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Monday, May 27, 2024


SWAPPING one car to appear like you’re racing another car isn’t a new thing in the world of motorsport with many teams and drivers doing it over the course of time, whether it be to gain performance advantage or sometimes to save blood, sweat and tears of rebuilds or overnight work.

But doing it mid-race weekend is something that’s generally against the rules.

As we’ve documented on V8 Sleuth before, the Nissan GT-R team did it at Bathurst in 1990 when they swapped the numbers on their pair of GT-Rs ahead of the race, but another touring car race in that same year – just a matter of months later – also saw a swap over of cars mid-event that has gone largely unnoticed by touring car fans.

Plenty of race fans still get fired up over Peter Brock swapping cars mid-race at Bathurst in the 1980s and going on to win the race – in 1983 and then again in 1987.

Cross-entering drivers from the same team across its cars was in the rules of the period and a range of other drivers, including Dick Johnson and Allan Moffat, also did it in ‘The Great Race’, albeit without the same victorious outcome as Brock and his HDT squad.

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But one Brock car swap seems largely to have gone by unnoticed by most fans to this very day!

Brock’s Mobil 1 Racing team ran a #05 Sierra at the 1990 Adelaide Grand Prix Group A support event for him to drive in the pair of races that weekend.

Well, actually they ran two!

Brock qualified second to the Nissan GT-R of Jim Richards, 1.03-seconds away from the pole time set by the new four-wheel-drive supercar of the era.

But his turbo Ford only lasted six laps before its overheating problems took over and it slipped onto three cylinders and promptly had a meltdown and a brief under-bonnet fire as its pilot retired it from the race.

The damage was minimal but, as specialist media reports of the period indicated, he reverted to the team’s spare car for the Sunday race (decked out in Mobil colours with his famous #05 number) and started rear of grid before again only lasting six laps, this time reportedly due to the oil line to the diff breaking.

While the TV commentary team said the Mobil team did an engine swap overnight, that wasn’t quite the full story – they indeed swapped the engine, along with the rest of the car!

There’s a range of tell-tale items that were different between the car that Brock raced on Saturday (the car he’d raced at Bathurst in 1989 and 1990 with Andy Rouse) and the car he raced on Sunday (the #105 Jones/Radisich 1989 Bathurst car and #6 Miedecke/O’Brien/ Parsons 1990 Bathurst car), including a different driver’s mirror and a rather major detail in that the latter car didn’t have ‘05’ painted in large font on the roof!

It’s a Brock car swap that has largely gone unnoticed by fans, most likely given it didn’t happen under the full focus of bright lights at the biggest touring car race of the season at Bathurst.

The non-championship, ‘end of season’ nature of the Adelaide touring car support races didn’t come with the same spotlight, meaning this Brock Sierra swap has largely gone unnoticed by fans for over 30 years!

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