Bathurst Drivers: Peter Brock

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Falcon XC Cobra
Bathurst 1960
Torana L34

Peter Brock

Peter Brock

Peter Geoffrey Brock



Arguably the best race car driver this country has ever produced, or will ever see. His record of achievements is stellar, his personality was vibrant, simply put, a legend. Brock started out turning an Austin 7, a car he had purchased for the princely sum of £5, into a specilaist dirt racer.

The car was devoid of both brakes and bodywork, the latter courtesy of careful craftsmanship delivered via his fathers axe. Without brakes Brock would instead be forced to “slide” the car and anticipate each and every corner with pinpoint accuracy.

Then came his mothers Vauxhall Viva, a car he convinced his parents to buy after watching Spencer Martin drive one in the 1964 Armstrong 500. The Viva ran first in its class (Class A to £900), and Brock later retold how he drove the car pretty hard, even managing to "get it up in the air a few times". He also claimed it had the wood on the Morris 850 and Mini Deluxe.

But Brock was also quick to point out that the Viva was far from perfect. "It had a strange rear axle. You tramped the boot and the arse would lift up, you know. That was a strange one". His first trip to the Mount would be in 1969 in the Bathurst 500, and a year later he would become Rallycross champion.

Under Harry Firth, Brock also got to play with some pretty keen machinery, particularly the developmental Torana's. It was on the Alpine Rally roads in 1969 that he got his first taste of a six-cylinder Torana - "KLD-158". It was an early production LC GTR, and Firth asked Brock to take it for a spin and provide feedback on what was needed to make it a goer. Brock's solution - ditch the 161 and install a worked 186 complete with triple SU's, bigger valves, cam, exhaust system.

Brock also knew some of the shortfalls of the engine, particularly the problem when over-revving which would cause the harmonic balancer to part company with the car. His second XU-1 was fitted with a protector plate as Brock had lost one such harmonic balancer halfway down the straight at Bathurst during an Easter race meet. He was also dissatisfied with the suspension tune, his time spent racing an Austin A30 fitted with a Holden 179 engine had left him wondering what it was that had made the car handle the way it did. "I came back from the drive and I just had this bee in my bonnet about the amount of camber change, and I reckoned the Torana didn't have enough so I started studying the A30 to find out why it handled the way it did" he later recounted.

The GTR then underwent further development at Firth's garage in Queens Avenue, Auburn. The result was the wonderful and now highly collectable LC GTR XU-1, although Brock maintained that "KLD-158" was always a GTR Torana. Three years later, in 1972, he would win Bathurst while at the helm of a LJ GTR XU-1 - he putting in an almost perfect performance. Between 1972 and 1987 he would rack up no less than 9 Mount Panorama victories, a feat that has never been equaled. Commentators were forced to find superlatives to describe his dominance, and the titles “Peter Perfect” and “King of the Mountain” were right on the money.

An Unparalleled Victory



1981 Marlboro HDT Bathurst Promo
Arguably his best performance on “The Mount” was in 1979 when he claimed victory by a whopping six laps, a record that (due to changes in race regulations introduced in the 1990's) will never be broken, and he even went on to break the circuit lap record on his final lap!

In his 32 starts at Bathurst he claimed pole position a record six times, wins in the Sandown 500 nine times (including seven successive victories), and won a total of 37 races during his career in the Australian Touring Car and V8 Supercar championships – a record only equalled by Mark Skaife in 2006. He was always at the peak of his craft, and never more so than as lead driver for the Holden Dealer Team (HDT).

There he worked in partnership with full factory approval and assistance to manufacture high performance modifications to the Commodores under existing CAMS Group C regulations from 1980 to 1988.

Some iterations were HDT homologation specials, all were special and are now highly collectable. Brock only twice ventured outside Australia to race, both times in the Le Mans 24 hour. The first was in 1976 driving a BMW 3.0 CSL, then in 1984 driving a Bob Jane T-Marts sponsored Porsche 956 with Larry Perkins.

In the latter event, the pair would be running as high as 5th place, however the attempt would end prematurely with Perkins crashing mid-race. Also notable was his 1979 victory in the Repco Round Australia Trial, an event based on the original Redex Reliability Trials held between 1953 and 1955. It was a great victory, but given the backup of the HDT support crew, many believed his win somewhat predictable.

Always a tireless worker for automobile safety, Brock’s cars would proudly wear the “05” number, promoting the 0.05% blood alcohol limit in Victoria. That number adorned his race cars right to the end.
Year
Team
Car
Co Driver
Finished
Holden Dealer Team
Monaro GTS 350
Des West
3rd
Holden Dealer Team
Torana XU-1
Bob Morris
37th
Holden Dealer Team
Torana XU-1
none
8th
Holden Dealer Team
Torana XU-1
none
1st
Holden Dealer Team
Torana XU-1
Doug Chivas
2nd
Holden Dealer Team
Torana L34
Brian Sampson
engine, lap 118
Gown & Hindhaugh
Torana L34
Brian Sampson
1st
Bill Patterson Holden
Torana L34
Phil Brock
3rd
Bill Patterson Holden
Torana A9X
Phil Brock
4th
Marlboro HDT
Torana A9X
Jim Richards
1st
Marlboro HDT
Torana A9X
Jim Richards
1st
Marlboro HDT
Commodore VC
Jim Richards
1st
Marlboro HDT
Commodore VC
Jim Richards
21st
Marlboro HDT
Commodore VH
Larry Perkins
1st
Marlboro HDT
Commodore VH
Larry Perkins & John Harvey
1st
Marlboro HDT
Commodore VK
Larry Perkins
1st
Mobil HDT
Commodore VK
David Oxton
engine, lap 160
Mobil HDT
Commodore VK
Allan Moffat
5th
Mobil
Commodore VL
David Parsons & Peter McLeod
1st
Mobil
BMW M3
Neil Crompton
engine, lap 89
Mobil
Ford Sierra RS500
Andy Rouse
wheel hub, lap 89
Mobil
Ford Sierra RS500
Andy Rouse
4th
Mobil
Commodore VN
Andrew Miedecke
7th
Mobil
Commodore VP
Manuel Reuter
27th
Mobil
Commodore VP
John Cleland
17th
Mobil HRT
Commodore VP
Tomas Mezera
accident, lap 138
Mobil HRT
Commodore VR
Tomas Mezera
engine, lap 32
Mobil HRT
Commodore VR
Tomas Mezera
5th
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Apart from his 9 Bathurst wins in 1972, 1975, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1984 and 1987, Peter Brock excelled in nearly every event in which he entered. Listed below are some of the highlights;

  • Bathurst Pole Positions: 1974, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1989 and 1997
  • Sandown Pole Positions: 1974, 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1985, 1986 and 1994
  • Sandown Wins: 1973, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981 and 1984
  • Surfers Paradise Wins: 1973, 1974, 1976, 1979, 1980 and 1986
  • Symmons Plains Wins: 1974, 1978, 1980, 1982 and 1984
  • Repco Round Australia Trial: Winner in 1979
  • Nissan Mobil 500 (New Zealand) Wins: 1986, 1987 and 1990
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