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Supercars’ sole Anzac Day race-winning car

ONLY one car in Supercars Championship history has the distinction of winning a race on Anzac Day.

That’s because the championship has held just a single race on April 25 across its 65-year history.

The date fell on the Friday of the Pukekohe round in 2014, with Supercars electing to contest one of the weekend’s four races on the hallowed day of remembrance.

It was Jason Bright, the reigning Jason Richards Memorial Trophy winner, that claimed Supercars’ only Anzac Day silverware for Brad Jones Racing, heading home Shane van Gisbergen and Craig Lowndes at the end of a 100km sprint.

Bright had started from pole but was headed immediately by Jamie Whincup, who was poised to take the victory until a late power steering issue.

The BJR pilot wasn’t able to parlay the initial success into a second-straight JR Trophy win, however, finishing fifth for the round after mechanical issues left him 23rd in the third race of the weekend.

The Anzac Day victory also proved the last of Bright’s decorated Supercars career, and the last – to date – for a car that had been hurriedly pressed into service just over a month earlier.

BJR 004 was the fourth Car of the Future built by the Albury-based team, but it was still a bare chassis when Bright destroyed his original car in a fearsome crash at the Adelaide 500.

The crew turned it into a completed Holden Commodore VF Supercar within a week, with just enough time for Andrew Jones to give it a brief shakedown at Wodonga TAFE’s driver training facility before loading it into the transporter to head to Melbourne.

The car was christened ‘Brodie’, in honour of Wangaratta nine-year-old Brodie Pearson, who sent all $10.20 of his pocket money to BJR to help get Bright back on track for the Grand Prix weekend.

Bright continued aboard the chassis for the rest of the year, highlighted by poles in Townsville and at Sydney Olympic Park, plus a special outing on the Friday of the Winton round, when a booster seat was installed for the passenger ride session to give young Brodie a hot lap in the car that bore his name!

The car remained as the #8 Team BOC entry into 2015, Bright delivering a pair of podium finishes at Sydney Motorsport Park and Sydney Olympic Park respectively.

Bright leading van Gisbergen in the closing stages at SMP in 2015. Pic: an1images.com / Ross Gibb

The first came in controversial circumstances with Bright allowed to keep third place despite short-cutting a large portion of the track on the final lap, following contact from Shane van Gisbergen at Turn 4 that led Bright to rejoin at the Turn 8 hairpin.

BJR 004 retained the #8 for 2016 but was passed to the team’s Super2 Series program, for which Car of the Future-era machines had just become eligible.

Andrew Jones piloted the car for two seasons, highlighted by a podium at Phillip Island and pole at Wanneroo in the former year, and featuring in a BJR 1-3 behind Macauley Jones in the non-points Bathurst Super2 race in the latter.

Andrew Jones leads Jack Le Brocq at Bathurst in 2017. Pic: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith

Jack Smith moved into this car for 2018 in what was his second Super2 Series campaign, which proved its final full season in Supercars’ second tier.

Its most recent hitout came in 2019 when BJR fielded Tim Blanchard in a one-off Super2 entry at the Townsville round, the car carrying the same stunning Petronas livery used in his ‘main game’ wildcard start earlier that year.

Blanchard notched up a pair of third placings in the silver machine, leading eventual series champion Bryce Fullwood for much of the Sunday sprint.

BJR retains the Anzac Day-winning car at the time of writing, and sits in its workshop still in the Petronas colours from its final race.

Tim Blanchard leads Bryce Fullwood in the early stages of the Sunday Super2 race at Townsville in 2019. Pic: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith
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