SUPERCARS returns to Oran Park in a virtual sense tonight with the final round of the All Stars Eseries featuring a race at the former Sydney circuit.
The venue was laser-scanned and created for the iRacing platform prior to its demolition a decade ago, allowing the much-loved track to live on in the digital world.
But who was the best driver when it came to the real Oran Park?
A total of 65 races were held there from the Australian Touring Car Championship’s first visit in 1971 through to its final V8 Supercars Championship round at the end of 2008.
Oran Park’s final event was also the last time the V8 Supercars Championship recognised an overall round winner rather than individual race winners, with Garth Tander claiming the 38th and final ATCC/V8SC round held there.
When it comes to overall success, one name keeps cropping up: Mark Skaife.
In 1991 Skaife earnt the first of 15 championship race wins and six round wins at Oran Park, then swept both heats the following year to secure the first of his five ATCC/V8SC championships on a day where he also clinched the CAMS Gold Star for winning the Australian Drivers’ Championship in Formula Holden.
He really made the circuit his own at the turn of the millennium. The combination of Skaife and the Holden Racing Team claimed wins in nine out of the 10 races held at Oran Park from 1999 to 2002, and added three more in 2004, 2006 (after starting 30th in a reverse grid race!) and 2007, the latter proving to be the final solo V8 Supercars race win of his career.
Another legendary name joins him at the top of the list for round success.
Allan Moffat only took part in 13 championship races at Oran Park but he won six of them, and was unbeaten at the venue for three straight years in the 1970s.
He took his his first Oran Park round win in the season finale of 1972 in the final ATCC/V8SC race where his beloved Coca-Cola Ford Mustang Trans-Am was eligible to compete.
Moffat returned the following year aboard a Group C-spec Falcon XY GT-HO Phase III, the very same car he’d raced at the preceding year’s Bathurst 500 in the final ‘Great Race’ held to Series Production regulations, and one of over 700 ‘Blue Oval’ machines pictured in our limited edition book Ford at Bathurst, The Cars: 1963-2018 – currently available with free postage from the V8 Sleuth Bookshop!
Moffat piloted the venerable GT-HO in securing the first of four championship titles with a victory, albeit one he was awarded after first-past-the-post Peter Brock was excluded for an oversized exhaust manifold.
Brock’s longevity places him at the top of the list for round starts at Oran Park with 24.
Although he was renowned as a gun at Oran Park in the later years of his career – Brock beat Craig Lowndes to pole and the wins in all three races at Oran Park during the latter’s dominant 1996 season – championship race success at Oran Park was slow to come to the King of the Mountain.
He’d eventually take his first win at the venue in 1978 but had to wait another 11 years for his second, the 1989 win also doubling as his first aboard a Ford.
The venue held many title-deciding rounds and races in the course of its ATCC/V8SC history, including in its 2008 finale when Jamie Whincup clinched his first championship victory.
Oran Park has also a couple of unexpected names among the list of 25 drivers to have won a championship race there.
Both Ray Gulson and Lawrie Nelson scored the only ATCC/V8SC wins of their careers there in 1974 and 1979 respectively when the Oran Park round held separate races for Over 3 Litre and Under 3 Litre cars.
Here are the top drivers across all the major metrics in ATCC/V8SC rounds and races at Oran Park.
6 – Allan Moffat, Mark Skaife
3 – Bob Morris, Jim Richards, Peter Brock
15 – Mark Skaife
7 – Peter Brock
6 – Allan Moffat
5 – Craig Lowndes
3 – Bob Morris, Jim Richards, Glenn Seton
13 – Peter Brock
9 – Mark Skaife
8 – Dick Johnson, Craig Lowndes
7 – Allan Moffat
8 – Peter Brock
5 – Allan Moffat
4 – Mark Skaife
3 – Marcos Ambrose, John Bowe
MOST ROUND STARTS
24 – Peter Brock
23 – Dick Johnson
22 – John Bowe
20 – Glenn Seton, Mark Skaife