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Aussies, how good was Peter Brock on an international level?


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#1 Thomas99

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 08:23

I'm afraid to say i'm an Australian but know very little about Peter Brock, we've all heard the headlines of him winning Bathurst 9 times, mentoring Craig Lowndes and tragically dying in an Targa event. But compared to the international stars of the era exactly how good was he? 

 

 



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#2 king_crud

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 09:04

I would suggest mods move this to the nostalgia forum

 

To answer your question - which sort of international stars are you comparing him against? He was a top touring car driver in Australia, didn't do much racing outside of oz/nz



#3 275 GTB-4

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 09:56

I would suggest mods move this to the nostalgia forum

 

To answer your question - which sort of international stars are you comparing him against? He was a top touring car driver in Australia, didn't do much racing outside of oz/nz

 

I would suggest, Peter was a very competent driver, especially long distance, but, not deserving (maybe) of the hero worship he attracts :rolleyes:



#4 king_crud

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 11:34

A lot of it was from representing Holden, there were many other drivers in Australian touring cars who could have been considered better at the same time Brock was driving, but he was the face of the Toranas and Commodores, hance the popularity.



#5 GhostR

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 11:47

He never really had international ambitions. He did a few races internationally, with mixed results, but his focus was almost entirely on touring cars in Aus. I grew up through the 80's watching him race at Bathurst.

 

Part of it comes from his Holden association, especially in the pre-Sierra years where he was often seen as the local underdog hero up against the foreign invaders (eg the Walkinshaw Jags). Win two Bathurst hat tricks in a 7 year period helped cement him as a legend. As does how long he raced for - from his first Bathurst in '69 through to the late 90's and beyond.



#6 Vitesse2

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 12:46

I would suggest, Peter was a very competent driver, especially long distance, but, not deserving (maybe) of the hero worship he attracts :rolleyes:

Perhaps he was born ten years too late? By the time he got into his stride, Australian racing was really a bit 'provincial' and there didn't seem to be that steady stream of Antipodeans coming to Europe that we saw in the 60s. I guess Bruce's death and Black Jack's retirement had a lot to do with that - there was no longer a guaranteed 'home from home'. The end of the Tasman series must have been another factor.

 

Speaking as a Pom, I reckon Brock could probably have cut it in Europe in touring cars and maybe even in endurance racing, but I wouldn't put him up with the greats of endurance at the time - he was no Bell, Ickx or Wollek and I'm not sure he would even have aspired to that. He chose to (mostly) stay at home and be a big fish in a small pond and maybe you only have to look at the experiences of a few of his contemporaries who tried and failed in Europe to get an idea of why: Perkins, Walker, Schenken ...

 

Added to that, Brock didn't have the open-wheel experience which was then pretty much the accepted way to get to the top in Europe. You did FF/FV/FFrance, F3, F2 and then hopefully F1: some, like Elford, took a different route, but getting an F1 seat was the way to get yourself noticed - even by the sports car teams. That was the way Vern Schuppan did it, for one.



#7 Thomas99

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 13:55

Good thread so far. As I thought, it seems a lot of the aussie touring drivers are good by comparison to other Aussie drivers, but not necessarily by an international standard.



#8 Option1

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 15:01

The thing is that it's comparatively rare that they've been tested against other touring car drivers.  One of the few consistently competing in another series is Marcos Ambrose in NASCAR and he's done okayish.  As for the rest of competing against international drivers, one offs don't really show much, if anything. 

 

Personally, I suspect they're very good against international drivers, but as has been said, it's hard to judge when they haven't been seen against them. 

 

Neil



#9 KingTiger

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 15:26

I remember watching a youtube video of him driving on slicks on a very rainy Bathurst. It was inspiring, to say the least.



#10 Brother Fox

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 00:36

I've only learned about it recently so happy to hear others knowledge, but he acquitted himself pretty well when he drove with Larry Perkins in Le Mans didn't he? Early 80's around 1983 or something?

I've got in my head they were up about 5th before Larry kissed a wall

#11 MattPete

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 01:27

Racing with or without the energy polarizer installed?



#12 LB

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 08:21

1984 for the Le Mans assault, Perkins did indeed hit the wall while 5th. He also finished second in the 1977 Spa 24hrs with Gerry Marshall, winning his class.


Edited by LB, 02 November 2013 - 08:21.


#13 dave34m

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 08:49

Racing with or without the energy polarizer installed?

Oh yeah, I had forgot about that, was a bit embarrassing for him really. Always fun telling Holden fans that Brock drove a Ford one year



#14 DanardiF1

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 09:01

Racing with or without the energy polarizer installed?

 

That was weird... whoever convinced him of that was a real genius crook.



#15 king_crud

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 10:32

Oh yeah, I had forgot about that, was a bit embarrassing for him really. Always fun telling Holden fans that Brock drove a Ford one year

 

 

He raced a Sierra for a number of years, as well as a BMW



#16 DanardiF1

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 11:21

Yeah he drove an RS500 when the Group A cars were so much better than the traditional Aussie fare that the top drivers had to use them.



#17 Vitesse2

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 11:57

1984 for the Le Mans assault, Perkins did indeed hit the wall while 5th. He also finished second in the 1977 Spa 24hrs with Gerry Marshall, winning his class.

Spa was really more by luck than judgement, though. Almost all the leading BMWs and the Autodelta Alfas hit major problems and as Frank de Jong points out it was a combination of the Firenza simply not breaking down and a balls-out drive from Gerry in the closing stages that got them up to second - they were 200km behind the winner. Difficult to know whether Brock can take much of the credit without access to a detailed lap chart ...

 

http://www.touringca...s/1977 Spa.html



#18 KOMORI

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 04:35

Growing up as a kid in a "Holden" family, and fascinated by touring car racing (thanks dad!), I used to watch every televised race during the heights of Brocky's reign. Sure, he had factory backing and some damn competitive cars (nigh on unbeatable at times!), but he really was a genius behind the wheel. He was a wonderfully intuitive driver, possessed of the required amount of mechanical sympathy and understanding of what he could get out of whatever he was steering, in an era where touring cars were not a long way away from what you could buy off the show room floor. In my opinion, getting the most out of the old school cars was less about wringing their necks, and more about maximizing the vehicles strengths at a given track whilst nursing it to the finishing line still in competitive shape.

It wasn't just his skills as a driver that captivated Holden fans and (let's face it) a fair percentage of Australian racing fans of that era. Peter Brock was (publicly) an inspirational character who had time for every one, always signing autographs for fans and when interviewed came across as a very likeable person with great media nous and a sense of humor that us Aussies tend to appreciate. Compared to Moffat and Johnson (the anointed leaders of the evil blue Empire!) there seemed to be much less whining and blame pointing: ok, I'll admit that this statement may be tinted by rose coloured glasses, so to speak, but he was my hero.... And they drove FORDS.... Or worse, ROTARIES!!!

9 Bathurst wins, 9 Sandown wins, 3 ATCC Championships (210 starts, 57 Poles, 42 wins) make Brocky's career a wonderful one. Things like winning Bathurst by 6(!!) laps, and setting the fastest lap of that race on lap 161 are what makes Peter Brock a legend. Perhaps he was just a big fish in a small pond, but I prefer to think of him simply as the greatest Australian Touring Car driver of them all.

For mine, that's enough.

#19 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 05:16

Brock was as good as anyone worldwide in a tin top. That was well proven here ofcourse. Though he few overseas forays he was on the pace for the cars he drove. His Lemans assault was maybe not his best. Larry probably overshadowed him but that was one of the few times. I feel Larry Perkins was better in a 'proper' racing car.
Though Brock won at Rallycross, rallying, The Repco Trial, He was a natural and very casual normally. But at times tried to drive around bad cars, which is what killed him!
Later in his career he went 'weird' with gurus etc that cost him continuing success. But still really drove around bad cars [which were his own fault with losing good team members [inc Larry and John Harvey] via Eric Dowker]and poor budgets to still impress.
In the worst of that he was still very good with the fans. At a Sandown meeting the young bloke pitted along side me approached him with a childhood pic sitting in Brocks A9X. Peter then effectively held court [perched on the tray of my truck]for about 15 min talking to him, his crew and quite a few others in the area. Then he wandered off to go drive I think a Sierra.

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#20 Brother Fox

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 06:49

That was weird... whoever convinced him of that was a real genius crook.


I think Lee has just answered that, Eric Dowker rings a bell - he's the one credited/blamed for Brocky's new age fascination isn't he