John Harvey after claiming his second and final ATCC race win at Symmons Plains in Tasmania. Pic: / Ian Smith

AUSTRALIAN motorsport legend John Harvey has been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer.

The 82-year-old’s family revealed the diagnosis in a message on social media on Saturday morning.

“Together as a family we are by his side, helping him remain as comfortable as possible,” their message said.

“Unfortunately this is not a race he can win but as usual he shows the dignity and strength that he’s known for.”

Harvey achieved success across a variety of disciplines in a motorsport career that spanned over four decades.

Harvey races through the Esses at Warwick Farm during the Sydney circuit’s 1970 Tasman Series meeting. Pic: / Terry Russell

In the 1950s and early 1960s Harvey was renowned as one of Australia’s best speedway racers before switching to road racing, where Bob Jane took him under his wing.

Harvey claimed a slew of success driving for Jane’s team in open-wheel, sports cars, touring car and Sports Sedan racing throughout the late 1960s and 1970s, and survived a nasty crash at Bathurst’s 1968 Easter meeting after a suspension failure at Sulman Park in the squad’s Brabham BT23E.

While his touring car is most closely associated with the Holden Dealer Team, Harvey scored his first Australian Touring Car Championship race win at the Symmons Plains round of the 1976 season, driving a Torana run by local privateers B&D Autos.

Harvey at Calder’s round of the 1977 ATCC. Pic: / Ian Smith

Harvey joined the HDT later that same year and became its lead driver for 1977 after Colin Bond’s departure, beginning an association that continued for over a decade.

He was a mainstay of the operation through Firth’s retirement, its years operated by John Sheppard, then under Peter Brock’s stewardship, where Harvey dovetailed racing duties with overseeing HDT’s burgeoning road car operation.

In 1983, Harvey won the Bathurst 1000 with Brock and Larry Perkins, the latter pair joining him in the HDT’s #25 entry mid-race after the team’s lead #05 car failed early in the race.

Harvey and Neal Lowe claimed second place in the 1986 Bathurst 1000, the HDT’s last ‘Great Race’ with Holden backing. Pic: / Dale Rodgers

Harvey stayed on with GM-Holden after its divorce with HDT in early 1987 and achieved some of his biggest successes just as his driving career was winding down.

He and Allan Moffat took a Holden to victory in the inaugural race of the World Touring Car Championship at Monza in 1987, then claimed fourth outright and first in class at the prestigious Spa 24 Hours.

Harvey also won the first edition of the World Solar Challenge that same year, piloting the General Motors-developed Sunraycer from Darwin to Adelaide in 5.2 days.

In 2018, he was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for his services to motorsport and was inducted into the Australian Motor Sport Hall of Fame.

The full message from the Harvey family:

It’s with great sadness our family would like to share the news that our wonderful father John has recently been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer.

Together as a family we are by his side, helping him remain as comfortable as possible.

Unfortunately this is not a race he can win but as usual he shows the dignity and strength that he’s known for.

Our darling dad has the love of his family around him and always remains the gentleman.

Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers.

Thank you from Beverley, Donna Harvey, Lyndall Blackmore, Gavin Harvey & all the family.

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.