The Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 (then Armstrong 500 miles) was first staged in 1963 when Bob Jane and Harry Firth won the great race in a Ford Cortina. But the history of Mount Panorama as a motor racing venue goes back to the turn of the century. In...
The Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 (then Armstrong 500 miles) was first staged in 1963 when Bob Jane and Harry Firth won the great race in a Ford Cortina. But the history of Mount Panorama as a motor racing venue goes back to the turn of the century.
In 1900 a Bathurst GP, Dr Machattie, introduced his steam-powered Thomson car and persuaded two local builders to drive the 793 kilometers from Melbourne to Bathurst, the first ever long-distance drive completed in Australia.
This fuelled Bathurst's hunger for motoring before, 11 years later, the first motor racing circuit was set up, with four races before the onset of World War I. For the next 20 years, Bathurst became the premier Australian venue for motorcycling.
In 1938, the world famous circuit around Mount Panorama was constructed, originally intended as a tourist road, with stunning views of the nearby plains. The Bathurst Light Car Club was quick to realise the potential of this new road for its members and ever since then, the tourist route has been host to regular race meetings.
The first such meeting was held on April 18, 1938 and was organised by the New South Wales Light Car Club and the Auto Cycle Union as a joint car/motorcycle race. A staggering 35,000 spectators came out to watch these machines, setting the benchmark for subsequent events.
Until the 1960s, the circuit had been witness to a whole succession of international GT car race meetings - the Australian Grand Prix (in 1947, 1952 and 1958), and annual Easter and October meetings including the Bathurst 100 mile event for sports cars.
This all led up to the first 500 mile race for pioneering Touring Cars in 1963 won by Jane and Firth. The race has evolved through time and is now named after Bob Jane who won the first two races.
It has established itself as an Australian icon and the drivers it has produced are familiar to us all. The Hall of Fame includes such names as Peter Brock, Larry Perkins and Jim Richards, Allan Moffat, Bob Jane and Harry Firth.
Now the Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 enters its 40th year in 2002 with another chapter set to be written in its history.
INTERESTING FACTS AND FIGURES
* Comeback king Peter Brock (Team Brock) holds the record for the most number of Bathurst wins over the 40 year history of the event with nine. Is number 10 possible in 2002? You've got to be in it to win it, which he certainly is.
* Six-time winner Larry Perkins is in his 25th start in the Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 in 2002. He is one of the all-time greats in this race and is equal leader with Peter Brock in Most Podium Finishes (12) and Consecutive Wins (3).
* Ford driver Simon Wills set the record race lap by a V8 Supercar at Mount Panorama last year clocking two minutes 10.2011 seconds. He and teammate John Bowe did not finish the race completing 124 of the 161 laps.
* Another Ford driver Mark Larkham (Larkham Motorsport) has the qualifying lap record at Mount Panorama to his name with a sensational 2:09.5146 lap set in 1999.
* The overall race record time was set by Jim Richards/Mark Skaife in a Nissan GT-R in 1991. The 1000km was completed in six hours 19 minutes 14.80 seconds.
Tickets for this year's race are available through Ticketmaster at www.ticketmaster7.com or phone 1300 303 103. Campground sites can also be booked through the Campground Coordinator on phone 02 6205 0665.
2002 marks the 40th anniversary of the Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 at Mount Panorama in Bathurst. The Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 is the ultimate V8 endurance race watched by more than 2.5 million Australians and 50,000 spectators perched around the demanding track. Every October the nation stops for the 'Great Race' as the Ford v Holden battle continues.