Vale Bill Pitt
Pitt was one of Australia’s first touring car stars. Driving a factory-prepared 3.4-litre Jaguar Mk1 – the dominant touring car in the late 1950s and 1960s – Pitt finished second in the inaugural Australian Touring Car Championship at the Gnoo Blas circuit in 1960. He was beaten that day by David McKay (in a near-identical ex-works Jag), but only after a clutch drama on Pitt’s car allowed McKay through to the lead.
Pitt turned the tables the following year, defeating fellow Jaguar drivers Bob Jane and Ian Geoghegan to claim the title for himself at the Lowood circuit in Queensland. Pitt’s bid to make it back-to-back titles was thwarted in 1962 at Longford by a transmission problem that prevented him from challenging Jane.
That was Pitt’s last ATCC appearance as he retired from racing in 1963. He left the sport with the unique record of never having finished lower than second in the ATCC.
But Pitt was more than a mere touring car ace. His introduction to the sport came as an official at the 1948 Australian Grand Prix, after which he soon became involved as a competitor.
In 1954 Pitt shared a Jaguar XK120 with Doris ‘Geordie’ Anderson and Charles Swinburne to win the 1954 Mount Druitt 24 Hour race in Sydney – despite having to stop to replace a cracked carburettor with one from a spectator’s car!
Later Anderson purchased a D-Type Jaguar which Pitt drove to fourth place behind two factory-entered Maseratis and a Ferrari in the Australian Tourist Trophy at Albert Park in November of 1956.
Such was the dominance of the D-Type in sports car racing that Pitt often raced against grand prix style open-wheelers in the search for competition. The D-Type was sold in 1959 as the Pitt/Anderson camp switched to touring cars with the Mk1.
The Queenslander was profiled and interviewed for AMC #63.
Pitt passed away on February 23, aged 90.