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Last time a Camaro won at Sandown

Broc Feeney and Jamie Whincup’s victory in the Penrite Sandown 500 wasn’t the first touring car round at the historic venue to be won by a Chevrolet Camaro, as 40 years earlier Kevin Bartlett did likewise in his Channel Nine version.

At the advice of Australian media tycoon and sponsor Kerry Packer, Formula 5000 frontrunner Bartlett transitioned to touring cars for 1980 in the now famous Channel Nine Chevrolet Camaro.

Built during 1979 ahead of the updated Group C regulations for the next season devised to phase out the older shaped Ford Falcon hardtops and Holden Torana A9Xs, Bartlett was a victim of the political games the class was to be impacted by until its end in 1984.

Choosing the Camaro due to its ability to fit larger rear tyres without altering the body and its four-wheel disc brakes, it soon became apparent when the Holden Dealer Team was revealed to be testing a Commodore featuring the guards to fit 10” inch rubber that all was not kosher.

Bartlett was disappointed to discover the rules continued to evolve to concessions due to CAMS desperation to get the new shaped Commodore and in particular the XD Falcon on the grid.

As it turned out the Holden Dealer Team was the only squad ready for the opening part of the season as Peter Brock took his third and final Australian Touring Car Championship crown after winning four of the eight rounds, including the first three.

However, Bartlett and the Camaro Z28 did defeat Brock twice to finish second in the standings as he greeted the chequered flag for the first time at Sandown.

Albeit with disc brakes and enjoying minimal of the concessions provided by CAMS to suit the two local marques, Bartlett roared to victory at Sandown using the power of the Chevrolet to defeat Brock for the first time in 1980.

He again won at Surfers Paradise International Raceway, but it proved Bartlett’s best result as he intermittently raced the Channel Nine beast right up until the class finished in 1984 as he added another win at Oran Park in 1982 to finish equal third for the season.

Another win went begging at the final round in 1980 at Oran Park when Bartlett was disqualified post event for a fuel irregularity.