- February 26, 1945
- September 08, 2006
- Not Active
Peter Brock (born 26 February 1945, died 8 September 2006) was one of the best Australian racing drivers and a true sport enthusiast whose career spanned nearly five decades. Brock was one of the most successful Australian racers ever, nicknamed as ‘Peter Perfect’ and ‘The King of the Mountain’. He was the face of Australian motorsport for decades, respected same as three Australians (Jack Brabham, Alan Jones, and Denny Hulme) who won Formula One world titles.
Brock's first race car was an Austin 7 hot rod
Born in the small town of Hurstbridge near Melbourne, Brock developed a love for cars and speed in his early age. His first car was an Austin 7 which he ‘hot rodded’ and drove as fast as he could in the countryside. Peter claimed that his driving skill improved at this point of his life because the car did not have brakes.
Brock was drafted into the Australian Army in 1965. For two years he was stationed at the Blamey Barracks near Wagga in New South Wales. Brock was in the Medical Corps where he often served as an ambulance driver. According to his brother Lewis, Peter and his mates used to race the ambulances around the base. While serving Army, he visited a famous Bathurst race in 1966 and was impressed. It was there that he decided he would become a racing driver as soon as his army duty ended.
Bathurst podium in a very first race
His first race was at Bathurst in 1969. It was still 500-miles event and Brock participated alongside Des West in a famous Holden Monaro GTS 350. Despite the fact that it was his first proper racing outing, Brock finished third and earned himself the attention of the racing audience in Australia. Brock entered newly formed Holden Dealer Team and in the following years, he raced with Holden Torana LC GTR XU-1, with two consecutive second places at Phillip Island 500 in 1971 and 1972.
Only three years after racing debut Brock won the greatest Australian racing event. 1972 was the last year the race was run over 500 miles and the last year in which driving solo was permitted. Brock won Hardie-Ferodo 500 driving alone in Holden Dealer Team's Torana, ahead John French in the Ford Falcon XY and Doug Chivas/Damon Beck in the Chrysler VH Valiant Charger.
Four wins with Holden Torana, five with Commodore
Holden Torana was a victorious car in Brock's next three wins at Bathurst (1975, 1978 and 1979). Five more victories he achieved with various versions of Holden Commodore. Brock won the Bathurst nine times between 1972 and 1987, which is a record that he still holds, thus rightfully earning himself the title of the “King of the Mountain”.
Between first and second win at Bathurst, Brock finished 2nd in 1973 and retired in 1974 because of engine failure while he was leading six laps ahead of the second-placed driver. In 1975 victory Brock's partner was Brian Sampson, for whom it was the first and only win at Bathurst. When not winning, Brock was always near the top, so in 1976, he finished 3rd and in 1977 he was 4th.
Three consecutive wins together with Jim Richards
Brook was back on the top podium spot in 1978. His partner in the famous #05 Marlboro Holden Team's Torana was Jim Richards. It was a beginning of a legendary partnership and rivalry. Next year they achieved one of the most remarkable victories at Bathurst, with six laps advantage over second placed Peter Janson and Larry Perkins in #19 Torana. It remained the most dominant performance in the history of the race.
In 1980 Peter Brock and Jim Richards won their third consecutive Bathurst 1000, debuting the Holden Commodore for the Holden Dealer Team. In 1981, The King finished 21st, but it was just a short pause before three more consecutive victories from 1982 to 1984. Brock's team-mate in all three races was Larry Perkins.
The most interesting and slightly controversial was the victory in 1983. As usual, Peter Brock started with his car #05, but after its engine blew up in Lap 8, Brock and Perkins transferred themselves to teams' second car (#25) of John Harvey and Phil Brock. They won the race and 1983 Bathurst 1000 had four winners.
Superteam Brock-Moffat failed to claim any awards
The 1985 Bathurst 1000 was the first event which was held exclusively for cars complying with the Australian version of International Group A touring car regulations. The race was dominated by the Tom Walkinshaw Racing run Jaguar XJ-S' which finished first and third. The Holden Dealer Team's Commodore VK of Peter Brock and his new partner David Oxton were in second place with three laps to go, when they broke a timing chain and retired.
For 1986, the 'Superteam' was formed of former rivals Peter Brock and Allan Moffat, who had won 12 of the previous 16 races at Mount Panorama Circuit. They were second placed, but after losing almost three laps in the pits with an oil cooler problem, they finished in fifth place.
Ninth Bathurst victory after disqualification of two Sierras
The ninth and the last Bathurst 1000 victory was achieved in 1987. The race was provisionally won by the Ford-supported Eggenberger Motorsport team, with Steve Soper and Pierre Dieudonne in the Ford Sierra RS500, two laps ahead of team-mates Klaus Ludwig and Klaus Niedzwiedz. The third was Holden VL Commodore driven by Peter Brock, Peter McLeod, and David Parsons.
According to protests lodged before the start, two Eggenberger cars were disqualified for illegally modified front wheel arch guards, which allowed the cars to compete on taller tires. The team appealed their disqualification and the appeal was solved in 1988, so few months after the race, Holden's trio was declared the winner. It was a record ninth Bathurst 1000 victory for Brock and his final victory in the race.
Brock's results at Bathurst 1000 come at nine wins out of 32 participations
It's interesting that in the following years he competed (and retired) with two different cars of Mobil 1 Racing Team - BMW M3 in 1988 and Ford Sierra RS500 in 1989. He reached the finish with Sierra in 1990 at fourth place. He returned to Holden Commodore in 1991 and finished seventh.
In 1992, Brock had his worst ever start to the race when the tail shaft of his new Commodore VP broke on the starting line. The car was repaired, so Brock and his partner Manuel Reuter rejoined the run in Lap 15. They finished in 27th place.
Between 1993 and 2004 Brock participated in seven races, finishing best in 5th place in 1996. His last race was the 80th running of Bathurst in 2004, but unfortunately, he didn't have a chance to drive because his partner Jason Plato crashed on lap 27. In total, King of the Mountain participated in 32 Mount Panorama's Bathurst 1000 races.
Tenth win at Mount Panorama achieved in 24-hour race
In 2003, Brock added one more Bathurst victory to his account. He was a part of Garry Rogers Motorsport crew which won the 24-hour marathon with Greg Murphy, Jason Bright and Todd Kelly in Holden Monaro. When talking about endurance races, Brock recorded surprise second place at 24 Hours of Spa in 1977, together with Gerry Marshall in Vauxhall Magnum.
At 24 Hours of Le Mans Brock participated three times. The first attempt at Le Mans in 1967 finished with engine failure of Team Brock's BMW 3.0CSL. Brock's co-driver was Brian Muir. He then returned to the 1981 race, teamed with Colin Bond and Jim Richards, but their Porsche 924 Carrera GTR was named as a reserve entrant, so they didn't start. In 1984 Brock paired with Larry Perkins. They rented Porsche 956B and qualified as 15th at Le Mans. After a good start and highest 5th position Perkins crashed on lap 145.
Three-time champion of the Australian Touring Car Championship
Apart from the Bathurst dominance, he was very active and successful in the Australian Touring Car Championship. He was a champion three times - in 1974, 1978 and 1980. Beside international races we already mentioned he did participate in various events in Europe and America, but besides the fact that he was somewhat successful there and could get better pay, he didn’t seek a career outside of Australia where he was best by far and racing all through the year.
By the start of the ’90s, Brock was thinking of a retirement, however, he continued to race until 1997 following the Australian Touring Car season. He didn't want to stay retired for long and soon started participating in selected events and even returned to his beloved Bathurst.
Brilliant career ended with fatal crash in a Shelby Daytona Coupe
This remarkable career came to an end on September 8th, 2006, when his Shelby Daytona Coupe crashed three kilometers from the end of the second stage of Targa West rally. Brock skidded off downhill, hit a tree and died instantly.
This sad news spread fast and the whole of Australia was in tears after losing one of its finest sportsman and the best racing driver. In honor of his achievements and in recognition of his contribution to Australian motorsport, the Bathurst 1000 winner's trophy now carries his name.