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Frank Gardner Onboard in a Camaro 1973

Submitted by on July 19, 2009

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This is a great little clip from a 1973 Castrol film featuring three-time British Touring Car Champion and Australian legend, Frank Gardner.

Here he talks about what it takes to finesse a huge 1350kg, seven litre, 550bhp Chevy Camaro around Oulton Park.

Already a two time BTCC Champion, having won the title in a Ford Falcon Sprint in 1967 and a Ford Escort in 1968, Gardner was a firm favourite for the nine round 1973 season

He kicked off his championship assault in style at Brands Hatch, setting pole, fastest lap and taking the win from Dave Brodie in an Escort.

He didn’t have things all his own way at Silverstone for race two with fellow Aussie Brian Muir taking victory in a BMW 3.0CSL after pressuring Gardner into a spin.

Gardner would win the next five races in a row to cement his domination of the championship before tripping over a back marker in the final race at Brands Hatch to hand the win to Muir.

Gardner’s European success made him best known as a Touring car and Sports car specialist, but he also raced in nine World Championship Formula 1 Grands Prix and won the 1971 British Formula 500 Championship. He is famous for being the first Aussie driver to win over 100 international motor races and the only Australian to win the BTCC title.

Once back on Australian soil, Gardner kept on winning, taking out the 1977 Australian Sports Sedan Championship before hanging up his helmet and moving on to great success as a team manager.

On retiring from racing Gardner said: ” We’d gone to so many funerals when I was racing, the Jimmy Clarks, the mike Spences, the Jo Sifferts, the Jo Bonniers. I competed in quite a few cars along the way, but I never wanted to be the fastest racing driver of all time. I just wanted to be the oldest.”

Champ!

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