The 1987 Australian Touring Car Championship was a motor racing competition which was open to Touring Cars complying with regulations as defined by the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport and based on FIA Group A rules. The championship, which was the 28th Australian Touring Car Championship, began on 1 March 1987 at Calder Park Raceway and ended on 5 July at Oran Park Raceway after nine rounds. The Calder round saw the world debut of the racing versions of the BMW M3, the Ford Sierra RS Cosworth and the Alfa Romeo 75 Turbo.
After years of racing for very little in prize money which brought numerous complaints from the leading competitors (in 1984, Dick Johnson Racing (DJR) had travelled an estimated 20,000 km to races around the country from their Brisbane base, often for as little as A$1,200 in prize money, far less money that was on offer at the time for the lower ranked Group E Series Production "Super Series" which offered a total prize pool of $200,000 thanks to series sponsor Bob Jane T-Marts), CAMS signed a AU$275,000 sponsorship package with Shell which brought the championship an overall sponsor for the first time and saw the series promoted as the Shell Ultra Australian Touring Car Championship.
Shell would also become the major sponsor of DJR which saw the team expand to running two cars for the first time. The team ran a pair of the new Ford Sierra RS Cosworths for team boss Dick Johnson and his 1986 James Hardie 1000 co-driver Gregg Hansford. Dick Johnson's win in Round 5 at the Adelaide International Raceway was the world's first race victory for the Sierra RS Cosworth and was also Dick's first ATCC win since Round 4 of the 1984 ATCC at Surfers Paradise.
The 1987 ATCC was the first time since 1975 that Peter Brock failed to win a round of the championship, his best finish being a 3rd at Symmons Plains in Tasmania in Round 2 where his 4.9L V8 Holden VK Commodore SS Group A was simply out-gunned on a noted power circuit by the Roadways Racing Commodore of Allan Grice (before his race ended), the factory Nissan Skyline turbo of race winner George Fury, while his heavy Commodore was no match on tyres and brakes for the 4 cyl, 2.3L BMW M3 of Jim Richards. Brock did manage to hold second behind runaway early leader Grice for a number of laps, but once Fury was through the Skyline drove away from Brock and he then had no answer to the challenge of Richards.
The 1987 ATCC was also the first time in championship history that rolling starts were used. Rolling starts were used at Calder for Round 1 and at Adelaide for Round 5.
Jim Richards victory in the final round of the series at Oran Park would be the last time a car powered by a naturally aspirated engine would win an ATCC race until Tony Longhurst won Round 6 of the 1991 Australian Touring Car Championship driving a BMW M3 Evolution. Between 1988 and Round 6 in 1991, turbo powered cars would win 30 straight ATCC races, 21 of them by the Sierra Cosworth's evolution replacement which appeared after the 1987 ATCC, the Ford Sierra RS500.
1987 was a year of lasts in Australian touring car racing. It was the last time Peter Brock would drive a Holden until 1991 as he would switch first to BMW in 1988 and then Fords in 1989 and 1990. Consequently, it was the last time the Holden Dealer Team name, which started under Harry Firth in 1969, would be used, though the team officially ran as "HDT Racing Pty Ltd" as it was no longer the factory backed team following Holden's well publicised split with Brock in February only one week before the opening round at Calder. Prior to Calder, Holden had formed the Holden Motorsport Group and immediately signed Larry Perkins and his team as well as Allan Grice and Roadways Racing to be the 'factory backed' teams in the championship, though Grice would later say that it was more about moral support and an easier supply of parts rather than any financial support. It would also be Colin Bond's last year of racing Alfa Romeo's before switching back to Ford to run a Sierra RS500 from 1988 (largely due to Alfa stopping its development program of the Alfa 75 touring car and because Bond felt that he needed an outright car to do justice to his sponsor Caltex). It was also the last time the JPS Team BMW (who won their second title) would be seen with team boss Frank Gardner unexpectedly closing the team down at the end of the year.
Teams and drivers
The following teams and drivers competed in the 1987 Australian Touring Car Championship.
|Roadways Racing||Holden VK Commodore SS Group A
Holden VL Commodore SS Group A
|2||Allan Grice||1-5, 7-9|
|JPS Team BMW||BMW E30 M3||3||Jim Richards||All|
|HDT Racing Pty Ltd||Holden VK Commodore SS Group A
Holden VL Commodore SS Group A
|05||Peter Brock||1-2, 6-9|
|6||Gary Scott||1-2, 6, 8|
|John Andrew Motorsport||Ford Sierra XR4Ti||10|| Neville Crichton
|Denny Hulme||3, 5|
|Enzed Team Perkins||Holden VK Commodore SS Group A||11||Larry Perkins||All|
|Bob Holden Motors||Toyota Sprinter Trueno AE86||13||Bob Holden||7|
|Netcomm||Nissan Skyline DR30 RS||14||Murray Carter||1, 5, 7-9|
|Peter Jackson Nissan Racing||Nissan Skyline DR30 RS||15||Glenn Seton||All|
|Nissan Gazelle||60||Mark Skaife||7|
|Ralliart Australia||Mitsubishi Starion||16||Brad Jones||6|
|Shell Ultra Hi-Tech Racing Team||Ford Sierra RS Cosworth||17||Dick Johnson||All|
|Terry Finnigan||Holden VL Commodore SS Group A||20||Terry Finnigan||9|
|Lusty Engineering||Holden VK Commodore SS Group A||21||Graham Lusty||1, 5, 7, 9|
|Alf Grant Racing||Holden VK Commodore SS Group A||23||Alf Grant||3, 6, 8-9|
|Team Nissan Racing NZ||Nissan Skyline DR30 RS||24||Kent Baigent||6-9|
|Kalari Transport||Holden VK Commodore SS Group A||26||Tony Noske||1, 5-7|
|Ray Gulson||BMW 635CSi||27||Graham Gulson||1, 6, 9|
|Ray Gulson||2-3, 7-8|
|Capri Components||Ford Mustang GT||28||Lawrie Nelson||1, 7|
|Wayne Clift||Holden VK Commodore SS Group A||28||Wayne Clift||3|
|Simon Emmerling||BMW 635CSi||29||Simon Emmerling||4|
|Ian Love||Ford Mustang GT||31||Ian Love||4|
|Toyota Team Australia||Toyota Corolla GT AE86||31||John Smith||1, 7|
|Toyota Corolla FX-GT AE82||32||Drew Price||1, 3, 5, 7|
|33||John Faulkner||5, 7|
|Oxo Motorsport||Ford Sierra RS Cosworth||34||Don Smith||1, 3, 5|
|35||Andrew Miedecke||1-3, 5-9|
|Grellis Marketing||Holden VK Commodore SS Group A||38||Ray Ellis||1, 6-7|
|Lansvale Racing Team||Holden VK Commodore SS Group A||39||Trevor Ashby||8-9|
|Steve Williams||Holden VK Commodore SS Group A||40||Steve Williams||9|
|Jagparts||Holden VK Commodore SS Group A||42||Gerald Kay||7|
|Sutherland Mitsubishi||Mitsubishi Starion||42||Kevin Bartlett||9|
|Lester Smerdon||Holden VK Commodore SS Group A||45||Lester Smerdon||3, 6|
|Mobile Concrete Pumping||Holden VK Commodore SS Group A||47||Brian Callaghan||8-9|
|Wayne Park||Holden VK Commodore SS Group A||48||Wayne Park||3, 6|
|John Donnelly||Rover Vitesse||50||John Donnelly||3, 6|
|John Farrell||Holden VL Commodore SS Group A||52||John Farrell||4|
|Mike Freeman||Toyota Celica RA40||57||Mike Freeman||1, 7|
|David Ratcliff||Toyota Corolla Levin AE86||58||David Ratcliff||7-9|
|Jon Mitchell||Holden VK Commodore SS Group A||69||Jon Mitchell||7-8|
|Graeme Hooley||Holden VK Commodore SS Group A||71||Graeme Hooley||4-5, 8|
|Caltex CXT Racing||Alfa Romeo 75 Turbo||75||Colin Bond||All|
|Liverpool Toyota||Toyota Celica Supra MA61||77||Peter Williamson||9|
|Peter McLeod||Holden VK Commodore SS Group A||84||Peter McLeod||9|
|Daryl Hendrick||Isuzu Gemini ZZ||86||Daryl Hendrick||1, 5, 7, 9|
|Brian Bolwell||BMW E30 323i||87||Brian Bolwell||5, 7|
|David Sala||Isuzu Gemini PF60||88||David Sala||1, 7, 9|
|Alf Barbagallo||Rover Vitesse||96||Tim Slako||4|
Peter Brock drove both the #05 and #6 HDT VK Commodore during the season
The 1987 Australian Touring Car Championship was contested over a nine-round series with one race per round.
Cars competed in two classes based on engine capacity.
- Over 2500cc
- Under 2500cc
Championship points were awarded at each round on a 20–15–12–10–8–6–4–3–2–1 basis for the top ten positions outright and on a 9-6-4-3-2-1 basis for the top six positions in each of the two classes. Only the best eight round results could be retained by each driver.
- 1987 Australian Manufacturers' Championship, which was contested concurrently with the 1987 Australian Touring Car Championship
- 1987 Australian 2.0 Litre Touring Car Championship
- 1987 Australian Touring Car season
- Graham Howard & Stewart Wilson, Australian Touring Car Championship, 30 fabulous years, 1989, page 290
- Graham Howard & Stewart Wilson, Australian Touring Car Championship, 30 fabulous years, 1989, page 298
- 1987 ATCC Round 1 - Pt.1
- 1987 ATCC Round 1 - Pt.2
- 1987 ATCC Round 1 - Pt.3
- 1987 ATCC Round 2
- 1987 ATCC Round 3
- 1987 ATCC Round 4
- 1987 ATCC Round 5
- 1987 ATCC Round 6 - Pt.1
- 1987 ATCC Round 6 - Pt.2
- 1987 ATCC Round 6 - Pt.3
- 1987 ATCC Round 8
- "1987 Australian Touring Car Championship Programmes". The Programme Covers Project. Retrieved 30 July 2019.
- 1987 ATCC Round 9
- The official history - Australian Touring Car Championship - 50 Years
- touringcarracing.net Retrieved 16 March 2018
- Official V8 Supercar site Contains historical ATCC information.
- 1987 Australian Touring Car racing images at www.autopics.com.au