1983 Australian Touring Car Championship

The 1983 Australian Touring Car Championship was a CAMS sanctioned motor racing title for drivers of Group C Touring Cars.[1] The title, which was the 24th Australian Touring Car Championship,[2] was contested over a series which began on 6 February 1983 at Calder Park Raceway and ended on 19 June at Lakeside International Raceway after eight rounds.[3]

Allan Moffat won the championship driving a Mazda RX-7 similar to that pictured above

The championship was won by Allan Moffat driving a Mazda RX-7.

Season summary edit

The championship was won by Allan Moffat, his fourth and final Australian Touring Car Championship and a first for Mazda, who were helping to fund Moffat's team and it was also the first ATCC win for a Japanese manufacturer. Moffat himself dominated the racing, taking four out of the eight race wins, but a beneficial points structure for smaller capacity cars allowed George Fury (driving a turbocharged version of the Nissan Bluebird) to push Moffat all the way to the title, despite not actually winning a race. The folly in the point system was exposed at the first round at Calder when Moffat won the race from Fury, but Fury actually led the championship by finishing second outright in a smaller capacity car (Moffat scored 25 for winning while Fury scored 27 for finishing second). When Fury took the lead for a brief time at Calder, it was the first time that a turbo powered car had led an ATCC race.

Peter Brock in his Marlboro Holden Dealer Team VH Commodore SS finished third in the championship. Brock's early season form and some uncharacteristic reliability problems saw him lagging in ninth place at the midway point in the championship after failing to finish at Calder and Symmons Plains thanks to gearbox failure both times, while finishing third at Sandown and ninth at Wanneroo after spinning out of the lead in a dice with Moffat and Fury (Moffat's win at Wanneroo caused a sensation due to his Formula One style mid-race pit stop for fuel). Brock's championship got back on track with an all-the-way win in Adelaide where he won by the length of the Commodore's bumper bar from Moffat who actually got his Mazda in front 50 metres from the flag but lost out to the power of the V8 Commodore. From there he finished with two seconds and a win to round out the series.

Brock's win in the final round at Lakeside was easily one of the drives of the series. In difficult, wet conditions that actually suited the smaller RX-7's rather than the heavier Commodores and Falcons, he lapped the entire field in the 35 laps after taking the lead on lap 2. His race almost ended coming out of the Karrasell on the first lap when the left rear tyre of his Commodore got out into the mud and pitched the car sideways, almost into the path of Gregg Hansford in the second Allan Moffat Racing Mazda RX-7. Brock recovered still in 3rd place and soon past an ailing Dick Johnson whose Falcon had suffered a power steering pump failure on the grid which would cause his early retirement as he could not steer the car properly. Brock then passed early leader Moffat on lap 2 and proceeded to run away from the field. Hansford also overtook Moffat who was wisely driving with an eye on the title, but Brock lapped the #31 Mazda through the back section of the circuit on the last lap.

Moffat, Brock and Allan Grice (who won rounds 2 and 3 at Sandown and Symmons Plains in his new Roadways Racing Commodore before fading later in the series) were the only race winners in the 1983 ATCC. Defending champion Dick Johnson battled season long with an ill-handling Ford XE Falcon and could only manage two distant 3rd placings at both Sandown and Wanneroo (where he led for the only time in the series) to finish a disappointing 6th in the championship, 94 points behind Moffat. Johnson's 351cui, 5.8L V8 Falcon had the power, but not the handling to be a serious contender for the crown. It was only discovered before the final round at Lakeside that the problem with the Falcon's handling had been both a lack of rear tyres as well as the front suspension of the car.

Whilst Nissan driver George Fury, helped by consistent performances, led the series (uncorrected points) going into the final round at Lakeside, Fury was essentially 5 points behind Moffat in the points system corrected for the top 7 races, therefore Fury needed to finish ahead of Moffat or Moffat finish in 6th place or worse to claim the title. As Moffat had finished well ahead of Fury in all but the one race were the Mazda broke its axle, team manager Howard Marsden decided the team would skip the round as they were not in major contention to win the title (officially to further develop the car before Bathurst). Moffat finished the final race in 3rd position, behind Brock and teammate Gregg Hansford, claiming the 1983 ATCC 6 points ahead of Fury in second place.

Controversy also reigned throughout the series with some teams such as the MHDT (Brock) and STP Roadways (Grice) claiming that Moffat was foxing during the championship and not racing as fast as he could in an effort to 'hoodwink' CAMS into believing the RX-7's, which ran the 1.2 Litre 12A rotary engine in the championship, needed the larger and more powerful (by some 30 bhp (22 kW; 30 PS)) 1.3 Litre 13B engine to be competitive against the V8's at Bathurst. Ultimately CAMS approved the larger 13B engine for the RX-7's (as well as a late approval for fuel injection), but also granted concessions to the Commodores and Falcons which ended up giving the bigger cars a speed advantage on the Mountain.

Controversially CAMS announced the concessions for the post-ATCC 1 August homologation during the race of Round 7 at Oran Park via the ABC's telecast of the race, with ABC commentators Will Hagon and John Smailes making the announcement mid-race. In a TV interview with Smailes immediately following his 2nd placing to Moffat, Peter Brock was informed of the new homologations and expressed his displeasure with CAMS for announcing it on television during the race and not letting those who the decision affected (the teams) know first.[4] The fallout from CAMS decision led to both the Nissan and Roadways teams boycotting the final race of the series at Lakeside, though the official reason given by Nissan team manager Howard Marsden was that the Bluebirds needed further development for the upcoming 1983 Australian Endurance Championship which included both blue ribbon events, the Sandown 400 and the James Hardie 1000 at Bathurst.

Nissan's boycott of the last round also meant that series leader George Fury virtually forfeited his closest chance of winning an Australian Touring Car Championship and becoming the only driver other than Colin Bond to win both the ATCC and the Australian Rally Championship with Fury previously having won the Rally title in both 1977 and 1980. Despite this it was generally felt that the championship went to the right driver as Moffat and his RX-7 were usually the fastest combination and the expat Canadian was regarded as the man to beat. Moffat only failed to finish once at Sandown (broken axle) and finished every other race on the podium, including four wins, four pole positions and five fastest laps resulting in new lap records at Sandown, Symmons Plains, Wanneroo, Surfers (shared with Brock) and Oran Park, while Fury's best were two seconds (Calder and Wanneroo) and one third at Symmons Plains. Also in each race that both Moffat and Fury finished, the Mazda finished ahead of the Nissan, making it fairly unlikely Fury would win the championship in the last round, unless Moffat suffered a breakdown or was involved in an accident, which if either occurred would've meant the Nissan driver would win the championship in any case, hence a rather pragmatic decision was made by the Nissan team not to compete at the last event.

One outcome from this series was that in the future turbocharged cars had their engine capacities multiplied for the purposes of class point score weightings, meaning that in the 1984 Australian Touring Car Championship, the Bluebirds would compete on an equal footing with the other outright class competitors (this actually took effect prior to the start of the 1983 Endurance Championship which started two months after the ATCC concluded). Despite this meaning that the Nissan would score equal points as the RX-7's, Commodores and Falcons, Nissan team boss Howard Marsden raised no objections to the change as the 1.8 litre turbo had proven that it was able to match the speed of the outright class cars. Indeed, later in the year Fury would showcase the speed of the car, qualifying the Bluebird on the front row of the grid at Bathurst, traditionally the sole domain of the more powerful V8 powered cars.

Entrants and drivers edit

The following entrants and drivers competed in the 1983 Australian Touring Car Championship.

Entrant Vehicle No Driver
Masterton Homes Ford XE Falcon 2   Steve Masterton
Mike Burgmann Chevrolet Camaro Z28 3   Mike Burgmann
Cadbury-Schweppes Racing Holden VH Commodore SS 3   Peter Janson
STP Roadways Racing Holden VH Commodore SS 4   Steve Harrington
6   Allan Grice
Marlboro Holden Dealer Team Holden VH Commodore SS 05   Peter Brock
Peter Brierley Holden VH Commodore 7
  Peter Brierley
Garry Wilmington Performance Ford XD Falcon 8   Garry Wilmington
Andrew Harris Ford XE Falcon 9   Andrew Harris
Soundwave Discos Holden VH Commodore SS 11   Clive Benson-Brown
  Garry Rogers
Team Toshiba Holden VH Commodore SS 12   Jim Keogh
Bob Holden Motors Ford Escort Mk.II 13   Bob Holden
John English Ford XD Falcon 14   John English
Ken Hastings Mazda RX-7 15   Ken Hastings
John Donnelly Ford XD Falcon 15   John Donnelly
Terry Finnigan Holden VH Commodore SS 15   Terry Finnigan
Rusty French Holden VH Commodore SS 16   Rusty French
Re-Car Racing Holden VH Commodore SS 16   Garry Rogers
Palmer Tube Mills Ford XE Falcon 17   Dick Johnson
Murray Carter Ford XE Falcon 18   Murray Carter
Gary Hinton Holden VH Commodore SS 18   Gary Hinton
RJ Collins Mazda RX-7 19   Les Verco
Ken Mathews Holden VH Commodore SS 19   Ken Mathews
Warren Cullen Auto Salvage Holden VH Commodore SS 22   Warren Cullen
  Ron Harrop
Frankie Saracino Ford XD Falcon 25   Frankie Saracino
Everlast Ford XD Falcon 26   Bill O'Brien
Bayside Spares Holden VH Commodore SS 28   Barry Lawrence
Peter Stuyvesant International Racing Mazda RX-7 31   Gregg Hansford
43   Allan Moffat
Bernie Parmenter Ford Capri Mk.II 32   Bernie Parmenter
Lester Smerdon Isuzu Gemini 33   Lester Smerdon
Eurocars (Northside) Pty. Ltd. Mazda RX-7 37   Terry Shiel
Bernie Stack Holden VH Commodore SS 38   Bernie Stack
Barry Jones Mazda RX-7 41   Barry Jones
Ross Burbidge Mazda RX-7 46   Ross Burbidge
Roger Manson Holden Isuzu Gemini PF50 48   Roger Manson
Martin Power Triumph Dolomite Sprint 49   Martin Power
David Parsons Holden VH Commodore SS 50   David Parsons
Capri Components Ford Capri Mk.III S 51
  Lawrie Nelson
Nissan Motorsport Australia Nissan Bluebird Turbo 55   George Fury
56   Fred Gibson
Hulcraft Autos Ford Capri Mk.III 56   John Craft
Beninca Motors Alfa Romeo Alfetta GTV 59   Peter Beninca
Petrolon Slick 50 Racing Mazda RX-7 59
  Peter McLeod
Jim Faneco Isuzu Gemini 60   Jim Faneco
Les Grose Ford Capri Mk.III 64   Les Grose
John White Isuzu Gemini 65   John White
Kevin Bartlett Chevrolet Camaro Z28 66   Kevin Bartlett
Bob Thomas Mazda RX-3 66   Bob Thomas
Mike Imrie Ford XD Falcon 67   Mike Imrie
Mike Imrie Ford XD Falcon 67   Graham Treasure
Alf Grant Ford XD Falcon 71   Alf Grant
John Eaton Holden VH Commodore 72   John Eaton
Graham Mein Ford Escort Mk.II 77   Graham Mein
The Daily Planet Toyota Celica 88   Craig Bradtke
Russell Worthington Mazda 626 100   Russell Worthington

Race calendar edit

The 1983 Australian Touring Car Championship was contested over an eight-round series across six states with one race per round.[3]

Rd.[3] Race title[3] Circuit[3] City / state Date[3] Winner[3] Team Report
1   Calder Park Calder Park Raceway Melbourne, Victoria 6 February Allan Moffat Peter Stuyvesant International Racing [5]
2   International Motor Show Trophy Sandown International Raceway Melbourne, Victoria 20 February Allan Grice STP Roadways Racing [6]
3   Symmons Plains Symmons Plains Raceway Launceston, Tasmania 13 March Allan Grice STP Roadways Racing [7]
4   Saab-Scania Cup[8] Wanneroo Park Raceway Perth, Western Australia 24 April Allan Moffat Peter Stuyvesant International Racing [9]
5   Mazda 100[8] Adelaide International Raceway Adelaide, South Australia 1 May Peter Brock Marlboro Holden Dealer Team [10]
6   Surfers Paradise Surfers Paradise International Raceway Surfers Paradise, Queensland 15 May Allan Moffat Peter Stuyvesant International Racing [11]
7   Oran Park Oran Park Raceway Sydney, New South Wales 29 May Allan Moffat Peter Stuyvesant International Racing
8   Lakeside Lakeside International Raceway Brisbane, Queensland 19 June Peter Brock Marlboro Holden Dealer Team [12]

Classes edit

Car competed in two classes,

  • Up to and including 3000cc
  • 3001-6000cc[1]

The "Up to and including 3000cc class" consisted of Alfa Romeo Alfetta, Datsun Bluebird turbo, Ford Capri, Ford Escort, Isuzu Gemini, Mazda 626, Mazda RX-3, Toyota Celica and Triumph Dolomite Sprint.
The "3001-6000cc class" consisted of Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Falcon, Holden Commodore and Mazda RX-7.

Points system edit

Championship points were awarded on a two tier system to the top twenty outright finishers in each round.[1]

Outright Position[1] 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
Points if Up to 3000cc 30 27 24 21 19 17 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2
Points if 3001-6000cc 25 23 20 17 15 13 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 0 0

Only the best seven round results could be counted by each driver.[1]

Results edit

Pos[13] Driver[13] Car Cal. San. Sym. Wan. Adl. Sur. Ora. Lak. Pts[13]
1 Allan Moffat Mazda RX-7 1st Ret 2nd 1st 2nd 1st 1st 3rd 166
2 George Fury Nissan Bluebird 2nd 4th 3rd 2nd 4th 4th 5th 160
3 Peter Brock Holden VH Commodore SS Ret 2nd Ret 9th 1st 2nd 2nd 1st 128
4 Allan Grice Holden VH Commodore SS Ret 1st 1st Ret 3rd Ret 3rd 90
5 Steve Harrington Holden VH Commodore SS 6th 6th 6th 4th Ret 5th Ret 71
6 Dick Johnson Ford XE Falcon Ret 3rd 5th 3rd 5th Ret Ret Ret 70
7 David Parsons Holden VH Commodore SS Ret Ret 4th 5th Ret 8th 5th 57
8 Gregg Hansford Mazda RX-7 3rd 6th 2nd 56
9 Lawrie Nelson Ford Capri 10th 12th 9th 10th 14th 55
10 Murray Carter Ford XE Falcon 3rd 5th Ret 35
11 Warren Cullen Holden VH Commodore SS 5th 9th 7th Ret 35
12 Bernie Parmenter Ford Capri 11th 11th 10th 34
13 Clive Benson-Brown Holden VH Commodore SS 9th 8th 7th Ret 30
14 John White Isuzu Gemini 12th 15th Ret 11th 28
15 Garry Rogers Holden VH Commodore SS 4th 8th 27
15 Fred Gibson Nissan Bluebird 7th Ret 10th 27
17 Steve Masterton Ford XE Falcon Ret 7th 6th 24
17 Alf Grant Ford XD Falcon 7th 6th 24
19 Lester Smerdon Isuzu Gemini 13th 8th 23
20 Bob Holden Ford Escort 14th 10th 20
21 Bernie Stack Holden VH Commodore SS 11th 7th 18
22 Barry Jones Mazda RX-7 4th 17
22 Barry Lawrence[14] Holden VH Commodore SS 4th 17
24 Gary Hinton Holden VH Commodore SS 14th 7th 15
24 Ken Hastings Mazda RX-7 8th 13th 15
24 Peter Beninca Alfa Romeo Alfetta GTV 13th 16th 15
27 Peter Brierly Holden VH Commodore SS 9th 13th Ret 14
28 Garry Willmington Ford XD Falcon 6th DNS Ret 13
28 Ron Harrop Holden VH Commodore SS 6th 13
28 Russell Worthington Mazda 626 9th 13
31 Terry Finnigan Holden VH Commodore SS 7th 11
32 Les Verco Mazda RX-7 8th 10
32 Jim Keogh Holden VH Commodore SS 8th 10
32 John English Ford XD Falcon 8th Ret 10
32 Roger Manson Isuzu Gemini 12th 10
32 Graham Mein Ford Escort 12th 10
37 Andrew Harris Ford XE Falcon 9th 9
37 Kevin Bartlett Chevrolet Camaro 9th 9
39 Rusty French Holden VH Commodore SS 10th 8
40 Ken Mathews Holden VH Commodore SS 11th 7
40 Les Grose Ford Capri 15th 7
42 Bill O'Brien Ford XD Falcon 12th 6
43 Martin Power Triumph Dolomite 17th 5
44 Mike Imrie Ford XD Falcon 14th 4
44 Jim Faneco Isuzu Gemini 18th 4
46 John Donnelly Ford XD Falcon 15th Ret 3
Pos Driver Car Cal. San. Sym. Wan. Mal. Sur. Ora. Lak. Pts
Colour Result
Gold Winner
Silver Second place
Bronze Third place
Green Points finish
Blue Non-points finish
Non-classified finish (NC)
Purple Retired (Ret)
Red Did not qualify (DNQ)
Did not pre-qualify (DNPQ)
Black Disqualified (DSQ)
White Did not start (DNS)
Withdrew (WD)
Race cancelled (C)
Blank Did not practice (DNP)
Did not arrive (DNA)
Excluded (EX)

References edit

  1. ^ a b c d e Conditions for Australian Titles, 1983 CAMS Manual of Motor Sport, pages 91-95
  2. ^ Summary of Titles 1983, 1983 CAMS Manual of Australian Motor Sport, page 41
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Paul Gover, Australian Touring Car Championship, Australian Motor Racing Yearbook 1983/84, pages 184-201
  4. ^ 1983 ATCC - Oran Park on YouTube (part 6/6)
  5. ^ 1983 ATCC Rd.1 - Calder Park
  6. ^ 1983 ATCC Rd.2 - Sandown
  7. ^ 1983 ATCC Rd.3 - Symmons Plains
  8. ^ a b "1983 ATCC". The Programme Covers Project. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  9. ^ 1983 ATCC Rd.4 - Wanneroo Park
  10. ^ 1983 ATCC Rd.5 - Adelaide International
  11. ^ 1983 ATCC Rd.6 - Surfers Paradise
  12. ^ 1983 ATCC Rd.8 - Lakeside
  13. ^ a b c Graham Howard & Stewart Wilson, Australian Touring Car Championship, 30 fabulous years, 1989, page 258
  14. ^ Graham Howard, Stewart Wilson, David Greenhalgh, The official history - Australian Touring Car Championship - 50 Years, page 243 notes that "The Timekeeper's results for Lakeside have been located and say it was Barry Lawrence, not Geoff Russell, who came fourth.

External links edit