GLENN Seton wrote himself into the history books of the Australian Touring Car Championship and V8 Supercars on this day, August 3, back in 1997.
The Ford Credit Falcon driver sealed his second ATCC crown and, in doing so, became the last owner/driver and single car team to win the championship.
It was a massive day of racing at Oran Park on this day 24 years ago, as Seton scored fourth, fifth and a win in the three races to finish second overall for the round, though he still took enough points to claim the championship.
Peter Brock said farewell to the Oran Park crowd in his last appearance with the Holden Racing Team at the Narellan venue; a huge crowd packed into the place to see him and he nearly delivered the perfect result.
The Holden hero took pole position and won the first race. He then ran home second to Alan Jones in Race 2 and was well placed to clinch a fairytale round win, only for a front tyre to delaminate and eventually pop – he finished 12th, leaving teammate Greg Murphy to win the round (despite not winning a race).
“Third for the round at Mallala left me four points clear of John (Bowe) and 24 ahead of Russell (Ingall) heading to the Oran Park finale, which will always remain in my mind the best race meeting I ever had in my career,” Seton wrote in his career autobiography, ‘Seto’, available to order here from the V8 Sleuth Online Bookshop.
“Our cars were always fast there (at Oran Park) and I took some pressure off by qualifying third, with John and Russell in seventh and eighth respectively. Russell broke his steering in the first race and then crashed out of the weekend at the start of the second. With John failing to finish the second heat due to engine trouble, I was guaranteed the title.
“I’d been conservative in the opening two races and finished fourth and fifth, but with the championship secured I could go for it and won Race 3, which was so satisfying. The title fight and Peter Brock’s retirement meant the crowd was massive and I could see all the people as I came over the Dogleg every lap of that final race.
“It was such a special moment that I celebrated with the only burnout I did in my whole career. I’d put a line-locker in the car that year and could lock-out the back brakes, hoping we’d be able to use it at Oran Park.
“It was a ripper burnout and Bridgestone ended up doing a big poster out of it with the catchline ‘after winning the championship, Glenn Seton deserves a smoko’!
“The fact we had beaten all the big teams with a single car and six people was very rewarding. It’s still the last time a single-car team has won the championship and the last time for an owner-driver, let alone a driver engineering their own car.”
Seton’s 1997 championship-winning Falcon EL started its life as an EF model in 1996 and took pole for the AMP Bathurst 1000.
It’s featured in our new ‘Bathurst, Every Car, The Photographic History, 1990-1999’ book that documents all of the cars and results from the 1990s in ‘The Great Race’.
It’s available to pre order here now and will arrive in time for Christmas.