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When Brock battled the ‘axe murderers’

PETER Brock was a busy boy at the event that bore his name.

The 1995 Australian touring car season ended with the Peter Brock Classic, a mid-November event at Calder Park paying tribute to the nine-time Bathurst 1000 champion.

Along with claiming victory in the second race – run under lights – to clinch the overall event victory in his usual Holden Racing Team Commodore, Brock also slipped behind the wheel of a very different V8-powered Holden in the support races.

AUSCAR was looking to diversify with more events away from the Thunderdome, and had recently added Oran Park and Eastern Creek road circuits to its annual trip to Surfers Paradise as a support race for the IndyCar event.

Its appearance at the Peter Brock Classic counted as a championship round – with the man of the hour making a guest start!

Brock’s #05 was applied to John Faulkner’s spare car, the future V8 Supercars privateer still fondly remembering the weekend.

“That was probably one of the highlights of running AUSCAR on road course events,” Faulkner told V8 Sleuth.

“Their media guy approached us. We tested regularly at Calder which was also the Holden Racing Team’s test ground. We’d just build a new AUSCAR, but we had an (old) car that was identical.

The AUSCAR was a very different proposition to Brock’s regular Holden Racing Team Commodore but he adapted very quickly. Pic: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith

“I knew Brock well from the ATCC rounds and so it was a good fit. He had to climb through the window, which he was a bit dubious about…”

Brock had raced an AUSCAR when the category debuted in 1988 – a Ford Falcon, no less! – but the Peter Brock Classic marked the first time he’d raced an AUSCAR on a road course.

Unsurprisingly, he got to grips quickly.

“He was fast,” Faulkner said. “Straight out of the gate he was in the top three or four and pushed me all the way, and all the local guns.

“But they were ever mindful of (his) safety. It wasn’t a classy field but it was the best that AUSCAR had: there were a lot of good drivers there, but there were a few ‘axe murderers’ in that field!

“He just wound the thing, revved the engine about 1000 rpm past its red line, flat-spotted every tyre we had and wore the brakes out.

“But he was competitive! Super competitive!”

There were plenty of past and future touring car drivers in the field with Brock; in this pic alone is Faulkner, Terry Wyhoon, Steve Richards and Nathan Pretty. Pic: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith

Brock qualified the car fifth – just a couple of tenths shy of Faulkner in third – and raced as high as third before an off-track excursion dropped him to sixth in the opening race. A mix-up with his schedule meant Brock actually missed the start of the second sprint, joining the race a lap late on his way to 19th.

“I really did have a ball out there,” Brock told Auto Action.

“They’re not hard to drive … you’ve just got to be patient and show a little finesse with them, but they’re loads of fun.”

Brock’s drive came at an interesting time for the category, with ATCC chiefs looking favourably on AUSCAR-style cars to form the basis of a second-tier series for aspiring touring car racers with an emphasis on lower technology and cost.

“I keep saying it – this is the ideal feeder category for future touring car stars,” Brock added.

“These guys would love to do more circuit races so it would be nice to roll them out a bit more often and see what happens.”

The move to create a second-tier touring car series did eventually happen – although not underpinned by AUSCAR.

While AUSCAR morphed into the Future Tourers category, the ATCC itself became V8 Supercars in 1997, the championship creating its own second-tier championship nowadays known as the Dunlop Super2 Series.

AUDIO: John Faulkner on the V8 Sleuth Podcast powered by Repco

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