GALLERY: WHEN THE V8 ERA BEGAN AT AMAROO PARK

The start of the V8 era in 1993 was a crash and bash affair! Pic: an1images.com / Graeme Neander

FEBRUARY 28 marks the day in 1993 when Australian touring car racing returned the traditional Holden versus Ford V8-engined rivalry to its headline act.

New rules marked the end of the internationally developed, production car-linked Group A regulations in favour of winged, fire-breathing machines that evolved into the Repco Supercars Championship we know today.

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Ironically, the first championship race of the new era was for two-litre cars; the opening round at Amaroo Park consisted of separate races for the class cars and the V8s (and 2.5L BMW M3s), before a combined final race.

Holden drew first blood with Tomas Mezera scoring pole position via the Peter Jackson Dash, but it was Dick Johnson who prevailed in the opening V8 race.

The final was a brutal affair: few cars ended the 28-lap race without bent panels, and the race itself was briefly red-flagged after a three-car tangle at Stop Corner.

John Bowe etched his name in the record books as the first winner of the new era, heading home Mark Skaife and eventual champion Glenn Seton.

Enjoy this gallery of images from the event from the an1images.com library!

The 1993 ATCC class photo – and there appears to be a few hijinks going on! Pic: an1images.com / Graeme Neander
Wayne Gardner was a high profile addition to the ATCC in 1993. The 1987 500cc Motorcycle World Champion finished fifth in the final. Pic: an1images.com / Graeme Neander
Old rivals indeed! A cheeky Dick Johnson earnt the first championship race win for the V8 cars in 1993, while Peter Brock would also claim one before the season was out. Pic: an1images.com / Graeme Neander
This bump between Tomas Mezera and Alan Jones during the Peter Jackson Dash set the tone for a bruising day. Pic: an1images.com / Graeme Neander
Peter Doulman’s BMW M3 lines up on pole for the two-litre race ahead of John Smith’s Toyota Corolla. They were the chief combatants of the class title throughout the year – Doulman earnt first blood at Amaroo. Pic: an1images.com / Andrew Hall
The Benson & Hedges BMW team expanded to four cars for 1993: the yellow and white cars were for Tony Longhurst and John Blanchard, while Paul Morris and Geoff Full campaigned a pair of stunning Diet Coke-liveried cars. None were competitive at Amaroo, however, courtesy of a weight penalty and rev limit that hampered the little M3s. Pic: an1images.com / Graeme Neander
Round winner John Bowe accepts the congratulations from Channel Seven’s Mike Raymond, who helped orchestrate the institution of the five-litre V8 formula. Pic: an1images.com / Graeme Neander
Will Dale is V8 Sleuth's Head of Content - Digital. He began his media career as a breakfast radio newsreader before joining SPEED TV Australia and FOX SPORTS Australia in 2012 as its Digital Editorial Lead - Motorsport, covering all forms of motorsport both in Australia and internationally. He became part of the V8 Sleuth team in 2018.