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Bathurst 1000 class winner to make Mountain return

A LONG-TIME fixture of the ‘small car’ class in Corollas in the era of 1990s Group A touring car racing, Calvin Gardiner is making a return to Bathurst this Easter for the Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour production car race.

Making the return even more special is that he’ll share a Phil Alexander-prepared Mazda 3 SP25 in Class E with son Tony.

The pair will be joined by young gun, three-time NSW Hyundai Excel champion Wil Longmore.

Gardiner, who made four Bathurst 1000 attempts in the 1990s, won the Production Car class in the 1998 AMP Bathurst 1000 Super Touring race in a Mazda 626 with Tom Watkinson. It remains the last time a road-registered car won a class in the ‘Great Race’.

All of Gardiner’s 1990s Bathurst 1000 cars are included in V8 Sleuth’s 1990s Bathurst photographic history book, which is on special sale here in the V8 Sleuth Superstore.

He made four Bathurst 12 Hour starts and last raced at Mount Panorama in 2000 in the GT-P 3 Hour ‘Showroom Showdown’.

“I am incredibly excited to be returning to the Mountain 24 years after my last time here, I honestly never thought it would happen!” he says.

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“I consider myself incredibly lucky to have had the chance to compete and have success at Bathurst during a time when small budget teams could do such things.”

The Corolla co-driven by Calvin Gardiner at Bathurst in 1992. Photo: an1images.com / Graeme Neander.

Son Tony is an experienced karter and been racing Excels more recently, however his ‘day job’ is as a television director, having worked on ‘Home and Away’ and ‘Neighbours’.

He directed the ‘Wildcard – One Last Shot’ documentary tracking the Greg Murphy/Richie Stanaway wildcard entry at the 2022 Repco Bathurst 1000 that was produced by Scott Pye’s One Nine Media, which is supporting the Gardiner 6 Hour campaign.

“It’s amazing to have Scott’s support for this event”, he says.

“We have been working together now for around four years and he has always been really supportive of my racing. I am very lucky to have someone with the experience Scott has helping us out.

“Racing at Bathurst with my Dad has been a dream of mine since I first got kicked out of the pit garage by officials for being too young when dad raced there in the 90s.

“Unfortunately, I never really had the budget or time to start racing till later in life, so I never really believed it was going to happen. After I got back from working at the 2022 1000 I rang Dad immediately and said ‘we need to make this happen even if it’s only a once in a lifetime thing’.

“Money comes and goes but the memory of racing with my Dad at Bathurst will be with me forever.”

The Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour will be held over the March 29-31 Easter period with opening practice on Good Friday.

Television coverage of the Saturday and Sunday on-track action will be shown live on SBS and Fox Sports.

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