 500 win: Marcos Ambrose/Greg Ritter (SBR) 2005 Drivers’ championship: Russell Ingall 2005 Teams’ championship: Stone Brothers Racing 2005 Sandown 500 win: Craig Lowndes/Yvan Muller (T8) 2006 Sandown 500 win: Jason Bright/Mark Winterbottom (FPR) 2006 Bathurst 1000 win: Craig Lowndes/Jamie Whincup (T8)

Triple Eight scored its first Bathurst 1000 win with the BA Falcon in 2006.

Stone Brothers Racing completed a hat-trick of titles in 2005.


Sandown 500 in 2006, a third straight Sandown win for the BA. Bathurst had proved a bugbear for Ford, though, with seven consecutive wins for Holden from 1999 to 2005. It was Triple Eight with Lowndes and Jamie Whincup who would break that stranglehold with a much-deserved Mount Panorama success for the BA in 2006. However, the championship run came to an end that season. Stone Brothers Racing lost its way when Ambrose left for NASCAR, while Lowndes lost out to Holden’s Rick Kelly following a controversial tangle at Phillip Island. The BA set the groundwork for the BF and FG Falcons, with which Triple Eight would emerge as the dominant team. However, it was Ford Australia’s inability to keep Triple Eight tied to the Blue Oval that would hand the momentum back to Holden. Ford wouldn’t have been in that position without the BA, though. Had it failed to end Holden’s domination and undo the damage of the AU, the Ford versus Holden rivalry could well have come to an early end.


FE p60-62 Iconic Cars BA Falcon.indd 62

2/03/2023 9:52:37 AM


SETO: THE OFFICIAL RACING HISTORY OF GLENN SETON Prices do not include P+H. Please contact us for postage and handling to regions outside Australia or NZ.


14/03/2023 9:48:42 AM



Prodrive Racing Australia (now Tickford Racing) experienced the highest of highs and lowest of lows in 2015, from dominant race wins with both veteran Mark Winterbottom and rising star Chaz Mostert to the latter’s horrific qualifying crash at Bathurst. This is how the friendship between the teammates shaped the team’s incredible campaign with the FG X Falcon.



FE p64-69 Ford Fighters.indd 64

6/03/2023 10:44:19 AM


t was a weekend that defined the championship. Chaz Mostert’s season-ending crash on Friday at Bathurst opened the door for Mark Winterbottom to take control of the 2015 championship. But there he was plodding around well outside the 10 on race day, nowhere near enough to put a lock on the series and keep his 300point lead over Craig Lowndes and David Reynolds. On lap 102, his car was pitted in the key call of the race; the dice was rolled and he was the first onto slicks at the end of a wet stint. When Lowndes pitted on the next lap he returned to the track just in front of Winterbottom. He had jumped from nowhere into contention. The risky call worked. Up until Bathurst the season had been all about the competitive tension between the young charger Mostert and the experienced old fox Winterbottom; different energies from two drivers at very different parts of their careers. And motor racing is all about controlling energies and maximising the return. Prodrive Racing Australia (now known as Tickford Racing) managed it well in 2015. Hence the fact that prior to Mostert’s injury, it held first, second and third in the championship with Reynolds also coming to the party. With Mostert out, the title was Winterbottom’s to lose, and after more than a decade of knocking on the door, his quest was made easier on Friday afternoon at Bathurst. Not that he was thinking that way; his teammate had just been hurt and it took a while to even turn his attention to the title. “I was sitting in the car waiting to go out and they announced there had been a big crash; I knew Chaz was on the track and I was hoping it wasn’t him,” said Winterbottom. “Then I saw the crash, and I really didn’t want to get

in the car and do qualifying. It is not that I was scared or anything; I was taking an emotional battering. “Yes, he’s a competitor, but he’s also a friend. When it happened, I was thinking about him and not the championship; I couldn’t believe it when someone asked me that a little later… ‘Are you serious?’ was my reply. “You just don’t think that way, and at any rate, it is not how you want to win the championship.” While the battle between Winterbottom and Mostert was fascinating, it relied on the team getting the 2015 Falcon racer right. Despite the protestation of the Holden teams, the Falcon was clearly handicapped with its aero package prior to 2015. It took a while to get some upgrades on the FG and to restore the aero balance when it had its rear wing trimmed to help the others. The change to the FG X in 2015 gave the drivers a more stable car to race, especially under brakes, and the once under-the-pump team became the dominant force in pitlane. With a better car to drive, the drivers were making fewer mistakes and because they were starting at the front and controlling the pace, the team was doing likewise. It looked like a different team from its previous guise as Ford Performance Racing; a united team. All four drivers – Reynolds and André Heimgartner (under the Super Black Racing banner) – seemed to get on really well and there was a level of trust. Team principal Tim Edwards gave the approval to race each other, just don’t take each other out. Winterbottom said the competitive tension was a good thing. “The whole team’s going good, so I think it is healthy,” he said at the time.


FE p64-69 Ford Fighters.indd 65

65 6/03/2023 10:44:30 AM


ABOVE & BELOW: The high and low of Chaz Mostert’s season; victory at Sydney Motorsport Park followed by the horrific qualifying accident at Mount Panorama.


“When you’ve got all the cars competitive it helps. In the past we’ve sometimes had cars that aren’t and it hurts the boys downstairs probably more than the driver because they all work the same hours and they see one car getting sprayed all the time with champagne and one getting repaired. “When everyone’s pushing each other I think it’s good; it’s healthy. It’s very open, too, we don’t have secrets in the garage.”

In terms of the drivers, Winterbottom could’ve been classified as the veteran. He had a decade’s more experience than Mostert, half a decade on Reynolds and a decade and a half on Heimgartner. So he took the wise-owl role, having fought through the tough times with the team and enjoyed the fruits of his season at the front. “Everyone’s got their strengths and weaknesses but I don’t feel any pressure because Chaz is out qualifying me,” he said. “Everyone seems to write more than what’s going on, every situation’s different and every driver’s going to bring different things to the table. “I am enjoying working with Chaz and being a part of his career. We get on really well and I like to think we help each other out, and that goes for Dave as well and for André and Cam (Waters) and everyone who’s at this team. It’s good to be part of things and when you see them getting results it’s some of your contribution, and when you win it’s vice versa. “A young bloke’s different to an older guy, but at the same time they’re always going to be better in an area or worse in an area – his speed in qualifying has been impressive – so it’s good to be part of different things.” Mostert’s climb to the top was rapid. He raced against Nick Percat in the Dunlop Super2 Series before Percat won at Bathurst, and even back then Edwards was confident his driver was the better of the two. Mostert said the environment in which he was placed was having a big impact on him, and it was


FE p64-69 Ford Fighters.indd 66

6/03/2023 10:44:42 AM

ABOVE: Despite his best championship charge, David Reynolds left the Prodrive Racing Australia team for Erebus Motorsport in 2016.

BELOW: Chaz Mostert proved to be the fastest of the Ford runners in 2015, with 10 pole positions before his season ended prematurely.

speeding up his learning curve. “It’s massively open,” Mostert said of the working relationships with his teammate. “We both had similar backgrounds growing up and we’ve tried very hard to get to V8 Supercars. What gets me going quicker is Frosty pushing me as hard as he can, and I like to think the same happens when I’m doing the same with him. “We’re both out there working extremely hard in our cars and we always overlay our data trying to work out where the other guy might be faster and how we can improve ours to go there. That’s what so good about our team; we’ve been able to do that across three and four cars, and I think that’s what’s really edged us on with this FG X development curve at the moment. “At the start of the year we weren’t completely happy with the balance but we’ve gone on pretty quickly in the first year, which is extraordinary from a team perspective. “I’ve learnt a lot of Frosty in the last couple of years, still learning every day. On track he’s pushing me very, very hard, which is great. I’ve never really got along with teammates like I have with Frosty, so it’s pretty special – it’s like a marriage, really.” The pair even took holidays together, which is a unique concept in teammates getting on with each other, which is just another reason why the Bathurst crash shook the veteran. Those inter-team rivalries are real, often glazed over by PR men and displayed through gritted teeth.

On-track contact has the ability to explode off the track; fighting drivers are often rushed straight into closed rooms to sort out the blue in private… then they come out smiling. Sandown may have got close to testing the limits of the friendship with contact in qualifying, but no real harm was done. “I think last year was a massive learning curve for me and the team,” said Mostert. “We struggled with the car a lot in some areas. We learnt how to try and survive when you really weren’t in the position you thought you should be. This year the car was firing on all cylinders; it is working really well and it’s doing everything that I want it to do from inputs. “So going from one year where you’re struggling and just trying to get up the pointy end, to where now you can qualify at the pointy end regularly… it makes the job a bit easier. That battle last year is helping us this year, even though our battle is different.” Mostert’s qualifying was a bit of a revelation. For years, Winterbottom was a qualifying gun, a specialist on pulling out that super-fast lap when the chequered flag was waving but in 2015 he had to play second fiddle to his younger teammate. But while Mostert was winning the poles, Winterbottom was winning the starts. The difference in both was about percentages and how much risk you are prepared to take. Winterbottom had his eyes on the race, even in qualifying, where


FE p64-69 Ford Fighters.indd 67

67 6/03/2023 10:44:56 AM


ABOVE: The one-two finish for Prodrive Racing Australia at the Sandown 500 proved poignant following Chaz Mostert’s season-ending crash at the following event at Mount Panorama. RIGHT: Mark Winterbottom wrapped up the 2015 championship win at the season finale in Sydney.


Mostert has been able to let it all hang out and shoot at pole. “You get one lap to try it on new tyres in qualifying and it’s often the 95 percent lap is better than trying to win it or bin it, that’s how I feel at the moment,” Winterbottom said of giving up the qualifying mantle. “Chaz can do a 100 percent lap because he can feel what’s going on.” The inference was the new car suited Mostert more than Winterbottom, who had to work on a new driving style. It worked in the races more than qualifying. Sometimes it was little more than the start the decided the win. “It’s been hit and miss at the starts and you’ve got to try and do whatever works for you,” said Winterbottom. “The way the formats are you just have to start the races well, no matter where you qualify. Ideally if you can do what Chaz is doing and get it right every time, you’d go and do it. But when you feel like a good lap is second and a bad lap is 15th or something, you’re better off getting on the front row and racing from there. “It is the way qualifying is structured that holds you back, you just don’t get enough green tyres to give it a real go. I got poles at the Australian Grand Prix when we had three sets of tyres and you can have three genuine cracks at it. “In the past we had more sets of tyres for each session, so it was different and it was fun. Now, for me, there’s too much consequence versus reward.” The starts, however, were a different story and laid the foundations for a dominant mid-part of the season for Winterbottom. While the polesitter was trying to get away well, Winterbottom was flying away and winning races. “If you’re starting against gun starter like Frosty you need to have it all spot-on when it goes green,” Mostert explained. “I’m really suited to the car over the one lap and I’m feeling comfortable. For the starts, I am now taking a bit of a PlayStation type of approach to it; I look at

the lights a lot more on the steering wheel and just try to get that right. “The way Frosty starts a car, I’ve never been able to do that, he’s very good at picking the point with his clutch without being on the clutch and gets awesome starts all the time. Where me, I’ve got to have that feeling that I know the clutch is working right now and it’s engaged, which is totally two different styles. “It’s very hard to say I just need to do what he does, because I feel if I went there I’d be probably be more inconsistent with my starts. We’ve jumped in to each other’s car as passengers on a couple of ride days and his driving style is a bit different to mine, and that is the same with the starts. “I’m just trying to get what I need from the car and what I might need might be sometimes the opposite to the other guys. Mostly this year, though, we’ve all been chasing the same thing and going down the same line.” So with each driver pushing each other, the charge to the front of the field was significant. All three drivers from the previous year’s squad were contenders late in the season, where in previous years that wasn’t always the case. As expected, many were questioning the parity of the cars but, as Mostert indicated earlier, the past few seasons battling from behind gave them more of an edge that any possible aero advantage. Winterbottom doubted that any advantage exists. “All the numbers are there so you’ve just got to have a look at the numbers,” he said.



FE p64-69 Ford Fighters.indd 68

6/03/2023 10:45:09 AM

“Holden and Roland (Dane) had people at the test, so he would have sent that person there because he trusts them. We haven’t come up with something illegal, we’ve just gone to the test, got our package then tested and developed. “When you are racing at the front it looks like everything is going to plan. But the team’s confident now, there’s a different feel to it... there’s a good morale and belief. But effectively when you’re leading and five seconds up the road, a one-second slower pitstop doesn’t cost you five spots. Having pace normally makes everything else look good as well.” The Falcons had tracks where they clearly struggled, but in 2015 it was about levelling out the troughs. It was the key to getting three drivers into a championship-winning position, and then it came down to the drivers and how they handled it on the track. “I think the team’s pretty excited having two cars on the front row so often, it’s better than having one car up the front and another one nowhere,” said Mostert. “As drivers, we’ve got more of a gentleman’s agreement, we’re going to race hard together and try and push away from everyone else. And if we get one-two, it doesn’t matter which way it is, as long as we get to spray each other with champagne… then it’s been an awesome weekend for the team. “We’re just lucky enough to be the guy that gets the name on the door but it’s the other 60 people at the workshop putting all the hard work and sweat and tears in. I guess we’re showcasing the little rocket that they’ve built and we don’t want to throw it away for them.” The longer-term view was taken by Winterbottom, the elder statesman of the Prodrive crew. He said you need to stick to your agreements or it all comes tumbling down. “We’re both here for a long time, so it might be

you get a gain at one race but it won’t gain you over your career,” he said. “There’s times when Chaz has been coming through with the indicator on, so I’ll let him pass and vice versa. We actually help each other out to get forward. “If you screw a guy over tomorrow he’ll definitely get you; every driver’s got good memories and it just doesn’t serve anything. “I’ve seen it at other teams, people try and benefit themselves, they get selfish and then the next week it comes off second best for them and the team morale drops and the results drop, and it’s not good for anyone really. That won’t be us.” Both drivers had more years left than Prodrive had with the Falcon, so nailing that year’s title had several layers of significance for Winterbottom. “You start this sport with goals,” said Winterbottom. “Bathurst was one and I ticked that off in 2013, but the title was the big one… to be the best over a season has always been my goal. I had a lot of pride with the #1 on my kart, I can’t imagine how this will feel in V8 Supercars.”

The 2015 season produced another head-to-head championship battle between Prodrive Racing Australia and Triple Eight Race Engineering.


FE p64-69 Ford Fighters.indd 69

69 6/03/2023 10:45:23 AM


IMAGES Ford Australia

The Ford Mustang returned to Australian touring cars under the Gen2 rules in 2019. The two-door coupe helped usher in a new era for Supercars, which set the foundations for Gen3.


n May 2013, when Ford announced the end of Australian manufacturing and the retirement of the Falcon, Blue Oval Supercars fans were left to ponder what was coming next. Eighteen months later, Ford pulled its funding from



FE p70-73 Pony Power.indd 70

its factory-backed Supercars outfit, Ford Performance Racing, forcing the front-running team to rebrand and race the final Falcon, the FG X, without the head office’s backing. Without Ford’s involvement, it seemed impossible that a Blue Oval-badged alternative to the Falcon would be greenlit.

6/03/2023 1:17:03 PM

It appeared Ford’s storied history in Australian touring cars was coming to an end, leaving a big chunk of Supercars’ fanbase without its favourite make. Yet the stars aligned for the return of Ford with its American muscle car.

In September of 2014, American giant Team Penske partnered with Ford regular Dick Johnson Racing to form DJR Team Penske. Roger Penske’s outfit ran Fords in NASCAR, with ‘The Captain’s’ strong relationship with head office in Detroit and its performance branch, Ford Performance, opening the door AS TOLD BY V8X / SUPERCAR XTRA MAGAZINE

FE p70-73 Pony Power.indd 71

71 6/03/2023 1:17:18 PM


for a rekindling of Ford’s interests in racing in Australia. In October of 2016, the last Falcon rolled off the production line at the Ford Australia factory at Broadmeadows in Victoria. The Mustang had already arrived into Australia as Ford’s new performance vehicle, with more than 6000 cars sold up until that point. Meanwhile, in the same month, the team formerly known as Ford Performance Racing revived the Tickford brand to offer performance upgrades to Ford products. With two teams possessing strong Ford connections and the Mustang ready to go, all that was needed was approval from head office. Rival Holden had committed to Supercars in the wake of its own local factory closure, importing the new-look ZB Commodore and racing it from the start of 2018. And then, finally, in April 2018 Ford confirmed its return to Supercars with the Mustang with backing for DJR Team Penske and Tickford Racing, in addition to the arrival of Ford Performance in Australia from 2019. “It was a matter of waiting for the right time both from a product point of view and from an investment point of view,” said Ford Australia president Graeme Whickman. “So we maintained that dialogue with the teams, and it’s obviously transpired that we feel like we are going to have a very successful outcome with the Mustang on the track. “It’s the right strategy, we have the right vehicles now, we want to connect with customers in that space.” In November 2018, the Ford Mustang Supercar broke cover. Two months earlier, the first Mustang NASCAR was also revealed ahead of its debut, also in 2019. Ford’s racing programs in America and Australia aligned, befitting the co-operation between players in both countries to bring the Mustang Supercar to life.


Six Mustang Supercars raced in the 2019 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship on a full-time basis, in addition to wildcard entries. DJR Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin won the drivers’ championship in 2018 with the FG X Falcon, fittingly a 17th and final championship for the Falcon courtesy of the #17 entry made famous by Dick Johnson. McLaughlin and teammate Fabian Coulthard suited up for a third consecutive season as teammates at DJR Team Penske. The Queensland-based team spearheaded the development of the Mustang Supercar, taking over from Tickford Racing as the designer and homologator for the new Ford. Technical guru Ludo Lacroix designed the aero kit of the Mustang Supercar, working closely with Team Penske and Ford Performance in America, tapping into the Computational Fluid Dynamics resources and knowledge they had of the Mustang GT4 for the Supercar and NASCAR. Lacroix designed the aero kits for the BF and FG Falcons and VF and VF II Commodores during his decade-plus stint with Triple Eight Race Engineering, working on the Mustang in addition to engineering McLaughlin to his championship win in 2018. Tickford Racing worked closely with DJR Team Penske to bring Ford back to the series and was open to handing over homologation status at a time when it had scaled down to three entries for 2019. Chaz Mostert and Cameron Waters remained with Tickford


Racing and were joined by veteran Lee Holdsworth, who replaced Mark Winterbottom in what was essentially a straight trade between Tickford and Holden outfit Team 18. Tickford Racing brought customer team 23 Red Racing into the fold, with Will Davison remaining in the entry.


Getting the balance right between the look and the need to produce an efficient racer is always a difficult task when turning a road car into a race car. It was made more difficult for the Mustang because it was the first two-door coupe fitted over the control chassis. The Mustang was raised up with a longer wheelbase, longer doors and narrower body to fit the control chassis, with no changes to the dimensions of the chassis forthcoming despite its arrival into the series. The obvious traits of the Mustang Supercar were the high roof, sloped nose, large rear wing and the Mustang front grille. The changes to the layout of the Mustang meant the drivers sat further forward of the B-pillar compared to the Falcon, even though the seat position is standard across all Supercars. The Mustang’s roof was more rounded front-to-back relative to other Supercars, a trait that carried across from the road car. Also inspired by the road car were the two bonnet vents, though they were closed off to comply with Supercars’ closed-body rules, with the air intakes in the front bar standard amongst all cars. Also closed off were the aperture on the base of the headlights, another trait from the road car. The rear wing extended off the back of the bootlid with flat endplates, similar to those on the FG X Falcon, though the wing connected to the body with a mount that ran along the length of the boot instead of on separate mounts. The design of the brake ducts and splitter was also noticeably different to other Supercars, with Ford entrants hoping to avoid the splitter-flap issues that plagued the ZB Commodore.


The Gen2 regulations that allowed a two-door coupe such as the Mustang to enter Supercars also allowed for engines other than V8s. Holden looked set to introduce a twin-turbo V6 in 2018 but changed plans and recommitted to the V8. Nissan explored alternatives to the V8 before withdrawing its backing in Supercars. Ford weighed up running a twin-turbocharged V6 rather than a V8 in the Mustang but ultimately settled on the proven V8 powerplant that ran in the Falcon. “We had a long discussion about powertrain, and first and foremost we needed to be competitive,” said Whickman. “I think the field is pretty open as to where you might go with powertrain, but our first toe back in the water is going to be with V8.” That decision meant Ford and its Supercars teams had a muchreduced workload, not having to worry about developing a new engine in addition to the aerodynamic package. Nissan, AMG Mercedes-Benz (via Erebus Motorsport) and Volvo Polestar had various struggles in matching up with the well-developed Ford and Holden V8 engines during their time in Supercars, so the continuity for Ford under the bonnet of the Mustang


FE p70-73 Pony Power.indd 72

30/03/2023 10:57:26 AM

significantly helped in the transition from the Falcon.


The Mustang Supercar had its initial shakedown run at Queensland Raceway before a full day of testing at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, which was favoured over other circuits given its high-speed nature. Straight-line testing was conducted over nine days at Temora Airfield in New South Wales, including parity testing against the Holden ZB Commodore and Nissan Altima, equalising downforce and drag by running a number of Mustang front and rear-wing options. There were some teething problems, with front bars proving too fragile, though that was addressed quickly. The Mustang Supercar’s homologation was confirmed on the 12th of December 2018, paving the way for DJR Team Penske and Tickford Racing to accelerate their build processes before Christmas.


With a control chassis and mechanical parts and welldeveloped V8 engines relatively on par, differences in aerodynamic balance were what distinguished the Mustang from the Holden ZB Commodore and Nissan Altima. The ZB Commodore won on debut and was in the championship mix until the final race courtesy of Triple Eight Race Engineering’s Shane van Gisbergen, though Holden teams did find it challenging to consistently get the setup right at different events. The bank of knowledge and experience from that

first season was a gain for Holden teams in 2019. The ZB Commodore achieved better low-drag performance than the Falcon, producing an advantage at high-speed tracks. The Mustang ran at Phillip Island to test highspeed mid-corner yaw ahead of its final homologation, with the aim of improving on the drag performance from the Falcon. The Nissan Altima received an aerodynamic adjustment following the homologation testing up against the Mustang, with a slight change to the gurney flap on its rear wing marking the first change to the Nissan since 2015. The ban of twin-spring dampers was a cost-cutting measure that limited the tuneable options for engineers and drivers, while all teams also had to adjust to the new Xtrac transaxle. Three new Fords won the championship on debut since the introduction of the Project Blueprint regulations that matched chassis pick-up points, wheelbase, track and driving positions across both manufacturers in 2003 – the BA Falcon in 2003, the FG Falcon in 2009 and the FG X Falcon in 2015. Considering the backing of Ford Australia and Ford Performance, the experience of Lacroix, the engineering nous of DJR Team Penske coupled with Tickford Racing, talent of the likes of McLaughlin and Mostert and the extensive measures to achieve parity between different cars, the Mustang Supercar was in a position to battle for the championship as soon as it rolled out in 2019. And it delivered in the hands of McLaughlin.


FE p70-73 Pony Power.indd 73

73 2/03/2023 11:35:17 AM



IMAGES Peter Norton, James Baker,, Dick Johnson Racing

Dick Johnson Racing stood on the brink of extinction entering 2013, facing mounting debts, a lack of sponsors and poor on-track results. Less than a decade on, it was back on top as one of the powerhouse teams in Supercars. This was the latest remarkable comeback story from a team that built its legend on fighting back from adversity.


he legend of Dick Johnson and Dick Johnson Racing was born with the championship and Bathurst double in 1981, a year after the devastation of crashing out of Bathurst after hitting a rock while leading. It wouldn’t be the last adversity they faced, with even more remarkable and complex fightbacks over the coming years. Dick Johnson Racing is currently one of the leading Ford team in Supercars, with a tally of 10 drivers’ championships, becoming the first team to win championships with three different car models – the Falcon, Sierra and Mustang.


FE p74-81 Salvation to Domination.indd 74

6/03/2023 1:18:11 PM

DOMINATION It is remarkable to think, then, that Johnson’s team was almost lost to Supercars, following the trough of a 10-year period in which it went from champions to also-rans and near financial collapse to champions again and a current powerhouse outfit. Dick Johnson Racing’s championship win with James Courtney in 2010 masked the trouble the team was in following a few bleak years. The collapse of 2005 title sponsor Westpoint and the failure of Johnson’s FirstRock Mortgage Centre and V8 Telecom businesses put the team’s budget under great strain, with its impact still felt despite Jim Beam’s backing leading into the championship-winning season.


FE p74-81 Salvation to Domination.indd 75

75 6/03/2023 1:18:27 PM


The bubble burst in the immediate aftermath of the championship win. Charlie Schwerkolt, who owned 50 percent of the business, left in acrimonious circumstances. He leased the #18 entry (his half share in the two-car team) to Dick Johnson Racing for 2011 and 2012. But with a two-year maximum lease option and Schwerkolt eager to start his own outfit, Dick Johnson Racing was left with just one entry, the #17. Championship-winning team manager Adrian Burgess and James Courtney also jumped ship, leaving significant voids for a team with a budget deficit. Experienced Englishman Malcolm Swetnam replaced Burgess as team manager, and rookie James Moffat teamed with Steven Johnson. But they didn’t produce results befitting the reigning champions with two podiums a far cry from the previous season. The customer Triple Eight Race Engineering Ford FG Falcons were rarely competitive, while Triple Eight had moved on to Holden and Dick Johnson Racing fell down the pecking order of Ford teams. More significantly for the long-term, though, was the arrival of Ryan Story in an official capacity. Story was a devoted Dick Johnson Racing fan who had a doctorate in mathematics and had developed a lucrative data mining/statistical analysis business. He provided some sponsorship to the team before developing a business plan to attract new backers. His expertise would prove critical in the coming years. Dick Johnson Racing doubled its operation in 2012 with an expansion to four cars. The two entries that arrived were from tie-ups with Dean Fiore and his Triple F Racing license and Paul Morris and his Paul Morris Motorsport license. The extra entries would give the team the option to hold on to a license when the Schwerkolt #18 would leave at the end of 2012. Also, with Jim Beam recommitting its sponsorship for the entries of Johnson and Fiore, internet-security company Norton could join as title sponsor of Moffat’s car. The four-car setup proved unsustainable, though, and the team slipped further down the grid with








12 15th

15 17


James Courtney


Steven Johnson


Steven Johnson



Chaz Mostert





Scott Pye

Scott Pye




Fabian Scott Scott Coulthard McLaughlin McLaughlin




1985 –1986




Dick Johnson Racing’s first Bathurst 1000 ended when Dick Johnson hit a rock while leading. The Ford XD Falcon was a write-off and the team’s future was in immediate doubt.

The outpouring of support after the Bathurst incident saw Johnson bounce back with a Bathurst victory in 1981 and championship wins in 1981, 1982 and 1984, becoming Ford’s lead entry.

The introduction of the Group A regulations forced the team to park the Falcon and switch to German-built Mustangs, which proved uncompetitive across 1985 and 1986.



FE p74-81 Salvation to Domination.indd 76

6/03/2023 10:49:30 AM

Johnson the best-placed entry in 17th. Swetnam left the team in April with title sponsor Jim Beam and investor Maurice Pickering also departing at the end of 2012. It was Pickering who had been working on a potential switch to Mazda for the team with the Car of the Future regulations coming in for 2013, though Dick Johnson Racing was left battling for survival entering the new era. A potential title sponsorship deal with Hungry Jack’s fell through with the late delivery of Supercars’ television-rights deal, adding to the strain given the added cost in the transition to the Car of the Future. Wilson Security stepped up with sponsorship, and Crimsafe co-founder Steve Braback remained loyal to Johnson, while Story became heavily involved by running the budget to ensure the team stayed afloat.


Dick Johnson can smile again after seeing his team return to the top of Supercars.

1990 –1992

1993 –1995




The team switched to the Sierra from 1987 and expanded to two cars with Shell as title sponsor. Johnson was unstoppable in 1988 and 1989, winning the championship and Bathurst in 1989.

The Sierra lost its advantage to the Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R from 1990. The all-conquering Skyline also defeated Dick Johnson Racing in a controversial finish to the 1992 Bathurst 1000.

The change to V8s in 1993 saw Dick Johnson Racing return to a Falcon, winning the Sandown 500 in 1994 and 1995, Bathurst 1000 in 1994 and a championship win for John Bowe in 1995.


FE p74-81 Salvation to Domination.indd 77

77 6/03/2023 10:49:45 AM


Two cars were entered in 2013, despite initial fears the team would be unable to afford to go racing. With Schwerkolt taking the #18 entry and Morris selling his license, Dick Johnson Racing held onto the #17 and leased the #12 from Fiore. Tim Blanchard and Jonny Reid were the drivers with Steven Johnson forced to vacate the seat to the pay drivers, though Reid was soon replaced by rising star Chaz Mostert. It was in the second half of 2013 that the stars began to align for Dick Johnson Racing. Mostert claimed a remarkable win at Queensland Raceway, a just reward for those who had worked so hard to keep the team going. But it was off track at the next Queensland round on the Gold Coast when the team’s future partner came into the picture. Roger Penske, American businessman and legendary motorsport team owner of Team Penske, had recently expanded his trucking empire into Australia with the purchase of the MAN, Western Star, Dennis Eagle and MTU brands. And, based on his business practices in North America, he would leverage those brands in motorsport. The marketing manager for Penske Commercial Vehicles handed his business card to Dick Johnson Racing team manager Richard Swan at the Gold Coast 600 in October with the intention of opening up a dialogue between the two parties. Penske wanted to be involved in Supercars, and

Dick Johnson Racing seemed a perfect fit; a legendary team in need of some support. Johnson was no stranger to North American motorsport fans, having competed in NASCAR races in 1989 and 1990. Also, Johnson was a Ford legend and Team Penske had just recommitted to Ford in NASCAR in 2013. Dick Johnson, Story, Brabeck and sporting director Campbell Little headed to the Team Penske headquarters in Mooresville, North Carolina, in November of 2013 with the meeting the confirmation of Penske’s intentions to get involved in Supercars.

Ryan Story evolved from a fan of Dick Johnson Racing to steering the team through its toughest years ahead of Team Penske’s arrival.

1996 – 1999 TROUGH

2000 – 2001 PEAK

2002 – 2006 TROUGH

Dick Johnson Racing lost its competitive edge in the late 1990s, with Bowe’s shock departure and Johnson’s retirement forcing a sudden change in the driver line-up.

The new combination of Steven Johnson and Paul Radisich were contenders in this two-year period, winning the Queensland 500 in 2001 and fighting for the win at Bathurst.

Shell left as title sponsor in 2004. Westpoint signed on but collapsed after a year, while the FirstRock Mortgage Centre and V8 Telecom ventures cost millions.



FE p74-81 Salvation to Domination.indd 78

6/03/2023 10:50:01 AM

Fabian Coulthard and Scott McLaughlin were teammates from 2017 to 2020.

Team Penske president Tim Cindric and Ford Racing boss Jamie Allison attended the 2013 seasonending Sydney 500, resulting in rampant speculation over their intentions. Supercars teams were desperately trying to work their way in, though only a handful of people knew of the dialogue that had already commenced with one team. Dick Johnson Racing entered 2014 awaiting news from America. The team’s debt had been reduced thanks to Story’s efforts, though Mostert had been snapped up by Ford Performance Racing. And with Ford’s support funnelled into its factory team with a decreasing level of investment, Dick Johnson Racing was far from safe. The license leased from Fiore was returned to Supercars and a second license acquired from Morris. Scott Pye and David Wall formed another

Tim Cindric made the deal between Dick Johnson Racing and Team Penske happen.

2007– 2008 PEAK


2010 PEAK

Jim Beam became title sponsor in 2007, providing some financial relief. There was also a first race win in seven years and a new backer in Charlie Schwerkolt.

Ford pulled its funding of Triple Eight Race Engineering and Dick Johnson Racing for 2009. While Triple Eight switched to Holdens in 2010, Johnson was left with another hole in the budget.

Dick Johnson Racing scored an unexpected championship win with James Courtney in 2010. Ford had also returned to provide some backing, though the peak wouldn’t last long.


FE p74-81 Salvation to Domination.indd 79

79 6/03/2023 10:50:21 AM


inexperienced driver line-up that failed to score a podium throughout the season, but the real focus was off-track. As Team Penske weighed up its options, with the primary focus on its trucking business, Dick Johnson Racing was forced to play the waiting game. With Ford ending its support for its Supercars teams from 2015, the Team Penske decision was vital. Discussions between the two parties ramped up in May and June of 2014, with Cindric and Penske visiting the Dick Johnson Racing headquarters in Stapylton, Queensland, to assess the business. It was then the deal was essentially done and the plans formulated to improve the team structure in the Team Penske mold, with a focus on disciplines, procedures, presentation and people. The personnel from both outfits had come to a rather smooth union, topped off with a lunch at a McDonald’s down the road from Dick Johnson Racing. News of the union broke ahead of the 2014 Sandown 500, though the speculation that two-time champion Marcos Ambrose would return to Supercars after nine years in NASCAR stole the headlines. Penske had reached out to Ambrose to discuss Supercars, and he was tempted by the chance to join the new-look team and return to Australia. The name DJR Team Penske was agreed upon, crucially maintaining the Johnson legacy. The Team Penske takeover and Ambrose’s return were announced on September 15, 2014. Story would officially become team boss, having impressed Team Penske in not only their negotiations but in keeping Dick Johnson Racing alive. Team Penske would also bring in personnel to help rebuild the technical operation. A wildcard entry would be entered for Ambrose at the 2014 season-ending Sydney 500 in preparation for the official launch of DJR Team Penske in 2015. The team downsized to one entry for Ambrose with its other license leased to Super Black Racing. Wilson Security made way for a rotating sponsorship model that allowed DJR Team Penske to showcase Penske’s various businesses.

2011 – 2012

The dream team of DJR Team Penske and Ambrose was off to a flyer with Ambrose qualifying his new FG X Falcon in the top 10 at the season-opening Adelaide 500, though difficult race results prompted Ambrose to vacate the seat after two rounds, giving Pye a second chance in the driver’s seat. Pye soldiered on and scored a podium, though the 2015 season was about rebuilding under the new structure. This included an expansion back up to two cars for 2016, with the return of the license it had leased out to Super Black Racing. Fabian Coulthard partnered with Pye in 2016, with the duo delivering four podiums. Off-track, DJR Team Penske was solidifying the foundations for a championship charge. Having run as essentially a customer of Prodrive Racing Australia (now Tickford Racing), DJR Team Penske sought to go its own way in terms of design, development and manufacturing. The culmination of this was the recruitment of Ludo Lacroix at the end of 2016. The Frenchman was a key ingredient in Triple Eight Race Engineering’s success in Supercars, designing cars that had dominated over the last decade.

2013 – 2014

Roger Penske’s business interests in Australia paved the way for an involvement in Supercars.





The title-winning team fell apart with Schwerkolt, Courtney and manager Adrian Burgess leaving. Sponsors such as Jim Beam also left, and the team entered 2013 on the brink.

Backing from Wilson Security and the efforts of Ryan Story saved the team in 2013. It paved the way for a deal with Team Penske to take over as majority owners in 2014.

Two-time champion Marcos Ambrose returned from NASCAR to drive for the new-look DJR Team Penske in 2015. But his full-time comeback lasted just two rounds.



FE p74-81 Salvation to Domination.indd 80

6/03/2023 10:50:39 AM

Joining Lacroix was Scott McLaughlin, the former Dunlop Super2 Series champion who had stunned Supercars with his performances in Garry Rogers Motorsport’s Holdens and Volvos. McLaughlin replaced Pye from 2017, forming an all-New Zealand line-up alongside Coulthard. Long-time backer Shell also returned as title sponsor, allaying fears that the Johnson heritage would be squeezed out under Team Penske’s ownership. The McLaughlin-Lacroix combination nearly delivered a championship in their first season with the team, losing out following a last-lap tangle in the final race of the season in Newcastle. The heartbreaking defeat galvanised the team, which consoled itself with the teams’ championship win. Meanwhile, DJR Team Penske was working on its next masterstroke. With Ford having pulled out of Supercars and the Falcon retired after the closure of the Blue Oval’s Australian manufacturing plant, DJR Team Penske faced the prospect of a switch of brands. Johnson was a Ford loyalist, sticking with the Blue Oval despite wavering levels of support over the years, so a switch away from them risked alienating the team’s fan base. However, with Penske’s backing and his close ties with Ford’s head office, it seemed inevitable that the Blue Oval would be tempted back. In April 2018, Ford Australia and Ford Performance confirmed they would provide backing for DJR Team Penske and Tickford Racing to race a Mustang Supercar from 2019. DJR Team Penske would be the team charged with designing the car, tapping into Lacroix’s expertise. DJR Team Penske and McLaughlin overcame the demons of 2017 and won the title in 2018. Fittingly, it was the 17th and final championship win for the

Falcon courtesy of the #17. Penske and Cindric were on hand for the historic occasion; the culmination of a remarkable four-year period. Further championship success followed for the team and McLaughlin in 2019 and 2020, with McLaughlin and Alexandre Prémat ending the team’s Bathurst drought in 2019. When Penske left the ownership structure, in came Brett Ralph, the owner of various other Australian sporting teams. McLaughlin and Penske may have left a big hole, but Dick Johnson Racing remains a regular challenger as it enters the Gen3 era of Supercars. After years of ups and downs, the team has now rebuilt the foundations for continued success.

The arrival of Ludo Lacroix and Scott McLaughlin in 2017 vaulted DJR Team Penske into championship contention.

2016 – 2020 PEAK DJR Team Penske climbed up the grid steadily in 2016 before becoming genuine contenders and then champions with the arrival of Scott McLaughlin. AS TOLD BY V8X / SUPERCAR XTRA MAGAZINE

FE p74-81 Salvation to Domination.indd 81

81 6/03/2023 10:50:58 AM



Year 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1973 1976 1977 1981 1982 1984 1988 1989 1993 1995 1997 2003 2004 2005 2008 2009 2010 2015 2018 2019 2020

Driver Ian Geoghegan Norm Beechey Ian Geoghegan Ian Geoghegan Ian Geoghegan Ian Geoghegan Allan Moffat Allan Moffat Allan Moffat Dick Johnson Dick Johnson Dick Johnson Dick Johnson Dick Johnson Glenn Seton John Bowe Glenn Seton Marcos Ambrose Marcos Ambrose Russell Ingall Jamie Whincup Jamie Whincup James Courtney Mark Winterbottom Scott McLaughlin Scott McLaughlin Scott McLaughlin

BATHURST 500/1000

Year 1963 1964 1965 1967 1970 1971 1973 1974 1977 1981 1988 1989 1994 1998 2006 2007 2008 2013 2014 2019 82

Drivers Harry Firth/Bob Jane Bob Jane/George Reynolds Barry Seton/Midge Bosworth Harry Firth/Fred Gibson Allan Moffat Allan Moffat Allan Moffat/Ian Geoghegan John Goss/Kevin Bartlett Allan Moffat/Jacky Ickx Dick Johnson/John French Tony Longhurst/Tomas Mezera Dick Johnson/John Bowe Dick Johnson/John Bowe Jason Bright/Steven Richards Craig Lowndes/Jamie Whincup Craig Lowndes/Jamie Whincup Craig Lowndes/Jamie Whincup Mark Winterbottom/Steven Richards Chaz Mostert/Paul Morris Scott McLaughlin/Alexandre Prémat

Team Total Team Neptune Racing Team Total Team Total Team Total Team Total Team Allan Moffat Racing Allan Moffat Racing Allan Moffat Racing Dick Johnson Racing Dick Johnson Racing Dick Johnson Racing Dick Johnson Racing Dick Johnson Racing Glenn Seton Racing Dick Johnson Racing Glenn Seton Racing Stone Brothers Racing Stone Brothers Racing Stone Brothers Racing Triple Eight Race Engineering Triple Eight Race Engineering Dick Johnson Racing Prodrive Racing Australia DJR Team Penske DJR Team Penske DJR Team Penske

Car Cortina Mk.I GT Mustang Mustang Mustang Mustang Mustang XY Falcon GTHO Phase III XB Falcon GT XB Falcon GT/XC Falcon GS XD Falcon XD Falcon XE Falcon Sierra RS500 Sierra RS500 EB Falcon EF Falcon EL Falcon BA Falcon BA Falcon BA Falcon BF Falcon FG Falcon FG Falcon FG X Falcon FG X Falcon Mustang GT Mustang GT

Team Ford Australia Ford Australia Fairfield Motors Ford Australia Allan Moffat Racing Allan Moffat Racing Allan Moffat Racing McLeod Ford Allan Moffat Racing Dick Johnson Racing Tony Longhurst Racing Dick Johnson Racing Dick Johnson Racing Stone Brothers Racing Triple Eight Race Engineering Triple Eight Race Engineering Triple Eight Race Engineering Ford Performance Racing Ford Performance Racing Dick Johnson Racing

Car Cortina Mk.I GT Cortina Mk.I GT Cortina Mk.I GT500 XR Falcon GT XW Falcon GTHO Phase II XY Falcon GTHO Phase III XA Falcon GT XA Falcon GT XC Falcon GS500 XD Falcon Sierra RS500 Sierra RS500 EB Falcon EL Falcon BA Falcon BF Falcon BF Falcon FG Falcon FG Falcon Mustang


FE p82 Results.indd 82

6/03/2023 10:45:57 AM

IBC.indd 1

6/03/2023 3:13:30 PM

Celebrating the cars, drivers and teams that made the Ford legend in Australian touring cars. There are the Cortinas, Mustangs, Falcons and Sierras that ruled the race track; greats such as Ian Geoghegan, Allan Moffat, Dick Johnson, Glenn Seton, Marcos Ambrose and Scott McLaughlin; and leading teams including Allan Moffat Racing, Dick Johnson Racing, Glenn Seton Racing, Stone Brothers Racing and Tickford Racing. With the Ford name outlasting great rival Holden into the Gen3 era of Supercars, this special edition features the best Ford content published in V8X Magazine/SupercarXtra Magazine.

FE Back Cover.indd 1

6/03/2023 1:09:26 PM

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.