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Bathurst 1000 2014 Campervan Hire

The ‘Great Race’ of the Bathurst 1000 is held annually at Mount Panorama in Bathurst, New South Wales. It is arguably the most important event in Australian motorsport, with a long history and hordes of fans who flock to the town each year to watch their teams and drivers.

The first race which was to become the Bathurst 1000 was called the Armstrong 500 and took place in 1960. It was held at Phillip Island in Victoria and Australian-built cars competed to see which had the best speed and performance- the winner was a Vauxhall Cresta. The race moved in 1963 to its current home at Mount Panorama, but kept the Armstrong name. It grew rapidly as car manufacturers wanted to show the world their capabilities, and things such as required pit stops were introduced to regulate and even the playing field. Previously small cars such as Minis and Ford Cortinas were most often the winners, as they could go all day with just one tank of petrol, and although slower on straights they were great at cornering. The Ford Falcon GT V8 changed the game a few years later, and by around 1966 there was a great rivalry between the ‘Big 3’ manufacturers, Holden, Ford and Chrysler. 
 
In 1966 and 1967 the name of the race was changed to the ‘Gallagher 500,’ named for a tobacco company sponsor, and then it was named the Hardie-Ferodo 500 for a brake part manufacturer sponsor. The cars continued to get better and more powerful- with the Holden Monaro GTS introduced to counter Ford’s GT, and Ford countering with a series of GT-HOs. In 1970 Holden introduced the Torana, specially developed for Bathurst. The cars continued to progress as the race became more popular.
 
There was controversy in 1972 surrounding some new models of cars being developed by Ford, Holden and Chrysler. These specialised cars were developed with high top speeds to compete in the race, but the manufacturers planned to sell a few hundred units to the public to make them eligible, as this was a requirement of entry.This caused an outcry by the New South Wales Transport Minister, and led to Chrysler’s withdrawal from the races.  

In 1973, the race length changed from 500 miles to 1,000 kilometres as Australia adopted the metric system. A new rule was also implemented which allowed racing modifications to the cars, establishing a ‘Group C’ category. From 1985 to 1992, the race was run under international Group A touring car rules. Imported turbocharged Fords and Nissans mostly dominated during this time, with 3 wins by a Holden Commodore. In 1987, Bathurst was a round of the World Touring Car Championship, and teams in that race competed with local teams. The race that year was a bit controversial, with the European team that had place first eventually being disqualified. The V8 supercar era began after 1992, with new rules original to Australia, and entry limited to V8-powered Fords and Holdens. In 1997 and 1998, the V8 supercars were temporarily replaced with a 2-litre Super Touring Field, but in 1999 popular support returned the race to the V8 supercars. The name changed several more times but eventually settled into “Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000” in 2006.
 
The greats of the Great Race include names such as Bob Jane, Jim Richards, Mark Skaife, Greg Murphy and Craig Lowndes. The driver with the most wins under his belt is legendary Peter Brock, with 9 victories at Bathurst. Since his death in 2006, the trophy awarded after the race is the Peter Brock Trophy, inscribed with his nickname, ‘King of the Mountain.’
 
In 2014, the race will be held from the 9th-12th of October and will be the second year with Nissans re-introduced to the field. 2014 will determine whether Ford fans will see the cup successfully defended after 2013 heralded the first Ford win since 2008. 

 
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