The Bathurst 1000 is truly one of the great races of the world, and each year a new chapter of Australian racing history is written in the form of new winners, dominant victories, nail biting finishes, the establishment of legends and the beginning of promising new careers. As Motorsport Month kicks off and we lead up to the 2017 edition of the great race, we thought we’d take a look at 6 of the record breaking races that helped create some of Mt. Panorama’s most historic moments.
1996 – The Youngest Ever Bathurst Winners
Winners: Craig Lowndes & Greg Murphy
Driving for: Holden Racing Team (VR Commodore)
On the morning of October 6, 1996, two young men named Craig Lowndes and Greg Murphy stepped into the No.1 Holden Racing Team VR Commodore for that year’s edition of the Bathurst 1000. Lowndes had previously become a household name with his theatrics in his first race at the previous year’s Sandown 500, while Murphy was a hot-shot New Zealander fresh out of driving Open-Wheelers across the Tasman.
Having qualified in 2nd, 161 laps later they found themselves atop the podium. At the tender age of 22, the first of Craig Lowndes’ 5 all time Bathurst victories made him the youngest driver ever to take the chequered flag at the Mt. Panorama.
1979 – The Most Dominant Victory In Bathurst History
Winners: Peter Brock & Jim Richards
Driving for: Marlboro Holden Dealer Team (A9X Torana)
Peter Brock’s 3rd Bathurst Victory is seen by many as his finest hour. The now-famous Marlboro Torana was simply untouchable in the 1979 Hardie-Ferodo 1000, winning by 6 laps and qualifying 2 seconds ahead of its nearest rival on the day before. Despite his lead on the rest of the field, Brockie chose to race until the very end, setting the Mt. Panorama circuit lap record on the final lap of the race.
2011 – The Closest Bathurst 1000
Winners: Garth Tander & Nick Percat
Driving for: Holden Racing Team (VE Commodore)
The closest non-formation victory in Bathurst History came in 2011, as the fading HRT Commodore of Garth Tander managed to stave off a last minute charge by the #888 Falcon of Craig Lowndes. As they rounded the final corner, the monumental push by Lowndes proved to be too little, too late.
Just 0.29 Seconds separated the two drivers at the end of proceedings. The next year Triple Eight Racing were able to turn the tables, with Jamie Whincup and Paul Dumbrell winning the 2012 race by just 0.31 seconds over David Reynolds and Dean Canto.
2013 – The Fastest 1000km Race In History
Winners: Mark Winterbottom & Steven Richards
Driving for: Ford Performance Racing (FG Falcon)
In a record that often goes overlooked, Mark Winterbottom and Steven Richards won what turned out to be the fastest ever Bathurst 1000km race in terms of not only the total time it took to complete the 161 laps, but also the average speed of the car. Frosty and Richards kept an average speed of 161kph (100.3mph) on their way to completing the race in just 6hrs and 11 minutes, 37 seconds ahead of the previous record setters from 2010’s race.
It was only the second race (the other being in 2010 as well) to be run at an average speed of over 100mph.
2002 – The Oldest Ever Bathurst Champion
Winners: Mark Skaife & Jim Richards
Driving for: Holden Racing Team (VX Commodore)
The 2002 Bathurst 1000 turned out to be a truly happy day for the Richards family, as Jim Richards partnered Mark Skaife to win his 7th Bathurst 1000 crown at the staggering age of 55. His son Steven, in the Commodore of Castrol Perkins Racing, came home 2nd to seal a father-son 1-2.
In another weird record, the Kmart racing team car of Greg Murphy was awarded the longest Stop-Go penalty in V8s history, 5 minutes from start to finish. Must have seemed like 5 hours.
1987 – The True King of the Mountain is Crowned
Winners: Peter Brock, Peter McLeod, Jon Crooke, David Parsons
Driving for: HDT Racing P/L (VL Commodore SS Group A)
In the race which was possibly more monumental in the history of the Bathurst 1000 than any other, Peter Brock produced a dominant display in the wet to bring home his Holden and seal a record-breaking 9th victory at Mount Panorama. The Australian-made SS, piloted by Brock along with Peter McLoed, Jon Crooke and David Parsons, fought off many a foreign challenger in the form of Nissan Skylines, Toyota Supras and BMW M3s to seal a truly momentous victory for Australian Motorsport.
17 year old Graham Gulson also wrote his name in the pages of history that day, becoming the youngest driver to ever drive in the Bathurst 1000, a record that stands to this day. It was Brockies display of skill and cool in the rainy conditions that sealed his name as the king of the mountain. Long may he reign.