Top 10 legendary racing Falcons

  • Repco Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 24/09/2018
  • By Stefan Bartholomaeus

With the Ford Mustang due to arrive in 2019, this year marks the final chapter in the storied history of the Falcon in Australian touring car competition.

Before the Falcon tackles Bathurst for one last time next month, looks back at 10 of the most legendary examples of the breed.

10. Ford Motor Company - XR GT

The car that started it all.

Not only was the XR GT the first Falcon to win at Bathurst, it was the first V8, tasting success a year after the diminutive Mini Coopers swept the Mountain.

The Falcon’s success – in the hands of Fred Gibson and Harry Firth – triggered Holden’s Monaro program, setting the stage for decades of battles to come.

Notably, Gibson’s fastest race lap in 1967 was a full seven seconds faster than the best Mini had managed the year previously. It was a genuine game-changer.

9. Ford Performance Racing - FG

Between Triple Eight’s defection to Holden in 2010 and the resurgence of DJR Team Penske in 2017, Ford Performance Racing – now Tickord Racing – flew the Falcon flag highest.

The FG was the longest-serving Falcon, competing for six seasons from 2009 across two eras – the bodywork adapted to the Car of the Future platform in 2013.

While FPR’s FGs fell short of a Supercars title, they won back-to-back Bathursts in 2013 and ’14, which remain the Falcon’s most recent Great Race successes.

Both were special wins – 2013 a breakthrough for Mark Winterbottom (alongside Steven Richards), and ’14 an against-the-odds triumph for Chaz Mostert and co-driver Paul Morris.

8. Ford Motor Company/Alan Moffat - XA

The 1973 Great Race marked the start of a new era on the Mountain, with rejigged rules aligning Bathurst with the ATCC, and the 500-mile race extended to 1000km.

It was also the end of an era, however, as Ford withdrew its official factory backing at the conclusion of the season.

That didn’t stop Allan Moffat and Ian Geoghegan beating the hoard of Toranas in Ford’s new XA GT – Moffat’s third Bathurst win in four years.

The Holden Dealer Team ran its Torana out of fuel while pushing to beat the Falcon, which scored victory despite a wild early spin for Moffat.

7. Triple Eight Race Engineering - BA/BF

Prior to 2006, Ford had endured a lean run at Bathurst, with just two wins – 1994 and ’98 – in the previous 16 years.

Triple Eight well and truly turned the tide with its all-conquering B-series Falcons, which are grouped for the purpose of this list due to the subtlety of the change between models.

Starting a run of three straight for Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup, the 2006 win is most legendary – Lowndes’ win the perfect tribute to the recent passing of Peter Brock.

Triple Eight’s Falcons finished second in the Supercars title race from 2005-07, before Whincup broke through for his first championship aboard a BF in ’08.

6. Glenn Seton Racing - EB

When the Falcon returned to Australian touring car racing under the new-for-1993 V8 formula, the Glenn Seton Racing EBs were the cars to have.

Having blooded its first Falcon at the previous year’s Sandown and Bathurst enduros, GSR was well prepared for the new season.

Seton and team-mate Alan Jones won six of the first seven rounds between them on their way to first and second in the championship.

A mid-year parity adjustment hurt their chances at Bathurst, but did not stop GSR’s second EB – crewed by Geoff Brabham and David Parsons – winning the 1993 Sandown 500.

5. Dick Johnson Racing - XE

The last of the Group C ‘Big Banger’ Falcons, Dick Johnson’s Greens’-Tuf XEs are best remembered for two rather different feats.

In 1983, Johnson suffered a heavy crash in Bathurst’s Top 10 Shootout, with a privateer car then commandeered and rebuilt overnight into a new Greens’-Tuf.

While success ultimately eluded Johnson on the Mountain in both 1983 and ’84, a brand-new XE took out the ’84 ATCC title with a consistent season.

The result ensured the Falcon signed off from ATCC competition on a high note, before the new international Group A formula forced an eight-year hiatus.

4. Stone Brothers Racing - BA

After four years of struggle with the unloved AU model, Stone Brothers Racing’s new-for-2003 BA delivered for Ford fans in a big way.

It swept to three straight titles, the first two in the hands of Marcos Ambrose, before Russell Ingall’s triumph in 2005.

Ambrose’s heated battles with Holden heroes Mark Skaife and Greg Murphy added greatly to the SBR BA legend at a time of heavy investment from both manufacturers.

Although SBR’s BAs also won two Adelaide 500s and a Sandown 500, their lack of success at Bathurst was the only disappointment.

3. Ford Motor Company/Allan Moffat - XY GT-HO Phase III

The XY GT-HO Phase II was the ultimate example of the Series Production touring car Falcons that had started with the XR in 1967.

Built to win the 1971 Bathurst 500, Moffat led a Falcon sweep of the top seven places in qualifying, before heading a one-two-three for the Blue Oval in the race.

Media scrutiny of car companies selling high-performance specials to the public to be homologated for Bathurst eventually led to sweeping rule changes for 1973.

The Phase III made an unsuccessful return to Bathurst in 1972 when the Phase IV project was scrapped, before Moffat took it to ATCC glory in new Group C form in ’73.

2. Dick Johnson Racing - XD

With Moffat’s efforts fading amid a sea of dominant A9X Toranas, Ford fans needed a new hero when new rules were brought in for 1980. Enter Dick Johnson and Tru-Blu.

Like Greens’-Tuf, the Tru-Blu XD legend is built around both triumph and disaster – Johnson hitting a rock while leading at Bathurst in 1980, shooting him to stardom.

The partly crowd-funded replacement Tru-Blu swept all before it in 1981, taking the ATCC and Bathurst, marking Johnson’s first victories in both.

All of a sudden, Johnson had established himself as the new rival to Peter Brock – the laconic Queenslander a perfect foil to the established Holden champion.

1. Moffat Ford Dealers - XC GS500

The Moffat Ford Dealers one-two at Bathurst in 1977 will likely forever sit as the Falcon’s most iconic racing moment.

Allan Moffat led team-mate Colin Bond across the line in a crushing victory for Ford – the first formation finish for team cars in Great Race history.

It capped a remarkable season for the XCs, which took over from the XB model partway through an ATCC season in which Moffat and Bond also finished one-two.

While Holden’s response over the next two years was emphatic, the XC’s 1977 success cemented its place as the most legendary of racing Falcons.

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