From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Allan George Moffat, OBE (born 10 November 1939 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada) is an Australian racing driver known for his four wins in the Australian Touring Car Championship, six wins in the Sandown 500 and his four wins in the Bathurst 500/1000. Moffat was inducted into the V8 Supercar Hall of Fame in 1999.
Moffat and his long-time friend and rival (and later co-driver) Peter Brock are the only drivers to have won The Great Race at Bathurst in both its 500 mile and 1000 kilometre formats.
Born in Canada, Moffat moved to Australia as a 17-year-old college student with his parents when his father, who worked for Massey Ferguson, was transferred to Melbourne for work and in the early 1960s embarked on his record-setting motor racing career. He started his racing career at the wheel of a Triumph TR3.
1964 to 1971
Allan Moffat and Jon Leighton drove a Ford Lotus Cortina to fourth place in the 1964 Sandown 6 Hour International at Melbourne'sSandown Park. The race was the first of what would eventually become the Sandown 500.
Moffat first entered the Australian Touring Car Championship (ATCC) in 1965, driving a Lotus Cortina. Following this Moffat spent time in the United States where he drove in the new Trans-Am Series in 1966, showing his talent by winning the 3rd round of the series, the Bryar 250, at the Bryar Motorsports Park, outright in an Under 2L division Lotus Cortina on 10 July 1966, leading home Bruce Jennings driving aPlymouth Barracuda by over a lap.
Moffat returned to Australia but also spent more time in the USA, continuing to drive the Cortina as well as Ford Mustangs for Carroll Shelby in Trans-Am with various Australian co-drivers including Trans-Am regular Horst Kwech and Ford Australia's, and future Holden rival, Harry Firth. Moffat's time in Trans-Am included competing with Kwech in the Trans-Am class at the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring and driving four Trams-Am races in a Mercury Cougar for Bud Moore Engineering.
By 1969 Moffat had returned to live full-time in Australia and from 1969 he had become a regular ATCC competitor and his bright red Coca-Cola-sponsored Ford Boss 302 Mustang, which was supplied brand-new to Moffat from Ford's American 'in-house' race car fabrication and engineering facility "Kar Kraft" and finished off by Bud Moore Engineering, was unmistakable at circuits around Australia. With the help of Tom Hamilton and chief mechanic Lou Mallia, he would go on to win 101 championship and non-championship touring car races from 151 starts in this car between 1969 and 1972, including the first ever win by one of the seven factory Boss Mustangs built for racing in its debut at the Southern 60 at Sandown in May 1969, yet his dream of winning the ATCC in the Mustang eluded him. He failed to place in the top 10 in 1969, finished 6th in 1970, 2nd in 1971 and 3rd in 1972.
Moffat and his Coke Mustang were involved in two of the most memorable ATCC races on record. In 1971 he went into the 7th and final round at Oran Park only 4 points behind three time ATCC champion Bob Jane in his 7.0 litre Chevrolet Camaro ZL-1. Both started from the front row (Moffat on pole) and entered into an enticing duel. In mid-race Moffat was forced to pit in order to free a jammed gearbox but battled back to only be six-tenths of a second behind Jane at the finish. Then in 1972 he was involved in a race long dice with Ian Geoghegan at the Easter round of the series (Round 3) at the 6.172 km Mount Panorama Circuit at Bathurst. Up against Geohegan's more powerful, 5.8L "Super Falcon", Moffat, while being left behind on the long Mountain and Conrod Straights, was able to keep with the Falcon using its superior handling and brakes and again only lost by less than a second. Moffat drove for over half the race with his safety belts undone so that he could put his head out of the drivers window in order to see where he was going, the Falcon having a small oil leak which saw some oil sprayed onto the Mustangs windscreen. By his own admission, Moffat did the wrong thing and turned his wipers on which only made the situation worse as it smeared the oil over the window and with the race only being 13 laps long he was forced to carry on. Following the race Moffat protested Geoghegan's Falcon but the protest was dismissed after Geoghegan's crew had time to wipe away the excess oil before the scrutineer's could examine the car.
Although Moffat and a number of other drivers raced Mustangs for ATCC competition - the five ATCC titles from 1965 to 1969 were won by Norm Beechey (1965) and Ian Geoghegan (1966–69) driving Mustangs - this car, modified to CAMS Improved Production Touring Car regulations was ineligible for the Bathurst 500 (later Bathurst 1000), which was restricted to standard production cars prior to 1973. Moffat therefore made his debut in that race in 1969 in a Ford works team entered Ford Falcon XW GTHO. He and co-driver Alan Hamilton finished fourth. Due to the severe tyre problems suffered by the works GTHOs, Moffat was called into the pits early to change tyres. To the amazement of Ford team manager Al Turner, Moffat's tyres were not as near worn as those on the lead Geoghegan brothers or the Gibson/Seton Falcons, showing that Moffat was a driver who could be kind to his car and still go fast. Moffat maintains the view that he never wanted to pit at the time and that had he been left "to his own devices", he and Alan Hamilton would have won the 1969 500. Moffat had actually been near last on the first lap of the race after his Falcon became stuck in neutral as he was powering out of The Cutting. This turned out to be fortunate as it allowed him to avoid the Bill Brown rollover going over Skyline which blocked the track and took out approximately a quarter of the field who had no warning of the impending disaster.
1981 and beyond
Much to the dismay of the Aussie Ford fans, Moffat left the "Blue Oval" brand in 1981 to drive a Peter Stuyvesant-sponsored Mazda RX-7 as both the ATCC and Bathurst began to exhibit a shift towards lighter touring cars with less raw power. Moffat drove the RX-7 to four consecutive top-six finishes at Bathurst between 1981 and 1984 including a second in 1983 and 3rd in 1984, while winning his fourth and final ATCC title in 1983. During this time Moffat drove his RX-7 to victories in the 1982 and 1984 Australian Endurance Championships.
Moffat also competed at the 24 Hours of Daytona in an RX-7, taking a class win in 1982 with co-drivers Lee Mulle and Kathy Rude. In 1982 he again competed at Le Mans in a factory RX-7-based sportscar, achieving a class win alongside Japanese co-drivers Yojiro Terada and Takashi Yorino. In his bid to win the 1983 ATCC, Moffat had to turn down a factory drive for Mazda at the 1983 24 Hours of Le Mans as the final round of the ATCC at Lakesidewas held the same weekend as the French classic (the Mazda 717C he was to drive would win the races' Group C Junior class). Moffat went into the ATCC race in second place behind the Nissan of George Fury, and with the Nissan team not attending the meeting Moffat needed to finish no lower than fifth to claim his fourth title. He eventually finished in an easy third place behind team mate Gregg Hansford in the team's second RX-7, and race winner Peter Brock in his HDT Commodore SS to claim the ATCC by just six points. Brock lapped the field, the first time in ATCC history a driver had won a race by over a lap, while Moffat, who lead from pole (his 4th of the 8 round series) but gave best to the flying Brock on lap 2, simply drove for the points on a wet track which normally would normally have suited the RX-7 over the heavier Holden.
1984 would prove to be a frustrating year for Moffat. After finishing 3rd in the opening round of the ATCC at Sandown behind winner Brock and second placed Dick Johnson (Johnson had taken Moffat's 1970's mantle of being the leading Ford driver in the country), he claimed pole in his RX-7 (fitted with the 13B rotary engine instead of the 12A of 1983) at Symmons Plains. However, due to the cold conditions the team put a cover over the front of the car to help warm up the engine. Unfortunately the fuse for the overheating warning light had blown and Moffat's race only lasted until the hairpin on lap one before his rotary engine expired, handing an easy win to Brock. He then won at Wannerroo in Perth, before crashing out of the championship at Surfers Paradise when his Mazda was hit while lapping the XD Falcon of Gary Willmington at high speed going under the Dunlop Bridge at the end of the main straight. Due to the wet conditions the Mazda slid off the road at high speed, took out an ABC television camera cable and slammed head on into a bush that was hiding a tree stump. In what was his biggest crash since rolling his XA Falcon at Phillip Island in 1973, Moffat suffered a fractured sternum and broken finger in the accident, while the RX-7 was a write off.
After his crash at Surfers, there was much speculation in the motor racing press that the 45 year old was going to retire from full-time driving at the end of the year. Moffat refuted these claims and made his comeback in Round 2 of the 1984 Australian Endurance Championship at Oran Park. Despite suffering from the flu, Moffat put the RX-7 on pole and he and Gregg Hansford went on to win the Valvoline 250 from the XE Falcon of ATCC winner Dick Johnson. Moffat and Hansford then finished second to Peter Brock and Larry Perkins in the Castrol 500 at Sandown, and claimed third at the James Hardie 1000 behind the two Holden Dealer Team Commodores, who staged a 1-2 finish trying to copy what Moffat and Bond had achieved in 1977, though unlike the Moffat Ford Dealers Falcons which were on the same lap, the Brock/Perkins car was 2 laps ahead of team mates John Harvey and David Parsons. Moffat's team entered two cars in the race, but only listed Moffat and Hansford as drivers, and had to fight with Bathurst race organisers the Australian Racing Drivers Club (ARDC) to be allowed to start both cars, as both drivers had qualified inside the top 10 (race regulations stated that the top 8 qualifiers were locked in to participate in the Hardies Heroes top 10 run-off, with Moffat 5th and Hansford 6th). Moffat won the fight with the ARDC and his decision to start both cars was vindicated when his own #43 RX-7 was involved in a car banging dual with the Falcon of Steve Masterson soon after the original start. After only 15 laps of the second start (the first was aborted after the John Goss Jaguar XJS driven by European Touring Car Champion Tom Walkinshaw had stalled and was hit from behind causing the pit straight to be blocked), Moffat was forced to retire his car with terminal engine problems after only 15 laps and move into Hansford's, which had been originally intended to run about 20 laps, but lasted 161 (with Moffat himself only driving the middle 'lunchtime' stint and Hansford driving the majority of the race). Moffat then went on to finish second behind Brock in the Surfers Paradise 300 to claim the final Australian Endurance Championship, and the final ever championship run under CAMS Group C rules.
In 1985 he took his own RX-7 that he campaigned previously in Australia to Daytona for the 24 Hour race, sharing the car with Australian drivers Gregg Hansford, Kevin Bartlett and Peter McLeod. The car differed from its Australian configuration, a new rear wing was run on the car and 20 kg of ballast was removed, bringing it down to its actual homologated weight of 930 kg, while the engine was the same 13B that had carried Moffat and Hansford to third place at Bathurst the previous year. Moffat qualified the car in 38th (12th in the GTO class) and eventually finished 24th and 7th in class, some 221 laps behind the race winners. Regular RX-7 drivers Moffat, Hansford and McLeod all expressed how much more effective the 13B motor was without the CAMS imposed extra 20 kg. While Moffat made the RX-7 a regular race winner on the shorter and generally flatter Australian tracks, he believes the extra weight in the car was what made it impossible to match the V8's at Bathurst
With Mazda not interested in Group A racing (he tested a Mazda 626 at Calder Park but it proved to be uncompetitive), Moffat was forced to sit out the 1985 Australian season. He joined the ABC television coverage of the 1985 Castrol 500 at Sandown, and was an expert commentator for Channel 7's coverage of the 1985 James Hardie 1000, testing several cars for the coverage including a HDT VK Commodore, a BMW 635 CSi from JPS Team BMWand also the turbocharged Volvo 240T.