Video: 2003 Bathurst 24 Hours

Countries with strong motorsport histories have their share of legendary drivers. The United States has Mario Andretti and Dale Earnheart Sr., Britain has Jim Clark and Colin McRae, France has Alain Prost and Sebastian Loeb, Japan has Keiichi Tsuchiya and Super Mario, - just as a few examples.

Those countries also have their selection of legendary racetracks: Indy and Laguna Seca, Silverstone, Circuit de la Sarthe, Suzuka Circuit, and so many, many more.

Australia has no less of a storied motorsport history and counts among its legends 3-time Formula 1 champion Sir Jack Brabham and five-time 500CC motorcycle world champion Mick Doohan. Fully enshrined in that pantheon of racing greats from down under is another name that's less familiar to foreigners but still one of the true greats: Peter Brock. In a forty year racing career he would win the Australian Touring Car championship (the same series that spawned the Godzilla nickname for the R32 Skyline) three times as well as many of Australia's premiere races but his legend would forever be entwined with the country's most famous circuit: Mount Panorama, or as it's most often called: Bathurst.

If you've ever watched a race at Bathurst or tried your hand on the circuit in a video game you'll know why it's legendary. A third of the 3.86 mile track is a very tight, twisty set of undulating bends that climb up and down an elevated section called “The Mountain”. Before and after that section are fast straight sections broken up by challenging corners with daunting names like “Hell Corner” and “The Chase”.

Since 1963 Mount Panorama has been home to Australia's most historic motor race: the Bathurst 1000 or as many simply call it, “The Great Race”. Held as part of the Australian Touring Car Championship originally and now run under the current series name of the Supercars Championship, the race is a truly arduous test with drivers having to do roughly 160 laps of Mount Panorama to complete the full 1000 kilometer distance. No driver had a handle on the challenge of the 1000 better than Peter Brock, winning an unequaled 9 editions of the 1000 by the time he retired from full-time driving in 1997.

His success at Bathurst earned him the nickname “The King of the Mountain”, while his amazing overall racing record gave him another awesome moniker: “Peter Perfect”.

In 2002, someone had the idea of creating an even more challenging torture test than the Bathurst 1000 by making a full 24 hour endurance event a la Le Mans or the Daytona 24. After a successful first edition, the 2003 race was hotly anticipated since “The King of the Mountain” himself, 58 years young, had decided to suit up to take a crack at yet another Bathurst win.

The race would prove to be a very hard-fought one with the first and second place cars nose to tail at the final lap. This video was the summary broadcast on Speed Channel back in 2003 and it's an amazing event to watch for many reasons – the challenging and historic circuit, Peter Brock's quest for a “perfect 10” Bathurst wins, the cool cars like the Holden Monaro, Mosler MT900R, and BMW M3 GTR, but most of all the exciting racing from start to finish. Unfortunately, despite the great racing the organizer for the 24 Hours folded after the 2003 race and so only two editions of the Bathurst 24 Hour have ever been held – one more reason making this video worth the time of any motorsport fan. Please enjoy another piece of vintage racing!


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