Bathurst 1000 History

Mount Panorama Bathurst 1000

Bathurst Origins

The Bathurst 1000 (currently branded as The Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000) is a 1,000-kilometre (620 mi) touring car race held annually on the Mount Panorama Circuit in Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia. The race concept originated with the 1960 Armstrong 500 at Phillip Island. Since then annual races have taken place in a continuous sequence at these two venues. It is known among fans and media as “The Great Race” and is widely regarded as the pinnacle of Australian motorsport. The Bathurst 500/1000 was generally a “stand alone” event, occasionally becoming a round of a national series such as the Manufacturer’s Championship. Since 1999, the race has been run exclusively for V8 Supercars and is now a round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series. The race was traditionally run on the Sunday before the first Monday in October, which is the “Labour Day” public holiday in N.S.W. In recent years it was held on the second Sunday in October; the 2012 V8 Supercars race calendar changed it to the first Sunday in October.

Race winners are presented with the Peter Brock Trophy. This was introduced at the 2006 race to commemorate the death ofPeter Brock. Brockie, as he was affectionately referred to by race fans, was the most successful driver in the history of the race, winning the event 9 times. He was also one of the most popular and approachable competitors during his long career.

The Mountain

The Mt Panorama Circuit was originally created as a Scenic Drive. During the 1930s it was expanded with Government funding as part of a Depression era job creation scheme. It had a gravel surface prior to World War 2. It has been a venue for many classes of Racing Cars and Motorbikes. Motorbike racing was traditionally conducted at Easter meetings though they have not competed at Mt Panorama since 1994. When not closed for racing the Mt Panorama circuit is a two way public road. The speed limit is 60km/h. It is remorselessly enforced.

Initially open wheelers and sports cars were the dominant classes raced at “The Mountain”. During the sixties they were usurped by the increasingly popular Touring Car categories. The 1968 decision to allow advertising on Racing Cars accelerated this trend as “Tin Tops” were much better billboards than the smaller and swifter “proper” Racing Cars. Factory support from the major marques (Ford, Holden, BMC, Nissan, Toyota, etc) aggravated this trend during the late 1960s and early 1970s. The increase in television coverage and promotion from the late sixties onwards helped to make several of the drivers household names across the country.

Until 1998 the Bathurst 1000 was organized and promoted by a consortium of Channel 7, the Australian Racing Drivers Club and Bathurst (City) Council. Since then it has been run on a more professional basis.

Currently two meetings per year are held at Mt Panorama; The Easter “12 Hour event” for a variety of classes and the October “Bathurst 1000” for “V8 Supercars”.

Article courtesy of Wikipedia

Browse the gallery below for some classic images of the beginnings of the Bathurst Legend.