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Bathurst 1000

Holden Corner (aka "Hell Corner") of the Mount Panorama Circuit


The Bathurst 1000 is a 1000 km motor race for touring cars, conducted at the Mount Panorama Circuit near Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia.

Race History

Map of the circuit

The race has a long and colourful history, having been conducted for numerous categories such as production cars, Group C, Group A, Super Touring and currently the popular V8 Supercar category. It was first held at Bathurst in 1963, replacing an earlier endurance race at Philip Island in Victoria, over a 500 mile distance. It changed to the present 1000 km distance in 1973.

Over the years, the race name has changed to reflect the main sponsor of the race and the race distance. Here is a summary of the various names so far:

  • 1963 - 1965 : Armstrong 500
  • 1966 - 1967 : Gallaher 500
  • 1968 - 1972 : Hardie Ferodo 500
  • 1973 - 1980 : Hardie Ferodo 1000
  • 1981 - 1987 : James Hardie 1000
  • 1988 - 1995 : Tooheys 1000
  • 1996 : AMP 1000
  • 1997 : Primus 1000
  • 1998 - 2000 : FAI 1000
  • 2001 : V8 Supercar 1000
  • 2002 - 2004 : Bob Jane T-Marts 1000
  • 2005 : Super Cheap Auto Bathurst 1000

Makes as diverse as Mini, Jaguar, BMW, Volvo, Nissan, Ford and Holden have tasted success at "The Mountain". However, the strongest and longest-running rivalry at the mountain has been between the two local makes, Ford and Holden. Holden has achieved the most victories at Bathurst with 25 wins (as of 2005), and Ford being the second most successful with 14 victories (or 15 if including the victory from the original Phillp Island event). Although many Austalian racing drivers have raced for both the Ford and Holden marques, Steven Richards and Tony Longhurst are the only drivers to have won at Bathurst for both.

The most successful driver at Bathurst is Peter Brock, who has nine victories to his credit (1972, 1975, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1984 and 1987). Jim Richards is close behind with seven victories (1978, 1979, 1980, 1991, 1992, 1998 and 2002), and also holds the record for the most starts (34 as of 2005) by an individual at this event. Larry Perkins is the third most successful driver at Bathurst, with six victories (1982, 1983, 1984, 1993, 1995 and 1997). Interestingly, both Richards and Perkins have shared some of their victories as co-drivers with Peter Brock.

Group A Era

Between 1985 and 1992 saw the race running under international Group A rules. Imported turbocharged cars, first the Ford Sierra turbos dominated the race during the late 1980s. In 1987, the race was a round of the short-lived World Touring Car Championship, and competitors in that championship raced against the local teams. The resulting culture clash was considerable; local scrutineers, who had been applying the Group A regulations as written, repeatedly disagreed with European teams (notably that of Rudi Eggenberger) and the global organising body (FISA, the ancestor of the FIA) who were considerably more lax with their interpretations. Eggenberger's cars ran 1-2, only to be disqualified months later due to bodywork irregularities, and awarding the race to local legend Peter Brock for the ninth (and last) time.

Local Sierra teams won in 1988 and 89, and losing in 1990 to the local favourite Holden Commodores only after all the leading Sierras broke down. In 1991 and 1992, turbocharged, all-wheel-drive Nissan Skyline GTRs won. The 1992 victory was particularly controversial. Already disliked by the parochial Bathurst crowd, the race was stopped after a huge storm caused a number of crashes, including that of the leading Skyline. The race was awarded to the Skyline (Jim Richards and Mark Skaife), who had led the lap previous to the race halt, much to the vocal displeasure of the crowd. Richards memorably called the crowd "a pack of arseholes" from the winner's podium. This Bathurst was also the saddest one, as Formula 1 legend Denny Hulme died of a heart attack while racing his BMW M3.

V8 Supercar Era

That Jim Richards moment was fateful, helping to precipitate the gathering split in Australian touring car racing between the internationalist Super Touring category and the Australian-centred V8 Supercars. For a few years there were two races at Bathurst, both claiming to be the legitimate Bathurst 1000, although one of the races was officially branded the "Australian 1000 Classic". One was for Super Touring and production cars (Bathurst 1000), the other for V8 Supercars (Australian 1000 Classic).

Winners

Phillip Island

Mount Panorama

* Denotes "Australian 1000 Classic" race for V8 Supercars

See also

External links