Top 10 V8 Supercars drivers
The Australian V8 Supercars Championship, which was inaugurated back in 1960 as the Australian Touring Car Championship, is one of the most popular racing series worldwide, although it was, in fact, continental racing series based in Australia and New Zealand. Since inaugurated, the main Australian touring car competition created many great drivers and it was popular not only ‘down under’ but all over the world.
The world of motorsport and its history have produced truly amazing individuals across generations, and in 2016, we decide to look back upon it and present those that have marked the sport with their performances on the racing track. Here’s the list of the greatest drivers of the Australian V8 Supercars and touring cars in the past six decades. Our main criteria while creating this list were the numbers, primarily the statistics of titles and victories.
Peter Brock (1945-2006) was also known as Peter Perfect and The King of the Mountain.The second nickname reveals Brock’s biggest achievement in the career – nine victories at Bathurst 1000 endurance race, the most popular Australian race which is held annually at Mount Panorama in Bathurst.
Brock scored all his Bathurst win driving various Holden cars, from Torana GTR XU-1 in 1972 to VL Commodore in 1987. In the Australian Touring Car Championship, Brocky was winner three times (1974, 1978 and 1980). Brock retired from racing in 2004 but he didn’t stop to drive race cars occasionally. Unfortunately, on September 2006, he lost his life in an accident at 2006 Targa West rally near Perth, Western Australia.
Jamie Whincup (born 1983) is the only driver who has won six V8 Supercars championship titles. He started his winning streak in 2008, driving Ford Falcon for the Triple Eight Race Engineering. In 2009, Jamie repeated the triumph with the latest generation Falcon. From 2011 to 2014, Whincup rushed to four more titles driving Triple Eight’s Holden Commodore cars.
At Bathurst 1000 Whincup scored four wins, three in a row from 2006 to 2008, together with Craig Lowndes in the #888 Triple Eight’s Ford. The fourth victory came in 2012, alongside Paul Dumbrell with Holden Commodore.
Craig Lowndes (born 1974) is an absolute record holder with 104 V8 Supercar victories (since 2016) and is still active, so his record number could be even bigger in the future. His debut season in the Australian Touring Car Championship was 1996 and he immediately won the championship, driving for the Holden Racing Team. In 1996, he also won his first Bathurst 1000, together with Greg Murphy.
Lowndes added two more titles (1998 and 1999), both with HRT, but also five more victories at Mount Panorama. From 2006 to 2008, he won three times in a row with Jamie Whincup in the Triple Eight’s Ford, in 2010 his partner in the Triple Eight’s Holden was Mark Skaife and finally, in 2015, Lowndes won alongside Steven Richards.
The New Zealander Jim Richards (born 1947) had seven Bathurst victories and four championship titles in his CV. First two ATCC titles (1985 and 1987) Richards won driving BMW 635 CSi. In 1990, he switched to the legendary Nissan Skyline GT-R and brought two consecutive titles to the Japanese manufacturer.
At Mount Panorama, Richards is second-best with seven victories. First three wins, from 1978 to 1980, he scored together with the King of the Mountain Peter Brock, in the famous #05 Holden. In 1990 and 1991, Richards won the championship but also won the Bathurst 1000 two times in a row, alongside Mark Skaife. The sixth win followed in 1998, together with Rickard Rydell in the Volvo S40. The final victory, again in the Holden and again with Skaife, was achieved in 2002.
Mark Skaife (born 1967) is a five-time champion and six-time Bathurst winner, which are the numbers which put him among the top 5 drivers in the motorsport history of Australia. He took his first title in 1992, continuing the reign of the Nissan Skyline GT-R. In 1994, Skaife was a champion with Winfield’s Holden and then three times in a row from 2000 to 2002 with Holden Racing Team.
At Bathurst 1000, Skaife’s victories span from 1991 to 2010. He partnered Jim Richards in two victorious races with Nissan in 1991 and 1992. Richards was also his partner in HRT’s Commodore in 2002. A year earlier, in 2001, Skaife won together with Tony Longhurst. In 2005, Skaife’s partner was Todd Kelly and finally, in 2010, Skaife scored his sixth win alongside Craig Lowndes.
Dick Johnson (born 1945) was the racing hero during the 1980s when he took all of his five Australian Touring Car championship titles. He won his maiden title in 1981, driving Ford XD Falcon for his own team. In the same year, he also took his first victory at Bathurst, alongside John French.
Four more titles for Dick Johnson followed in 1982, 1984, 1988 and 1989, all driving Fords. At the Mount Panorama, Johnson triumphed two more times , both with John Bowe, in 1989 and 1994.
Alan Moffat (born 1939) is the only among ATCC and V8SC champions who isn’t from Australia and New Zealand. The Canadian driver won his first ATCC title in 1973, driving factory-entered Ford XY Falcon. Two more titles with Ford followed in 1976 and 1977. In 1983, Moffat brought the only Australian title for Mazda, driving the #43 RX-7 for his own team.
At Mount Panorama, Moffat and Peter Brock are the only ones who won the Bathurst race both in the 500-mile and 1000-km format. Moffat won the 500-mile races in 1970 and 1971. The third Bathurst triumph followed in 1973, alongside Ian Geoghegan. The final victory followed in 1977 when Moffat was sharing the car with Jacky Ickx.
Larry Perkins (born 1950) was a Formula 1 driver and the champion of Australia in Formula 5000, Formula 3 and rallycross, but he missed the touring car title. However, he deserves a place among the greatest drivers because of his remarkable performances at Bathurst, claiming no less than six victories.
He scored the maiden victory at the mountain in 1982 alongside Peter Brock. In 1983 and 1984, two more victories followed alongside Brock. During the 1990s, Perkins added three more Bathurst wins in the Holdens of his own team. In 1993, his co-driver was Gregg Hansford. In 1995 and 1997, the winning partner was Russell Ingall.
Bob Jane (born 1929) is one of the heroes of the early years of touring car racing in Australia. He won four championship titles and scored four victories at Mount Panorama. His winning car in the 1962 and 1963 championships is Jaguar Mark II. In 1971 and 1972, Jane won the titles driving the Chevrolet Camaro ZL-1.
At Mount Panorama, Jane won the 1961 Armstrong 500, the second ever edition of the most famous Australian race. The winning car was Mercedes-Benz 220SE, co-driver was Harry Firth. Jane and Firth won two more times, in 1962 and 1963, driving Ford XL Falcon and Ford Cortina. In 1964, Bob Jane scored the fourth consecutive win at Bathurst, sharing the Ford Cortina with George Reynolds.
Ian ‘Pete’ Geoghegan (1940-2003) is one more legend from the 1960s. The Sydney-born driver won five Australian Touring Car Championship titles in the period from 1964 to 1969. In 1964, he was driving Ford Cortina. Ford Mustang was his car in four consecutive championship-winning years from 1966 to 1969.
Geoghegan won the prestigious Bathurst 1000 only once, in 1973. He was the partner of Allan Moffat in the factory-entered Ford XA Falcon GT. Later in the career he was the 1976 Australian Sports Car champion, driving the Porsche 911S. His last active season was 1978, but he practiced racing occasionally until 1987.