This weekend the Australian iconic motor race, the Bathurst 1000 is on. And it marks a special moment in the history of Nissan Motorsports.
30 years ago in 1984, the Nissan Bluebird Turbo driven by George Fury, made pole position. It was significant in a few different ways – it was the first Japanese car to make pole, and also was the first turbo powered car to get pole at this event.
What emphasised the effort was the time (2:13.85) was the fastest lap time recorded on the track ever. Note: The track at Mount Panorama was extended slightly by the addition of the ‘caltex chase’ in 1987 from 6.172 km to 6.213km, so this record will never be broken.
Below is the actual record breaking qualifying lap. Check out the first corner where George Fury starts to get sideways.
Fred Gibson reportedly later confirmed that the Bluebird had an illegal turbo boost adjuster on the dashboard, as well as the engine bay’s fire extinguisher spraying super cooled Halon at the cars intercooler which increased horsepower. Combined with a cold morning, and even snow a couple of hours prior to qualifying, conditions were perfect for a turbo charged car.
Because of the engine size, the turbo bluebird was in the (now defunct) Group C class (for cars up to and including 3000cc). The pocket rocket had a Z18T 1.8 litre, 4 cylinder engine with a single overhead camshaft and twin spark ignition. With the turbo, it generated around 350hp, pretty good for a small engine I must say. And it was good enough to keep up with the V8 Fords and Holdens in the Group A racing class, qualifying 3rd at Bathurst in 1982 (Masahiro Hasemi), 2nd in 1983 (Fury) and as mentioned above, 1st in 1984 (Fury).
The Turbo Bluebird had a great start to 1984 ‘The Great Race’, but due to an accident further back the race had to be restarted. Fury ended up finishing in 16th place overall.
At this years race, Michael Caruso and Dean Fiore’s #36 Norton Nissan Altima will adopt a retro-themed livery, depicting the colours worn on Fury’s 1984 Nissan Bluebird. In addition, and I wish that I was going to the race this year, Fury will drive the actual Bluebird Turbo that took him to that pole in 1984 in a special on-track demonstration. For more detailed information, check out the Nissan Australia website.
Another great article on the famous bluebird turbo can be found here.
Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/23965238@N04/2523282731/