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Graham Gulson to make Bathurst racing return

GRAHAM Gulson, who made headlines as the youngest-ever-at-the-time ‘Great Race’ Bathurst 1000 driver when he lined up on the grid as a 17-year-old in 1987, is heading back to Mount Panorama this week.

Son of long-time touring car racer Ray Gulson, Graham lined up alongside his father in their ex-JPS BMW in the 1987 Bathurst round of the World Touring Car Championship.

He went on to make eight Bathurst 1000 starts between 1987 and 1995, only missing the 1988 race when his family team’s ex-JPS BMW 635 did not qualify within 110 percent of the pole position time.

He and father Ray remain one of the father and son combinations to have started the Bathurst 1000, the duo teaming up for six ‘Great Race’ starts in the ex-Jim Richards BMW, finishing 15th in 1987 and 1989.

Gulson’s last two Bathurst 1000 starts came in an ex-Brock Mobil Advantage Racing Commodore VP alongside Kiwi Ed Lamont in 1994 and 1995. That car spent a decade in New Zealand before returning to Australia in 2014 to be restored to its Mobil Brock Bathurst 1993 livery.

The duo finished the 1995 race in 13th – Gulson’s best Bathurst 1000 finish – and the Canberra-based driver decided to retire from racing at the age of 25 and channel energies into family and business.

The Ed Lamont/Graham Gulson Commodore in the 1995 Tooheys 1000. Photo: an1images.com / Graeme Neander.

His return to the Mountain this year, at the wheel of a Group N Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GT in the Heritage Revival support event, is his first race at Bathurst in 27 years since his last start in the ‘1000.

“Dad and I bought this little Alfa and I went back to some Group N racing on and off,” Gulson told V8 Sleuth.

“It’s a beautiful little car but I hardly drive it. I was having dinner with a friend who races in Group S and I wasn’t even thinking about Bathurst and he said I should call and see if I could get an entry in.

“So, I thought, ‘why not’, Dad did many races at Bathurst in Alfas and I’ve never driven something so slow, so I should experience what he had to deal with! Looking at the entry list I’ll be the slowest car down the straights but I’m still really looking forward to it.”

Gulson, now 52, runs the Gulson Canberra car sale business established by his father in 1963. Graham is Dealer Principal of Porsche Centre Canberra, part of the Gulson Canberra business.

Only 17 drivers have made more Bathurst ‘Great Race’ starts than his father Ray, who made 23 starts between 1964 and 1993.

His son’s record as the youngest Bathurst 1000 driver was surpassed by Bryan Sala in 1991, though Cam Waters eventually beat all comers to be the youngest-ever driver in the race’s history – he was 17 years and 67 days in 2011 when he made his debut (Gulson was 17 years, 273 days in 1987).

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