CHAMPIONSHIP-WINNING NUMBER DUSTED OFF FOR NEW SUPERCARS TEAM

Garry Jacobson drove car #22 in 2021, but will finally get to race under #76 this year, a special number to his family. Photo: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith.

SUPERCARS newcomers PremiAir Racing have confirmed they will trade in the former TEKNO Autosports #19 for a new number for Garry Jacobson to use in this year’s Repco Supercars Championship.

Jacobson’s ZB Commodore will carry the #76 for this year’s championship, while teammate Chris Pither’s car will be car #22, the same number he carried during his season with Team Sydney in 2020.

The choice of #76 means that when Jacobson rolls out for the first round at Sydney Motorsport Park, he’ll become the first driver to use the number in the Supercars Championship in 20 years.

It last appeared in September 2002 at the Queensland 500 on the side of the VIP Petfoods Commodore owned by Matthew White (who had used #76 in his infrequent appearances in the championship in 2000 and 2001) and was driven by now Queensland Raceway manager and Triple Eight partner Tony Quinn and Andrew Miedecke.

Tony Quinn and Andrew Miedecke were the last drivers to race car #76 in a V8 Supercar Championship race back in 2002. Photo: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith.

The number as special meaning to Jacobson, whose father Peter raced with #76 on his A-Modified Production speedway car.

“There was always just one thing that meant a lot to me that I had never had the chance to do, and that was to represent my father’s racing number,” says Jacobson.

“I’ve always wanted to use #76 but it never quite worked out. Either another driver was already using it, or the team owner was running a number that was special to them that had its own unique meaning and history to it that I needed to respect.

“This year Peter Xiberras (PremiAir Racing owner) rang me and asked me what number I wanted. No team owner has ever given me that option before. I was shocked but also very humbled he did that.

“I didn’t need to think twice on it. This year for the first time in my motorsport career I can finally represent my father’s number on the track. It’s a very special moment to me and my family and I can’t wait to finally say ‘car #76 in pitlane’ for the first time (on the radio).”

The #76 has a successful history in the championship. Bob Jane used it on his famous Chevrolet Camaro in 1972, the year he won four races on his way to clinching his second straight Australian Touring Car Championship. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Camaro’s last ATCC title win.

Bob Jane aboard his #76 Camaro at Calder. Photo: an1images.com / Terry Russell.

His team driver of the period, John Harvey, also had a history with #76; it was his former speedway racing number that he carried across in his move to road racing.

Harvey was the first to carry #76 in the ATCC – on a Cooper S at Bathurst’s stand-alone ATCC race in 1966 – and he later used the number in 1978 and 1979 (including victory in the opening round at Symmons Plains) on his Holden Dealer Team Torana A9X.

He wasn’t the sole driver of the #76 HDT A9X though, given Brock’s Bathurst co-driver, Jim Richards, jumped behind the wheel of Harvey’s regular car for the final round of the 1978 ATCC at Adelaide International Raceway prior to the commencement of the endurance races.

John Harvey on his way to victory at Symmons Plains in 1979. Photo: an1images.com / AUTOPIX
With over 20 years in the Australian motorsport industry, Noonan is the head of V8 Sleuth. He’s held a range of roles including working in television with Seven and Ten, print media and public relations. With a specialty in Australian motorsport history, he’s known around racing paddocks as ’the Sleuth’ and started his motorsport media career in 1997.