The 1961 Australian Touring Car Championship was a CAMS sanctioned Australian motor racing title for drivers of Appendix J Touring Cars. The championship, which was contested over a single, 50 mile (82 km) race at the Lowood Airfield Circuit in Queensland on 3 September 1961, was the second Australian Touring Car Championship. The race, which was promoted by the Queensland Racing Drivers' Club, was won by Bill Pitt, driving a Jaguar Mark 1 3.4.
As in 1960, the event was dominated by Jaguar drivers. Ian Geoghegan took pole position ahead of Bill Pitt and Ron Hodgson, while Bob Jane and Bill Burns completed a top five lockout for Jaguar. Bob Holden was fastest of the non-Jaguar drivers in practice, more than eleven seconds slower than Burns.
Jane made a good start and was alongside Geoghegan heading into the first corner, but Geoghegan held on and led Hodgson, Pitt and Jane around for the first lap. Pitt attempted to pass Hodgson in the back section of the circuit but was unable to complete the move. Geoghegan led by 2.5 seconds at the end of the first lap, with Hodgson holding a similar margin back to Pitt in third. Jane and Burns were further back, while Holden and Cecil Keid led the battle for sixth ahead of Barry Gibson, Muir Daniel, Ken Brigden, Noel Trees, Des West, Roy Sawyer and Viv Eddy. Jane retired on lap 2 after a rear spring mount broke.
Geoghegan continued to build his lead over Hodgson, extending it to around six seconds by the end of lap 3 and setting a new lap record of 2:04.7 on lap 2, before Hodgson went off at the first corner, allowing Pitt into second place. Pitt quickly closed in on Geoghegan, setting another lap record of 2:03.7, before passing him for the lead on lap 5. Geoghegan began suffering from clutch slip and dropped back, as did Hodgson who had both overdrive and brake problems.
Sawyer retired on lap 7 with brake dramas and Gibson went out of the race as well on the following lap. West and Trees then went out on consecutive laps. By this stage, Pitt had a lead of more than 40 seconds and went on to an easy victory over Geoghegan and Hodgson. Burns completed a Jaguar top four while Holden was the first non-Jaguar in fifth. Keid had been running sixth until dropping back on the second last lap to seventh, allowing Daniel into sixth place. The top ten was rounded out by Brigden, Eddy and J.D. Sherman.
|1||34||Bill Pitt||Mrs DI Anderson||Jaguar Mark 1 3.4||18||38:20.7|
|2||5||Ian Geoghegan||Geoghegan Motors Liverpool||Jaguar Mark 1 3.4||18|
|3||69||Ron Hodgson||Strathfield Motors Pty Ltd||Jaguar Mark 2 3.8||18|
|4||Bill Burns||W Burns||Jaguar Mark 1 3.4|
|5||113||Bob Holden||Holden FJ|
|6||Muir Daniel||Austin A105|
|7||32||Cecil Keid||Holden FJ|
|8||63||Ken Brigden||Peugeot 403|
|9||12||Viv Eddy||Morris 850|
|10||77||J. D. Sherman||Ford XK Falcon|
|11||J. Whalen||Morris Minor 1000|
|12||T. Uren||Peugeot 203|
|Ret||8||Noel Trees||Morris 850||13|
|Ret||1||Des West||Morris 850||12|
|Ret||Barry Gibson||Ford Zephyr||7|
|Ret||26||Roy Sawyer||Ford Anglia 105E||6||Brakes|
|Ret||7||Bob Jane||Jaguar Mark 2 3.8||1||Suspension|
- Pole position: Ian Geoghegan, 2:03.1
- Fastest lap: Bill Pitt, 2:03.7 (new lap record)
- Race distance: 18 laps, 81.72 km
- Average speed: 127.87 km/h
- National Titles, 1961 CAMS Manual Of Motor Sport, page 53
- Greenhalgh, David; Howard, Graham; Wilson, Stewart (2011). The official history: Australian Touring Car Championship - 50 Years. St Leonards, New South Wales: Chevron Publishing Group. pp. 22–30. ISBN 978-0-9805912-2-4.
- "Pitt Wins Touring Championship". Australian Motor Sport. November 1961. pp. 486–487.
- "Lap record by Pitt". The Courier Mail. 4 September 1961. p. 14.
- "61014 - #113 Bob Holden, #32 Cecil Keid, Holden FJ - ATCC Lowood 1961". Autopics.
- "Touring Title to Pitt". Modern Motor. Sydney, New South Wales: Modern Magazines Pty Ltd. November 1961. p. 91.