Most of you will be too young to know the significance of October 6, 1985 in which case, read on. This was the day that a 22-year hoodoo was finally broken — it was the day Jaguar recorded its first major touring car victory in Australia. The last man to achieve such a feat was Bob Jane in the 4.2-litre Mark II saloon. But behind the wheel of the TWR XJS V12 was John Goss who powered the suave coupé to victory. In fact, all three Jags that entered finished in the top three places at Bathurst that year, the legendary 1,000km endurance event.
The British beauties got the better of home-grown favourite Holden and the International BMW teams, making it an even more extraordinary achievement. In fact, it was the biggest assault Mount Panorama had ever seen from an overseas team.
It was a truly memorable race that saw both JPS BMWs beached in a sand trap and though Bathurst favourite Peter Brock put up a glorious battle for victory, it was Goss who took the plaudits and deservedly so. Both he and his German co-driver Armin Hahne had prevailed over huge difficulties to seal first spot.
During the gruelling race, the 004 Jaguar's race seat broke giving Goss no back support though he somehow managed to complete his stint and remain on the coat tails of Tom Walkinshaw and Win Percy in the leading 005 XJS. But, the leaders were forced to retire due to engine failure.
Goss's pit crew tied the seat against the roll cage using duct tape but it snapped off again so he had to summon up super human strength to complete the race without a backrest. He even managed to set the fastest lap in the green and white, 8,000rpm revving XJS and held off the challenge from Brock in the HDT VK Commodore.
That Jag was one of four lightweight XJS racecars that were built by TWR in the early Eighties. They were made to challenge for the 1984 European Touring Car Championship. They featured lightweight panels while the 5.3-litre V12 was tuned to produce 500bhp.
They started every race of the 1984 ETTC, winning several, to give Walkinshaw the driver's title and Jaguar the manufacturer's title. At Bathurst the following year, the TWR Jag set the fastest-ever touring car speed when it hit 296kph on Conrod Straight. Both 004 and 005 were rebuilt by TWR where they shed 50kg and were fitted out with new aluminium radiators. But rather than return Down Under, TWR opted to miss the Great Race due to a financial disagreement with organisers and took the cars to Mount Fuji, Japan instead.
Regardless, it had done enough thanks to Goss and Hahne in 1985 to attain legendary status and it still draws in the crowds today in the Group A and C historic racing category.