Only a handful of drivers have won the Bathurst 500/1000 three times or more. SupercarXtra Magazine issue #130 examines how their racing records in the event match up, as we let numbers rank the greatest amongst the masters of Mount Panorama by taking their victories, podiums and top 10s, calculating them against their total starts and taking the average of those percentages to see how they compare.
Unfair to compare eras, perhaps, but the unreliability of yesteryear is counter-balanced by the competitiveness and depth of the field today.
SupercarXtra Magazine issue #130 celebrates 60 years of the Bathurst 500/1000, including a look back at the most memorable Bathurst moments.
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Coming in at number 11 is Dick Johnson. One of Ford’s great Bathurst heroes, Johnson cemented his status as a legend with his triumphant return to Mount Panorama following the heartbreak of crashing out of the lead after his encounter with a rock in 1980, winning the first of his three Bathursts in 1981.
Despite suffering from Ford’s sporadic support throughout the 1980s and being forced to develop the Mustang and Sierra as alternatives to the Falcon, Johnson remained a threat during the decade, culminating in a championship-Bathurst double in the Sierra in 1989. Returning to the Falcon from 1993, Johnson won again with long-time co-driver John Bowe in 1994. Each Bathurst finish for Johnson was in the top 10, though the number of retirements and the span of his career hurts his percentages.
Taking top spot in number one is Larry Perkins. Perkins never won an Australian Touring Car Championship/V8 Supercars title but could always be counted as a threat at Bathurst, proving to be an endurance specialist and master at preparing a car for a 1000-kilometre assault on Mount Panorama.
After stepping out of Peter Brock’s shadow following their hat-trick of wins from 1982 to 1984, it was with his own Perkins Engineering outfit that Perkins would get to six wins with three wins between 1993 and 1997. Though he wasn’t the outright quickest driver with just one pole position and fastest lap, his ability over long distances saw him record 18 top 10s from 22 finishes and 12 podiums, including his six wins, and three top-three finishes from his first three Bathurst starts.
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