THE HISTORY OF THE BATHURST 1000’S TV BROADCASTERS

Evan Green interviews Peter Brock on the grid during a Channel 7 broadcast of the Bathurst 1000. Pic: Supplied / Seven

THE announcement that Channel 7 will join FOX SPORTS and Foxtel as the Supercars Championship’s new broadcast partners from 2021 to 2025 will renew the network’s long relationship with the Bathurst 1000.

The Seven Network is synonymous with the growth of the event from its early days as the Armstrong 500 in the mid-1960s through to becoming ‘the motor race that stops a nation’ across the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

ATN7 in Sydney broadcast sections of the race live in black and white in 1963, the first edition held at Mount Panorama, with the first colour broadcast of the race coming in 1975.

The network’s coverage steadily grew until the ‘Great Race’ was shown live in its entirety for the first time in Sydney in 1977.

That same year saw the network air a preview show on the Saturday for the first time, featuring interviews with big-name drivers, the tail end of final qualifying, plus a pit stop competition.

The half-hour show, which can be seen on CMS Motorsport’s DVD release of the 1977 race, was a precursor to the half-hour broadcast of the Hardies Heroes/Top 10 Shootout from 1978.

Seven also pioneered in-car camera technology in the 1979 race with the RaceCam unit fitted in the Toyota Celica that Peter Williamson and Mike Quinn drove to ninth place.

The network continued to air the Bathurst 1000 amid the Super Touring/V8 Supercars division in 1997 and 1998 when two separate races took place each year, before bowing out after their coverage of the Super Touring Bathurst 500 in 1999.

The arrival of AVESCO and V8 Supercars in 1997 saw Channel 10 broadcast a Bathurst 1000 for the first time, covering that year’s Primus 1000 Classic and 1998’s FAI 1000 Classic.

The channel was the sole free-to-air broadcaster of the Bathurst 1000 from 1999 through to 2006; in 2003 the Top 10 Shootout moved from Saturday morning to Saturday afternoon and live TV coverage of the session has become a staple of the race’s annual broadcast.

Seven returned as the Bathurst 1000’s broadcaster from 2007 to 2014 as part of a new era where V8 Supercars created its own television unit to create and produce the coverage.

The network broadcast the race in high definition for the first time in 2011 on its digital multichannel 7mate.

Including its most recent broadcast of the race in 2014, Seven has shown the Bathurst 1000 on a total of 44 occasions.

After showing full replays of the race in the late 1990s and on the SPEED TV Australia channel in the 2010s, FOX SPORTS broadcast the Bathurst 1000 live for the first time on subscription television in 2015 as part of a new TV rights deal that saw the free-to-air coverage return to Channel 10.

The Bathurst 1000 was broadcast live and ad-free for the first time in its history by FOX in 2018; the same year the race was among the first Australian sporting events to be simulcast in 4K ultra-high definition on Foxtel.

Below is the list of Bathurst 500/1000 broadcasters over the years:

TV NetworkYears
Seven1963-1998, 2007-2014, 2021-2025
Ten1997-2006, 2015-2020
FOX SPORTS2015-2025

Will Dale began his media career as a breakfast radio newsreader before joining SPEED TV Australia and FOX SPORTS Australia in 2012 as its Digital Editorial Lead - Motorsport for the next six years, covering all forms of motorsport both in Australia and internationally. He became part of the V8 Sleuth team in 2018.