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HomeNewsGALLERY: Coca-Cola Supercars through the years

GALLERY: Coca-Cola Supercars through the years

EREBUS Motorsport will next season become the latest team to sport the iconic colours of Coca-Cola in the Supercars Championship.

Coke’s history in Australian touring car racing stretches back to Allan Moffat’s iconic 1969 Ford Mustang, pre-dating more modern connections with Wayne Gardner and Chris Pither.

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Allan Moffat at Sandown in 1970. Pic: an1images.com / Ian Smith

V8 Sleuth takes a look back at each of the Coca-Cola cars courtesy of the AN1 Images Archive.

Coca-Cola’s grand entry to the V8 scene in 1994 came with the new Wayne Gardner Racing, which fielded Commodores for ex-World Motorcycle Champion Gardner and Neil Crompton.

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WGR was a new team for 1994. Pic: Supplied

There was also a Diet Coke Commodore on the grid in 1994, run by LoGaMo Racing for a young Paul Morris, who also campaigned these colours on BMWs from 1993-97.

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This car did not race in the Bathurst 1000 after a testing crash. Pic: an1images.com / Graeme Neander

Bathurst provided both the lowlight and highlight of WGR’s 1995; a tangle between the teammates at the ATCC sprint round was followed by a third place in the Great Race.

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Two crumpled Coke Commodores at the Bathurst ATCC round. Pic: an1images.com / Graeme Neander
The WGR Commodores at the 1995 Tooheys 1000. Pic: an1images.com / Graeme Neander

WGR’s Coca-Cola Racing remained a two-car team at the start of 1996 before budget constraints meant it trimmed back to a single entry for Gardner.

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Gardner in 1996 at Phillip Island, a circuit where he’d shone on two-wheels. Pic: an1images.com / Graeme Neander

Gardner started 1997 with a bang by winning the opening round under lights at Calder Park, but ended up missing three ATCC rounds due to a lack of funds.

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Gardner took the only round win of his V8 career in 1997. Pic: an1images.com / Graeme Neander
Gardner celebrates victory. Pic: an1images.com / Andrew Hall

Although WGR was shut down at the end of 1997, Gardner retained one car and returned for selected events the following year, including the Bathurst 1000.

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Gardner was joined by Paul Stokell for the 1998 FAI 1000 Classic. Pic: an1images.com / Graeme Neander

Gardner struck a deal with Perkins Engineering to field a Coke-backed entry at Albert Park, Adelaide and Bathurst in 1999. This marked the end of the line for WG and Coke.

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Gardner aboard a Perkins-run VT in Adelaide. Pic: an1images.com / Graeme Neander

The next full Coke-sponsored entry to appear in Supercars did not come until 2020, when Kiwi Chris Pither inked a deal with Team Sydney (rebranded from Tekno Autosports).

Chris Pither at Albert Park in 2020. Pic: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith

Pither brought the Coke colours to Brad Jones Racing for 2021, co-driving at Bathurst with the car’s primary pilot Macauley Jones.

The Jones/Pither Commodore at Bathurst in 2021. Pic: Nathan Wong

This year Pither and Coke returned to the ex-Tekno team, now PremiAir Racing. Indigenous Round and retro-themed liveries added to the regular season look.

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Chris Pither at the 2022 season opener in Sydney. Pic: Nathan Wong
The car sported this Indigenous livery for two events. Pic: Supplied
This retro scheme featured from Bathurst onwards. Pic: Nathan Wong
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