Video: Brock’s Sideways V8 Sprint Through Bathurst!

They say that Peter Brock’s 1991 season was let down somewhat by the lack of quality Bridgestone tires in the first portion of the season. Once the rubber was sorted out, his usual pace was there, and he managed to snag 6th in the championship. Before reaching that, however, he put on one hell of a crowd-pleasing qualifying lap at Mt. Panorama. While not the fastest that day, certainly drew the fans out of their seats. Sideways, curb hopping, belching smoke and flame from the side-mounted exhaust, the commitment seen in this 11/10ths qualifying lap from “Brocky” is exactly the reason why V8 Supercars still draw the crowds they do today.

The SN Holden Commodore that Brock piloted that season was not the lightest, nor the most nimble, but a snarling V8 matched with a very aggressive driving style allowed it to put on some stellar performances. Brock’s commitment over the top of the hill is legendary; lifting an inside tire nearly a foot off the ground at nearly 100 mph, and using every available inch to maximize his entry speed, often running wide and over the curbs. Some of those spectacular slides forced the Aussie to lift briefly, costing him some time. On qualifying laps, a little cautiousness can help to hit one’s marks, but some find that throwing it to the wind is a more effective approach.

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It’s hard to believe that something with such hefty proportions would be capable of heroics like these.

His Holden never maintains a constant angle through the corner, constantly shifting and twitching. Through the Chase, a daunting 170-mph corner at the end of Conrod Straight, the stiffly-sprung Commodore commits to one line, wiggles at the rear and eventually settles, but not before drawing a deserved response from the commentators. That sort of display requires not only godly car control, but a detachment that many might deem suicidal. Like a bull with the red flag waving before it, Brock’s adrenaline and aggression were coursing in buckets, and while that exuberance cost him a few tenths with lurid slides, they won the entire crowd over.

About the author

Tommy Parry

Tommy Parry has been racing and writing about racing cars for the past seven years. As an automotive enthusiast from a young age, he worked jobs revolving around cars throughout high school, and tried his hand on the race track on his 20th birthday. After winning his first outdoor kart race, Tommy began working as an apprentice mechanic to amateur racers in the Bay Area to sharpen his mechanical understanding. He has worked as a track day instructor and automotive writer since 2012, and continues to race karts, formula cars, sedans, and rally cars in the San Francisco region.
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