Paul "The Dude" Morris
Paul Morris, nicknamed 'The Dude', is an Australian racing driver and team owner who spent most of his career in touring car competitions. He's a four-time Australian Super Touring Championship winner between 1995 and 2001, taking all four titles while driving BMWs.
He's the only driver to win three different endurance races at Mount Panorama Circuit. He won Bathurst 12 Hour in 2007 and 2010, driving a BMW. Then, in 2014, he and Chaz Mostert have won the Bathurst 1000 in a Ford FG Falcon. In 2017, he won the second edition of newly established Bathurst 6 Hour race, driving a BMW.
Outside touring car racing, he competed also in GT races. He participated three times at Daytona 24 Hours, most recently in 2017, but without notable results. Morris made a debut in the Speed Energy Formula Off-Road series in a Chevrolet SST (Stadium Super Truck), capturing the championship title in 2017.
Outside racing, Morris owns Performance Driving Centre in Norwell, Queensland.
Starting a career with single-seaters, Bathurst debut in 1991
Born in December 1967 in Morwell, Victoria, Paul Morris started his racing career in 1987, entering the Queensland Gemini Series. He was a Rookie of the Year in his debut season and then the state champion in 1988. In 1989, he moved to Formula Ford, spending the next three seasons in a competition.
In 1991, he also competed in the Australian Drivers' Championship and made a debut in touring car racing, including his first race at Mount Panorama's Bathurst 1000 race. He was sharing the #78 Toyota Sprinter with Jeff Full, finishing 12th overall and taking a victory in Class 3.
Joining BMW factory team in 1992
In 1992, Morris joined BMW factory team, operated by Tony Longhurst Racing. Paul's father Terry became a shareholder in a team. Paul spent a full season in the Australian Touring Car Championship in the #23 Benson & Hedges BMW M3 Evolution, not scoring wins or podiums to finish 9th in the points. His teammates were Alan Jones and Tony Longhurst.
Outside championship, he scored a victory at Wellington 500 and second place at Sandown 500 in a BMW M3 he was sharing with Tony Longhurst. At Bathurst 1000, Morris was sharing a BMW with Denny Hulme, not finishing the race.
Double touring car programme in 1994
In 1993, Morris stayed in the #23 BMW M3 Evolution under the banner of Logamo Racing, finishing 16th in the ATCC classification. He scored a couple of wins in the AMSCAR Series with BMW M3, finishing third in the points. At Bathurst 1000, he and Joachim Winkelhock finished 15th.
In 1994, Morris had a double programme, driving a Holden Commodore in the Australian Touring Car Championship and BMW 318i in the Australian Manufacturers Championship. He finished 13th in the ATCC classification and a runner-up in another championship, behind teammate Tony Longhurst. In that year's Bathurst 1000, Morris and Altfrid Heger finished in the tenth place overall and the first in Class B.
1995 – first title in the Super Touring Championship
At the end of 1994, the team co-owners parted their ways as Tony Longhurst wanted to race in the V8-based ATCC while Frank Gardner and Paul Morris wanted to stay in the Super Touring category with BMW.
Driving the #2 Diet Coke BMW 318i, Morris was a race winner eight times, dominantly taking the championship title ahead of his teammate Geoff Brabham. In 1996, Morris was a race winner three times and he finished second in the points, behind Brad Jones.
1997 – one more title before closing the team
In 1997, Morris was back at the top, winning his second Super Touring Championship in the #2 BMW 320i. He was a race winner six times, beating his teammate Geoff Brabham by 18 points at the end of the season. The third driver in two rounds was Craig Baird.
Morris and Baird participated at Bathurst 1000 in the #2 BMW 320i. They were provisional race winners but later they were disqualified because Baird had breached a regulation which limited any driver to a maximum of three hours continuous driving.
1998 – a season in the Indy Lights Series
At the end of 1997, BMW withdrew a support and the team was closed. Morris decided to try something different in 1998 so he moved to the USA to competed in the CART Indy Lights Series. He was driving Lola-Buick for PacWest Lights in eleven races, scoring no wins or podiums to finish 21st in the points.
In October 1998, Morris returned to Australia to drive an Audi A4 for Brad Jones Racing/Audi Sport Australia. He was sharing the #2 car with Paul Radisich, not finishing the race.
1999 – Super Touring champion and a podium at Bathurst 1000
Paul Morris relived his team for the 1999 Australian Super Touring Championship, running the #23 BMW 320i and taking his third championship title in a series. He was a race winner nine times, beating Jim Richards (Volvo S40) by just two points.
In November 1999, Morris participated at Bathurst 1000 for the first time in a Holden, joining the Holden Racing Team. He was sharing the #2 Holden VT Commodore with Mark Skaife, finishing in the third place.
2000 – first full season in the V8 Supercars Championship
In 2000, Paul Morris entered a full season of the Shell Championship Series (V8 Supercars) with #29 Holden VS Commodore he bought from Holden Racing Team. Later in the year, he purchased a new Commodore VT.
In his first V8 Supercars season, Morris finished 19th in the points, scoring no wins or podiums. At Bathurst 1000, his co-driver was British racer Matt Neal. They finished 12th.
2001 - fourth title in the Super Touring Championship
Between May 2000 and February 2001, Morris participated in the Australian Super Touring Championship with #1 BMW 320i. He was an absolutely dominant driver in a category, winning all but one races to take his fourth ASTC title.
In the 2001 Shell Championship Series, he managed to score two wins, both at Calder Park, in the #29 Holden VT Commodore. He finished 17th in the final standings. At 2001 Bathurst 1000, he and Ashley Stitchbury finished 12th.
Five DNFs at Bathurst in six attempts
In 2002, the Australian premier championship has been renamed to V8 Supercar Championship for the first time. Morris competed in the #29 Holden VX Commodore with disappointing results, finishing 35th in the final standings.
In 2002, a disappointing period started for Paul Morris at Bathurst 1000 race. From 2002 to 2007, he recorded five DNFs in six attempts. His co-drivers in that races were Wayne Wakefield (2002), John Faulkner (2003), Alan Gurr (2004), Paul Radisich (2005) and Steve Ellery (2006 and 2007). Morris reached the finish line only once, in 2006, together with Steve Ellery in the sixth place.
The results in the V8 Supercar Championship were also disappointing during the 2000s, without wins until the retirement from full-time racing in 2009.
Bathurst 24h podium in 2003, Daytona 24h debut in 2005
Parallel to V8SC commitments, Morris occasionally participated in GT races during the 2000s. In 2002, he was driving a Ferrari 360 N-GT in the inaugural Bathurst 24 Hour, not finishing the race. Nex year, he finished third overall in a Porsche 996 GT3, sharing a car with Peter Fitzgerald, John Teulan and Scott Shearman.
In February 2005, Morris made a debut at Daytona 24 Hours as a member of the Aussie Assault squad, together with Craig Baird, Marcus Ambrose and John Teulan. They were sharing the #00 Porsche 996 GT3 Cup, not finishing the race.
Bathurst 12 Hour winner in 2007 and 2010
In 2007, the Bathurst 12 Hour race has been organized for the first time since 1995. Morris participated in the race together with Craig Baird and Garry Holt in the #20 Eastern Creek Karts BMW 335i. They won the race.
Next year, the same trio in the same car finished third overall and first in the Class B. In 2009, Morris was 8th overall in the #20 BMW 335i. In 2010, Morris scored his second win at Bathurst 12 Hours. The car was the same and his co-drivers were John Bowe and Garry Holt.
NASCAR attempt at Sonoma in 2008
Outside Australia, Morris had several racing attempts in different disciplines in the late 2000s, even in the stock car racing. In June 2008, he participated in the NASCAR Camping World West Series race at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California. Driving the #09 Chevrolet he finished in the 27th place.
In January 2009, Morris returned to Daytona International Speedway to participate in the 24-hour race with Blackforest Motorsports. He was sharing the #15 Ford Mustang with Boris Said, Owen Kelly and Tom Nastasi, not finishing the race.
Retiring from full-time V8SC racing in 2009
The season 2008 was the last full-season for Paul Morris in the V8 Supercar Championship. Russell Ingall joined the team that year, bringing the Supercheap Auto sponsorship. Morris finished 20th in the points, Ingall was ninth. They raced together at Bathurst 1000 in the #39 Holden VE Commodore, finishing in 18th place.
At the end of the season, Morris retired from full-time racing, being replaced by Tim Slade. Since then, Morris was serving as an endurance co-driver at Bathurst and other races. At Bathurst 1000, he was driving with Tim Slade (2009, 7th), Russell Ingall (2010, 8th) and Steve Owen (2011, 11th). His last Bathurst 1000 race with his own team was in 2012 when he and Steve Owen didn't finish the race in the #49 Ford FG Falcon.
From the back of the grid to Bathurst 1000 victory in 2014
In 2013, Morris joined Scott Pye at Bathurst 1000 in the #80 Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport's Holden VF Commodore. They finished in the sixth place.
In 2014, Paul Morris was hired by Ford Performance Racing to join Chaz Mostert in the #6 Ford FG Falcon. They started from the back of the grid because Mostert was excluded from qualifying results but that didn't prevent them to win the race. Morris finally won the race in his 22nd attempt.
While serving as endurance co-driver in the V8 Supercar Championship from 2009 onwards, Morris expanded his activities in a development Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series (later Dunlop V8 Supercar Seris). He finished 8th in the points in 2011. He recorded the last appearance in the Dunlop V8 Supercar Series in 2015.
Victory at Bathurst 6 Hour in 2017
In 2016, Morris started to race with BMW again. He was using a Roadchill Freight Express-sponsored BMW M135i in two of four rounds of the Australian Production Car Series, finishing third in the points. In 2016, the Bathurst 6 Hour race took place at Mount Panorama Circuit as a part of the annual Bathurst Motor Festival. Morris didn't finish the race in a BMW M135i.
He returned in 2017 and scored a victory in the same car, sharing it with Luke Searle. With that victory, Paul Morris became the only driver to win three major endurance events at Mount Panorama Circuit.
Formula Off-Road champion in 2017
In 2017, Morris gained another great achievement, becoming the Speed Energy Formula Off-Road champion. The US-based series, also known as Stadium Super Trucks, expanded to Australia in recent years as a supporting programme to V8 Supercar races.
Morris made a debut in 2015, participating in two rounds at Surfers Paradise and Sydney. He raced a full season in 2016, finishing fourth in the points, and then again in 2017. Driving the #67 Chevrolet, he won three races and take the championship title with a one-point advantage over Matt Brabham.
In 2017, Morris also recorded his third attempt at Daytona 24 Hours. He was a member of the #75 crew in a SunEnergy1 Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3, sharing a car with Boris Said, Tristan Vautier, Kenny Habul and Maro Engel. They didn't finish the race.
In 2019 and 2019, he raced occasionally in different Australian competitions, mostly in the Aussie Racing Cars Super Series.