The family which made Mount Panorama their own

  • Repco Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 05/09/2021
  • By James Pavey, Main Pic by AN1 Images

Motorsport is, more often than not, a family game - and few family names have influenced Mount Panorama quite like Richards.

Four-time ATCC champion Jim Richards, who celebrated his 74th birthday last week, is second only to Peter Brock when it comes to Great Race wins.

Sixth overall on the list is son Steven, who won the Great Race five times.

Jim made his Bathurst debut in 1974, three years before Steven first went to Mount Panorama with the family.

The two famously shared a car at Mount Panorama three times.

A year after Steven made his debut in the Great Race in 1995, the two shared a Garry Rogers Motorsport Commodore - but their race ended after just 33 laps.

The Richards name first won in Bathurst in 1978

In 1997, father and son returned for GRM and would go on to score a memorable podium. It would be the only time in three attempts together that they would finish on the rostrum.

Their third and final Bathurst campaign together came in 2004 in a Perkins Engineering Commodore.

Steven claimed pole by a miserly 0.0012s from Jason Bright, a margin which remains the smallest in Bathurst shootout history.

However, their race unravelled from the start; Steven clashed with Bright on the run up Mountain Straight, before Jim crashed from seventh at Griffin’s Bend on lap 48.

Richards and Skaife won in 1991 Pic: AN1 Images

A rogue kangaroo would cause more damage later in the race, and they would finish 13 laps down on winners Greg Murphy and Rick Kelly.

Together, Jim and Steven combine for 12 Bathurst wins, 21 podiums and a staggering 61 starts.

Last year’s Bathurst 1000 was the first since 1973 not to feature either driver.

Jim was 27 when he made his Bathurst debut, partnering with Rod Coppin in an LH Torana and finishing third.

The start of the fateful 2004 race

A hat-trick of wins alongside Brock followed between 1978 and 1980, and he scored back-to-back wins with Mark Skaife in a Nissan in 1991 and 1992.

Victory No. 6 came with Richard Rydell in a Volvo in the 1998 Super Touring event, before he again won with Skaife for the Holden Racing Team in 2002.

The 2002 win saw Richards win a championship race at 55, a record which stands to this day.

Richards senior, who holds the record for most Bathurst starts with 35, made his last Great Race start in 2006.

Richards, who carried the 'Gentleman Jim’ moniker, was inducted into the New Zealand Motor Racing Hall of Fame in 1994, the Supercars Hall of Fame in 2006 and the Australian Motorsport Hall of Fame in 2017.

Win No. 3 for Richards junior in 2013

Jim and Steven both won in Bathurst 1998; Jim for Volvo, and Steven in a Stone Brothers Racing Falcon.

Steven made the final of his 27 starts in 2019, 12 months after he claimed his fifth and final win alongside Craig Lowndes.

Lowndes had Richards junior as his co-driver between 2014 and 2018, and they won together twice.

Their first triumph came two years after Richards helped Mark Winterbottom clinch his first Bathurst win.

Winterbottom would finish behind Lowndes and Richards in 2015, before the latter duo cruised to victory in 2018 at a combined age of 100.

Richards and Lowndes celebrate in 2018

Richards family Bathurst victories

1978: Peter Brock/Jim Richards (Holden Dealer Team)
1979: Peter Brock/Jim Richards (Holden Dealer Team)
1980: Peter Brock/Jim Richards (Holden Dealer Team)
1991: Mark Skaife/Jim Richards (Gibson Motorsport)
1992: Mark Skaife/Jim Richards (Gibson Motorsport)
1998: Rickard Rydell/Jim Richards (Volvo Dealer Team)
1998: Jason Bright/Steven Richards (Stone Brothers Racing)
1999: Greg Murphy/Steven Richards (Gibson Motorsport)
2002: Mark Skaife/Jim Richards (Holden Racing Team
2013: Mark Winterbottom/Steven Richards (Ford Performance Racing)
2015: Craig Lowndes/Steven Richards (Triple Eight Race Engineering)
2018: Craig Lowndes/Steven Richards (Triple Eight Race Engineering)

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