PRO-DUCT VN COMMODORE ON TRACK

The ex-Bob Pearson Pro-Duct Commodore VN at Sydney Motorsport Park today. Photo: Jamie McDonald.

A FORMER Group A VN Commodore that raced throughout the 1990s has returned to the track today at Sydney Motorsport Park.

The Pro-Duct Commodore VN – the first VN Commodore built by Perkins Engineering in Melbourne, even before the pair of Mobil cars raced by Perkins and Peter Brock – had its first proper shakedown day today since being fully restored.

It did turn some laps at SMP last November, however, today was its first proper shakedown at speed.

The car, owned by Jamie McDonald, has been returned to its 1992 Winfield Triple Challenge livery and specification, including the detail right down to the ’92 Eastern Creek event specific sticker above the number panels on each door.

The car, PE chassis 011, was raced by Bob Pearson’s Pro-Duct team in 1991 and 1992 before it became the team’s second car in 1993 (when it was converted to a VP), 1994 and 1995 raced mainly by Bruce Stewart, but also by Brad Jones at the 1994 Winfield Triple Challenge.

Later owned and raced by George Ayoub and Barry Morcom, its last period race was in August 2000 in the hands of Tim Rowse in the final round of that year’s Konica V8 Lites Series at Mallala.

Spot the spider among the spider web! The 1992 Pro-Duct livery on the car looks striking! Photo: Jamie McDonald.

McDonald intends to run the VN in Heritage Touring Cars historic competition, with the Morgan Park event in October top of his list.

“We only did one session with the car last year when we ran it and packed it away, so today is the first real opportunity to run the car,” McDonald told v8sleuth.com.au today.

“Everything has come together really well, I’m stoked in fact. The motor is really strong, it makes this main straight pretty short! 

“Ron Missen has been brilliant, his suspension setup has been perfect, We’re just doing fine tuning now, it is just a dream to drive around the circuit – where I point it, it goes. 

“I’m building up to it and not going out there to be a super hero, but there’s a lot more in the car and in the driver.”

McDonald plans to run the Heritage Touring Cars event at Morgan Park in Queensland in October and potentially the HTC races at the Bathurst International in mid-November.

“Of course, everything is dependent on the COVID situation, but I’m planning to do Morgan Park, that’s the first race opportunity we’re aiming for. The Bathurst International interests me as well, so we’ll do some more track days and head to Morgan Park and go from there.”

The Pro-Duct VN’s 1992 livery features a huge yellow spiderweb across the bonnet and McDonald has even got the original toy spider used by Bob Pearson’s team!

“When I cleaned out Bob’s shed of parts for the car, the spider was sitting there on the shelf. They just put it among all the stuff and said I may as well have it too! If you look at period photos from Eastern Creek in the pits, you’ll see that spider on the bonnet a fair bit!”

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With over 20 years in the Australian motorsport industry, Noonan is the head of V8 Sleuth. He’s held a range of roles including working in television with Seven and Ten, print media and public relations. With a specialty in Australian motorsport history, he’s known around racing paddocks as ’the Sleuth’ and started his motorsport media career in 1997.