This car enjoyed a short life but it kick started a controversial period of Australian motorsport …
STORY: DYLAN GULSON
IMAGES: AN1 IMAGES (GRAEME NEANDER/COVENTRY IMAGES)
OUR latest story in the series of APEX Replicas RIP Racers takes us back to 1990 and features a car that began its life as a road car chassis and sadly lasted less than a year – the very first Nissan GT-R race car built by Gibson Motorsport.
Nissan’s GT-R may have had a controversial introduction into the Australian Touring Car Championship but there was no denying its capability as a race car that beat the best in the Group A era.
The very first car enjoyed a strong start to its racing life having debuted at Mallala in the hands of Mark Skaife during the back end of the 1990 ATCC.
Unfortunately the car never saw the 1991 season after Skaife crashed spectacularly in practice for the 1990 Adelaide Grand Prix support races, the car ending up a complete write-off after launching onto two wheels, hitting the wall and skidding down the track on its roof!
Once the car was recovered the Fred Gibson-led team crushed and disposed of it, making this the only Nissan Motorsport race car from the Group A/C era that no longer exists.
“I made sure that it was cut up and crushed, the same with the Commodore that Skaifey crashed at Eastern Creek in 1995,” Gibson told V8 Sleuth a while back.
Upon the car’s completion in late 1990 Gibson elected to give Skaife the new machine while team-mate and championship leader Jim Richards stayed with the tried and tested GTS-R Skyline.
The car proved instantly quick with Skaife leading the race at Mallala early before hub failure put the car out for the day.
Richards took it over for the final two ATCC rounds at Barbagallo and Oran Park, where he won the race at the latter and won his third ATCC crown.
Gibson Motorsport then took the car to Bathurst for the Tooheys 1000 where it was used during practice as the test car (#1T). However, it’s widely known that problems with the entered #1 car (the second GT-R race car built) meant that Skaife and Richards jumped aboard the re-stickered (from #1T to #1) car for the race.
Richards stormed to the lead in the early stages while Skaife recorded a new lap record before driveline problems put the duo 15 laps behind the leader and 18thin the final standings.
The 1990 Bathurst 1000 turned out to be the car’s last race before heading to Adelaide where it met its unfortunate end.
Keep checking back to the V8 Sleuth website in upcoming weeks for more APEX Replicas RIP Racers stories highlighting race cars from Australian motorsport history that have met their demise.
Watch the video of the crash that destroyed this car below …