Brian Sampson


Record updated 03-Jun-10

Brian started racing in 1954 and he is still competing! Best known for his win in the 1975 Bathurst race driving with another Australian legend, the late Peter Brock. He has won literally hundreds of races in saloons, sports cars and single seaters.

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Brian started racing in 1954 in a hill climb at Tuerong Valley on the Mornington Peninsula. He drove his father’s MG TD sports car.

Since then he has raced at most circuits in Australia, including tracks and hill climbs with names no longer known to the younger generations and even possibly forgotten by some of his own generation! The hill climbs included Tuerong Valley, Mount Martha, Templestowe, Rob Roy, Lakeland and Hepburn Springs.

Race circuits include Fisherman’s Bend, Tarrawingee, Albert Park (original narrow road track—between the trees and no safety barriers), Phillip Island (1950s layout and surface), Calder Raceway (before and after it was sealed), Calder Park (Bob Jane era long and short circuits) Sandown (original circuit), Catalina, Warwick Farm, Amaroo Park, Oran Park long and short layouts, AIR–Adelaide International Raceway, Mallala (original and current tracks), Sandown (revised long and short designs), Surfers Paradise, Mount Panorama, Phillip Island (1970s and 1990s rebuilt circuit), Longford, Baskerville, Symmons Plains, Adelaide AGP Circuit, Calder (revised long and short circuits), Albert Park Current AGP Track and Sentul in Indonesia.

Literally hundreds of wins, both outright and class, have come from competing at all of these venues, from a hard-won 3rd place in the 1958 sports car race at Albert Park in his Supercharged Morris Special to winning, in November 2000, all three Formula Ford races in his RF77 Van Dieman and claiming 3rd outright in the Trans Tasman Challenge in Max Warwick’s beautiful McLaren M10 Formula 5000 at the Sandown Historic Races.

Long distance races were a specialty, beginning with 10th place at Albert Park in the 1955 "Argus" Moomba TT 100 Miles Sports Car Event driving an Austin Healy 100/4 through to 10th at his last Bathurst in 1990 driving with Bill O’Brien in the “Everlast” Commodore. The first long distance success came at the 1959 Armstrong 500 with a first in ‘A’ Class, driving a Renault Gordini with John Connolly.

The most notable was the memorable 1975 Bathurst win, co-driving with Peter Brock, but Brian also is very proud of the 1977 Oran Park Rothman’s 500 win in the Warren Cullen "Pioneer" L34 and his 1978 Rothmans 500 3rd place outright with Peter Williamson in a Toyota Celica. The 1980 Bathurst netted 4th place outright with Alan Browne in the Re-Car Commodore. In total, Brian competed in the Bathurst, Oran Park and Phillip Island Classics 20 times.

The teams that Brian drove for included BMC Australia—Austin Lancer, Rex Emmett — Renault Gordini, Tom Geoghan—Total Team Renault Gordini, Australian Motor Industries—Toyota Corona, Toyota Corolla, Triumph Spitfire, Triumph 2000, the fabulous factory Toyota Celica Sports Sedan, Harry Firth—HDT—L34, Gown and Hindaugh—L34 Warren Cullen Pioneer L34, Alan Browne Re-Car—,L34-A9X and Commodore, Winston Kim—MCB (Melbourne Clutch and Brake) Mitsubishi Starion in Production and Group ‘A,’ Peter Williamson Toyota, and long-time supporter Bill O’Brien of Everlast Industries—Falcon XD and Commodore (shown above finishing in 10th place in the 1990 classic).

Although Brian had many successes in these shared driver endurance events, he actually prefers to control his own cars and racing programs. A list of cars that he has owned is shown below, and it can be seen that, after the first early years, his preference has been for “open wheelers.” His original business, the Engine Reconditioning company Motor Improvements, specialised in modifying and developing BMC motors, Ford 998cc–1600cc and later the Toyota Corolla and Celica motors for the original 1100cc and 1300cc F3, 1600cc F2 open wheelers, 1300cc Clubman and sports sedans. For many years, they were virtually unbeatable and, in fact, are still sought after by historic race car owners around Australia.

Brian is no longer racing in endurance races nor Formula Holdens/F4000. He is very active in Historic racing, and also in the Victorian State Race Series in his Spectrum O6 Formula Ford.

In August 2001 he planned to race at only another twenty-five meetings before retiring. This target has since been overtaken and forgotten, and now, with his renewed level of fitness, enthusiasm and energy, coupled with the fact that he has some cars that he has not yet raced, indicates that there are no immediate plans for retirement.


Cars Owned and Raced by Brian Sampson
Cars still owned are shown in blue (bold)
Years Car Class Engine Cap’y Previous Owners
1950s Morris Special Sports Racing Morris S/V 1100 Lyn Evans, Bob Jane
  Austin A/30 Appendix J BMC A 1100 Used car yard
1960s Austin Lancer Appendix J BMC B 1600 Repossession yard
  Morris Elite Appendix J BMC B 1920 Austin distributors
  Ford Super Anglia Appendix J Ford 113E 1290 Ex police car
  Hillman Rally Imp Appendix J Hillman 1000 Ex U.K. works car, Rootes Motors, Norm Beechey
  Toyota Corona Appendix J Corona 1600 A.M.I. Racing
  Elfin Streamliner Sports/Racing MI Corolla 1100 Elfin Cars—
body and chassis
  Elfin Ford FJ Racing AF2 Ford 1500 Andy Brown
1970s Elfin 600 F3 Racing AF3 MI Corolla 1100 Elfin Cars—Rolling Chassis
  Toyota Corolla Sports Sedan MI Corolla 1300 Team Toyota
  Cheetah Mk 4 Sports Sedan MI Corolla 1300 New from Brian Shead
  Cheetah Mk 5 Racing AF3 MI Corolla 1300 New from Brian Shead
  Cheetah Mk 6 Racing AF3 MI Corolla 1300 New from Brian Shead
  Cheetah Mk 6 Racing AF2 MI Celica 1600 Converted from AF3 car
  Toyota Celica GT Sports Sedan Celica GT 1600 Team Toyota
1980s Austin Lancer Hist App J BMC B 1600 Used car yard
  Cheetah Mk 6 Formula/Atlantic Ford BDA 1600 New from Brian Shead
  Cheetah Mk 8 Racing AF2 MI Ford 1600 MI SOHC conversion fitted to BDA
  Ralt RT4 Formula/Atlantic Ford BDA 1600 Re-Car, Alan Jones
  Chevron B8 Hist Group O BMW 2000 Max Warwick, Peter Woodward
  Cheetah Mk 4B Hist Group O Ford T/C 1600 Colin Milne, Peter Macrow
  Cheetah Mk 5 Racing AF2 MI Corolla 1300 Derek Pringle, Peter Roach
  Cheetah Mk 6 Racing AF2 MI Celica 1600 Tom Crozier, Mike Stillwell; being converted to Hist Q
  Cheetah Mk 8 Racing AF2 VW Golf 1600 Vince McLauchlin
  Cheetah Mk 7 Racing AF2 MI Celica 1600 Rick Fabri
  Elva Mk 8S Hist Group M BMW 2000 Winston Kim, John Ould, Peter Brennan, Brian Carty
  Chevron B29 Hist Group Q Ford BDA 1600 David Oxton, Brian Redman
1990s Cheetah Mk 9 Formula Holden Holden V6 3800 Peter Glover
  Reynard 913 Racing AF2 VW Golf 1600 Arthur Abrahams
  Lola Buick T87/50 Formula Libre Buick V6 4200 Robert Bailey, Bob Minogue, Alan Hamilton
  Dallara 393 Racing AF2, VW Golf 1600 1600 Simon Hardwidge
    Now AF3 VW Golf 2000  
  Lola T91/50 Formula Holden Holden V6 3800 Barry Ward
  Dallara 391 – Alfa Racing AF2 Alfa Romeo Twin Spark 2000 Sam Astuti
  Elva Courier Hist Sports SA BMC B 1930 Winston Kim, Ian McDonald
2000s Van Dieman RF77 Hist F/Ford Ford 1600 Mike Beeley
  March 77B Hist Group Q Ford BDA 1600 Brian Robertson, Danny Sullivan, Colin Giltrap NZ
  Spectrum O6 Formula Ford Ford 1600 Ken Douglas, Ray Stubber
  Palliser WDF3 Hist F/Ford Ford 1600 Peter Finlay, Peter Hill, Andrew Makin
  Lola T342 Hist F/Ford Ford 1600 Mark Bisset, USA import
  Spectrum 011 Formula Ford Ford 1600 New car, delivered 2006
  Palliser Formula Ford

Paliser Formula Ford
Being rebuilt — owned but not yet raced    
  Brabham BT35 Hist Group O Ford T/C 1600 Kurt Seeburg, Paul England
  Ralt RT3 Hist Group R VW Golf 1600 Sean Cussell, Lucio Ceasario, Bob Power, Graham Watson
  Ralt RT3 Hist Group R VW Golf 1600 Keith Morling, Wayne Ford
  Elfin 623 Hist Group Q MI Corolla 1300 Ross Gordon
  Van Dieman RF86 Hist F/Ford Ford 1600 Neville Wills

With thanks to Speco Thomas