Repco Wins Race for the Bathurst 1000

Repco Wins Race for the Bathurst 1000

Repco has won the race for the biggest prize in Supercars.

Bathurst will become the Repco 1000 in 2021 and there are strong signs that the automotive parts giant could also take over from Virgin Australia as the naming-rights sponsor for the Supercars championship.

The new deal ends the 16-year tie-up between SuperCheap Auto and The Great Race and is set to run for at least five years, from 2021-2025.

Both companies got a competitive crack at the new deal for Mount Panorama, although supporters of the SuperCheap connection are reportedly not entirely happy about the outcome.

Although Repco is now foreign owned, it still employs more than 4000 people in Australia.

Repco is currently making its biggest drive into motorsport since the 1960s, when it was Sir Jack Brabham’s engine partner as he won his third Formula One world championship in 1966 and repeated the result in 1967 with New Zealander Denny Hulme as its lead driver. It was also the high-profile engine supplier with modified Holden V8s during the Formula 5000 era in the 1970s and supplied specially-made V8s for sports car racers in Australia headed by Frank Matich.

It is already prominent on the headlights and sides of the Shell V-Power Mustangs driven by Scott McLaughlin and Fabian Coulthard and wrapped the virtual racer of Aaron Seton in the Supercars Eseries earlier in the year.

“Motorsport is part of Repco’s DNA. It’s two iconic brands in one amazing partnership. Repco has a long history in motorsport and, so, aligning with Australia’s most famous race was an opportunity we couldn’t pass up,” says Wayne Bryant, Executive General Manager of Repco Australia.

“Having a partner who wants to celebrate this iconic Australian event as much as we do is great news for our sport and an event which is broadcast to around 298 million homes in 90 countries,” says Sean Seamer, CEO of Supercars.

Repco has a motorsport history that tracks back to the 1940s and already has a Bathurst connection, as it provided the power when Brabham drove the first 100 miles-an-hour (160km/h) lap at Mount Panorama in 1967, driving his Repco-Brabham BT11A.

Repco is the 11th sponsor for what has become the jewel in the Supercars crown, tracking back to the days of Armstrong shock absorbers, Gallagher cigarettes and Hardie-Ferodo brakes when the race was still run over 500 miles in the 1960s.

The extension of Repco’s involvement is welcomed by the team principal of Shell V-Power Racing, Ryan Story.

“For over 98 years Repco has been servicing Australian and New Zealand customers and, throughout that time, has had a real passion for motorsport,” he says.

“From the Repco-Brabhams winning the 1966 and 1967 world championships, through to Formula 5000 in the seventies and today with the Shell V-Power Racing Team.

“We’re delighted to see Repco partnering with Supercars and look forward racing in the Repco Bathurst 1000 in 2021.”

Beyond Bathurst, Race News has heard for months that Repco could take the marquee space of Virgin Australia for next year’s Supercars championship.

But Supercars denies any deal, despite the uncertainty around any future support from Virgin following its COVIC-induced bankruptcy and sale.

“The reality is that a deal has not been done,” Supercars’ strategy chief, John Casey, tells Race News.

“The current series sponsor is Virgin and obviously we’re still having discussions with them and the new owners. That won’t be resolved in the short term.”