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Mount Panorama
Thursday, May 30, 2024


THE Holden Commodore VS ‘Bathurst Tourer’ that James Brock drove to victory in the 1999 Bob Jane T-Marts Bathurst Tourer 300 at Mount Panorama 21 years ago is being restored.

The car, which we located in January 2019 at the workshop of former touring car privateer Mal Rose, was purchased late last year by Victorian Craig Bowring, who has commenced putting it back to its former race specification.

“It’s going to the panel shop next weekend to get the rear quarter panels fixed on it,” he told v8sleuth.com.au this week.

“Some flares had been added to it when it was up in Sydney, so we’re going to get it put back to standard as it was in 1999. 

“We’ll fix the quarters, replace the rear doors, change the front guards and send it off to have the (Bathurst 1999) stickers put back on and we should be pretty right.

“I’ve got a spare Holden race engine left over from my Group C cars and sourced a set of alloy heads and the right manifold. I’ll put a carby on it, not the fuel-injected MoTeC management system it ran back in ’99 because it’ve already got the carby and it’s cost-effective.

“The engine will be as close as I can get it (to period correct) without spending stupid money on it.

“It had a MoTeC dash put in it after its life as a Bathurst Tourer so I’ll take that out and put the analogue gauges back in it.

“We’ll take it out to do some sprints down the track and run as a guest car in the Australian 5 Litre Touring Car Association SuperSprints or wherever else it fits.”

Bowring was part of Brock’s crew at Bathurst in 1999, giving him a connection to the car.

James Brock accepts the accolades of winning the 1999 Bob Jane T-Marts 300 Bathurst Tourer race. Channel 7 presenter-for-the-weekend Ben Beazley is on the microphone. Photo: an1images.com / Andrew Hall.

“I was on the crew in ’99 on that car, from memory I was one of the front wheel changers. I’ve still got my team uniforms from working on those cars in the category, all my passes and the winning Bathurst ’99 champagne bottle with the Bob Jane sticker on it!

“Mal Rose has been great too. He kept all of the dry break fittings, the air box, all of the little bits and pieces that people take off cars and change when they get them. He’d kept them and Mal was more than happy to give them to me to go with the car when I bought it off the owner to go as part of the package.

“When the car was upgraded engine-wise (it had an ex-Supercar Chevrolet installed to replace the Holden V8), all of the original bits were stored so everything that was available for that car came back with me to Melbourne with the car.”

Don’t remember much about the Bathurst Tourers 300? The ’99 Bob Jane T-Marts Bathurst event is available to buy here on DVD from our mates at CMS Motorsport – tell them V8 Sleuth sent you!

Bowring’s Commodore started its life as a VP Commodore AUSCAR driven by Peter Fitzgerald and was converted to Bathurst Tourer spec for the category’s debut race in October 1999 at the Bob Jane T-Marts Bathurst ’99 event.

Peter Fitzgerald on the Calder Park Thunderdome. Photo: an1images.com / Graeme Neander/Coventry

Politics in the lead-up meant that CAMS refused to issue a permit to the new category, which instead elected to race under AUSCAR sanction in a 300-kilometre race. That left the Super Tourers to race in their own 500-kilometre endurance race.

Both races were marred by rain, Brock declared the winner under yellow flags with 38 of the scheduled 48 laps completed. A total of 16 of the 38 laps were run under the Safety Car, Brock scoring victory in his first trip to compete at Mount Panorama.

That was the car’s only race in period – it never competed in any of the subsequent Future Touring (the category’s new name) races in the following years.

Speaking of Brock Bathurst cars, we have a stocktake sale on copies of ‘Cars of the King’ celebrating all of Peter Brock’s Bathurst 500/1000 cars. 

The limited edition magazine is now just $12.50 plus postage here via our V8 Sleuth Bookshop.

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