We take a look back at Peter Brock’s return to racing a Holden at Bathurst in the 1991 Tooheys 1000 …
AFTER three years away from racing a Holden
product, Peter Brock returned to the General Motors fold in 1991 in something
of a marriage of convenience that re-united an old winning combination.
Brock had Mobil sponsorship but was moving
away from Ford Sierras and former Bathurst-winning partner Larry Perkins had
cars and engineering expertise but no backer.
So the 1982, 1983 and 1984 Bathurst-winning
pilots pooled their resources and joined the Group A touring car trail in ’91
in a pair of Mobil-backed, brand new VN Commodores.
The 10-round Shell Australian Touring Car
Championship proved to be not much more than a public test session, as the
squad developed its new cars.
This was at the time of the domination of
the mighty Nissan GT-R ‘Godzilla’, rendering the V8-powered Commodores as not
much more than bit players in the sprint series.
For the Tooheys 1000 at Bathurst that year,
Brock teamed with Andrew Miedecke in the #05 Commodore VN, while Perkins teamed
with Tomas Mezera.
Things started well in Wednesday practice
with no problems and on the first day of qualifying on the Thursday, Brock
peddled around the Mountain in 2m17.22s to be fifth fastest.
He went even quicker on Friday afternoon in
2m16.44s, thus securing a spot in Saturday’s Top 10 Shootout for pole position.
And what a Shootout lap it was!
Brock was fourth car against the clock. The
Mobil team had left the qualifying engine under the bonnet, so he had nothing
to lose with the race engine to be installed later on.
It was trademark Brock attacking stuff –
the nine-time winner flung the car into McPhillamy Park and promptly had a
massive slide over the exit kerb that drew cheers from the fans.
Another sideways moment on the exit of the
Chase cost further time and, while proving spectacular and giving the fans some
fun, it wasn’t quite as quick as it looked. The end result was 2m16.071s and
sixth on the grid.
It later transpired that Brock had
forgotten to adjust the brake bias for a light fuel load, hence the McPhillamy
“The mob on the hill loved it because I
kept the pedal to the metal and drove it to the limit, it wasn’t that bad,” he
Things didn’t start so well on race day,
when co-driver Miedecke had the #05 Commodore suffer a serious misfire in the
morning warm up. It later turned out to be a throttle potentiometer suffering
from excessive under-bonnet heat, but it wasn’t the ideal way to kick off the
biggest day in Australian motorsport.
Brock took the helm of #05 for the start of
the race, working his way up to a solid fifth by the time he handed over to
Miedecke on lap 30.
The former open wheeler ace was seventh on
lap 55 and things were looking on target – until the car died on the run to the
Upon first glance it appeared that the
morning warm-up problem had resurfaced, but very quickly the Mobil team, back
in the pit lane, released they could use Channel 7’s in-car camera to spin
around and give them a view of the interior of the car.
Via radio they gave Miedecke a
‘crash-course’ in hot-wiring the car back into life and he made it back to pit
By the time he returned to the pits, had
the problem solved (which turned out to be an overheating warning circuit
breaker that shattered and broke the electrical circuit) and rejoined, he was a
For the remainder of the day the duo
charged around Mount Panorama, clawing back as many positions as they could
with nothing to lose.
By the time the race was over and the
Nissan GT-R of Jim Richards and Mark Skaife had claimed the chequered flag,
Brock and Miedecke had hauled their way back up to eighth and completed 147
laps, 14 down on the winners.
This would later become seventh when the
fourth-placed Sierra of Gianfranco Brancatelli and Charlie O’Brien was excluded
from the results post-race for a diff irregularity.
Miedecke drove 78 laps, while Brock
completed 69 and the car was the eighth fastest in the race with Brock setting
its fastest lap of 2m19.18s.
It certainly wasn’t an ideal way for
Holden’s favourite son to return to Bathurst in one of its products, but race
fans were simply happy to see Peter Brock back in a V8 Commodore at the
Mountain that made him famous.
Model car fans will be thrilled to know that the #05 Commodore from the 1991 Tooheys 1000 is being produced by Biante Model Cars and is due for release in the fourth quarter of 2013.
For full details make sure you go to: www.biante.com.au