The news that Erebus Motorsport is handing in #4 marks the end of an era …
THE news that Virgin Australia Supercars Championship team Erebus Motorsporthave elected to swap Dale Wood’s 2017 entry from the #4 racing number to #99 means the end of a lineage that dates back to the founding of the team Erebus was created from – Stone Brothers Racing.
While the #4 hasn’t been the sole domain of SBR or Erebus over the number’s lifetime in championship history, it certainly has been a big part of these squads over the last two decades.
In fact, apart from 2004 and 2005 – when reigning champion Marcos Ambrose raced with #1 and his regular #4 was parked – the last time a #4 car has not featured in a Supercars racing season was 20 years ago in 1997.
In total, #4 has claimed 23 race wins in Australian Touring Car Championship/Supercars Championship history.
Stone Brothers Racing claimed 15 of those wins and five were taken by Hall of Famer Norm Beechey – one in 1965 when he won the ATCC at Sandown (in the days it was decided by a single race) and four with his 1970-championship winning Monaro GTS 350.
Single #4 victories have been taken by Re-Car Racing (Allan Grice, Wanneroo 1982), Wayne Gardner Racing (Wayne Gardner, Mallala 1996) and Erebus Motorsport V8 itself (Lee Holdsworth, Winton 2014).
Prior to its time with Stone Brothers Racing, the #4 has featured on a range of interesting cars, drivers and teams including Wayne Gardner Racing, which had been custodians of the number from its foundation in 1994 to 1996. In fact it had inherited the number from Bob Forbes Racing (the team it had bought out), which had used it on GIO Nissan GT-Rs and a Commodore from 1991-1993.
Previously #4 was used by Colin Bond’s Caltex Sierra team (1988-1989), on Tony Longhurst’s JPS BMW M3 (1987) and then-newcomer John Bowe’s Volvo Dealer Team 240 Turbo in 1986. Bowe’s teammate of a decade, Dick Johnson, made a single ATCC appearance carrying #4 aboard a Zupps Holden Torana XU-1 at Surfers Paradise in 1973.
Given its history, perhaps one day another Supercars team will decide to pounce upon the digit and return it to the track in the near future!
Here’s Marcos Ambrose winning the 2003 championship in the #4 Pirtek Ford at Eastern Creek in Sydney: