Chassis number 5. The fastest sierra touring car ever?This particular chassis was team boss Dick Johnson’s favorite with over 700HP*.
Doesnt it wear those wheels well?One of the few cars that’s ever looked good in gold i think.
*measured on the rumor mill so probably not quite true.
Isnt it strange the things you find in the rabbit warren that is the internet.
I was reading ...something,i cant even remember, when i found a link about old touring cars and decided i had to re-read all about Dick Johnson’s world beating Sierra’s of the late eighties.
First a bit of quick info for those who have never heard of the guy:
Dick was an australian touring car (that’s the top category here) driver of the late 70’s onwards.He won quite a few championships but is best known for his laconic sense of humor,both in and out of the cockpit.His racecam quotes were nearly always worth listening to :-).
Dick never had a lot of success in out biggest race ,the Bathurst 1000,but did make up for it somewhat with some ‘interesting’ highlights.
-Becoming famous for the wrong reasons- having his car wrecked because someone rolled a large rock onto the track.
-Every man and their dog then ringing the tv broadcaster to offer money so he could rebuild his car! Edsel Ford II saw this and gave an equal amount effectively doubling the total.
-Winning for the first time the very next year!
-Having an *almighty* crash in qualifying ,1984 in the evil handling Falcon.He clipped a barrier while right on the limit and the car speared into the trees.It looked terrifying.
-Being the best of the Sierra teams but still missing out at Bathurst.
-everything coming together in 1989 with a dominant win! Interesting sub fact- They were beaten to pole by Peter Brock who used his halon fire extinguisher on the intercooler to boost power(!!)
- *Almost* beating the Gozillas in 1992.Actually i think that one impresses me most.
The DJR Sierra era was an interesting one.Dick was one of the first in australia to use the new turbo toy and pushed very hard in development.
Things didnt go so well at first.As with all turbo racecars at the time things just had a habit of falling apart- usually spectacularly and expensively! In their first season with the Sierra-1987,they were blowing up turbo after turbo trying to make the cars work.Soon the RS500 version came but still it took time for things to come good.
Dick says they were the only ones at the time who were playing with engine management software.Others simply accepting that the factory supplied modules (cosworth i think?) were the best they could get.
By 1988 they had it dialed and utterly dominated the season but as seems to be usual Bathurst eluded them again due to a tech fault.
This was also the year they took one of the cars to england,running one round of the European Touring car championship.Dick claimed pole by half a second over the what were supposed to be the most highly developed Sierras in the world.Leading early the car had a silly problem (failed water pump) which stopped it finishing but it sure made people take notice!
In 1989 it all came together with both the championship and dominant Bathurst win.At last!
While things went a bit downhill after that, DJ did get one more great performance for the record book.A pole for Bathurst 1992 and *almost* winning against the dominant Nissan GTRs in what was the last appearance for both cars.
And a cool Post script:
DJR Chassis number 5 was kept in original condition and was recently sold to a collector ,but not before getting a complete mechanical restoration.It’s nice to know the new owner will be able to take it on track and give it a proper bootful as it was always intended for :-)