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The Great Race



Arguably the greatest race in the world, and more especially Australia, the 1000 kilometre race for production sedans has for many years taken place at the Mount Panorama circuit in Bathurst, New South Wales. But the event actually started out as a 500 mile event at Victoria's Phillip Island circuit when, in 1960, a field of 47 cars of varying performance, size, engine capacity and price would compete for total prizemoney of $11,710. Some of these drivers were to become household names of motor sport, although they were driving some very unlikely cars!

Harry Firth drove a Singer Gazelle, Brian Foley and Peter Manton drove Wolseley 1500's, David McKay and Greg Cusack drove Volkswagens, the Geoghegan brothers drove a Renault Dauphine, while John French, Norm Beechey and Jim McKeown shared a Standard Vanguard. Then there was Lex Davison and Bevan Gibson in NSU's, and Murray Carter in a Ford Customline. But that year the winners would be John Roxburgh and Frank Coad driving a Vauxhall Cresta. So successful was the event that plans were quickly put into place to hold it again the following year.

The Race Is Moved To The Mount



In 1963 the race was moved to the Mount, at a time when both manufacturers and sponsors were beginning to understand the potential commercial gains to be made, such was the amount of support the race had so quickly garnered from the public. It was only natural for the manufacturers to want to have success on the Mountain, knowing only too well that a victory at this event would ensure sales the next day.

The Bathurst Specials, And All Conquering Cortina GT500



Thus began the manufacture of "Bathurst Specials", cars designed specifically for the big race. The first came in 1963 with the Holden EH S4, which featured a 179ci engine and 3.36:1 diff. Although 6 would be entered that year, it was the all conquering GT Cortina 1500 of Bob Jane and Harry Firth that would take the honours. The same model Cortina repeated the feat the following year, this time with Bob Jane and George Reynolds at the wheel. Needing to keep the Cortina competitive, the Cortina GT500 was produced, the upgrades enough to help Barry Seton and Midge Bosworth take out the event in 1965. In 1966 the Homologation rules were changed and the Cortina GT500 was no longer eligible to compete.

That year Bob Holden and Rauno Aaltonen would steer the pocket rocket Morris Cooper S into first place, however the manufacturers wanted to create something with a few more horses to give serious challenge to the superior handling but underpowered Mini. Late in 1966 Ford had released the wonderful XR range of Falcon's, these being inspired by the US Mustang. Ford mounted a forceful advertising campaign (as can be seen in the media section of this site), emphasising to drivers that the new XR was "Wide Tracked" and "Mustang Bred". But most importantly, Australian Ford buyers could for the first time order a V8 engine. The faithful 289ci 4.7 litre engine was both powerful and tractable, and better yet incredibly reliable.

They would then be fitted to the first of a series of cars which became a classic in their own time, and continue to appreciate in value more than any other Aussie muscle car, the legendary Falcon GT.

Please Note: You can sort this listing by simply clicking on the column heading.
DRIVER / CO DRIVER(S)

Frank Coad / John Roxburgh

Vauxhall
Cresta
8:19:99.1
167
not available

Bob Jane / Harry Firth

Mercedes
220SE
8:18:00.0
166
not available

Bob Jane / Harry Firth

Ford
Falcon XL
8:15:16.0
167
not available

Bob Jane / Harry Firth

Ford
Cortina GT
7:46:99.10
130
not available
Bob Jane / George Reynolds
Ford
Cortina GT
not available
130
not available
Barry Seton / Midge Bosworth
Ford
Cortina GT500
7:16:45.1
130
not available
Bob Holden / Rauno Aaltonen
Morris
Cooper S
7:11:29.1
130
not available
Harry Firth / Fred Gibson
Ford
Falcon XR GT
6:54:99.10
130
not available
Bruce McPhee / Barry Mulholland
Holden
Monaro GTS327
6:44:0.0
130
not available
Colin Bond / Tony Roberts
Holden
Monaro GTS350
6:32:0.0
130
0:2:53.800
Allan Moffat
Ford
Falcon XW GTHO
6:33:0.0
130
0:2:49.300
Allan Moffat
Ford
Falcon XW GTHO
6:9:49.5
130
0:2:45.000
Peter Brock
Holden
Torana LJ XU1
6:0:99.1
130
0:2:38.200
Allan Moffat / Ian Geoghegan
Ford
Falcon XA GT
7:20:6.8
163
0:2:34.500

John Goss / Kevin Bartlett

Ford
Falcon XA GT
7:50:99.1
163
0:2:35.900

Peter Brock / Brian Sampson

Holden
Torana L34
7:50:99.1
163
0:2:28.600

Bob Morris / John Fitzpatrick

Holden
Torana L34
7:7:12.0
163
0:2:26.400

Allan Moffat / Jacky Ickx

Ford
Falcon XC
6:59:7.8
163
0:2:25.600
Peter Brock / Jim Richards
Holden
Torana A9X
6:45:53.9
163
0:2:20.600

Peter Brock / Jim Richards

Holden
Torana A9X
6:38:15.8
163
0:2:20.500

Peter Brock / Jim Richards

Holden
Commodore VC
6:47:52.7
163
0:2:21.815

Dick Johnson / John French

Ford
Falcon XD
4:53:52.7
120
0:2:38.813

Peter Brock / Larry Perkins

Holden
Commodore VH
6:32:3.2
163
0:2:17.836

Peter Brock / Larry Perkins / John Harvey

Holden
Commodore VH
6:28:31.6
163
0:2:18.549

Peter Brock / Larry Perkins

Holden
Commodore VK
6:23:13.6
163
0:2:14.390

John Goss / Armin Hahne

Jaguar
XJ-S
6:41:30.19
163
0:2:20.919

Allan Grice / Graeme Bailey

Holden
Commodore VK
6:30:35.68
163
0:2:17.246

Peter Brock / David Parson / Peter McLeod

Holden
Commodore VL
7:01:08.40
163
0:2:25.120

Tony Longhurst / Tomas Mezera

Ford
Sierra RS500
7:02:10.28
161
0:2:17.960

Dick Johnson / John Bowe

Ford
Sierra RS500
6:30:53.44
161
0:2:16.790

Win Percy / Allan Grice

Holden
Commodore VL
6:40:52.64
161
0:2:16.170

Mark Skaife / Jim Richards

Nissan
Skyline GT-R
6:19:14.80
161
0:2:12.630

Mark Skaife / Jim Richards

Nissan
Skyline GTR
6:19:14.80
143
0:2:14.54

Larry Perkins / Gregg Hansford

Holden
Commodore VP
6:29:6.69
161
0:2:13.130

Dick Johnson / John Bowe

Ford
Falcon EB
7:03:45.8425
161
0:2:13.616

Larry Perkins / Russell Ingall

Holden
Commodore VR
6:20:32.4766
161
0:2:12.4759

Craig Lowndes / Greg Murphy

Holden
Commodore VR
7:9:28.3584
161
0:2:11.4000

Larry Perkins/ Russell Ingall

Holden
Commodore VS
6:21:55.5483
161
0:2:11.826

Steven Richards / Jason Bright

Ford
Falcon EL
6:42:23.9093
161
0:2:15.1710

Steven Richards / Greg Murphy

Holden
Commodore VT
6:51:48.8354
161
0:2:11.4005

Garth Tander / Jason Bargwanna

Holden
Commodore VT
7:23:30.2348
161
0:2:55.7286

Mark Skaife / Tony Longhurst

Holden
Commodore VX
6:51:48.8354
161
0:2:10.1599

Mark Skaife / Jim Richards

Holden
Commodore VX
6:58:41.2600
161
0:2:8.8278

The Great Race

  • 1960 - 1965 Armstrong 500: 130 Laps
  • 1966 - 1967 Gallaher 500: 130 Laps
  • 1968 - 1972 Hardie Ferodo 500: 130 Laps
  • 1973 - 1980 Hardie Ferodo 1000: 163 Laps
  • 1981 - 1987 James Hardie 1000: 163 Laps
  • 1988 - 1995 Tooheys 1000: 161 Laps
  • 1996 AMP Bathurst 1000: 161 Laps
  • 1997 Primus 1000 Classic: 161 Laps
  • 1998 - 2000 FAI 1000: 161 Laps
  • 2001 V8 Supercar 1000: 161 Laps
  • 2002 Bob Jane T-Marts 1000: 161 Laps
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