SINCE its first entries in 1969 to its 50th year in 2018, there have been 103 factory-backed Holdens line up on the grid for the Bathurst 500/1000 – plus one that didn’t quite make it to race day.
Here a few of the impressive, interesting, and flat-out quirky numbers behind 50 years of Holden factory entries in Mount Panorama’s iconic endurance race.
It’s more commonly known as an October staple, but the Bathurst 1000 has been run on September 30 on four occasions. Factory Holden entries won three of them (1979, 1984 and 1990) and finished second in the other (1973) – not a bad strike rate!
The biggest winning margin for a factory Holden entry in the Bathurst 1000 is six laps, recorded by Peter Brock and Jim Richards in 1979 in the #05 Holden Dealer Team Torana A9X. It’s also the only occasion where a factory Holden entry has led every lap of the race – in which Brock set a new lap record on the 163rd and final tour!
The number of Bathurst wins taken by Peter Brock aboard a factory Holden entry, starting with his first win in 1972, followed by a pair of hat-tricks (1978-80, 1982-84).
The number of Bathurst wins for factory Commodore entries, the works team’s most successful vehicle at Mount Panorama. The VH and VX Commodores are the most successful individual models with two victories apiece – and in both instances, the exact same chassis won the race twice!
A Holden factory entry has started the race from the coveted pole position on 12 occasions, the first time in 1974 and the most recent in 2009. Peter Brock and Mark Skaife were the biggest contributors with four poles apiece.
The number of times a factory Holden entry has come home in first place, from the first win in the 1969 Bathurst 500 to the most recent in the 2011 Bathurst 1000.
The amount of different race numbers used by factory-backed Holden entries since 1969. The most common is the #2 in 21 starts at Mount Panorama, while the highest racing number is the #97 used by Shane van Gisbergen’s Red Bull Holden Racing Team car in 2017 and 2018. The team’s use of the #888 for its Jamie Whincup/Craig Lowndes entry this year will move the tally to 31.
The number of the third factory entry in the 1988 Bathurst 1000; of the 103 factory Holden entries, this is the only one which was never intended on starting the race – it was a backup car for the combined Larry Perkins/Tom Walkinshaw Holden Special Vehicles squad, and was only used in practice sessions.
The difference in seconds between the qualifying times of the fastest factory Holden entries in 1969 and 2018. Colin Bond and Tony Roberts qualified their race-winning Monaro HK 350 GTS seventh with a 2m53.8s lap, while Jamie Whincup set a 2m04.0683s lap in last year’s Top 10 Shootout to secure second on the grid for he and Paul Dumbrell – and J-Dub had the Chase to negotiate!
The number of factory Holden entries to have made the cut for the qualifying Shootout that has set the pointy end of the grid for the Bathurst 1000 almost every year since 1978, across various forms as a Top 10 or Top 15 Shootout, and through eras where each driver had two attempts to today’s one-lap blast.
A total of 62 drivers have raced Holden factory entries at the Bathurst 500/1000. Of that group, Peter Brock made the most race starts in factory Holden entries with 20 across four different stints under the Holden banner – including one race (1983) where he started in one car and finished it in another!
Of the current Red Bull Holden Racing Team drivers, Garth Tander has 10, Craig Lowndes has seven, and Jamie Whincup and Shane van Gisbergen have two apiece.
Factory Holden entries have completed over 80,000 kilometres of racing in the Bathurst 500/1000 across a total of 12,977 laps of Mount Panorama since 1969. That’s about five and a half laps of Australia driving along Highway 1!