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Aussie motorsport immortals named in new book

Bob Jane, Larry Perkins and Jamie Whincup are among 10 immortals of Australian motorsport named in a new book.

The Immortals of Australian Motor Racing: The Local Heroes, penned by experienced motoring journalist Luke West, makes the case for 10 drivers that deserve immortal status.

The book is the third in a series of Immortals books covering different Aussie sports, with rugby league and cricket editions already available.

As the title suggests the emphasis is on drivers that have starred on the local scene, rather than Aussie drivers that hit the big time overseas.

That means it’s effectively a list of Aussie touring car greats, with the likes of Jack Brabham, Alan Jones and Mark Webber not in consideration.

 

The list of immortals spans almost the entire Australian Touring Car Championship/Supercars era, starting with four-time ATCC winner Bob Jane. The versatile Colin Bond, who won Australian titles in both touring cars and rally cars, also made the cut, as, predictably, did famous Bathurst rivals Allan Moffat and Peter Brock.

Dick Johnson, Jim Richards and Larry Perkins are on the list along with five-time ATCC champion Mark Skaife.

The list is rounded out by the two drivers with more ATCC/Supercars race wins than anybody else – Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup.

“Results obviously play a big part in the measure of a driver’s greatness, so multiple triumphs in the Bathurst 1000 and ATCC/Supercars titles were a key measure I used,” said West of his process to choose his immortals.

“But it wasn’t just results and statistics. I considered how certain individuals made a special and lasting impact on local motor racing on and off the track.

“In most cases my chosen immortals moved into team ownership and management, broadcasting, officialdom and ambassadorial roles, furthering their influence on the sport. One, Bob Jane, even introduced a new branch of motorsport to this country.”

There’s a long list of honourable mentions that includes John Goss, John Bowe, Russell Ingall and reigning Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin.

 

But according to West, Garth Tander was the driver unluckiest to miss out.

“If I had to nominate a first reserve, the hard man of racing Garth Tander would get the nod,” added West.

“He’s been so good for so long. The 2007 series champion is a four-time Bathurst 1000 winner. He twice won the season-opening Adelaide 500, two of over more than 50 victories during an unbroken two-decade stint in the championship.

“During this time he had more consecutive Supercars starts than any other. He also won the 2002 Bathurst 24 Hour sports car race as lead driver of the Garry Rogers Motorsport-built Monaro.

“I suspect that if I was writing this book five years from now, Shane van Gisbergen would be difficult to leave out, but for now he’s on the outside looking in.”

The book is on sale now.

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