Bathurst – Paint by Numbers

This Thursday sees beginning of the greatest weekend of motorsport in Australasia, if not the world – The Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.

Tens of thousands of petrol heads will descend on a sleepy little New South Wales town for 4 days of motorsport, music, camping and, well, sinking booze.

The annual Ford v Holden battle – a battle that has it originating roots at Mount Panorama – will again be fought on the track, and in the camp grounds.

Oh, plus there is Volvo. And Mercedes. And Nissan.

Last month I regaled you with the tale of endurance racing, and with the tams to watch. Much of that remains the same, so this month, I thought we would take a look at something a little different.

Each season, V8 Supercar teams use Bathurst as chance to mix up the paint schemes on their cars, normally driven by sponsors, and sometimes as a result of heritage. Let’s take a look at some of the more eye catching, iconic and out there retro liveries seen on the Mountain.

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Triple Eight Racing Team Vodafone / Holden Dealer Team Throwback

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Bathurst 1000, Triple Eight took it back to 1982 with a Marlboro Holden Dealer Team inspired paint scheme. Designed to look like Lowndes’ mentor Peter Brock’s winning car, there were slight modification made to the design. Obviously, the Marlboro logos were removed, as tobacco sponsorship is banned. But the iconic #05 that Brock raced with had been retired in 2006, as a mark of respect following his death.

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Ford Performance Racing / Moffat Ford Dealers Team Throwback

Harking back to the historic 1977 1-2 finish for Allan Moffat and Colin Bond, FPR went with the classic white with red and blue stripes. Sadly, their results did not match those of the ’77 team with Winterbottom finishing 11th and Will Davison 24th, some 18 laps down.

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Dick Johnson Racing / Tru-Blu Throwback

Few men have had the varied history at the mountain that Dick Johnson has had. 3 race wins, which could have been 4 if it weren’t for the Nissan Skyline of Richards and Skaife (and the rain) but also some terrible luck. This was evident in the 1980 editions where, as a privateer, Johnson came ever so close to winning, were it not for a clipping a rock in the Cutting. The Tru-Blu sponsorship was revived in 2012 on the Moffat/Davison #18 Falcon. So much so, that they even renumbered the car #17, like the 1980 car.

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Dick Johnson Racing / Shell Helix Throwback

2014 saw Johnson do it again with this retro paint scheme, designed to look like the ’94 Johnson/Bowe race winner, just with refreshed sponsorship. Dick Johnson Racing / Greens-Tuf Throwback This is a personal favourite, not because of the retro nature of the paint job, but for the story behind it. In 1983 Johnson, again a privateer, entered the race with his Greens-Tuf sponsored Ford Falcon. During qualifying, he had a horrific accident at Forest Elbow that he was incredibly lucky to walk away from. Rolling the car through the trees, the car was a near write-off. Were it not for an all nighter by his team, and the TAFE training students, Johnson would not have made the grid the next day.

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Holden Racing Team 1990 Throwback

Celebrating the 20th anniversary of HRT’s first team win for Win Percy and Allan Grice. Honourable mentions go to Nissan Motorsport and Bottle-O Racing for their cars over the years. And to Red Bull Racing Australia for their camp-themed cars from 2014. I deliberately left these out of the countdown as the last lap from last years race, with Jamie Whincup running out of fuel and costing himself another Bathurst victory still haunts my dreams. This year sees Holden Racing Team, Nissan Motorsport, and Erebus Racing all sporting either new or throwback liveries. Time will tell whether they will be classics or not.

By Daniel Olander

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