|Venue||Sandown International Raceway|
|- Distance||500 km|
|Last Race (2014)|
|Winning Driver||Jamie Whincup
|Winning Team||Triple Eight Race Engineering|
The Sandown 500 is an endurance motor race which has been staged at the Sandown Raceway, near Melbourne in Victoria, Australia since 1964. It has usually been held in September, the month before Australia’s premier endurance race, the Bathurst 1000. The actual race name, race distance and race category have varied considerably during its history. . From 2003 to 2007 and again in 2012 it was a round of the V8 Supercars Championship. The “500” was not run in years 1966 to 1967, 1999 to 2002 and 2008 to 2010.
- 1 History
- 2 Past winners
- 3 References
- 4 External links
Production car era
The first two races were open to production based sedans and, at six hours duration, were substantially longer than later iterations of the race. Both races were won by an Alfa Romeo Giulia entered by Alec Mildren Racing. In 1968, after a two year hiatus, the event was revived as a three hour race and took on a long time role as an unofficial “warm-up” event for the Bathurst 1000. In common with the Bathurst race, it utilized technical regulations which limited cars to near production specifications, unlike the Australian Touring Car Championship which was for more highly modified Group C Improved Production Touring Cars. Manufacturers took a stronger interest in the race in this period and the Ford works team led by Canadian driver Allan Moffat won the 1969 race, the first of six wins for Moffat. Colin Bond drove a Holden Torana to victory in 1971 and John Goss won the last Series Production 500 in 1972 in a Ford Falcon GTHO.
Group C Touring Car era
The race was contested by the newly introduced Group C Touring Car category from 1973. During the Group C era, it was dominated by Peter Brock who won nine of the twelve races, six with the Holden Dealer Team. The other three races were won by Allan Moffat. The 1982 race was the first Sandown endurance race since 1965 to be won by a make other than a Ford or Holden, Moffat scoring the first of two consecutive wins in a Mazda RX-7. His 1982 victory came after he was disqualified, then re-instated after a pit lane infringement penalty was removed post-race. With the Sandown circuit being upgraded and lengthened from 3.1 km to 3.9 km in mid-1984, the race was increased from 400 km to 500 km
Group A Touring Car era
Group C was replaced by Australian regulations based on International Group A Touring Car rules in 1985. Jim Richards and Tony Longhurst won the first Group A race for driving a BMW 635 CSi, before George Fury scored a pair of victories in turbocharged Nissan Skylines with Glenn Seton in 1986 and Terry Shiel in 1987. The 1986 race was the first time a turbo powered car had won the Sandown enduro. Moffat claimed his sixth and final victory in 1988 in a Ford Sierra RS500 with former Grand Prix motorcyclist Gregg Hansford (the race would also prove to be Moffat's final race win in Australia). Nissan won again in 1989 with Jim Richards and Mark Skaife, before Seton and Fury took repeated their 1986 success with a win in Seton's Ford Sierra in 1990. The team of Mark Gibbs and Rohan Onslow driving a privateer Nissan GT-R had the biggest win of their careers in 1991. A slim entry of Group A cars in 1991 saw race organizers bring production cars back to the race as additional entries running in their own class, as they would in 1992, 1993 and 1994. A class for cars complying with the 1993 Group 3A 5.0 Litre Touring Car regulations, later to become known as V8 Supercars, was also included in the 1992 race. The 1992 Sandown 500 featured a memorable late race duel between Larry Perkins in his Group A Holden VL Commodore and Tony Longhurst in his BMW M3 in changeable weather, with Perkins holding on for his second Sandown win and the only win for his co-driver Steve Harrington.
Group 3A Touring Car era
The Group 3A 5.0 Litre Touring Cars regulations were adopted for the 500 in 1993 and Glenn Seton Racing's second entry, driven by of 1987 Bathurst 1000 winner David Parsons and multiple IMSA champion Geoff Brabham won a race of high attrition. 1994 saw Dick Johnson's breakthrough win in the one race he had not been able to win in almost 20 years. He and John Bowe backed it up with a second win in 1995. The Holden Racing Team then scored consecutive wins with Craig Lowndes and Greg Murphy, including a memorable duel with Glenn Seton in 1997. Larry Perkins claimed his third win in 1998 with Russell Ingall before V8 Supercar, as it was now known, decided to look for other opportunities for their 500 km race.
Nations Cup era
The second hiatus in the history of the race commenced in 1999 when a Queensland government supported bid saw the Sandown 500 replaced on the V8 Supercar calendar by the Queensland 500, held at Queensland Raceway. The Sandown 500 was revived in 2001, returning to its roots as a race for production cars. With regulations linked to those of the Australian Nations Cup Championship, (a championship for GT style cars), and the Australian GT Production Car Championship, the race featured a more exotic variety of cars than it had traditionally attracted. John Bowe took his third win in 2001 in a Ferrari and a Lamborghini driven by multiple Australian Drivers' Champion Paul Stokell won in 2002.
V8 Supercar era
By 2003, new owners of Queensland Raceway had tired of the relative expense of the 500 kilometre endurance race format, resulting in the Sandown 500 again being contested by V8 Supercars.
After a change of promoter of Sandown Raceway’s motorsport activities, a changed V8 Supercar calendar resulted in the 500 kilometre event moving to the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit for the 2008 season, while Sandown switched to the regular V8 Supercar Championship sprint-race format of two or three sprint races between 120–180 km each.
The Sandown 500 was revived in 2011 as a round of the Australian Manufacturers' Championship. It was split into two legs, run on Saturday and Sunday, with the overall placings based on the combined results of the two legs. The semi-factory supported Mitsubishi entry of Stuart Kostera and Ian Tulloch claimed the win in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution.
V8 Supercar return
* The .05 (pronounced "point-oh-five") in the event name for 1989 was part of a Government campaign targeting drink-driving; 0.05% is the legal blood alcohol content limit in Australia.
** Race was stopped before full race distance
Multiple race winners
Number of victories by vehicle brand
- "Big bang V8 Supercar farewell for grand old lady in 2008". Official site of the Australian V8 Supercar Championship Series. 2007-10-06. Retrieved 2008-01-23.
- Return of the Sandown 500
- "Betta Electrical Sandown 500 History". Retrieved 2006-10-22.
- "Sandown International Motor Raceway:The History of Sandown". Retrieved 2006-10-30.
- Official Programme, International 6 Hour Touring Car Race, Sunday, November 21, 1965
- 2014 Wilson Security Sandown 500 Official event website