Bob Jane

Last updated

Bob Jane
NationalityFlag of Australia (converted).svg  Australian
Born(1929-12-18)18 December 1929
Died28 September 2018(2018-09-28) (aged 88)
Retired1981
Australian Touring Car Championship
Years active1962–1974
TeamsBob Jane Autoland
Wins10
Best finish1st in 1962, 1963, 1971 & 1972
Previous series
1961–63
1965–66
1965–66
1966
1970
1980–81
Australian GT Championship
Tasman Series
Australian Drivers' Championship
Australian 1½ Litre Champ.
Australian Sports Car Champ.
Australian Sports Sedan Champ.
Championship titles
1961
1962
1962
1963
1963
1963
1964
1971
1972
Armstrong 500
Australian Touring Car Champ.
Armstrong 500
Australian Touring Car Champ.
Australian GT Championship
Armstrong 500
Armstrong 500
Australian Touring Car Champ.
Australian Touring Car Champ.
Awards
2000 V8 Supercars Hall of Fame

Robert Frederick Jane (18 December 1929 – 28 September 2018) was an Australian race car driver and prominent entrepreneur and business tycoon. A four-time winner of the Armstrong 500, the race that became the prestigious Bathurst 1000 and a four-time Australian Touring Car Champion, Jane was well known for his chain of tyre retailers, Bob Jane T-Marts. Jane was inducted into the V8 Supercars Hall of Fame in 2000.

Contents

Early life

Bob Jane grew up in Brunswick, an inner-city suburb of Melbourne. His passion for racing began in the early 1950s as a champion bicycle rider, holding many state records before turning to four wheels. In the later 1950s, he started Bob Jane Autoland, a company that distributed parts for Jaguar and Alfa Romeo. Through this venture, a love of cars and motor sport blossomed and he first entered competitive racing in Australia in 1956; by 1960, he was racing with some of Australia's top sedan drivers.

Racing career

A Ford Falcon XL built up as a tribute to the car which was driven by Jane and Harry Firth to "First across the line" in the 1962 Armstrong 500 1962 Falcon XL Armstrong 500 winner (9031568830).jpg
A Ford Falcon XL built up as a tribute to the car which was driven by Jane and Harry Firth to "First across the line" in the 1962 Armstrong 500

In 1961, Jane and co-driver Harry Firth won the Armstrong 500 at Phillip Island, Victoria, driving a Mercedes-Benz 220SE. Jane and Firth, driving a Ford Falcon XL, won the race again the following year, the last before the event moved to Mount Panorama at Bathurst, New South Wales, retaining the Armstrong 500 name. [1] Jane, driving for the Ford works team, won a further two Armstrong 500s at the new venue, the first with Firth in 1963 and the second in 1964 with George Reynolds as co-driver. [2] [3] Despite the change of venue, Jane is officially credited with winning Australia's most famous endurance race four times in a row, something no other driver, not even nine-time race winner Peter Brock, has ever done.

Jane won the Australian Touring Car Championship (now known as the V8 Supercars Championship) in 1962, 1963, 1971 and 1972. His 1971 ATCC win was in a Chevrolet Camaro ZL-1 with a 427 cubic inch engine. Jane was forced by a rule change to replace the 427 engine with a 350 cubic inch engine for the 1972 championship but the Camaro still managed to beat the opposition, which included Allan Moffat's Ford Boss 302 Mustang, Ian Geoghegan's Ford XY Falcon GTHO Phase III, and Norm Beechey's Holden HT Monaro GTS350. Of the 38 races he started in the ATCC, he finished on the podium 21 times.

Jane also won the 1963 Australian GT Championship at the wheel of a Jaguar E-type, and the Marlboro Sports Sedan Series, in both 1974 and 1975, at his own Calder Park Raceway driving a Holden Monaro GTS 350 (at times he also drove his Repco V8 powered Holden LJ Torana GTR XU-1 which was mostly driven by John Harvey).

Jane retired from competitive motor racing at the end of 1981 due to sciatica. At the time of his retirement he had been driving a 6.0 litre Chevrolet Monza in the Australian Sports Sedan Championship. After giving up driving, Jane asked touring car star Peter Brock to drive the Monza in the re-formed Australian GT Championship. Brock raced the car in 1982 and 1983 before Jane sold the car in early 1984 to Re-Car owner Allan Browne.

Bob Jane T-Marts

In 1965, Jane opened the first Bob Jane T-Marts store in Melbourne. The company remains an independent, family-owned business to this day; Bob's son, Rodney Jane, is the current CEO. In 2011, 81-year-old Jane resigned as chairman of T-Marts citing difficulties in the relationship with his son Rodney. [4]

From 1984 To 1997 Bob Jane formed a cross shareholding partnership with Ian Diffen. Bob Jane operated in Queensland and Ian Richard Diffen operated Ian Diffen's World of Tyres and Mufflers in Western Australia.

From 2002 to 2004, Bob Jane T-Marts held the naming rights sponsorship for the Bathurst 1000, the race Jane dominated early in his career. The company also held the naming rights to the former Bob Jane Stadium, home of South Melbourne FC.

Bob Jane T-Marts is the only major tyre retailer in Australia who do not sell retread tyres. Jane's personal reason for this is that his second eldest daughter Georgina had died in a car accident in 1991 due to a retreaded tyre blowing out. [5]

Having lost control of Bob Jane T-Marts, Jane attempted to create a new tyre business using his name. It was blocked by son Rodney in court which also ruled Jane pay legal costs. In May 2015, his Diggers Rest farm was seized by the state sheriff in order to settle the outstanding costs. [6]

Contributions to Australian motorsport

Australian Grand Prix

From 1980 to 1984, the Australian Grand Prix was held at his Calder Park Raceway in the outer suburbs of Melbourne, Jane taking over the promoting and staging of the Grand Prix in the hope of Calder Park being granted a round of the Formula One World Championship (an ambitious plan at best as Calder was a 1.6 km long circuit which the faster cars lapped in less than 40 seconds). The 1980 Grand Prix was open to Formula 5000, Formula Pacific and Formula One cars and was won by Australia's 1980 Formula One World Champion Alan Jones driving his World Championship winning Williams FW07B-Ford. Second home was fellow F1 driver Bruno Giacomelli driving his Alfa Romeo 179, with Ligier F1 driver Didier Pironi finishing 3rd, driving an Elfin MR8 Formula 5000 for leading Australian team Ansett Team Elfin.

From 1981 until 1984 the races were run under Formula Mondial regulations and Jane succeeded in attracting many of the best Formula One drivers of the era. Each race from 1981 to 1984 was won by those driving the popular Ralt RT4-Ford.

The 1981 Australian Grand Prix was won by future F1 driver Roberto Moreno from Brazil. Finishing second, also in an RT4 was 1981 World Champion Nelson Piquet (Brazil) with Australian Geoff Brabham finishing 3rd in his RT4. Alan Jones and Ligier's Jacques Laffite also participated in the race, though both failed to finish. The 1981 race was the first time since 1968 that the AGP had two or more, current or past World Champions, on the starting grid. On that occasion, Jim Clark (1st), Graham Hill (3rd), Denny Hulme (9th), and Australia's own triple World Champion Jack Brabham (DNF) participated as the race was part of the popular off-season Tasman Series.

For the 1982 Australian Grand Prix, Jane again attracted F1 drivers in Piquet, Laffite, the then retired Jones, plus future Formula One World Champion Alain Prost. Frenchman Prost won the 100 lap race from Laffite and 1981 winner Roberto Moreno. When Prost later won his second AGP in Adelaide in 1986 to win his second of four Formula One World Championships, he became the only driver to ever win the Australian Grand Prix in both World Championship and non-championship formats.

The 1983 race, while only attracting one current F1 driver in Jacques Laffite, as well as Alan Jones, who had made an abortive F1 comeback earlier in the year, did attract 24 entries (mostly the Ford powered RT4), including former winner Moreno, Geoff Brabham and future F1 driver Allen Berg. Moreno won his second AGP from local drivers John Smith and Laffite. Geoff Brabham finished 4th with Jones in 5th and Charlie O'Brien. Reigning Australian Drivers' Champion Alfredo Costanzo led the race early in his Tiga FA81 before suffering a differential failure on lap 25. Moreno would later claim that had 'Alfie' not retired then he would likely have won as he didn't believe he would have caught the Australian. The 1983 race was the last time the Grand Prix was included as a round of the Australian Drivers' Championship.

During 1984 it was announced that from 1985, the Australian Grand Prix would be held on the Streets of Adelaide and would be the 16th and final round of the 1985 Formula One season, giving the Grand Prix "World Championship" status for the first time in its history. Despite this, Jane was still able to successfully attract current Formula One drivers to participate in the 1984 Australian Grand Prix. Headlining the 'imports' was three time (including 1984) World Champion Niki Lauda, and 1982 World Champion Keke Rosberg. Joining them were 1984 Ligier drivers Andrea de Cesaris and François Hesnault and 1981 and 1983 AGP winner Roberto Moreno to face off against local stars Costanzo and 1984 Gold Star champion John Bowe. Moreno would win his 3rd AGP in 4 years from Rosberg, who fought back from a bad start and a collision another car, with de Cesaris putting in the drive of the race to finish 3rd after starting early from the pit lane and being almost half a lap down when he took the green flag.

NASCAR

Jane is credited with bringing stock car racing to Australia. Long resistant to oval racing (seeing it as dull and monotonous when compared to circuit racing, although speedway (Dirt track racing), held on smaller ¼ or ⅓ mile oval tracks, has been popular in Australia since the 1920s), Australian motorsport fans finally had their own NASCAR-style high banked superspeedway when Jane spent A$54 million building the Thunderdome on the grounds of Calder Park Raceway. The 1.801 km (1.119 mi) Thunderdome, with 24° banking in the turns, was built as a quad-oval with Jane modelling the track on the famous Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Opened on 3 August 1987, the Thunderdome played host to the first ever NASCAR event held outside North America on 28 February 1988 with the Goodyear NASCAR 500. Several prominent drivers from the United States came to Australia for this race including Alabama Gang members Bobby Allison and Neil Bonnett, along with Kyle Petty, Michael Waltrip, Dave Marcis, and others from the Winston West Series. Bonnett, who had won the Winston Cup's Pontiac Excitement 400 at the Richmond International Raceway the previous weekend, and Allison, who had won the 1988 Daytona 500 just one week prior to that, dominated the race, swapping the lead several times on a hot summer afternoon in which cabin temperatures were reported to reach over 57° Celsius (135° Fahrenheit). Bonnett won the 280 lap race from Allison with Dave Marcis finishing 3rd.

The race was marred by an early multi-car crash in turns 3 and 4 involving 8 cars including the Ford Thunderbird of local touring car champion Dick Johnson, and the Oldsmobile of Allan Grice who, after running out of brakes, couldn't slow down coming off the back straight and ran into the wreck at speed. Grice, whose car was a write-off, suffered a broken collarbone and was taken to hospital for x-rays.

Jane also owned the Adelaide International Raceway which features the only other paved NASCAR type oval in Australia with its half mile Speedway Super Bowl, which, unlike the Thunderdome, is a permanent part of the road circuit.

In 1992, Jane and Sydney based speedway promoter and Channel 7 television commentator Mike Raymond also announced plans to turn the old half mile harness racing track that surrounded the Parramatta Speedway in Sydney into a paved oval for NASCAR and the Australian AUSCAR category, giving Australia a third paved oval speedway. However, the project never got past the planning stage.

Personal life

On 23 February 2007, Jane was granted a 12-month intervention order against his estranged wife, Laree Jane (born 1967). At the time, she was 39 and they had been married for 20 years. He accused her of threatening to shoot him and threatening him with a kitchen knife. [7] In a Victorian County Court, on 22 January 2009, a jury found Laree Jane not guilty of five charges, including assault, related to the domestic dispute. [8]

Jane met Laree when he performed Grand Marshal duties for the 1986 James Hardie 1000 at Bathurst.[ citation needed ]

Jane declared bankruptcy on 8 July 2016. [9]

On 28 September 2018, Jane died from prostate cancer, 21 years after his diagnosis. He was 88. [10] [11]

Career results

The Elfin 400 Repco which Jane raced in the same colours during the late 1960s Elfin 400 Repco of Bill Hemming.jpg
The Elfin 400 Repco which Jane raced in the same colours during the late 1960s
The 1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL-1 in which Jane won the Australian Touring Car Championship in 1971 & 1972. 1969 Bob Jane Chevrolet Camaro ZL-1 Race Car.jpg
The 1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL-1 in which Jane won the Australian Touring Car Championship in 1971 & 1972.
SeasonTitlePositionCarEntrant
1958 Victorian Tourist Trophy 5th Maserati 300S New York Motors Pty Ltd
1959 Australian Tourist Trophy 3rd Maserati 300S R Jane
1961 Australian Tourist Trophy 3rd Maserati 300S
Australian GT Championship 4th Maserati 300S Autoland Pty Ltd
1962 Australian Tourist Trophy 2nd Maserati 300S R. Jane
Australian Touring Car Championship 1st Jaguar Mark II
1963 Australian Touring Car Championship 1st Jaguar Mark II R Jane
Australian GT Championship 1st Jaguar E-type
1964 Australian Tourist Trophy 2nd Jaguar E-type
Australian Touring Car Championship 3rd Jaguar Mark II
1965 Australian Drivers' Championship 13th Elfin Mono Mk1 Ford Bob Jane Autoland
Australian Tourist Trophy 4th Jaguar E-type
1966 Australian Drivers' Championship 17th Elfin Mono Mk1 Ford Bob Jane Racing
Australian 1½ Litre Championship 6th Elfin Mono Mk1 Ford Bob Jane Racing
1969 Australian Touring Car Championship 6th Ford Mustang Bob Jane Racing Team
1970 Australian Sports Car Championship 8th Ford Mustang Bob Jane Shell Racing Team
Australian Touring Car Championship 3rd Ford Mustang Bob Jane Shell Racing Team
1971 Australian Touring Car Championship 1st Chevrolet Camaro ZL-1 Bob Jane Racing
1972 Australian Touring Car Championship 1st Chevrolet Camaro ZL-1 Bob Jane Racing
1973 Australian Touring Car Championship 23rd Holden LJ Torana GTR XU-1 Bob Jane Racing
1974 Australian Touring Car Championship 26th Holden LJ Torana GTR XU-1 Bob Jane Racing
Marlboro Sports Sedan Series1st Holden LJ Torana Repco Brabham Bob Jane Racing
1975Marlboro Sports Sedan Series1st Holden HQ Monaro GTS350 Bob Jane Racing
1976 Australian Sports Sedan Championship 9th Holden HQ Monaro GTS350 Bob Jane T-Marts
1977 Australian Sports Sedan Championship 9th Holden HQ Monaro GTS350 Bob Jane 2UW Racing Team
1980 Australian Sports Sedan Championship 19th Chevrolet Monza Bob Jane T-Marts
1981 Australian Sports Sedan Championship 9th Chevrolet Monza Bob Jane T-Marts

Complete Australian Touring Car Championship results

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

YearTeamCar12345678DCPoints
1961 Jaguar Mk.2 3.8 LOW
Ret
NC-
1962 R Jane Jaguar Mk.2 3.8 LON
1
1st-
1963 R Jane Jaguar Mk.2 4.1 MAL
1
1st-
1964 Autoland Australia Jaguar Mk.2 4.1 LAK
3
3rd-
1965 Ford Mustang SAN
Ret
NC-
1967 Ford Mustang LAK
Ret
NC-
1968 Bob Jane's Autoland Ford Mustang WAR
Ret
NC-
1969 Bob Jane Racing Team Ford Mustang CAL
1
BAT
Ret
MAL
Ret
SUR SYM 6th9
1970 Bob Jane Shell Racing Team Ford Mustang CAL
4
BAT
3
SAN
4
MAL
5
WAR
2
LAK
2
SYM
3
3rd28
1971 Bob Jane Racing Team Chevrolet Camaro ZL-1 SYM
2
CAL
Ret
SAN
1
SUR
2
MAL
1
LAK
3
ORA
1
1st43
1972 Bob Jane Racing Chevrolet Camaro ZL-1 SYM
2
CAL
1
BAT
Ret
SAN
2
AIR
1
WAR
1
SUR
1
ORA
3
1st76
1973 Bob Jane Racing Holden LJ Torana GTR XU-1
Chevrolet Camaro ZL-1
SYM
4
CAL
DSQ
SAN WAN SUR AIR ORA WAR 23rd4
1974 Bob Jane Racing Holden LJ Torana GTR XU-1 SYM
5
CAL
Ret
SAN AMA ORA SUR AIR 25th2
1975 Bob Jane Racing Holden LH Torana SL/R 5000 L34 SYM CAL
Ret
AMA ORA SUR SAN AIR LAK NC0

Complete Phillip Island/Bathurst 500/1000 results

YearTeamCo-DriverCarClassLapsOverall
Position
Class
Position
1960 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Autoland Flag of Australia (converted).svg Lou Molina Ford XK Falcon D161NA3rd
1961 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Autoland Pty Ltd Flag of Australia (converted).svg Harry Firth Mercedes-Benz 220SE B1671st1st
1962 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Ford Motor Company Flag of Australia (converted).svg Harry Firth Ford Falcon XL B1671st1st
1963 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Ford Australia Flag of Australia (converted).svg Harry Firth Ford Cortina Mk.I GT C1301st1st
1964 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Ford Motor Co Flag of Australia (converted).svg George Reynolds Ford Cortina Mk.I GT C1301st1st
1965 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Ford Motor Co Flag of Australia (converted).svg George Reynolds Ford Cortina Mk.I GT500 D58DNFDNF
1967 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Ford Australia Flag of Australia (converted).svg Spencer Martin Ford XR Falcon GT D11818th8th
1971 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Bob Jane Racing Team Flag of Australia (converted).svg John Harvey Holden LC Torana GTR XU-1 D50DNFDNF
1973 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Bob Jane Racing Flag of Australia (converted).svg John Harvey Holden LJ Torana GTR XU-1 D1614th4th
1974 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Bob Jane Racing Flag of Australia (converted).svg Frank Gardner Holden LH Torana SL/R 5000 L34 3001 – 6000cc7DNFDNF
1977 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Bob Jane 2UW Racing Team Flag of Australia (converted).svg Ian Geoghegan Holden LX Torana SS A9X Hatchback 3001cc – 6000cc35DNFDNF

Related Research Articles

AUSCAR was an auto racing sanctioning body owned by Bob Jane, which ran American-style Superspeedway racing in Australia. The initial AUSCAR venue was the 1.801 km, high-banked (24°) Calder Park Thunderdome Superspeedway in Melbourne, but over time the series expanded to include the Jane owned 1/2 mile Speedway Super Bowl at the eastern end of Adelaide International Raceway which first saw AUSCAR racing in 1990, the Surfers Paradise Street Circuit, and eventually several Australian road racing circuits including Calder Park's road course and the Oran Park Raceway in Sydney where racing was held under lights on the short version of the circuit. In the early 1990s, Jane and television station Channel 7 announced plans to turn the old Granville Showground trotting track which circled the Parramatta Speedway in Sydney into a paved, banked 1/2 mile track, but this did not happen.

Jacques Laffite French racing driver

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Roberto Moreno Brazilian racing driver

Roberto Pupo Moreno, usually known as Roberto Moreno and also as Pupo Moreno, is a Brazilian racing driver. He participated in 75 Formula One Grands Prix, achieved 1 podium, and scored a total of 15 championship points. He raced in CART in 1986, and was Formula 3000 champion before joining Formula One full-time in 1989. He returned to CART in 1996 where he enjoyed an Indian summer in 2000 and 2001, and managed to extend his career in the series until 2008. He also raced in endurance events and GT's in Brazil, but now works as a driver coach and consultant, and although this takes up a lot of his time, he is not officially retired yet, as he appears in historic events. Away from the sport, he enjoys building light aeroplanes.

Roberto Ravaglia Italian racecar driver

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Oran Park Raceway

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Calder Park Raceway Motorsport track in Australia

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John Bowe (racing driver) Australian racing driver

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Allan Grice Australian racing driver and politician

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Motorsport in Australia

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1984 Australian Grand Prix

The 1984 Australian Grand Prix was a race for Formula Mondial racing cars, held at Calder Park Raceway in Victoria, Australia on 18 November 1984. It was contested over a distance of 160.9 km or an even 100 miles.

The 1982 Australian Grand Prix was a motor race held at the Melbourne International Raceway, formerly Calder Raceway, in Victoria, Australia on 8 November 1982.

The 1981 Australian Grand Prix was a Formula Pacific motor race held at Calder Park Raceway in Victoria, Australia on 8 November 1981.

The 1980 Australian Grand Prix was a motor race held at Calder Park Raceway in Victoria, Australia on 16 November 1980.

Adelaide International Raceway

The Adelaide International Raceway is a permanent circuit owned by Australian Motorsport Club Limited under the auspices of the Bob Jane Corporation. The circuit is located 26 km north of Adelaide in South Australia on Port Wakefield Road at Virginia, and is adjacent to Adelaide's premier car racing Dirt track racing venue, Speedway City. AIR is owned by the Bob Jane Corporation and run by the Australian Motorsport Club Ltd.

NASCAR in Australia

The American stock car racing category NASCAR raced in Australia from the late 1980s to the early 2000s. After strong initial interest, particularly in Melbourne at Australia's only purpose-built NASCAR style paved oval speedway, the Calder Park Thunderdome, the category collapsed in the early 2000s and has defied several attempts to revive it since then.

Alfredo Costanzo is a retired Italian born Australian racing driver. From 1980 to 1983 Costanzo won a record four Australian Drivers' Championship in a row, equalling the record set by Bib Stillwell from 1962 to 1965.

Miedecke Motorsport is an Australian motor racing team that is competing in Australian GT. It has previously competed in touring car racing between 1987 and 1989, and an earlier form of the team also competed in open wheel racing between 1981 and 1983.

References

  1. Fogarty, Mark (29 April 2014). "Harry Firth paved the way for modern race teams". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 29 September 2018.
  2. "Bathurst 1000 history: Armstrong 500, Shannons Goodwood Revival". Fox Sports. Retrieved 29 September 2018.
  3. "Vale: George Reynolds". RallySport Magazine. 14 March 2012. Retrieved 29 September 2018.
  4. "Bob Jane resigns - carsguide.com.au". Archive.today. 30 July 2012. Archived from the original on 30 July 2012. Retrieved 29 September 2018.
  5. "Bob Jane's Hard Road". Heraldsun.com.au. Retrieved 29 September 2018.
  6. "Bob Jane wins order against wife". The Sydney Morning Herald. 23 February 2007. Retrieved 29 September 2018.
  7. "Bob Jane's ex-wife found not guilty". Abc.net.au. 22 January 2009. Retrieved 29 September 2018.
  8. Carmody, Broede (18 July 2016). "Tyre king Bob Jane declares bankruptcy, says he has just $15 in the bank - SmartCompany". Smartcompany.com.au. Retrieved 27 July 2016.
  9. Dexter, Rachael (29 September 2018). "Bob Jane dies aged 88: Family pays tribute to former race car driver and businessman". The Canberra Times . Archived from the original on 29 September 2018. Retrieved 29 September 2018.
  10. "Bob Jane: An unapologetic battler to the end", by John Elder, The New Daily
Sporting positions
Preceded by
John Roxburgh
Frank Coad
Winner of the Phillip Island / Bathurst 500
1961, 1962, 1963 & 1964
(with Harry Firth and George Reynolds)
Succeeded by
Barry Seton
Midge Bosworth
Preceded by
Bill Pitt
Winner of the Australian Touring Car Championship
1962 & 1963
Succeeded by
Ian Geoghegan
Preceded by
Norm Beechey
Winner of the Australian Touring Car Championship
1971 & 1972
Succeeded by
Allan Moffat
Records
Preceded by
David McKay
1 win
(1960)
Most ATCC round wins
2
(19621974),
2nd win at the 1963 Australian Touring Car Championship
Succeeded by
Ian Geoghegan
8 wins
(19611978)
Preceded by
Ian Geoghegan
8 wins
(19611978)
Most ATCC round wins
10
(19621974),
9th win at Round 6 of the 1972 Australian Touring Car Championship
Succeeded by
Allan Moffat
25 wins
(19641988)