Touring Car Revival at 2012 Formula 1™ Australian Grand Prix
The eclectic mix of Australian and overseas Touring Cars that turned heads in the 1970s, ‘80s and early ‘90s will take to Melbourne’s Albert Park circuit as a feature support category of the 2012 Formula 1™ Australian Grand Prix from 15-18 March.
This follows the appointment of the Victorian Historic Racing Register by the Australian Grand Prix Corporation to run a Group C and Group A Touring Car support event in 2012 and builds on the successful collaboration between both organisations in staging Formula 5000 races at the Grand Prix in 2009, 2010 and 2011.
A capacity grid of up to 40 of the actual Holden, Ford, Jaguar, Nissan and Volvo cars and other makes that raced in the Australian Touring Car Championship during the golden Brock-Johnson-Moffat-Richards era from 1973-1992 will be invited to compete at Albert Park.
Only original competition cars from the period will be eligible to take part, with the Touring Car Revival series including many former Bathurst-winning cars and drivers.
Entrants will be required to ‘pre-qualify’ for the Australian Grand Prix support races by competing in preceding 2011-2012 Touring Car Revival series events conducted by the VHRR at Sandown and Phillip Island.
The Touring Car Revival at the 2012 Formula 1™ Australian Grand Prix will consist of two eight-lap races with rolling starts in peak spectator time during the Saturday and Sunday of the meeting. Practice and qualifying will take place on the Thursday of the Grand Prix program.
Well-known drivers from the Group C & A Touring Car era and legendary drivers from the past will either drive, officiate or meet the public in autograph sessions at all meetings in association with a special display marking more than half a century of Australian Touring Cars racing featuring many famous cars.
Appropriately, Australia’s most successful active touring car driver – and Shannons ambassador – Jim Richards, has been appointed the ‘Active Ambassador’ of the Touring Car Revival.
“This is a celebration of an era that was an important part of my life,” the four-time Australian Touring Car Champion said. “I drove Toranas. Commodores, an XB Falcon, BMWs and Nissans and the variety of makes and models created fantastic racing for both drivers and spectators.
“I am currently restoring the first Group A BMW M3 that I raced in the 1980s and I’ll be competing in the Revival at the Grand Prix, either in my own car if it is finished in time, or another car from that era.”
The President of the VHRR Ian Tate, who was the Holden Dealer Team’s chief mechanic during the 1970s and worked closely with Peter Brock during his Bathurst-winning blitz, said he was confident the Touring Car Revival would be a major attraction of the 2012 Formula 1™ Australian Grand Prix carnival.
“We know from experience at Phillip Island and Sandown that the food stalls and coffee booths empty when these touring cars take to the track,” he said. “They are exciting vehicles that raced within the living memory of many fans and the variety of makes and models provides an exciting spectacle.”