THE latest special exhibition at the National Motor Racing Museum at Mount Panorama will pay tribute to 40 years of Dick Johnson Racing.
The 2020 running of the ‘Great Race’ marks the 40th anniversary of the infamous ‘Rock’ incident during the 1980 event.
Johnson, having mortgaged the family home to build a brand-new Ford Falcon XD with the aim of winning the Bathurst 1000, led the opening 17 laps before crashing after encountering a large rock in the middle of the circuit on the run towards Reid Park.
The crash launched Johnson into Australian folklore and, ironically, kick-started his hall-of-fame career off the back of public donations – matched dollar for dollar by Ford Australia – that helped him build a new Falcon which he raced to victories in the Australian Touring Car Championship and Bathurst 1000 in 1981.
In the same vein as recent exhibitions focused on Craig Lowndes, Peter Williamson and the Bathurst 12 Hour, the NMRM’s DJR exhibition will feature memorabilia and iconic race cars from the team’s history.
The first car to join the exhibition has arrived at the museum in the form of the Terry Lawlor-owned DJR 6 Ford Sierra.
DJR’s Sierra era ranks among its most successful, the team’s turbocharged rockets claiming back-to-back Australian Touring Car Championship crowns in 1988 and 1989 along with victory in the 1989 Tooheys 1000.
This particular Sierra, DJR 6, was the last one built by the team and was campaigned in the Bathurst 1000 in 1990, 1991 and 1992 – on the first two occasions as the team’s lead #17 car for Johnson and John Bowe.
The car was sold to Western Australia at the end of the 1992 season and passed through a couple of owners before being purchased by Chris Stillwell and restored to campaign in Heritage Touring Cars events, with its first race coming at the 2015 Bathurst Motor Festival.
Lawlor purchased the car a couple of years later and continued to be a regular at HTC events.
It’s the first of several cars that are being lined up by the museum for the special exhibition, which is due to open at the start of October.
The National Motor Racing Museum is open six days a week from 9am to 4:30pm (closed Tuesdays) with social distancing measures in place.