Retro Magic at the Island

The Phillip Island Classic Festival of Motor Sport is one of the World’s best Historic Motor Sport events. It’s right up there with the Goodwood Revival, Spa classic festival and the Monterey Reunion.

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More than 500 sports, racing and ‘Big Banger’ touring cars from the 1930’s to the ‘80s partipated at the event.
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With Melbourne’s recent hot spell of weather, it was great to see some amazing cars on the newly resurfaced Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit over the Labour Day long weekend.

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Featuring prominent local and international vehicles on the track and off the circuit, displays celebrated the 100th anniversary of Aston Martin and the 60th anniversary of the Chevrolet Corvette.

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With scorching temperatures, a sun umbrella was definitely a good idea.

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There were more Alfas on and off track, that I can ever remember at the Island. Pick your favourite.

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This beautiful convertible was trully imaculate.

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Its always great seeing Rotaries out there. We couldn’t go past this snap of the legendary BF Goodrich Group C RX-7 screaming along the straight, through the shadows. That rotary sound is insane.

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As a regular competitor in historic racing George Hetrel’s 1927 Type 35 Bugatti is not just a museum piece. The 1950cc supercharged engine performs remarkably well.

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Real racecars produce flame.

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At Driven Threads we get a huge thrill from seeing real race cars doing what they do best…racing. Many of our apparel designs are inspired from the Group A cars featured in this post. To say we were excited when we saw the Group A and C starting grid line up is an understatement.

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Packing a Gibson race engine, the amazing GIO R32 produces around 442kw at all four. The build cost from those days in the early nineties of these the Group A R32’s would equate to over $1M per car by todays currency.

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From any angle this thing looks amazing out on the track.

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Five times Australian Touring Car Championship winner Mark Skaife was reunited with the Gibson Motorsport team and his former Nissan Skyline. Skaife, who retired from v8 supercars in 2008, drove his HR 31 GTS-R sedan in which he contested much of the 1990 Australian Touring Car Championship.

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Mark Skaife drove this car into fourth in the final round of the 1990 ATCC at Oran Park, with the race won by his teammate Jim Richards in the team’s then-new, four wheel drive Skyline GT-R. Their performances enabled the first of Nissan’s landmark three consecutive Australian Touring Car Championships.
The two wheel drive, 440HP, turbocharged six cylinder 2.0-litre HR 31 was acquired recently by Richards.
The HR31 is one of three Nissans participating. Gibson Motorsport has recently been reborn and is currently responsible for the maintenance of these legendary cars.

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The Number 3 car is the HR31 owned and driven by Robert Marshall and the ex George Fury DR30 RS-2000, owned by Carolyn Kruger. The DR30 was raced in 1986-87 and still carries all the battle scars from its last ATCC outing.

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It all started for BMW and the JPS team in racing with the in the 635 Csi. The high-revving BMW straight-6 seemed to love the long straights of the island.

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Then the mighty M3 hit in the tarmac.

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With a NA 4cyc 2.3 developed 300 hp the M3 only weighed around 980kg. Most of the E30 M3’s raced were Left Hand Drive and fitted with wide 9X17 inch wheels

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This car is the last M3 built by Frank Gardiner’s JPS team in 1987. First raced at Bathurst in 1987 with Richards and Longhurst behind the wheel. It took fourth outright and 1st class place. It has a long race history and in 1988 was raced by Brock as #5. In 1996 it was restored in its JPS livery.

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The JPS team M3’s, were later sold to Peter Brock who ran them in the colours of Mobil in 1988.

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Brock’s team also took over as the factory supported BMW team. Jim Richards joined the Mobil 1 team for 1988. By this time the M3 was no longer competitive in the shorter sprint races of the ATCC against the mean Sierra RS500.

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The beautifully presented and thoroughly original Richards/Longhurst car driven by David Towe, lapped the island in around 1:46.

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This is the original Ford Sierra RS500, Damon Hill competed one round of the British Touring Car Championship at Donington Park in 1989.

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The RS500 was highly successful in its day, dominating the 1988 and 1989 Australian Touring Car Championship’s with Johnson and John Bowe finishing 1-2 in both years. It was a great endurance racer. Johnson/Bowe won the 1989 Bathurst while Tony Longhurst and Tomas Mezera won the 1988 Bathurst 1000 in an RS500. Allan Moffat and Gregg Hansford also drove a RS500 to victory in the 1988 Sandown 500.

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The Expo centre featured a great display of exotics, muscle cars and ex-touring cars.

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An amazing variety of cars were displayed all around the circuit. There is always so much to see at these events.

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I love this vintage Lagonda. What a massive car.

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A gorgeous SLS.

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This rare, unmolested low mileage e30 M3 was for sale. $60,000. Would you?

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Fortunately the V8 Supercars got to do a parade lap to the crowd’s delight.

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This is an original AC display by Penrite.

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It was great to see two Mercedes 190SL out on the track.

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As usual, there were a huge field of Porsches participating.

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But one of the highlights was the 936 owned by Porsche Australia.

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From 1976 to 1981, the factory entered Porsche 936 won the 24 Hours of Le Mans three times with Jacky Ickx (’76, ’77, ’81), thus each of the three original chassis won once.
The open top, two seater spyder was powered by an air-cooled, two-valve 540 hp single-turbocharger flat-6 engine

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Now, this is safety car I don’t mind seeing out on the track.

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One of my favourite cars was the Skye Sands 1979 Porsche 935 K3.

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Is it Darth Vaders personal transport or the batmobile?

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This car was driven by Rusty French.

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The Sportscar class featured many international and invited cars.

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The Sportscars revelled on the 4.55km Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit. Such as this amazing Porsche 956C.

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This March 717 was simply outstanding on the track. It was the quickest by a mile, clocking sub 1:30 around the circuit.

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The Phillip Island Classic will be back in 2014. The event is traditionally held in March so make sure you get there next year.

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Thanks for reading our coverage of the 2013 Phillip Island Classic.

Stay tuned to Driven Threads for more Motorsport coverage coming soon.

www.driven-threads.com

DRIVEN TO PERFORM

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