Home' V8X Supercar Magazine : June July 2015 Issue 87 Contents 72
long-time privateer had been blocking him
and later declaring that “he did every driver
a favour” with his punt. Ingall received a
$10,000 fine and 20-point deduction for
Later in the season at Bathurst, where
55 cars qualified for the race, Ingall took
aim at privateer Richard Mork, infamous for
his outlandish liveries, for blocking him in
“There are a lot of drivers out there from
‘Planet Mork’,” said Ingall in the lead-up
to an event that was plagued by safety-car
“There are so many wankers, I can’t believe
it. I’ve never seen so many. They’re so far off
the pace it’s obviously the Kellogg’s Cornflake
licensing system they’re using here.”
A new licensing structure and creation
of the V8 Lites (Development Series) in
the championship from 2000 would begin
the process of trimming the grid and
enhancing the quality of the field. Level 1
and 2 licensees were permitted into the main
game and Bathurst, while Level 3 formed the
new second-tier category.
Level 1 evolved into two-car full-timers
and Level 2 one-car privateers, reducing the
grid further in the years to come. Entry
for marquee events would also depend on
championship position, pre-qualifying for
surplus numbers and wildcard entries. By
2003, when the Project Blueprint regulations
were introduced, entries were restricted to
35 cars, 26 Level 1 entries and nine Level 2s.
Well-funded and factory-backed teams filled
the grid, leaving little room for privateers.
However, it didn’t stop the odd privateer
from attempting to get on the grid in an
increasingly competitive series.
David Thexton, for example, a millionaire
New Zealander with very little in the way of
racing experience, failed more often than not
to qualify throughout 2003 and into 2004,
before throwing in the towel after repeated
Garth Walden also failed to qualify for
selected events in 2004. His father Brian’s
Walden Motorsport team purchased a license
for the 2008 season but never fronted for the
Clipsal 500 in Adelaide.
Commercial realities also played their part
as the culling saw the inevitable funnelling of
sponsorship towards the full-timers.
Anthony Tratt had enjoyed support from
Paul Little and his Toll brand from 1998 and
became one of the last remaining privateers
from the ’90s era into 2005.
The team closed at the end of that
season, with the Toll backing moving to the
factory-backed HSV Dealer Team outfit
along with Tratt for endurance co-driving
duties in 2006, in what would be his final
appearance in the series.
After entries were closed to non-license
holders at Bathurst from 2005, V8 Supercars
did backtrack and allowed wildcard entrants
back into the Great Race from 2009.
Wildcards came from either main-game
teams fielding an extra car or from the
Dunlop Development Series, where priva-
teers race today.
But as the no-show of Dragon Motor
Racing from proposed wildcard appearances
last season proved, the days of preparing a
car for Bathurst on a minimal budget and
volunteer crew are long gone.
Today, the top-tier teams have gobbled up
licenses in their expansion to three and four
entries. Even the minnows of the day, such
as Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport, receive some
level of support from the manufacturer or a
Some bemoan the demise of the privateer.
V8 Supercars today may seem too clinical
and lacking in variety provided by the semi-
pros, but the legacy of the privateer remains
Of the current crop of team owners, Dick
Johnson, Garry Rogers, Rod Nash, Rusty
French, Brad and Kim Jones started out
in the era of battling privateers. And that
spirit remains into this current era in teams
such as Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport, Tekno
Autosports, Brad Jones Racing and other
Long live the privateers!
ABOVE: Richard Mork (left) came under fire from Russell Ingall at Bathurst in 2000 as pressure on the privateers increased, while Anthony Tratt (middle) and David Thexton
(right) were the last remaining true privateers as V8 Supercars culled the grid to leave only full-time professional teams.
ABOVE: Dunlop Development Series teams entered the
Great Race as wildcards in 2009 in a bid to expand the
grid at the Bathurst 1000.
ABOVE: Garry Rogers and Dick Johnson started out as privateers and would become series regulars with their teams, Garry Rogers Motorsport and Dick Johnson Racing.
V8X87 p68-72 Privateers.indd 72
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