Legendary former Supercars commentator Mike Raymond has died, aged 76, following a battle with pneumonia.
Raymond was the voice of Australian touring car racing for two decades from the mid-1970s, playing a significant role in the growth of the sport.
That included involvement in formulating the 5.0 litre V8 rules for 1993, setting the foundations for the current Supercars competition.
He is most famous for his commentary at Bathurst and his role with innovations such as RaceCam, allowing the commentary team to speak to drivers during races.
The in-race conversations between Raymond and the likes of Dick Johnson, Peter Brock and Peter Williamson are entrenched in Great Race folklore.
Raymond had cut his teeth commentating speedway and worked as a producer at ATN7 (Sydney), before progressing to head of sport.
He was inducted into Bathurst’s Legends Lane and the Australian Motor Sport Hall of Fame in 2018.
Supercars CEO Sean Seamer paid tribute to Raymond on behalf of the category.
"Supercars has lost not only one of the truly great exponents of the sport but also one of its heroes, who was the voice of Australian Touring Cars in the 1970s through to the 1990s, calling our great race, the Bathurst 1000 for more than 20 years," he said.
"Fans can still remember Mike Raymond starting the Bathurst broadcast in a way only he could.
"His love of racing and his heavy influence in the production of a number of Logie Award-winning Bathurst 1000 broadcasts, played a major role in getting manufacturers, a headline sponsor and CAMS to change from what Australian Touring Cars was to what is now the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship.
"His passing is a great loss for the entire Supercars family, Australian broadcasting and motorsport as a whole. All our thoughts go out to his family."
Johnson added via social media: "Deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Mike Raymond.
"A wonderful man who championed our sport to make it what it is today. He invented the Top 10 Shootout and our chats on RaceCam were legendary.
"The soundtrack of so many great moments on Australian race tracks is his voice. My thoughts and condolences are with all his family and many, many friends."
Raymond attended the 2018 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 to accept his Legends Lane honour, reflecting on the introduction of RaceCam and its significance in world motorsport broadcasting.
“When we came up with RaceCam, it was the brilliant idea of Geoff Healy [then ATN7 director of engineering] to make it work,” said Raymond at the induction ceremony.
“We put it in Peter Williamson’s Toyota Celica and said to Peter as he was going out on track on race day, ‘Pete, we don’t know if the audio will work, but talk whenever you want to’.
“The register told us he spoke for six hours and 37 minutes! He didn’t know if he was on air, everything you heard on that telecast came straight from the driver concerned.
“We later had Peter Brock and my old mate Dick Johnson, who did so much with RaceCam, he was like an out of work comedian driving a race car! But it was excellent.
“The debut of RaceCam in 1979 actually led to in-car cameras at the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500. It was a great thing for Bathurst.”