AMC’s presents the best – and best remembered – privateers to have tackled the Bathurst 1000.
Historically, a privateer was a privately-owned ship or seaman officially sanctioned to attack enemy vessels and take possession of their cargo. It’s a word blended from ‘private’ and ‘profiteer’. The latter is apt as motorsport’s most famous endurance events have long been richer for the involvement of the amateur. As to what constitutes a motor racing privateer, the criteria are far from etched in stone. To some, a privateer is merely a driver or team without manufacturer backing. But by that definition reigning V8 Supercar champion Mark Winterbottom’s team, Prodrive Racing Australia, would qualify. Others consider a privateer to be a non full-time professional team or racer. For the purposes of this article we’ve loosely adopted the second of these definitions.
In listing our top 25 most successful, colourful, memorable and prolific privateers we’ve avoided factory drivers. We’ve excused a one-off or twooff works drive over an otherwise long career battling the factory teams and have focused on those competitors who made a living outside the racing game. Regardless of the definition, Bathurst’s Great Race offered plenty of names to draw from as we salute, in no particular order, those amateurs who enriched Mount Panorama by their presence.
The Captain! The prince of privateers bagged top results with his speed and mechanical empathy. In 20 colourful attempts, 1973-92, he twice finished second (’79 and ’80). Yet, results are a bit player in Janson’s story. The deerstalker-wearer is undoubted the Group C era’s biggest character. His larksome behaviour, unorthodox lifestyle and commercial savvy ensured he stood out in an era of big personalities.