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Touring car legends to race in Supercars support event

Bathurst winning drivers John Bowe and Greg Murphy will both drive Ford Sierra RS500 Cosworths in the Historic Touring Cars NZ supporting the Repco Supercars Championship’s return to Pukekohe in September 9-11.

First to be announced was three-time Bathurst 1000 winner Murphy, who will drive a Ford Sierra RS500 Cosworth featuring a stories history in New Zealand.

Known as the ‘Peanut Slab’ in reference to its Whittaker’s sponsorship, the Sierra was an ex-Wolf Racing example shared by Armin Hahne and 1986 Australian Touring Car Championship winner Robbie Francevic in the 1988 Bathurst 1000.

Owned by New Zealand motorsport luminary Mark Petch, the ‘Peanut Slab’ contested the 1989 and 1990 events, before racing primarily in New Zealand from then on.

In 1992, then rising star Murphy got the opportunity to make his touring car debut in the ‘Peanut Slab’ sharing with Kayne Scott to take fourth in Wellington and Pukekohe as part of the Nissan-Mobil Series.

We all know what Murphy went onto achieve in motor racing, but the ‘Peanut Slab’ continues to race today in historic competition as Peter Sturgeon is the new custodian and has allowed the Kiwi star to be reunited with the Sierra, which started it all.

Sturgeon in fact owns a multitude of significant racing models including many JPS BMWs.

Bowe will also reunite with a Sierra RS500 Cosworth he previously raced during Dick Johnson Racing’s dominate era of the late-1980s and early-1990s.

In fact, Bowe will race DJR6 at Pukekohe in September, the last Sierra RS500 Cosworth built by the team as Group A drew to a close.

Debuting at the 1990 Sandown 500, it was used as #17 at Bathurst where it blew a turbo on lap 94 before Bowe drove it during the early stages of the 1991 season where for the second half it was utilised as a spare.

It was used as entry #17 at Bathurst and was driven by Johnson in the 1992 ATCC, but was switched to #18 for Bathurst as Greg Crick and veteran Terry Shiel finished 11th.

The Sierra was sold following the season as DJR switched to Falcons for the new era of touring car racing in 1993.

These two drivers add further profile to a historic scene gaining significant traction across the Tasman, with Super Touring proving very popular.