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Bluebirds to be reunited with the Mountain

For the first time in nearly 40 years, two Australian-built and developed Group C Nissan Bluebird turbos will race together at the Bathurst next week as part of the Heritage Revival.

The 1983 edition of The Great Race was the last time the Nissans contested the race together as for the final event to run under the Group C regulations the next year a sole Bluebird took part.

In fact, George Fury set a remarkable 2m 13.8s time during Hardies’ Heroes to ensure Nissan ended the Group C era at Bathurst on a high, although the race didn’t go to plan as he and Garry Scott finished 16th.

Brian Henderson is now the owner of this history making Nissan and has since partnered with Adam Workman in a twin-Bluebird attack on Group A&C historic events.

Workman races the Bluebird driven by Fred Gibson and John French in the 1983 Bathurst 1000, with the pair of Japanese turbos still a popular model 40 years on.

“Every time we attend a race meeting, there are always fans with stories and memories to share, and everyone wants to get photos of our cars,” Workman said.

“Brian and I are operating as a two-car outfit and we’re aiming to recreate the Nissan factory team environment.

“As well as being a great spectacle in the pits, it also makes it easier for us because we can share components between the two cars.”

Many people believe the Bluebird was a twitchy and temperamental car to handle in race conditions, but Workman said this is not the case.

“The Bluebird is actually quite an easy car to drive, it feels supple and forgiving,” he said.

“The Nissan engineers spent a lot of time focusing on suspension and ride control, and it really shows from behind the wheel.

“Even the gearbox is relatively user-friendly – there’s no synchromesh, so it’s important to match revs when you’re down-shifting, but I change gears without the clutch.”

Despite this, there is still one major challenge and it’s the light-switch nature of the turbocharger, which was a common characteristic of most touring cars during the 1980s.

“When the turbo cuts in, you suddenly go from 80 to 400 horsepower, which can certainly catch your attention coming out of a slow corner!” he said.

“It takes a while to get used to, but you can adjust your driving technique to make sure the engine stays in a certain rev-range.”

Mount Panorama provides the perfect opportunity to showcase these Bluebirds again, especially at the Repco Bathurst 1000 where history is respected.

“Bathurst is a race meeting that attracts enthusiasts who really appreciate the history of the sport, there are people who have been going there for decades and naturally there will be spectators who will have been there during the Bluebird glory days,” Workman concluded.

Heritage Revival is part of the support program for the Repco Bathurst 1000 on October 6-9.