It ends here. The culmination of the Australian motor sport season, all the championships have been decided, all the major international world championship events run and won. All that is left is three days of practice and qualifying then 6 and half hours of hard touring car racing. This is the 1999 FAI Bathurst 1000 Classic.
Since the very beginnings of Touring Car racing in this country, the tin tops have captured the imagination of the Australian population in a way that open wheelers hasn't. Gradually over the years Touring Cars moved passed and over took Formula racing as the premier category in Australia. The key to the transformation of Motor Racing's image in this country has been a just over 6 kilometer piece of tarmac, 200 km West-North-West of Sydney, the countries largest city and just outside the semi-rural town of Bathurst, Australia's oldest inland city.
The circuit called Mount Panorama was designed and built in the 1930's as a tourist road up to the spectacular views from the top of the hill of the surrounding area, the corners were however a fair bit wider than a normal road. The designer had a twinkle in his eye. Funding for what was obvious to those in the know as a motor racing circuit was 'conned' by the Bathurst City Council out of the New South Wales state government. The road was finished in 1938, and on Easter a first race meeting was run. That year the Australian Grand Prix has held at the new circuit. 35,000 spectators turned up. It was a hit. The success of that mountain allowed the dirt road to be sealed.
Just after World War II major upgrade were carried out. In 1962 the fledgling Armstrong 500 Production Car field destroyed the circuit at Philip Island, which was simply unable to cope with the numbers of cars and the length of the race. So the race moved from the cradle of Australian motor racing, to it's heartland. For 1963 a field of 57 entries was received and after well over 7 hours of battle the Ford Cortina of Harry Firth and Bob Jane greeted the checquered flag, a moment in history.
Since then some of the greatest names in world motor sport have made the long journey to this far flung outpost of motor racing to sample this fabled circuit and it's grueling long distance races. Formula 1 drivers Stirling Moss, Jack Brabham, Denny Hulme, Paul England, Jacky Ickx, Frank Gardner, Paul Hawkins, Tim Schenken, Warwick Brown, Graham McRae, Alan Jones, Larry Perkins, Vern Schuppan, Masahiro Hasemi, Kazuyoshi Hoshino, Henri Pescarolo, Derek Warwick, Johnny Cecotto, Satoru Nakajima, Julian Bailey, Gary Brabham, David Brabham, Joachim Winkelhock, Olivier Grouillard, Emanuelle Pirro & Roland Ratzenberger.
Touring Car stars Jeff Allam, Craig Baird, Norm Beechey, Frank Biela, Gianfranco Brancatelli, John Cleland, Rudi Dahlhauser, Michel Delcourt, Pierre Dieudonne, Alain Ferte, Brian Foley, Robbie Francevic, George Fury, Leo Geoghegan, Robb Gravett, Tim Harvey, Altfrid Heger, Jean-Francois Hemroulle, Yoshimi Katayama, Klaus Ludwig, Gerry Marshall, Alain Menu, Brian Muir, Akihiko Nakaya, Matthew Neal, Klaus Niedzwiedz, Markus Oestrich, Jason Plato, Paul Radisich, Roberto Ravaglia, Andy Rouse, Rickard Rydell, Steve Soper, Thierry Tassin, Tamara Vidali, Winni Vogt, Prince Leopold von Bayern & Patrick Watts.
Others like Dick Barbour, Neal Bates, Derek Bell, Possum Bourne, Juan Manuel Fangio II, Wayne Gardner, Janet Guthrie, David Hobbs, Paddy Hopkirk, Tommy Kendall, Timo Makinen, Spencer Martin, Frank Matich, Rod Millen, Ed Ordynski, Scott Pruett, Dieter Quester, Garry Rush, Johnny Rutherford & Tom Walkinshaw.
This years field contains a Formula One world champion, a 500cc world champion, a Le Mans 24 Hour winner, 2 Touring Car World Cups, a British Formula 3 Champion (and a class Champion), a British Formula Ford Champion, 2 British Touring Car Championships, 2 Can-Am Championships, 4 IMSA GTP Championships, a Spa 24 Hour win, a Japanese GT Championship, 13 Australian Touring Car Championships, 6 Australian Super Touring Car Championships, 8 Australian Drivers Championships, 8 Australian Formula Ford Championships, 3 Australian Rally Championships, 4 Australian GT-Production Car Championships (and 3 Class champs), a New Zealand Drivers Champion, 4 New Zealand Touring Car Championships, 3 Australian NASCAR Championships, 7 Australian AUSCAR Championships, an Australian Sports Car Champion, an Australian GT Champion, 4 Australian Truck Racing Championships, 5 Targa Tasmanias, 4 Australian Sports Sedan Championships, 3 New Zealand Formula Pacific Championships, 2 British Thundersaloon Championships, 2 Commodore Cups, 2 Australian Formula 2 Championships, an Australian Two Litre Group A Touring Car Championship, 3 Australian Endurance Championships, an Australian Stadium Off Road Championship, an Australian Sprintcar Champion, winners of Argentine, Australian, Austrian, British, Canadian, Dutch, French, German, Indonesian, Macau, Malaysian, New Zealand and United States Grands Prix, a Sandown 1 Hour winner, a Sandown 6 Hour winner, 2 Queensland 500 wins, an Adelaide 500 winner, 2 Eastern Creek 500 winners, 2 Wellington 500 wins, 20 Sandown 500 wins, 2 Bathurst 3 Hours wins, 4 Bathurst/Eastern Creek 12 Hour wins (and 14 class wins), a Bathurst 500 win, and 29 Bathurst 1000 wins (and 27 class wins)
The track starts from the bottom of the hill, then flicks 90 degress left in Hell Corner before the steep 1 kilometer climb up Mountain Straight. A brave and fast right hander at Griffins then the climb up to the double apex left at The Cutting, then the steepest part of the track as the cars climb away from the Cutting up towards Reid Park, a right, a crest, two very fast lefts plunging and climbing before the dangerously fast and blind corner that has destroyed so many called McPhillamy Park Corner. Then over the Skyline the circuit plunges downwards sharply. A left right Esses before the left hand Dipper plunges sharply down from the run of the circuit. A couple more wiggles before the shelf then the right hander down, down into the seeming never ending Forrests Elbow hairpin before Conrod Straight opens out in front. A small kink then 1.5 kilometers of rollercoaster straight reaching 300kph then a fast right into the Challenge Chase then 90 degrees hard braking left then right again for the run down to Murrays Corner. Back onto Pit Straight, uphill and back up to the start finish line.
-- Event Timetable --
The trackside action begins on thursday, November 11 with prequalifying to eliminate the two slowest teams from the entry list to get from 57 cars down to a 55 car grid. the practice on thursday afternoon and friday morning. Qualifying will be on Friday afternoon, with the top ten run-off following on Saturday morning. Saturday afternoon will see the final shakedown practice session. There will be a warm-up on Sunday with the race starting at 10:00am
The main support act is of course the Bathurst 3 Hour GT-Production car race, which is also oversubscribed. With one car each from Classes A, B & C likely to miss the cut. Also on the bill is Formula Ford and HQ Holdens.
Telecast will be on Channel 10 in Australia - check your local guides, times will vary because of daylight saving.
Print preview can be found in Motorsport News at newsagents across the country as well as the event programme.
To follow the race on the web the official V8Supercar website is at http://www.v8supercar.com.au
A Link to Internet Timing can be found at Racetime Computing. They will also have lap by lap coverage of each race (although not live) through the RaceView system. http://www.racetime.com.au
-- Thursday -- 0900-1000 V8Supercar Pre-qualifying 1055-1240 V8Supercar Practice 1400-1430 GT-Production Practice 1535-1635 V8Supercar Practice 1650-1730 GT-Production Practice -- Friday -- 0855-1025 V8Supercar Practice 1120-1220 GT-Production Qualifying 1340-1425 V8Supercar Top 50% Qualifying 1435-1520 V8Supercar Bottom 50% Qualifying 1620-1700 GT-Production Qualifying -- Saturday -- 0900-0920 GT-Production Warm-Up 0935-0950 V8Supercars Top Ten Warm-Up 1005-1055 V8Supercars Top Ten 1245-1545 GT-Production 3 Hour 1600-1700 V8Supercar Practice -- Sunday -- 0715-0735 V8Supercar Warm-Up 1000-1615 V8Supercar 1000
-- Entry List -- 1 Craig Lowndes / Cameron McConville Mobil Holden Commodore VT 2 Mark Skaife / Paul Morris Mobil Holden Commodore VT 3 Steve Reed / Trevor Ashby PPG / Lansvale Smash Repairs Holden Commodore VS 4 Jason Bright / Craig Baird Pirtek Ford Falcon AU 5 Glenn Seton / Neil Crompton Ford Credit Ford Falcon AU 6 Geoff Brabham / Neal Bates Ford Credit Ford Falcon AU 7 Greg Murphy / Steven Richards Wynns Holden Commodore VT 10 Mark Larkham / Brad Jones Mitre 10 Ford Falcon AU 11 Larry Perkins / Russell Ingall Castrol Holden Commodore VT 14 Mike Imrie / Rod Crick STP Holden Commodore VS 15 Mark Noske / Todd Kelly Mobil / MyCar Holden Commodore VT 16 Dugal McDougall / Andrew Miedecke Aloe Quench Holden Commodore VT 17 Dick Johnson / Steven Johnson Shell Helix Ford Falcon AU 18 Paul Radisich / Steven Ellery Shell Helix Ford Falcon AU 19 Wayne Gardner / David Brabham Coca-Cola Holden Commodore VT 22 Danny Osborne / Brett Peters Colourscan Ford Falcon AU 24 Paul Romano / Darren Hossack Seimens Holden Commodore VS 25 Tony Longhurst / Adam Macrow Castrol Ford Falcon AU 26 John Cotter / Peter Doulman Gatorade Holden Commodore VT 27 Terry Finnigan / Darren Pate DWS Holden Commodore VS 28 Rodney Forbes / Geoff Full Dietshake Holden Commodore VS 30 Craig Harris / Tim Shaw CAG Ford Falcon EL 32 Tomas Mezera / Tony Ricciardello Densitron Holden Commodore VT 33 Phil Ward / Allan McCarthy Pro-Duct Holden Commodore VS 34 Jason Bargwanna / Garth Tander Valvoline Holden Commodore VT 35 Steve Owen / Greg Ritter Valvoline Holden Commodore VT 36 Neil Schembri / Gary Quartly Gearbox Holden Commodore VS 37 Scotty Taylor / Bill Attard Xerox Shop Holden Commodore VS 38 Peter Field / Shane Howison Holden Commodore VS 39 Chris Smerdon / Charlie Cox IT Services Holden Commodore VT 40 Cameron McLean / John Cleland Greenfield Mowers Ford Falcon EL 41 Bill Seiders / Gary Holt Simon's Earthworks Ford Falcon EL 42 Mark Williams / Scott Fleming Colourscan Ford Falcon EL 43 Paul Weel / Greg Crick KJ Thermal Products Ford Falcon AU 46 John Faulkner / Simon Wills Wynns Holden Commodore VT 47 John Trimbole / Kevin Heffernan Metropolis City Holden Commodore VS 48 D'arcy Russell / Grant Johnson Playboy Holden Commodore VS 49 Layton Crambrook / Dean Crosswell Bay View Homes Holden Commodore VS 50 Dean Lindstrom / Melinda Price Ultra Tune Holden Commodore VS 54 Simon Emerzidis / Garry Willmington Simon's Earthworks Ford Falcon EL 55 Rod Nash / Dean Wanless Auto-Pro / Budweiser Holden Commodore VT 60 Nathan Pretty / Nicole Pretty deWalt Holden Commodore VS 66 Mark Poole / Tony Scott John Deere Holden Commodore VT 70 John Briggs / Tim Leahey Super Cheap Auto Ford Falcon AU 73 David 'Truckie' Parsons / David 'Skippy' Parsons Challenge Recruitment Holden Commodore VT 75 Anthony Tratt / Alan Jones Toll Express Ford Falcon AU 77 Richard Mork / Bill Seiders RDM Holden Commodore VR 79 Mike Conway / Ric Shaw Cadillac Productions Ford Falcon EL 80 Bob Thorn / Todd Wanless Super Cheap Auto Ford Falcon EL 84 Daniel Miller / Geoff Kendrick Miller Racing Holden Commodore VS 87 Rod Salmon / Damien White Holden Commodore VS 96 Paul Dumbrell / Matthew White Wynns Holden Commodore VS 97 Wayne Wakefield / Dean Canto Graphic Skills Holden Commodore VS 98 Barry Cassidy / Neil Crow Challenge Recruitment Holden Commodore VS 134 Alan Heath / Mick Donaher West Terrace 4x4 Ford Falcon EL 600 John Bowe / Jim Richards Caterpillar Ford Falcon AU
-- GT-Production Cars -- -- Class A -- 3 Peter Fitzgerald / Jim Richards Porsche 911 RSCS 7 Peter Boylan / Ross Almond Mitsubishi Lancer RS Evolution V Turbo 8 Ed Aitken / John Faulkner Porsche 911 RSCS 9 Ray Lintott / Neal Bates Dodge Viper GTS 11 Jamie Cartwright / Owen Kelly Toyota Supra RZ Turbo 12 Geoff Morgan / Domenic Beninca Porsche 911 RSCS 18 Murray Carter / Greg Waters Chevrolet Corvette C5 Hardtop 23 Beric Lynton / Michael Simpson BMW M3-R 27 Wayne Park / Ross Palmer Ferrari F355 Challenge 29 Garry Waldon / John Bowe Dodge Viper GTS 30 Matthew Coleman / Yannis Derums Maserati Ghibli Cup 41 Terry Bosnjak / Mark Williamson Mazda RX7 SP2 45 John Teulan / Mike Kilpatrick Nissan Skyline GT-R 56 Terry Finnigan / Ben Walsh BMW M3-R 57 Graham Alexander / John Woodberry Mitsubishi Lancer RS Evolution V Turbo 63 Dennis Mitolo / Julian Mazzone Mazda RX7 SP2 65 Craig Dean / Trevor Sheumack Ford Saleen Mustang S351 93 Matthew Stoupas / Christian D'Agostin Porsche 911 RSCS -- Class B -- 2 John Cowley / Greg Crick Holden Commodore VS GTS-R 215i 6 Chris Kousparis / Mark Brame Subaru Impreza WRX Turbo 14 Clyde Lawrence / Peter Gazzard Subaru Impreza WRX Turbo 15 Bob Hughes / Rick Bates Mazda RX7 Twin Turbo 25 Richard Davis / Gary Baxter Holden Commodore VS GTS-R 215i 34 Mark King / Rod Wilson Mitsubishi Lancer RS Evolution III 50 ? / ? Subaru Impreza WRX Turbo 51 Scott Jacob / Grant Kenny Subaru Impreza WRX Turbo 91 Gary Deane / Jim McKnoulty Subaru Impreza WRX Turbo 96 Don Pulver / Terry Shiel Subaru Impreza WRX Turbo 99 Garry Holt / Chris Stannard Subaru Impreza WRX Turbo -- Class C -- 16 Peter Phelan / David Wood Holden Commodore VT SS 20 Robert Chadwick / Steve Knight Mitsubishi Magna Sports 3.5 33 Roland Hill / Dennis Cribben Holden Commodore VS SS 46 Ryan McLeod / Peter McLeod / Peter Verheyen Ford Falcon EL XR8 55 Mark Cohen / Daynom Templeman Holden Commodore VS SS 60 Tony Longhurst / Guy Andrews Ford Falcon AU XR6 62 Scott Loadsman / Alan Marin / Philip Crow Holden Commodore VT SS 64 Brian Carr / Bruce Constable Ford Falcon AU XR8 70 Daryl Coon / ? Ford Falcon AU XR6 88 David Ratcliff / Ron Searle Toyota Camry CSi 95 John McIlroy / Brett Youlden Ford Falcon AU XR8 -- Class D -- 10 Carol Jackson / Gary Jackson / Kevin Heffernan Honda Civic VTi-R 17 Melinda Price / Sam Newman Holden Vectra GL 28 Greg Murphy / Steven Richards Holden Vectra GL 43 Grant Denyer / Calvin Gardiner / Tom Watkinson Mazda 626 71 Stuart Kostera / Leanne Ferrier / Phil Kirkham Mazda 626 -- Class E -- 21 Peter McKay / Paul Gover Proton M21 Coupe 36 Warren Luff / Peter Ross / Dwayne Bewley Peugeot 306 Style 37 Nathan Thomas / Glenn Jorden Suzuki Swift GTi 67 Nigel Williams / Danny Brian Suzuki Swift GTi 74 John Falk / Ken Lusty Suzuki Swift GTi 75 Sue Hughes / Craig Dontas / Paul Buda Suzuki Swift GTi 78 Darren Best / ? Hyundai Excel Sprint -- Class S -- 4 Clayton Haynes / Anton Mechtler Toyota MR2 GT 13 Colin Osborne / Ric Shaw / Peter Rushton Toyota MR2 Bathurst 26 Wayne Russell / Robbert Middleton BMW 323i 32 Bruce Lynton / Ian Simpson BMW 323i 35 Daniel Wilkie / Ian Freeman / Colin Osborne Toyota MR2 Bathurst 54 Megan Kirkham / Len Cave / Phil kirkham Mazda MX-5