Bathurst Drivers: Robert "Bob" Jane

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Falcon XC Cobra
Bathurst 1960
Torana L34

Bob Jane

Bob Jane

Robert “Bob” Jane

Four time winner of the Armstrong 500 who achieved success both on and off the circuit. Growing up in the inner Melbourne suburb of Brunswick, like many boys Jane would become fascinated with cars.

He started a business known as “Bob Jane Autoland”, concerned with the distribution of parts for Alfa Romeo and Jaguar, and becoming more intimately involved with the auto industry it was inevitable that Jane would soon venture onto the racing circuits across the country.

He entered competitive racing in 1956, and by 1960 had honed his skills to such an extent that he was rated as one of Australia’s top sedan drivers. His big break came in 1961 when he partnered with co-driver Harry Firth to win the Armstrong 500 held at Phillip Island, then driving a Mercedes-Benz 220SE (the only time a Mercedes would take out the “Great Race”).

Jane and Firth won the race again the following year, and followed it’s change of venue for 1963 to Mount Panorama. He continued his partnership with Firth, and continued to win. For 1964 he partnered with George Reynolds and, predictably, he racked up another victory.

These successive four wins remain unchallenged, sure some drivers have surpassed the number of victories achieved by Jane, but none have been able to string together four successive back-to-back wins Jane also had success in the Australian Touring Car Championship, taking out the title in 1962, 1963, 1971 and 1972.

21 Podium Finishes From 38 Race Starts

Amazingly, from 38 race starts in the ATCC, he would finish on the podium 21 times. When not competing on the track, Jane was able to concentrate on his business interests.

The importation of parts, and most particularly tyres, earned him a stellar reputation in the industry. Most popular were the high performance race tyres imported from Germany, at a time when racing tyes were not as heavily regulated as they are today.

In 1965 Bob Jane opened the first “T-Marts” store in Melbourne, and to this day it has remained an independent, family-owned business. From 2002 to 2004 Bob Jane T-Marts held the naming rights sponsorship for the Bathurst 1000, the race Jane dominated early in his career.

Bob Jane retired from racing in 1986, although his many contributions to motor sport would continue. From 1980 to 1984 he attracted some of the best Formula 1 drivers to the Australian Grand Prix held at Calder Park Raceway (The “Thunderdome”), this event being a precursor to the Australian Formula 1 World Championship Grand Prix held in Adelaide in 1985.

Being a passionate follower of NASCAR, Jane constructed the $54 million “Thunderdome” on the grounds of the Calder Park Raceway. The new venue would open in February 1988 and its success was assured when the likes of Bobby Allison, Neil Bonnett and others from the Winston West Series all attended.

Co Driver
Ford Falcon XK Lou Moulina 3rd
Mercedes 220SE Harry Firth 1st
Ford Falcon XL Harry Firth 1st
Ford Cortina GT Harry Firth 1st
Ford Cortina GT George Reynolds 1st
Ford Cortina GT500 George Reynolds engine, lap 50
Ford Falcon XR GT Spencer Martin 18th
Holden Torana LC XU-1 John Harvey transmission, lap 50
Holden Torana LJ XU-1 John Harvey 4th
Holden Torana L34 Frank Gardner engine, lap 7
Holden Torana A9X Ian Geoghegan oil filter, lap 34
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