When I was a kid, there was an annual race held in Aus called the Hardie-Ferodo 1000. Staged in Bathurst, New South Wales at the world famous Mt. Panorama circuit. It was a highlight of my childhood; I remember Brocky winning in 1979, six laps ahead of the of the pack, unbelievable. The Moffat Ford Team when they placed first and second in their Falcon XC Cobra hardtops in 1977.Burned in the back of my retinas are the images of these past glories.
See when I was a kid the marketing men used to cry, "win on Sunday, buy on Monday", and you can bet your bottom dollar there were thousands of kids just like me begging their dad to get the Cobra Hardtop or score the A9X Torana.
It wasn't racing like today's V8 Supercars; you see the cars weren't that dissimilar to what the average Joe could buy. That was part of its massive appeal; you could drive the chariot that Brocky rode to victory. Getting dropped off to school in Dad's A9X made you the absolute hero!
The other cool thing about racing back then was there was real variety; the cars weren't boring, homogenised, "they all look the same" stuff we have with the V8 Supercars. Four pot bangers were racing with the big V8's, Mazda rotaries too would make the odd appearance. The entry list for the 1979 Hardie-Ferodo was like a who's who of different manufacturers and classes. Celica's mixing it with Alfas, Escorts duelling with Golfs, American muscle pitted against Aussie Steel; it was awesome. There were races within races, and you found yourself not only barracking for the outright winner but screaming at the telly for the Celica to take the class win from the Alfa, beautiful.
I lost interest in the whole thing when it went the V8 Supercar route. Not that the cars aren't technically amazing, but the two brand, Holden vs. Ford battle seemed dull to me. It was missing something, the spark the race used to ignite in me when I was a kid.
So now we have the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour International Endurance Race, and it's peaked my interest. The kid in me is going, ooh, are they getting it, are they going start racing old school again?
Well of course not; and we wouldn't want that anyway. We love the new tech, we just want some of the attraction and appeal that the racing of yesteryear used to bring in spades.
Here's why I think the event might be a huge ongoing success. For starters, it's divided into classes, oh yeah. I'm salivating as I read the list, Class A GT3 Pro Pro, Class A GT3 Pro-Am, Class A GT3 AM, Class B GT3, Class C GT4 and Invitational.
The entry list is a potpourri of different makes and cars, Mclaren 650S, Bentley Continental, Mercedes AMG GT, Nissan GTR, BMW M6, Audi R8, Porsches, Lamborghini Huracan, Ginetta, Aston Martin, Ford Focus and last but not least Mazda 3. Only a Ferrari entry could add to my bliss.
The three-day event is on this weekend, on the 3rd of Feb to the 5th. So switch on your telly, sit your bum on the lounge, crack a coldie and cheer your favourite car on, I reckon it's gonna be epic.