- January 31, 1945
- Not Active
George Fury is a former racing driver from Australia who gained lots of success in different racing disciplines. He was an Australian rally champion two times, in 1977 and 1980, also recording two participations in the World Rally Championship.
He was among the front-runners in the Australian Touring Car Championship for many years, finishing two times as a vice-champion in 1983 and 1986. At Bathurst 1000, his best result was the third place 1987 but he scored three wins in another endurance race, the Sandown 500.
Born in Hungary, moving to Australia at the age 13
Born in Hungary in January 1945, in the middle of war-affected Europe, George survived the World War II and move to Australia with his parents at the age 13. He grew up on a farm and became a friend with Monty Suffern, a university lecturer who later became Fury's co-driver in rally competitions.
In 1971, the pair started competing in local rallies in a Ford Cortina Mk.1 with a 1300cc engine, replacing it later with a 2-liter engine. Their first win came in 1973 at the Akademos Rally in East Gippsland.
Rallying with Datsun since 1974, champion in 1977
In 1974, Fury loaned a factory-prepared Datsun 180B for the Southern Cross Rally, the most important event on the Australian calendar at the time. He finished in the fourth place. In the following years, Fury established himself as a top driver in a Datsun 710 Violet.
In 1977, he won the Australian Rally Championship title, sharing a trophy with Ross Dunkerton. Fury was still missing a victory at the Southern Cross Rally. He finally succeeded in 1978, driving a Datsun Stanza against some great and world known drivers such were Colin Bond, Andrew Cowan, Rauno Aaltonen or Harry Källström. In doing so, Fury became the first Australian to win the event in seven years.
1980 - one more championship title and WRC debut with Datsun
Fury continued to drive Datsun Stanza in 1979 and repeated a victory at Southern Cross International Rally but finished only fifth in the national championship. In 1980, he won three events in the national championship and became the champion for the second time. Monty Suffern was still his navigator.
In September 1980, Fury made a WRC debut, participating at Motogard Rally of New Zealand. He was driving the #8 Datsun 160J for Team Datsun, finishing in the fourth place behind Timo Salonen (Datsun), Walter Röhrl (Fiat Abarth) and Hannu Mikkola (Mercedes).
1981 – the last season in rallying
In 1981, Fury has won the Castrol Rally in a Datsun Stanza, interrupting Greg Carr's record-breaking streak of six wins. Later in the season, Fury added few more podiums on his account to finish second in the Australian Rally Championship, losing a title to Geoff Portman.
The season 1981 was the last in rallying not just for Fury but also for the Datsun Rally Team as the Japanese company moved its focus on circuit racing program.
Touring car racing debut in 1981 with Nissan Bluebird Turbo
Fury's new car was a Nissan Bluebird Turbo. With that car, he made a debut at Bathurst 1000 in October 1981, sharing a car with Fred Gibson, an owner of Gibson Motorsport, the operating team of Nissan's circuit racing program. They failed to finish the race.
In the 1982 Australian Touring Car Championship season, Fury participated in three rounds, showing his and team's potential with the second-place finish at Calder Park. Later in the season, he also contested the Endurance Championship races, including Bathurst 1000. He and Gibson retired again at Mount Panorama.
Australian Touring Car vice-champion in 1983
In the 1983 ATCC season, Nissan Bluebird Turbo was competitive against bigger-class Holden Commodores, Ford Falcons or Mazda RX-7s. Thanks to a controversial point scoring system, Fury fought for the championship although he had no overall wins. The team boycotted the final round and he finished second in the championship, behind Mazda's Allan Moffat.
Fury scored a maiden win with Nissan Bluebird Turbo at Amaroo Park's round of the Endurance Championship, finishing a season in the third place. At Bathurst 1000, Fury was the second-fastest qualifier but he didn't finish the race, sharing a car with Garry Scott.
Pole position at 1984 Bathurst 1000
In 1984, the highlight of the season was a pole position for Fury at Bathurst 1000, with a lap time of 2:13.85. In the race, he and Garry Scott finished just 16th.
In the 1984 ATCC season, Fury gave the first victory to Nissan by winning a race at Lakeside International Raceway. The team skipped some rounds because developing a new engine so Fury finished just 11th in the championship. Fury was the last winner in a Group C era by winning the support race of the Australian Grand Prix in November 1984.
1986 – ATCC vice-champion in a Nissan Skyline
In 1985, the Group A era started but Fury was sidelined while waiting for the Nissan Skyline RS DR30 to be developed. He made some guest rides with Frank Gardner's JPS Team BMW in a BMW 635 CSi.
In 1986, Fury returned to full-time racing with Peter Jackson Nissan team, led by Fred Gibson. Fury won five races, the most of all drivers, in a Nissan Skyline but lost a title by just five points to Volvo's Robbie Francevic. In the Endurance Championship, Fury won four of six rounds to finish second in the points, behind Jim Richards. At Bathurst 1000, Fury and Glenn Seton failed to finish the race.
A podium at 1987 Bathurst 1000
Fury recorded his best result at Bathurst 1000 a year later, in October 1987. He and Terry Shiel finished in the third place in the #30 Nissan Skyline DR30 RS, behind one Holden's crew and teammates in the #15 Nissan.
Two more seasons in a Nissan Skyline
In 1988, Fury was driving a new Nissan Skyline HR31 GTS-R, suffering from the unreliability of a new car. Scoring just one podium, he finished 13th in the ATCC. At Bathurst 1000, he and Mark Skaife didn't finish the race.
In 1989, the two-time ATCC champion Jim Richards joined Nissan. As the team's second driver, Fury scored his last ATCC victory at Winton Motor Raceway, finishing sixth in the points. At Bathurst 1000, Fury missed a podium by finishing fourth, sharing the #3 Nissan Skyline with Anders Oloffson.
Back to rallying, one more WRC start with Mitsubishi
For the 1990 ATCC season, Nissan replaced Fury with Mark Skaife. Having no full-time seat in touring car championship, Fury returned to rallying. He scored two wins in the national championship with Mitsubishi Galant VR-4, finishing third in the final championship points.
In September 1991, he recorded his second WRC start by participating at Rally Australia with Mitsubishi Galant VR-4. He didn't finish the event which was won by Juha Kankkunen (Lancia).
Final touring car victory at 1990 Sandown 500
Fury didn't participate in touring car championship in 1990 but he recorded few guest runs with Peter Jackson Racing's Ford Sierra RS500. He finished third in the ATCC race at Oran Park Raceway, retired at Bathurst 1000 and scored his final win in a career at Sandown Park.
In September 1990, Fury was sharing the #35 Ford Sierra RS500 with Glenn Seton at Sandown 500. They won a race ahead of another Ford driven by Peter Brock and Charlie O'Brien. It was Fury's third win at Sandown 500.
Two attempts at Bathurst 12 Hour race
The season 1990 marked the end of Fury's racing career but he recorded a few attempts in following years, one in the WRC's Rally Australia and two at Bathurst 12 Hour race.
In 1991, the inaugural Bathurst 12 Hour race took place at Mount Panorama Circuit. Fury appeared in a Mitsubishi Galant VR-4, similar to one he was using in rallying. Sharing a car with Rod Jones and Alf Grant, he finished ninth overall and fourth in Class T.
Next year, Fury returned to Bathurst 12 Hour in a Mitsubishi Galant VR-4, finishing just 37th overall and sixth in Class T. His teammate were Rod Jones and Ed Ordynski.
Post-race career as a farmer and bus driver
After finally closing his racing career, Fury returned to where all begun, on the farm in Talmalmo, New South Wales. He was also driving a school bus. His peaceful life on a farm was interrupted in 2014 when he was convinced to appear at Mount Panorama Circuit to drive his Nissan Bluebird Turbo for demonstration laps as a celebration of 30th anniversary of Nissan's pole position at Bathurst.