WHAT’S IN A NUMBER? THE FAMOUS #9

Allan Moffat made the #9 famous on his Coke Mustang. This is at Calder in 1971. Photo: an1images.com / AUTOPIX

MAYBE it’s because we’re counting the days in isolation, but our recent story about numbers still hunting for victory led to lots of requests from V8 Sleuth readers for us to delve further into the history of different numbers in the Australian Touring Car Championship/Supercars Championship.

Today we look at number 9, a number with less wins than #97, #30 and #05, but with a storied history in the sport with legendary talent behind the wheel.

One of only five numbers to win with four or more different makes in the championship’s history, the #9 has adorned the side of not only Holden and Ford, but also Chevrolet (no prizes for guessing which one!) and Mercedes.

By the way, #9 race cars feature in a range of our books and magazines in the V8 Sleuth Bookshop, jump online here, we have a Stocktake Sale of a range of items just waiting to be posted out to you!

Where It All Began In The ATCC

But its first claim came in the first multi-round championship in 1969. Porsche distributor Alan Hamilton won no races but earned the most points in that year’s ATCC in his #9 Porsche 911T. However, a rule forcing all drivers to drop their worst score saw Pete Geoghegan take his fourth ATCC title in a row.

Hamilton ran #9 in all rounds other than the Bathurst Easter Monday races, where he ran #88 earning the first podium for that car number as well! It would go on to have a few more, particularly with Betta, Vodafone and Red Bull liveries …

The very next race saw #9’s maiden victory with its most famous exponent, Allan Moffat. 

Moffat’s number of ATCC race starts in car 9 is 43, another Moffat race number from his Mazda days!

All 12 championship wins for Moffat in car 9 came across a 24 race period between 1970 and 1973 – first in the Mustang, and then in the Falcon GT-HO.

Moffat followed that streak up with a win with Pete Geoghegan in the first 1000-kilometre Bathurst in 1973. His use of the number 9 continued throughout his career unless a sponsorship requirement intervened, including a win in the ANZ Sierra in the 1988 Sandown 500 with Gregg Hansford.

The number’s next appearance in the victory circle in the ATCC after Moffat’s success in the early 1970s was with Kevin Bartlett’s run in the Nine Network Racing Team Camaro.

Kevin Bartlett at the wheel of the 9 Sports Camaro at Sandown 1980. Photo: an1images.com/AUTOPIX

Bartlett had 24 ATCC race starts in the number 9 Camaro, for three wins – at Sandown and Adelaide International Raceway in 1980 and 1982 at Oran Park. At Oran Park Bartlett finished third on the road.

Winner on the road Moffat (in the #43 Mazda), was penalised one minute for a jump start, while second across the line Peter Brock was later disqualified as part of his agreement with CAMS given he was running under appeal for much of the season.

Of course, the #9 Camaro is probably more famous for being car number 6 in the 1982 James Hardie 1000 at Bathurst after Bartlett’s famous roll over, but it shouldn’t be forgotten that the car scored pole at Bathurst in 1980 and 1981.

The Pathway To #9 Getting To The Stones

The next victory for number 9 relates to its current lineage, a win that came with Alan Jones Racing as Komatsu Racing for 1997, a number that would largely remain with the same organisation through Jones’ sell-out, its transformation into Stone Brothers Racing and then sale to become Erebus Motorsport.

Jones’s 49 ATCC race run in car #9, led to one win, at Oran Park in 1997. He did also carry the number for a season at Tony Longhurst’s team on a Komatsu Falcon in 1998 before it lay idle in 1999 and returned with SBR in 2000.

Stone Brothers Racing cars carried #9 to nine further race wins. David Besnard and Simon Wills won the 2002 Queensland 500 before Russell Ingall’s time with the number gained six wins.

Russell Ingall celebrates his 2005 championship win at Phillip Island. Photo: an1images.com/Justin Deeley.

The 2005 championship victory for Ingall in Car 9 led him to go one better both numerically and performance wise, bettering his previous championship best of second place in Perkins Motorsport’s Car 8 and also his runner-up effort with SBR in 2004.

Shane van Gisbergen’s first V8 Supercar Championship race win came with SBR aboard #9 in 2011 in New Zealand. Photo: an1images.com / Justin Deeley

Shane van Gisbergen scored his first two championship race wins with the Stone Brothers in his four-year stint with the number, his only wins in a Ford. They came in 2011 at Hamilton and Hidden Valley.

Erebus Motorsport then took over the running of #9 and retain it to this very day with David Reynolds in the Penrite Commodore.

Will Davison scored something of an upset win in Perth in 2015 with car #9. Photo: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith

The number has given Erebus five race wins – Will Davison passed Craig Lowndes for the lead to take victory at the Perth SuperSprint in 2015, making the team’s second – and last – win with the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG.

David Reynolds and Luke Youlden claimed victory in the 2017 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000. Photo: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith

Reynolds has been the torch bearer for number 9 since 2016, achieving his first win in the biggest way – at the 2017 Bathurst 1000 with Luke Youlden. 

He followed that up with three wins in 2018, the number’s last win being the season ending race in Newcastle that season.