Larry Perkins, Peter Brock and the HDT #05 team in 1982. Pic: Supplied

IT was 40 years ago that two Australian motorsport icons teamed up to win the nation’s biggest race – but it almost didn’t happen.

The anniversary of Larry Perkins and Peter Brock’s 1982 Bathurst 1000 victory will be celebrated next weekend by a suite of tributes – including a replica livery and moustache – Jack Perkins will don during the Dunlop Super2 Series round at Sandown.

The occasion is a fitting chance to delve into the archives, back to when Larry explained on the V8 Sleuth Podcast in 2020 how the all-star combination came to be.

Perkins had chalked up a series of Formula 1 world championship starts in the ‘70s, while Brock was by now a five-time Great Race winner.

“It was around that ‘81-‘82 period, when I was back from Europe and not sure what I wanted to do, that Brocky rang me up to say ‘look, would I drive with him at Bathurst in ’82?’” Perkins recalled.

“Oh, I said, ‘Peter, look, I’m not that fussed about driving’… that’s where I placed the touring car category of Australia on the world stage. It was just not my focus, it was as simple as that.

Jack Perkins with the tribute livery. Pic: Supplied

“I said to Brocky, look, and I went down to the workshop and had a look around, I said ‘jesus Brocky, it’s a real shitfight, your workshop’. It was dirty and scruffy and shocking.

“I said ‘look, if you want me to run the workshop and, alright, if you want me to co-drive at Bathurst and Sandown I’ll do that’. But it was not a big desire of mine.

“So that’s how we started and that’s why we got on, again, because I wasn’t constantly saying to Peter ‘give me a drive! Give me a drive!’

“I just weren’t that interested in it because I was still wounded from not getting into F1, that was the goal.

“And we had a good time there. Peter just left me alone to do my preparation, he let me hire and fire, I didn’t have any influence or whatever on the commercial side of his road business or getting his sponsors or anything.

“He’d give me a budget – ‘say we’ve got this signed up and this signed up, that’s the amount of money, can you run a car on that?’ and all three years I gave him a cheque back, he made a profit each year that I was running it. We got on well.”

Brock and Perkins would go on to conquer Bathurst in three successive years: 1982-84.

V8 Sleuth strives to both preserve and celebrate Australian motorsport’s rich history, from tracking and tracing the race-by-race histories and changing ownership of individual cars, to capturing and retelling the stories of the people who made our sport what it is today.