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Few individuals truly warrant the description of "legend", but Australia’s Peter Brock certainly does. He ruled Bathurst’s Mount Panorama like no other – winning the country’s premier race on nine occasions to earn national fame that ranked alongside world champions Jack Brabham and Alan Jones.
Family background and early racing career
The lineage of "Peter Perfect" in Australian motorsport can be traced back to 1904 when his great uncle Harry James organised the first car race held in the country. Brock’s own racing career began with an Austin A30 that he had modified to accommodate a Holden engine.
Two years of wild driving and some success attracted the attention of Holden Dealer Team boss Harry Firth who signed Brock for the 1969 Bathurst 500. Third that year, his long and fruitful association with the marque had begun.
Brock was central to the Holden versus Ford rivalry that propelled motor racing, and Bathurst especially, into the mainstream consciousness of sport-mad Australia. He won the Australian Touring Car Championship for Holden on three occasions but it was at Bathurst that stardom turned to legend.
His maiden success was in 1972 when Brock drove solo in a New South Wales downpour on the last occasion that the race was a 500km event. That set the tone for a record-breaking career at the circuit. Frustrated by Firth’s dictatorial rule of the Holden team, Brock quit to run a private Torana L34 in 1975 and he won at Bathurst with Brian Sampson.
But life without factory support proved untenable and Brock was back with the works team when he won at Bathurst from 1978 to 1980 with Jim Richards sharing the glory. The domination continued in the 1980s with another three victories in a row when Larry Perkins was his regular co-driver. The 1987 race was a round of the World Touring Car Championship but proved a controversial and unsatisfactory affair. Eggenberger Ford RS500s finished first and second but were disqualified. That handed Brock’s Holden Commodore VL the win – his record ninth victory in the race.
Aside from their racing partnership, Brock and Holden built performance road cars but the arrangement came to an end in disagreement and rancour. He later raced a BMW before defecting to Ford as he raged against Holden and General Motors. They were not successful years and Brock eventually reconciled with Holden. That did not return Brock to winning ways but there was no more popular driver in the championship.
Retirement from touring cars
He retired from mainstream racing in 1997 but continued in selected GT, historic and rally events in Australia. It was during the 2006 Targa West Rally near Perth that he lost his life after crashing his Daytona Cobra Coupé. He hit a tree on the driver’s side of the car and was killed instantly.
Brock was given a state funeral and his passing was felt as keenly in Australia as the loss of Ayrton Senna to Formula 1 or Dale Earnhardt in America.
|2004||Australian V8 Supercar Championship||58th||140|
|2002||Australian V8 Supercar Championship||68th||20|
|1997||Australian V8 Supercar Championship||6th||520|
|1996||Australian V8 Supercar Championship||4th||286|
|1995||Australian V8 Supercar Championship||3rd||285|
|1994||Australian V8 Supercar Championship||3rd||222|
|1993||Australian V8 Supercar Championship||8th||82|
|1992||Australian Touring Car Championship||11th||100|
|1991||Australian Touring Car Championship||6th||38|
|1990||Australian Touring Car Championship||2nd||85|
|1989||Australian Touring Car Championship||3rd||80|
|1988||Australian Touring Car Championship||5th||47|
World Touring Car Championship
Holden Dealer Team
25% win rate
|1987||Australian Touring Car Championship||7th||65|
|1986||Australian Touring Car Championship||4th||117|
|1985||Australian Touring Car Championship||3rd||153|
World Endurance Championship
John Fitzpatrick Racing
|1984||Australian Touring Car Championship||2nd||96|
|1983||Australian Touring Car Championship||3rd||128|
|1982||Australian Touring Car Championship||5th||22|
|1981||Australian Touring Car Championship||2nd||75|
|1980||Australian Touring Car Championship||1st||79|
|1979||Australian Touring Car Championship||2nd||62|
|1978||Australian Touring Car Championship||1st||55|
|1977||Australian Touring Car Championship||3rd||65|
|1976||World Championship of Makes||1||0||0||0||0|
|1976||Australian Touring Car Championship||5th||45|
|1975||Australian Touring Car Championship||7th||27|
|1974||Australian Touring Car Championship||1st||80|
|1973||Australian Touring Car Championship||2nd||57|