We’re getting to the pointy end of the 2019 Heritage Touring Cars series, and the action is heating up as we prepare to head to Sydney’s spiritual home of muscle – Muscle Car Masters, now known as Sydney Master Blast. This time out, we’ll be joined by three Group A legends that are set to make their Heritage Touring Cars Debut at the event.
Joining the series for the first time are Chris Stillwell’s 1988 Caltex Sierra RS500, Eddie Sansil’s ex-works 1990 BMW M3 and Neil Schembri’s 1988 Group A Roadways Racing Services Holden VL SS.
Chris Stillwell will be jumping into a spicy Sierra scrap at Muscle Car Masters, joining Terry Lawlor in the Dick Johnson Shell RS500 and Tony Karanfilovski in the ex-Glenn Seton Peter Jackson car. Stillwell’s recently-restored 1988 Caltex Sierra RS500 was the first built by Colin Bond’s Caltex CXT Racing Team, and contested the Australian Touring Car Championship from 1988 to ‘92.
In 1988 Colin Bond shared it with Formula One champion Alan Jones in the Tooheys 1000. The pair had to overcome a protest lodged by Tom Walkinshaw against a set of the Sierras, which led to the team pulling engine and suspension apart for scrutineering, then piecing them back together for the Top Ten. They went on to claim third in the endurance epic anyway – a career highlight for the car. Tony Longhurst and Tomas Mezera would take another Sierra to the race win, marking the first time that the Bathurst 1000 had been won by a turbo.
After its career in the ATCC, Stillwell’s car was run as a Sports Sedan, before it was retired into a collection and spent fifteen years in peaceful retirement. Chris bought it and treated it to a three year long restoration with Classic Motor Sport. We’re looking forward to its return to active duty at Sydney Motorsport Park.
Neil Schembri owned and drove his Group A 1988 Roadways Racing Services Holden VL SS in period, competing in it during the 1993 season. One of nine built by the team, it’s the last Group A Commodore built by Roadways and one of two Roadways cars that were built from the ground up in fuel-injected Group A VL SS SV spec.
Garry Rogers piloted the car for the bulk of its ATCC career, driving it from 1988 to 1990, although it was driven by Graham Moore and American John Andretti (Mario’s nephew) in 1990. Neil Schembri commanded the Commodore during its final year of period competition in 1993 and took custodianship of it once more in 2017. He’ll be behind the wheel for its Heritage Touring Cars debut.
The 1990 BMW M3 Sport Evolution of Eddie Sansil was born as a BMW Motorsport shell and competed with the works Bigazzi Racing Team during the 1990 DTM series. It made its way to Australia in 1991, when it was imported by Benson & Hedges and BMW Motorsport Australia.
For 1991 and 1993 it was used as a test car for Bathurst, but it picked up a full year of ATCC and AMSCAR series competition in 1992. Paul Morris was its pilot, and he drove it to ninth overall. From Australia it went to Robert Paul in Indonesia, winning the 1995 and 1997 Indonesian Supercar Championship.
Eddie Sansil took custodianship of the car in 2017, restoring it back to the period 1992 Group A specification and livery that you’ll find it in at Muscle Car Masters.
A packed field of 35 classic Australian Group C & A touring cars is forming for the 2019 edition of Sydney Master Blast, and with great history and competitive muscle throughout, Heritage Touring Cars is set to put on a good show.
Head to Sydney Motorsport Park over the 31st of August and 1st of September to catch the action. For more information about Sydney Master Blast, head to sydneymasterblast.com, and stay tuned to heritagetouringcars.com.au for more from the Legends of Bathurst.