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Legendary Ford Cortina GT500 added to PremiAir Hire Bathurst Winners’ Category

The Ford Cortina GT500 dominated the early Bathurst 500s and the one to greet the flag in 1965 will be part of the PremiAir Hire Bathurst Winners’ category at the 2024 Repco Adelaide Motorsport Festival on March 16-17.

Cortinas were the model to have during the early editions of the Bathurst 500, which turned into the 1000 in 1973. Famously, Ford Competition Manager Harry Firth used to walk his Cortina down the production line ensuring it had the best components before heading to Mount Panorama as he won the first 500 at Bathurst alongside Bob Jane.

Bob Jane went back-to-back with George Reynolds in another Cortina the following year before an upgraded version was announced in the form of the GT500.

Firth was at it again when he homologated the GT500 as various mechanical improvements were made including a ported and polished head, matching inlet in addition to exhaust manifolds. Wade Cams in Melbourne reground the camshaft, a dual choke Weber carburettor was fitted, larger conrod bolts, higher spec main and big end bearings, lightened flywheel, copper core plug leads, deletion of air cleaner and a one-piece steel crankshaft pulley.

The gearbox used ratios from the famed Lotus Cortina, suspension was lowered, aluminium air scoops to cool front brakes, a new fuel tank, while 500 badges identified it as the special model.

Bo Seton and Midge Bosworth maintained the Cortina’s unbeaten run in the Bathurst 500 to take victory in 1965 and it’s this very GT500, which is to appear at the Repco Adelaide Motorsport Festival.

The Cortina GT500 will be the oldest of the Bathurst winners to be appear in the category and is at the event thanks to the custodians, the National Motor Racing Museum located on the outside of Murray’s Corner of the legendary circuit.

Already included in the PremiAir Hire Bathurst Winners’ Category is the 2016 winning Holden VF Commodore of Tekno Autosports, the dual victor in 1982 and 1983 from the Holden Dealer Team, both Nissan Skyline GT-Rs to win in the early-1990s and the Holden ZB Commodores from 2020 in addition to 2022.

More are promised to be announced closer to the event.

The Repco Adelaide Motorsport Festival is due to be as spectacular as ever and an event not to miss on March 16-17.