1966 Bathurst 500: How Mini tamed The Mountain

04 February 2013
Finnish rally ace Rauno Aaltonen up on three wheels and pushing very hard in the Bathurst-winning Mini Cooper S. (Image from: autopics.com.au)

Mount Panorama has a high strike rate when it comes to defining moments in Australian motor sport, which is not surprising given its unique layout and rich, colourful history. 

The runaway success of the Morris Cooper S in the annual 500-mile (800 km) race held there on October 2, 1966 is a prime example. 

For all its circuit racing and rallying successes over the years, the one event that has continued to define the Mini’s performance credentials in Australia more than any other has been its emphatic conquering of Mount Panorama nearly five decades ago.

But what is not as widely known is how race winner Bob Holden called on cunning competitive instincts and mechanical skills within the three-car BMCA works team to literally ‘engineer’ a victory for himself and Finnish rally ace Rauno Aaltonen.

As you will discover, the Mini’s one and only outright Bathurst win in 1966 is a fascinating tale of inter-team rivalry and political gamesmanship.