1989 Australian Touring Car Championship

1989 Australian Touring Car Championship
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The 1989 Australian Touring Car Championship was a CAMS sanctioned Australian motor racing title open to Group 3A Touring Cars.[1] The championship, which was the 30th Australian Touring Car Championship,[2] began on 5 March at Amaroo Park and ended on 9 July at Oran Park Raceway after eight rounds.[3] The 1989 Australian Manufacturers' Championship was contested over the same eight round series.

The championship, which was promoted as the Shell Ultra Australian Touring Car Championship,[4] was won by Dick Johnson driving a Ford Sierra RS500.[2] Toyota won the Australian Manufacturers' Championship.[2]

Teams and driversEdit

The following drivers and teams competed in the 1989 Australian Touring Car Championship.

Team Car No Driver Rounds
Nissan Motorsport Australia Nissan Skyline HR31 GTS-R 2   Jim Richards All
3   George Fury 1-5, 7-8
12   Mark Skaife 5-8
Caltex CXT Racing Ford Sierra RS500 4   Colin Bond All
19   Ken Mathews 1, 3, 8
Mobil 1 Racing Ford Sierra RS500 05   Peter Brock All
105   Brad Jones 1-7
Miedecke Motorsport Ford Sierra RS500 6   Andrew Miedecke 1-2, 6-8
8   Andrew Bagnall 1-3, 6
Allan Moffat Enterprises Ford Sierra RS500 9   Allan Moffat 1-2, 4-8
  Gregg Hansford 3
Dennis Norgard Holden VL Commodore SS Group A SV 10   Dennis Norgard 4
Perkins Engineering Holden VL Commodore SS Group A SV 11   Larry Perkins 6-7
Bob Holden Motors Toyota Sprinter AE86 13   Tim Hall 1
  Bob Holden 3, 5-7
Toyota Corolla 51   Dennis Rogers 1, 6-8
Murray Carter Ford Sierra RS500 14   Murray Carter 1, 3, 8
ICL Racing Holden VL Commodore SS Group A SV 15   Allan Grice 7
Shell Ultra-Hi Racing Ford Sierra RS500 17   Dick Johnson All
18   John Bowe All
Benson & Hedges Racing Ford Sierra RS500 20   Neville Crichton All
25   Tony Longhurst All
Lusty Engineering Holden VL Commodore SS Group A SV 22   Graham Lusty 2-3, 6-7
Chris Lambden Holden VL Commodore SS Group A SV 23   Chris Lambden All
Gerald Kay Holden VK Commodore SS Group A 24   Gerald Kay All
Tony Noske Holden VL Commodore SS Group A SV 26   Tony Noske 6
Mark Petch Motorsport Ford Sierra RS500 27   Robbie Francevic 6-8
Joe Sommariva BMW 635 CSi 28   Joe Sommariva 1-3, 5-8
Lawrie Nelson Ford Mustang 29   Lawrie Nelson 7-8
Peter Jackson Racing Ford Sierra RS500 30   Glenn Seton 1-3, 6-8
Toyota Team Australia Toyota Corolla 31   David Armstrong 6
  John Smith 8
32   John Faulkner All
33   Russell Becker 1
  Terri Sawyer 2
  Mike Dowson 3
  Anthony Fogliani 4
  Darryl Bennett 5-6
  Neal Bates 7
  Brooke Tatnell 8
Lansvale Racing Team Holden VL Commodore SS Group A 35   Steve Reed 8
Bob Forbes Racing Holden VL Commodore SS Group A SV 36   Mark Gibbs 1, 8
Brian Callaghan Holden VL Commodore SS Group A SV 37   Brian Callaghan 1, 8
Tony Mulvihill Holden VL Commodore SS Group A SV 38   Tony Mulvihill
David Sala Nissan Gazelle 39   David Sala All
  Ross Burbidge
  Grant Bailey
Terry Finnigan Holden VL Commodore SS Group A SV 40   Terry Finnigan 3
  Geoff Leeds
G. Herbert Rover SD1 Vitesse 40   Peter Harper 4
ICL Racing Holden VL Commodore SS Group A SV 41   Garry Rogers 1, 6-7
Matt Wacker Holden VL Commodore SS Group A SV 42   Matt Wacker 1-2, 6-7
Ian Love Holden VL Commodore SS Group A SV 44   Ian Love 4
Llynden Reithmuller Holden VL Commodore SS Group A SV 46   Llynden Reithmuller 6-8
Wayne Park Holden VL Commodore SS Group A 48   Wayne Park 1, 3, 8
M3 Motorsport BMW M3 52   John Cotter 8
Clive Smith Nissan Skyline DR30 RS 54   Clive Smith 6-8
Playscape Racing Ford Sierra RS500 55   Kevin Waldock 8
Scotty Taylor Racing Mitsubishi Starion 60   Roger Hurd 8
Garry Willmington Performance Holden VL Commodore SS Group A SV 68   Garry Willmington 1, 3, 7-8
69   Reda Awadullah 1, 3
Barbagallo Motorsport Holden VL Commodore SS Group A SV 77   Alf Barbagallo 4-5
96   Tim Slako 4-6
Team Madison Racing Toyota Sprinter AE86 78   Geoff Full 1, 3-5
  Michael Adcock 7-8
Daryl Hendrick Holden VL Commodore SS Group A SV 86   Daryl Hendrick 6-7
Rick Scarf Holden VK Commodore SS Group A 99   Rick Scarf 8

Season reviewEdit

Following on from their dominant 1988 championship 1-2, the Dick Johnson Racing Ford Sierra RS500 drivers Dick Johnson and John Bowe again finished 1-2 in the title race, winning the first six rounds with Johnson's fifth (and last) championship win equaling the record of Ian Geoghegan. Like Geoghegan, all of Dick Johnson's championships were won driving Fords.

The championship also saw long time Holden driver Peter Brock turn to Fords (after a year with BMW) in a bid to return to the top in Australia with two cars secured from British Sierra expert Andy Rouse for himself and Albury based driver Brad Jones. Brock's pole in Round 2 at Symmons Plains was his first touring car pole since the 1986 Sandown 500, while his win in the final round at Oran Park was his first ATCC win since 1986 and his first ever ATCC win in anything other than a Holden. Brock in his Mobil 1 Racing Sierra would prove to be the Shell team's most consistent challenger, finishing third in the championship, his highest placing since he finished third in 1985. Most observers felt that Brock adapted to the powerful Sierra's quicker than most, though he readily admitted his link with Rouse and the technical help he gave was a big factor in the Mobil teams revival. Also, unlike most of his fellow competitors when they started racing the Sierra's, Brock wasn't a stranger to racing turbocharged cars having raced a Porsche 956B at Silverstone and Le Mans in the 1984 World Sportscar Championship.

Other driver/team changes in 1989 included a new Ford Sierra team for former Nissan driver Glenn Seton who took Nissan's Peter Jackson cigarette sponsorship with him to his new team. Also switching from Nissan was his father Barry Seton who became the chief engine builder for his sons new team. 1988 Tooheys 1000 winner Tony Longhurst expanded his Benson & Hedges Racing to a two car team with a second Sierra for former JPS Team BMW teammate Neville Crichton. The two B&H cars had been acquired from the Wolf Racing Australasia team formerly run by Robbie Francevic and his long-time patron Mark Petch. Colin Bond also expanded his Caltex-backed Sierra team to two cars, running a second for Sydney car dealer Ken Mathews who had purchased the Bathurst winning Sierra from Longhurst. For the first time in Australian Group A, BMW wasn't represented by one of the top teams which prompted BMW Australia to pull out. The M3 was reduced to a class runner and it was left to privateers John Cotter and his regular co-driver Peter Doulman running one of the ex-JPS/Mobil M3's purchased from Brock at the end of 1988 to keep a BMW presence on the grid.

1989 also saw the last ATCC round win for long time factory Nissan driver George Fury when he took victory in Round 7 at the tight Winton circuit in rural Victoria in what proved to be the most competitive race of the championship. In fact, when Peter Brock led at the end of lap one at Winton it was actually the first time since Round 6 in 1988 at Lakeside that someone other than Dick Johnson or John Bowe had led the first lap of an ATCC race (on that occasion it was the Sierra of Andrew Miedecke leading as Johnson had been pinged for a jump start, though Johnson led on the road). Fury, who had been with the team since its inaugural year in 1981, was joined in the Nissan team by 1985 and 1987 champion Jim Richards, and the teams 1987 Australian 2.0 Litre champion Mark Skaife, each driving a turbocharged Skyline HR31 GTS-R. The Skyline, which had been late arriving in 1988 and had run short of development, was more of a force in 1989 with the team finding greater power and reliability from the turbocharged 6 cyl 2.0L twin cam engine as well as getting the cars down to the Nissan's weight limit of 1100 kg, some 70 kg lighter than 1988. Skaife made his first appearance of the series at the Mallala circuit in South Australia for Round 5, and avoided the first corner carnage (caused by an out of control Brock) to finish a fine fifth.

The 1989 championship was the first since 1970 to be contested without an appearance by a factory supported Holden team. The Holden Special Vehicles team did not compete in the series, despite entering two Commodores for highly respected British driver Win Percy and Channel 7 commentator Neil Crompton in the opening round at Amaroo Park (a fact that Crompton's co-commentators Mike Raymond and Gary Wilkinson constantly reminded him about during the race telecasts). Allan Grice was the highest placed Holden driver in the championship, finishing in a hard-fought fourth position after a one-off appearance at Winton in a privately entered Roadways Racing Commodore he had driven in the 1988 Tooheys 1000. The Winton round, which started on a wet track and was damp throughout with a couple of additional showers, saw Grice ran the race on one set of wet tyres. The highest placed Holden driver from 1987 and 1988 championship, Larry Perkins, appeared in only two rounds (Sandown and Winton) with his privately entered Commodore, the same car he had driven at Bathurst the previous year as part of the factory backed Holden Special Vehicles/TWR team. 1989 was thus the first year in which no Holden driver had finished the championship inside the top ten positions since Herb Taylor placed twelfth in a Holden EH in 1968, the last year in which the ATCC was contested as a single race. Holden's lack of interest in the 1989 ATCC was not well received either by the fans or television broadcaster Channel 7. It was Holden's lack of representation from the factory backed team or the privateers that highlighted the growing costs of Group A racing, something which would cause a change in the sport after 1992.

Venue changes from the 1988 Championship were the deletion of the round at Calder Park and the addition of a round at the 2.601 km (1.616 mi) Mallala Motor Sport Park, located 55 km north of Adelaide. Mallala returned to the championship for the first time since 1971, replacing the round at the Bob Jane owned Adelaide International Raceway. Calder owner Bob Jane had signed an agreement with "Vic Health" which saw cigarette advertising banned at his race tracks (cigarette sponsorship was prominent in the ATCC with the Seton and Longhurst teams sponsored by Peter Jackson and Benson & Hedges respectively). As Jane also owned the Adelaide circuit, this saw AIR also dropped from the calendar.

Round 3 of the championship at Lakeside just north of Brisbane was full of drama. Initially scheduled to be run on 2 April, the meeting was postponed two weeks due to almost a weeks worth of heavy rain in the area which flooded the nearby Lake Kurwongbah that gives the circuit its name. The flooding saw both the front straight and pit area under about a foot of water. The race then took place on 16 April but was marred by a fiery crash on the back straight when Andrew Miedecke's Sierra collided with the VL Commodore of Graham Lusty while Lusty was being lapped. Both cars crashed heavily into the fence, as did the Sierra of the closely following Glenn Seton (Racecam from Brock's car caught the moment out of his rear window when the pair touched). Both the Commodore and Miedecke Sierra were engulfed in flames and wisely the race was red flagged. After a delay while the clean up was on, the race was reduced from 60 to 30 minutes with half points to be awarded for the round. Dick Johnson went on to win on his home circuit for the first time since his epic battle with Brock which won him his first ATCC back in 1981.

1989 would prove to be the last ATCC contested by four-time champion Allan Moffat with the Canadian born driver retiring from driving at the end of the year.

Race calendarEdit

The 1989 Australian Touring Car Championship was contested over eight rounds,[3] with each round being a single race over a duration of approximately one hour.[1]

Rd. Circuit Location / State Date Winning driver Winning car Winning team Report
1 Amaroo Park Sydney, New South Wales 5 March   John Bowe Ford Sierra RS500 Shell Ultra Hi Racing [5]
2 Symmons Plains Raceway Launceston, Tasmania 12 March   Dick Johnson Ford Sierra RS500 Shell Ultra Hi Racing [6]
3 Lakeside International Raceway Brisbane, Queensland 16 April   Dick Johnson Ford Sierra RS500 Shell Ultra Hi Racing [7]
4 Barbagallo Raceway Perth, Western Australia 30 April   John Bowe Ford Sierra RS500 Shell Ultra Hi Racing [8]
5 Mallala Motor Sport Park Mallala, South Australia 7 May   Dick Johnson Ford Sierra RS500 Shell Ultra Hi Racing [9]
6 Sandown Raceway Melbourne, Victoria 21 May   Dick Johnson Ford Sierra RS500 Shell Ultra Hi Racing [10]
7 Winton Motor Raceway Benalla, Victoria 4 June   George Fury Nissan Skyline HR31 GTS-R Nissan Motorsport Australia [11]
8 Oran Park Raceway Sydney, New South Wales 9 July   Peter Brock Ford Sierra RS500 Mobil 1 Racing [12]

Points systemEdit

Points were awarded on a 20–15–12–10–8–6–4–3–2–1 basis for the top ten race positions.[13] Only half points were awarded for Round 3 at Lakeside [13] due to the stoppage of the initial race and the reduced 30-minute duration of the restarted race. The pointscore system allowed a driver to retain points only from his or her seven best round results.[13] Discarded placings are shown within brackets in the table below.

Championship resultsEdit

Pos.[13] Driver [13] Car Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Rd 7 Rd 8 Pts [13]
1 Dick Johnson Ford Sierra RS500 4th 1st 1st 3rd 1st 1st (7th) 2nd 107 (111)
2 John Bowe Ford Sierra RS500 1st 3rd 3rd 1st 3rd 3rd (8th) 3rd 94 (97)
3 Peter Brock Ford Sierra RS500 Ret 2nd 4th 4th Ret 2nd 2nd 1st 80
4 Jim Richards Nissan Skyline HR31 GTS-R 2nd 6th 6th 7th 2nd 4th Ret 7th 57
5 Tony Longhurst Ford Sierra RS500 6th Ret 2nd 2nd 4th 5th 9th 5th 56.5
6 George Fury Nissan Skyline HR31 GTS-R 3rd 10th 7th 9th 6th 1st 8th 46
7 Glenn Seton Ford Sierra RS500 5th 4th Ret Ret Ret 4th 28
8 Colin Bond Ford Sierra RS500 11th 5th 9th 5th Ret 6th Ret 12th 23
9 Mark Skaife Nissan Skyline HR31 GTS-R 5th 10th 3rd 10th 22
10 Brad Jones Ford Sierra RS500 8th Ret Ret 6th Ret 5th 17
11 Allan Moffat Ford Sierra RS500 7th Ret Ret DSQ 7th 6th 14
12 Neville Crichton Ford Sierra RS500 12th 9th 8th 8th 7th 9th DNS Ret 12.5
13 Andrew Miedecke Ford Sierra RS500 9th 8th Ret Ret 6th Ret 11
14 Allan Grice Holden VL Commodore SS Group A SV 4th 10
15 Gregg Hansford Ford Sierra RS500 5th 11th 4
16 Andrew Bagnall Ford Sierra RS500 Ret 7th Ret 4
17 Chris Lambden Holden VL Commodore SS Group A SV 22nd 11th 10th Ret 8th 15th Ret Ret 3.5
18 Larry Perkins Holden VL Commodore SS Group A SV 8th Ret 3
19 Joe Sommariva BMW 635 CSi DNQ 15th 14th 9th Ret 18th 19th 2
20 Robbie Francevic Ford Sierra RS500 DNQ 15th 9th 2
21 John Faulkner Toyota Corolla 17th 15th 13th 15th 10th 16th 12th 27th 1
21 Garry Willmington Holden VL Commodore SS Group A SV 13th 15th 10th 18th 1
21 Tim Slako Holden VL Commodore SS Group A SV 10th Ret 14th 1
21 Mark Gibbs Holden VL Commodore SS Group A SV 10th Ret 1
Pos Driver Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Rd 7 Rd 8 Pts
Colour Result
Gold Winner
Silver 2nd place
Bronze 3rd 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 participate (DNP)
Excluded (EX)

Australian Manufacturers' ChampionshipEdit

The 1989 Australian Manufacturers' Championship, which was contested concurrently with the 1989 Australian Touring Car Championship, was won by Toyota.[14]

See alsoEdit

1989 Australian Touring Car season


  1. ^ a b Australian Title Conditions, 1989 CAMS Manual of Motor Sport, page 75
  2. ^ a b c Records, Titles and Awards, 2002 CAMS Manual of Motor Sport, pages 14-4 to 14-7
  3. ^ a b 1989 Championship Results, Australian Motor Racing Year, 1989/90, pages 298 & 299
  4. ^ Official Programme, Shell Ultra Australian Touring Car Championship, Round 5, Mallala, Sunday, 7 May 1989
  5. ^ 1989 ATCC Rd.1 - Amaroo Park
  6. ^ 1989 ATCC Rd.2 - Symmons Plains
  7. ^ 1989 ATCC Rd.3 - Lakeside
  8. ^ 1989 ATCC Rd.4 - Barbagallo Raceway
  9. ^ 1989 ATCC Rd.5 - Mallala
  10. ^ 1989 ATCC Rd.6 - Sandown
  11. ^ 1989 ATCC Rd.7 - Winton
  12. ^ 1989 ATCC Rd.8 - Oran Park
  13. ^ a b c d e f Graham Howard, Stewart Wilson & David Greenhalgh, The official history - Australian Touring Car Championship - 50 Years, 2011, page 295
  14. ^ Steve Normoyle and Andrew Clarke, Paint the title red, Australian Motor Racing Year, 1989/90, page 125 & 126

External linksEdit