Not so Aussie V8s
As you’ve no doubt heard by now, the V8 Supercars will not be an all Holden and Ford affair as of next year. Entering the fray are Mercedes Benz with Stone Brothers Racing and Nissan with Kelly Racing. This may be a shock to some Aussie V8 purists, who are right now sensing the sky getting a bit closer, but to the rest of us motorsport fans it’s an exciting change. Of course it hasn’t always been a Holden and Ford shut-out, so let’s take a look back to some of the great non Holden/Ford cars of the Australian Touring Car Championship (ATCC) as it used to be known.
Allan Moffat Mazda RX7 – 1983
In 1981 the sky started falling for Ford fans when the great Allan Moffat left Ford to race a Mazda RX7 in the ATCC. In 1983 he won the title and came second at Bathurst. The sky fell completely when he joined Peter Brock at the Holden Dealer team in 1985 immediately winning the Wellington 500. When he did return to Ford it was in a Sierra not a Falcon. Watch this video of the RX7 holding off a Commodore at Bathurst.
Jim Richards BMW – 1985 and 1987
New Zealand’s very own Jim Richards won the championship in 1985 driving the mighty BMW 635CSI before winning it again in 1987 behind the wheel of the brilliant BMW M3. Watch this video of the two cars together at Hampton Downs recently, andthis one of Richards dicing with Brock in 1987 (notice how Neil Crompton is commentating – some things never change). Brock famously went on to drive an M3 as well.
Robbie Francevic Volvo 240T – 1986
Another Kiwi won the championship in 1986. Robbie Francevic drove a Volvo 240T to its only ATCC title in 1986 before being fired by the team at the end of the season. The Volvo also famously won the first ever Wellington street race in 1985 with a storming drive from the back of the grid. Here’s some cool old footage from the Wellington race in 1986 with the flying Swedish taxi.
Jim Richards and Mark Skaife Nissan Skyline – 1990 – 93
Possibly the most famous non Ford or Holden was the Nissan Skyline, or Godzilla as it was known. For three years it dominated the championship before new rules forced it out after the 1993 championship. That year Jim Richards and Mark Skaife won Bathurst despite crashing after the red flag was shown due to torrential rain. The following podium presentation is legendary with Jim calling the booing diehard Ford fans a pack of A**eholes. Watch it here. Nissan Skylines won all but one round of the 1991 season and that one loss was to the BMW M3 of Tony Longhurst.
John Goss/Armin Hahne/Tom Walkinshaw Jaguar XJS – 1985
One of the most spectacular and certainly loudest was the Jaguar XJS V12 which won Bathurst in 1985. Tom Walkinshaw’s car didn’t win the race but he did get pole position. Watch his pole lap here. John Goss and Armin Hahne’s Jag did win however. It was a brief relationship with the Aussie Touring car series but there’ll never be a louder car in the championship again. Many Kiwis’ will remember the Jags racing at Pukekohe in 1987 and leaving with a headache and a smile. Amazing cars.
So for all of you too young or too old to remember the time before the V8 Supercars, the Aussie championship has a rich history and variety of cars and manufacturers.
The more new cars and teams the better I reckon.
How about you? Ford and Holden only, or let any of the other marques in the competition?
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