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Tuesday, 01 December 2015 00:00

Turbo power: Flashback to the Sierra RS Cosworth


It's 30 years since the launch of the Ford Sierra RS Cosworth, the car that would rule the Australian Touring Car Championship and Bathurst in the late 1980s.

The Sierra nameplate first appeared at Mount Panorama in 1986, though it truly made its mark in 1987 when the Eggenberger Motorsport Sierras finished one-two in the Bathurst 1000 only to be disqualified for wheel arch panel irregularities.

The Ford Sierra RS500 went on to claim one-two in the championship with Dick Johnson and John Bowe in 1988 and 1989, victory in the 1988 Bathurst 1000 with Tony Longhurst and Tomas Mezera and again in 1989 with Johnson and Bowe, and five Bathurst pole positions in six years.

"They were difficult because they had a
 lot of turbo lag," reflected John Bowe in an exclusive interview in V8X Supercar Magazine issue #86.

"If you built one now you could make it an awesome thing because turbo technology and engine-management systems and things have come so far.

"Nothing happens for it feels like 10 minutes and then everything happens at once, and they were hard on the tyres, but in hindsight, our shock absorbers were not anything like we have now.

"Dick and I drove the Sierras last year for
 a drive around Lakeside, a get back together thing, and we both had a drive and I got out of the car and said, 'Were these things that bad back then?' No wonder they used to eat the tyres; it was just a fearful thing.

"But in the time, it was before driving data, you developed a style around it of your own doing, that you had to actually undo when we got V8 Supercars, which were normally aspirated with a very responsive throttle.

"It was terrific because I arrived at the time when Neal Lowe had got over the engine woes. It was early days of engine-management systems, and he had a really good handle on it and I arrived at the time the team was about to take a really upward step, so it was very fortunate.

"In 1989 we led every lap and never dropped a place in the pitstops, so it was a pretty dominant performance by the team, not just us. It was a good feeling.

"In the aftermath of that race and that victory, they played the Tina Turner song over and over on the PA, 'Simply The Best'. And every time I hear it, I think of Bathurst and that Sunday night."

Highlights of the 1989 Bathurst 1000: