Classic Art: Bathurst 1000 Programmes
With some beautifully executed, hand finished illustration, this collection of Official Programme covers is a colourful chronicle of the Bathurst legend. They celebrate not only the history of the race itself, they also reflect social shift – with the proliferation of cigarette branding, a change in currency, the introduction of the metric system, and the accompanying increase to 1000 kilometres. More importantly, they portray a time when the drivers and machines carved the bedrock of a great motorsport event.
Many would argue the first quarter century was the greatest in Bathurst history. Entry lists included Formula 1 World Champions, Indianapolis and Le Mans winners, as well as the elite from Rallying and Motorcycling. Legendary motorsport figures such as Stirling Moss, Jack Brabham, Denny Hulme, Alan Jones, Jacky Ickx, Derek Bell, Henri Pescarolo, Klaus Ludwig, Johnny Rutherford, Paddy Hopkirk and Wayne Gardner. For many years it was even rumoured Hollywood icon Paul Newman would compete, although this was more likely entrepreneurial, 1970’s style spin.
The collection illustrates the evolution of the vehicles and the speed it took to succeed at ‘The Mountain’. A tiny Ford Cortina won the 1965 race outright, the fastest lap during the 500 mile race was 3:13.7 (114.71 km/h). In comparison, the 1989 race was won by Dick Johnson and John Bowe, setting a fastest lap – on the now extended circuit – of 2:19.12 (160.77 km/h).
Originally a race for standard production cars, the event switched to an extended era of the locally formulated Group C category. From 1973 until 1984, the race was dominated by large capacity V8 power. It was a period in which Peter Brock emphatically stamped his authority on the race and earned the title ‘King of the Mountain’, winning no less than seven times.
The 1985 James Hardie 1000 was the first event run under international Group A regulations. The V8 stranglehold was broken when outright glory went to one of three Tom Walkinshaw Racing, V12 powered, XJS Jaguars. There were two more local V8 Holden conquests in 1986, and the controversial 1987 round of the World Touring Car Championship. The 1980’s was slammed shut with a dominant double for the sizzling Ford Sierra RS 500 Cosworth in what was by then the Tooheys 1000.