The 1988 Australian Touring Car Championship (promoted as the Shell Ultra Australian Touring Car Championship[1] thanks to sponsorship from Shell Australia) was a CAMS sanctioned motor racing title for drivers of Group 3A Touring Cars.[2] It was the 29th running of the Australian Touring Car Championship.[3] The championship began on 6 March at Calder Park Raceway and ended on 17 July at Oran Park Raceway after nine rounds.[4]

The championship was won by Dick Johnson driving a Ford Sierra RS500.

The 1988 Australian Manufacturers' Championship was contested over the same nine round series. Points were awarded only for class placings and each manufacturer could count only its best eight round results. The title was shared by Ford, which won the 3001 to 6000cc class in all nine rounds, BMW, which won the 2001 to 3000cc class in eight rounds, and Toyota, which won the Up to 2000cc class in every round.

Season summary

The championship was dominated by those driving the Ford Sierra RS500, specifically the Shell Ultra-Hi Racing Sierras of Dick Johnson and John Bowe. Between them the pair won eight of the nine rounds with team owner Johnson winning his 4th touring car championship. Tony Longhurst was the only other driver to win a round in his Freeport Racing Sierra. Longhurst won Round 6 at Lakeside from Johnson after Dick was penalised 1 minute for jumping the start.

With Sierras winning each round of the championship, 1988 was the first time since the Holden Torana A9Xs of 1979 that a single model car had won each round of the championship. Up to and including the 2016 V8 Supercar Championship Series, such single model domination has not been seen since in Australian touring car racing.

Due to the speed and increased reliability of the near 500 bhp (373 kW; 507 PS) turbocharged Sierras, the 300 bhp (224 kW; 304 PS), 2.3 L, Naturally aspirated BMW M3, now being run by Peter Brock's Mobil 1 Racing was reduced to a class car rather than the outright winner it was in 1987. Defending champion Jim Richards, new to the Mobil team in 1988 (though he had previously driven for the team as Brock's winning co driver at Bathurst from 1978 to 1981 when it was known as the Holden Dealer Team), had a best finish of 3rd at Winton, while Brock could finish no higher than 4th in the dry-wet-dry round at Wanneroo Park despite being one of the few drivers to remain on slicks after the rain caused mayhem and mid-race restart. Unfortunately for the Mobil team, the advantage the M3s had in both handling and brakes was not enough to combat the outright power of the Sierras.

After two seasons with the old Skyline DR30 RS, Nissan debuted their new turbocharged, Straight-6, Skyline HR31 GTS-R for 1987 drivers Glenn Seton and George Fury and were expected to challenge the Sierras. However, the team's testing and development of the GTS-R was in the races due to the late arrival of parts from Japan and the 400 bhp (298 kW; 406 PS) cars did not have the speed or reliability of the Fords with a best finish of 3rd for Fury at Amaroo Park. Unfortunately for Fred Gibson's team, the Australian racing program had fallen behind both the Japanese domestic scene as well as the European Touring Car Championship (ETCC) campaign run by Howard Marsden in importance to Nismo in 1988 and as such the Gibson Team had a late arrival for their cars and did not appear until Round 5 in Adelaide with a single car for Fury (to keep his eye in, Seton actually drove a Nissan powered Ralt RT4 in a one-off appearance and won the Adelaide round of the Australian Drivers' Championship that weekend). Other problems for the new Skyline turbos included the cars being approximately 70 kg (150 lb) over their homologated 1,100 kg (2,400 lb) weight, a production rather than racing (Getrag) gear box which developed a bad habit of locking in gear under the greater stress of racing, as well as the straight rather than V6 engine which, with two of the six cylinders being over the front axle caused understeer (similar to the old BMW 635) which the team took some time to overcome. After Adelaide, Fury and Seton then alternated drives in the team's car until a second Skyline appeared at the penultimate round at Amaroo. Fury then stepped aside at the final round at Oran Park to allow 1987 Australian 2.0 Litre Champion Mark Skaife to drive in his ATCC debut. Seton, who had finished second in the 1987 ATCC, would finish the series in 15th place while Fury fared marginally better finishing 13th.

Delays in the building of the new fuel injected Holden VL Commodore SS Group A SV also saw to it that the factory Holden challenge, headed by Larry Perkins and his team in the 1987 model 'HDT' VL with backing from Holden Special Vehicles, was almost non-existent. Perkins best finish was 3rd at Sandown in Round 7, greatly helped by the number of retirements from the front running Sierras and the still bug riddled Nissan driven that weekend by Fury. Although supported by numerous privateer Commodores (most of whom were driving customer cars built by Perkins Engineering), Perkins played virtually a lone hand for Holden as regular Commodore racer Allan Grice (Roadways) was racing a GTS-R for Nissan in the ETCC and Brock was now racing for BMW. Although the Commodore was producing approximately 450 bhp (336 kW; 456 PS) from its V8 engine, as usual its weight (1,325 kg (2,921 lb), over 200 more than the Sierra and Nissan and around 350 more than the BMW's) saw the big car unable to live with the lighter turbocharged Sierra's, the short of development Skylines and the nimble M3's in the shorter races on the tighter tracks used in the championship with tyres and brakes being the usual issues. Perkins' own retirement in 3 of the 8 rounds also killed any chance of a Holden driver taking the series from the all-conquering Fords.

1988 saw the last ever ATCC race held at the 2.41 km (1.50 mi) Adelaide International Raceway (AIR), which had held at least one round of the series every year since the circuit opened in 1972, with victory predictably going to the Ford Sierra RS500 of Dick Johnson (with John Bowe finishing 2nd it was the Shell Team's third 1–2 in just 5 rounds). From 1989, the South Australian round of the series would be held at the track AIR replaced on the ATCC calendar in 1972, Mallala Motor Sport Park.

The year also saw four-time champion Allan Moffat return to the series for the first time since 1984. Moffat had managed to convince Ruedi Eggenberger to build him a customer Sierra RS500 to run in Australia. With sponsorship from ANZ Bank, Allan Moffat Racing joined the series from Round 4 at Wanneroo Park. Running a conservative program while his team learned about the Sierra, Moffat did not have the pace of the Johnson cars, or the Sierras of Tony Longhurst, Andrew Miedecke and Colin Bond (who was racing in the outright category of the ATCC for the first time since 1978). Moffat's best finish was third in Round 6 at Lakeside. Despite the disqualification of the Eggenberger Sierras at the 1987 James Hardie 1000, Moffat had no problems with scrutineering, unlike 1986 ATCC champion Robbie Francevic whose Sierra, built in West Germany by Walter Wolf Racing, raced under protest in Round 3 at Winton before the car was ruled illegal before the start of practice for Round 5 at Adelaide. Although Francevic contended his car was legal, they were his only appearances in the championship.

Teams and drivers

Peter Brock placed sixth driving a BMW M3

The following drivers and teams competed in the 1988 Australian Touring Car Championship.

Team Car No Driver Rounds
Mobil 1 Racing[5]
BMW M3 1 New Zealand Jim Richards 1, 3–9
Australia David Parsons 2
05 Australia Peter Brock All
7 Australia Neil Crompton 8–9
Freeport Motorsport[5] Ford Sierra RS500 3 Australia Tony Longhurst All
Caltex CXT Racing Team[5] Ford Sierra RS500 4 Australia Colin Bond All
Miedecke Motorsport[5] Ford Sierra RS500 6 Australia Andrew Miedecke All
8 New Zealand Andrew Bagnall All
Allan Moffat Racing[5] Ford Sierra RS500 9 Canada Allan Moffat 4–8
Australia Gregg Hansford 9
Holden Special Vehicles[5] Holden VL Commodore SS Group A 11 Australia Larry Perkins All
Peter McLeod[5] Holden VL Commodore SS Group A 12 Australia Peter McLeod 1–5
Bob Holden Motors[5] Toyota Sprinter AE86 13 Australia Bob Holden 1–3, 5
51 Australia Dennis Rogers 8–9
Netcomm Australia[5] Ford Sierra RS500 14 Australia Murray Carter 1, 9
Nissan Skyline DR30 RS 2–5, 7–8
Peter Jackson Nissan Racing[5] Nissan Skyline HR31 GTS-R 15 Australia Glenn Seton 8–9
30 Australia George Fury 5–9
Australia Mark Skaife
Ralliart Australia[5] Mitsubishi Starion turbo 16 Australia Gary Scott 5–6, 8–9
Shell Ultra-Hi Racing[5] Ford Sierra RS500 17 Australia Dick Johnson All
18 Australia John Bowe All
Terry Finnigan Holden VL Commodore SS Group A 20 Australia Terry Finnigan 8
Craig Kinmoth Holden VK Commodore SS Group A 21 Australia Craig Kinmoth 6
Lusty Engineering[5] Holden VL Commodore SS Group A 22 Australia Graham Lusty 1, 3, 5, 7, 9
Peter Fitzgerald Holden VK Commodore SS Group A 23 Australia Peter Fitzgerald 2
Jagparts[5] Holden VK Commodore SS Group A 24 Australia Gerald Kay All
Robbie Francevic[5] Ford Sierra RS500 25 New Zealand Robbie Francevic 3, 5
Kalari Transport Services[5] Holden VK Commodore SS Group A 26 Australia Tony Noske 1–7
Ray Gulson[5] BMW 635 CSi 27 Australia Ray Gulson 1–5
Australia Graham Gulson
Capri Components[5] Ford Mustang GT 28 Australia Lawrie Nelson 1, 3, 5, 7
Toyota Team Australia[5] Toyota Corolla 29 New Zealand John Faulkner 3, 5–9
31 Australia John Smith 5–8
32 Australia Drew Price 1–7
Ian Love Ford Mustang GT 31 Australia Ian Love 1, 3–4
Colin Fulton Nissan Gazelle 33 Australia Colin Fulton 1–3, 5
Phil Ward Racing Mercedes-Benz 190E 34 Australia Phil Ward 3, 6, 9
Phil Ward Racing Mercedes-Benz 190E 35 Llynden Reithmuller 6
Everlast Battery Service Holden VL Commodore SS Group A 36 Australia Bill O'Brien 1–2, 6–7, 9
Wayne Clift Holden VK Commodore SS Group A 38 Australia Wayne Clift 6
Lansvale Racing Team[5] Holden VL Commodore SS Group A 39 Australia Steve Reed 5–6, 9
Australia Trevor Ashby 8
John Leeson Holden VL Commodore SS Group A 40 Australia John Leeson 5
Steve Williams Holden VK Commodore SS Group A 42 Australia Steve Williams 6–9
Tony Mulvihill Holden VK Commodore SS Group A 44 Australia Tony Mulvihill 1, 5, 7
Lester Smerdon Holden VK Commodore SS Group A 45 Australia Lester Smerdon 6
Sunline Caravans Holden VK Commodore SS Group A 46 Australia Tony Hunter 1–3, 7
Brian Callaghan Holden VK Commodore SS Group A 47 Australia Brian Callaghan 8–9
Australia Barry Graham
Wayne Park Holden VL Commodore SS Group A 48 Australia Wayne Park 6, 8
John Farrell Holden VK Commodore SS Group A 52 Australia John Farrell 4
Paul Trevathan Mitsubishi Starion 69 Australia Paul Trevathan 3, 8
Graeme Hooley Holden VK Commodore SS Group A 71 Australia Graeme Hooley 4
Murphy Johnson Imported Cars Alfa Romeo 75 Turbo 75 Australia Gerard Murphy 1, 8
Brian Bolwell BMW 323i 78 Australia Brian Bolwell 3, 7
Marc Ducquet Toyota Sprinter AE86 79 Australia Marc Ducquet 8–9
Ian Mayberry BMW 323i 80 Australia Ian Mayberry
Gemspares[5] Isuzu Gemini ZZ 86 Australia Daryl Hendrick 1–5, 7, 9
Joe Sommariva[5] BMW 635 CSi 87 Australia Joe Sommariva 1–2, 5, 7–8
David Sala Isuzu Gemini PF60 88 Australia David Sala 1
Australia David Smart 7
Ray Lintott Toyota Corolla 89 Australia Ray Lintott 9

Race calendar

The 1988 Australian Touring Car Championship was contested over a nine-round series with each round being a single race of just under one hour in duration.[4] This would be the 15th and last time the Adelaide International Raceway hosted an ATCC race having first hosted a round in 1972.

Rd. Race title Circuit City / state Date Winner Car Team Report
1 Calder Park Calder Park Raceway Melbourne, Victoria 6 March Australia Dick Johnson Ford Sierra RS500 Shell Ultra-Hi Racing
2 Launceston Symmons Plains Raceway Launceston, Tasmania 13 March Australia Dick Johnson Ford Sierra RS500 Shell Ultra-Hi Racing
3 Winton Winton Motor Raceway Benalla, Victoria 10 April Australia John Bowe Ford Sierra RS500 Shell Ultra-Hi Racing
4 Perth Wanneroo Park Perth, Western Australia 24 April Australia Dick Johnson Ford Sierra RS500 Shell Ultra-Hi Racing
5 Adelaide Adelaide International Raceway Virginia, South Australia 1 May Australia Dick Johnson Ford Sierra RS500 Shell Ultra-Hi Racing
6 Lakeside Lakeside International Raceway Brisbane, Queensland 22 May Australia Tony Longhurst Ford Sierra RS500 Freeport Motorsport
7 Sandown Sandown Raceway Melbourne, Victoria 29 May Australia Dick Johnson Ford Sierra RS500 Shell Ultra-Hi Racing
8 Amaroo Park Amaroo Park Sydney, New South Wales 19 June Australia John Bowe Ford Sierra RS500 Shell Ultra-Hi Racing
9 Oran Park Oran Park Raceway Sydney, New South Wales 17 July Australia Dick Johnson Ford Sierra RS500 Shell Ultra-Hi Racing

Points system

Points were awarded on a 20–15–12–10–8–6–4–3–2–1 basis for the top ten race positions at each round.[6] Only the best eight results could be retained by each driver.[2]

Championship standings

Pos Driver Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Rd 7 Rd 8 Rd 9 Pts
1 Dick Johnson 1st 1st Ret 1st 1st 2nd 1st 2nd 1st 150
2 John Bowe Ret 2nd 1st 3rd 2nd Ret 2nd 1st 2nd 112
3 Colin Bond 3rd 3rd 2nd 2nd 3rd Ret Ret 13th 4th 76
4 Jim Richards DSQ 3rd 5th 5th 7th 5th 4th 5th 58
5 Tony Longhurst 2nd 4th DNS Ret Ret 1st Ret Ret 9th 47
6 Peter Brock DSQ 5th 7th 4th 6th 5th 13th 5th 8th 47
7 Larry Perkins 4th Ret Ret 6th 8th 4th 3rd 7th Ret 45
8 Andrew Miedecke 5th Ret Ret Ret 4th 6th Ret Ret 3rd 36
9 Allan Moffat Ret 7th 3rd 4th 6th 14th 32
10 Andrew Bagnall 6th 11th 4th Ret Ret 9th 6th Ret 10th 25
11 Murray Carter 7th 8th 5th 9th 9th 10th 12th 25th 20
12 Tony Noske 8th 7th 8th 7th 13th 7th 18
13 George Fury Ret 8th 3rd 15
14 Graham Gulson 6th 11th 6
15 Glenn Seton Ret Ret 6th 6
15 David Parsons 6th 6
17 Peter McLeod 9th Ret Ret 8th 15th 5
18 Gary Scott Ret Ret Ret 7th 4
19 Bill O'Brien 11th 9th 12th 9th 13th 4
20 Neil Crompton 8th 11th 3
21 Steve Reed Ret 8th 16th 3
22 Graham Lusty 13th 9th 10th 11th 22nd 3
23 Gerald Kay 15th 10th 10th 10th 12th Ret 18th 3
24 Brian Callaghan 9th 2
25 Phil Ward 11th 10th 1
25 Wayne Park 11th 10th 1
27 Tony Mulvihill 10th 12th 1
Pos Driver Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Rd 7 Rd 8 Rd 9 Pts
Colour Result
Gold Winner
Silver Second place
Bronze Third place
Green Points finish
Blue Non-points finish
Non-classified finish (NC)
Purple Retired (Ret)
Red Did not qualify (DNQ)
Did not pre-qualify (DNPQ)
Black Disqualified (DSQ)
White Did not start (DNS)
Withdrew (WD)
Race cancelled (C)
Blank Did not practice (DNP)
Did not arrive (DNA)
Excluded (EX)

See also


  1. ^ Official Programme, Shell Ultra Australian Touring Car Championship, Round Five, Adelaide International Raceway, 1 May 1988
  2. ^ a b CAMS 1988 CAMS Manual of Motor Sport, Conditions for Australian Titles, pages 74–77 & Group 3A Touring Cars Specifications, pages 228–233
  3. ^ Graham Howard & Stewart Wilson, Australian Touring Car Championship, 30 Fabulous Years, 1989
  4. ^ a b Australian Motor Racing Yearbook, 1988/89, pages 312–314
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v Official Programme, Shell Ultra Australian Touring Car Championship, Round Five, Adelaide International Raceway, 1 May 1988, entry list, page 27
  6. ^ Official Programme, Shell Ultra Australian Touring Car Championship, Round Five, Adelaide International Raceway, 1 May 1988, Points & Prizes, page 17

External links