Rover 3500 SD1: British V8 muscle on the Mountain

04 July 2014
Double trouble. The pair of Mobil-backed Rover Vitesses that stormed Mount Panorama in 1984 left a lasting impression of TWR’s battle-hardened speed and efficiency. The winning Rover V8 crushed its feeble Group A competition to win by four laps.

Tom Walkinshaw Racing delivered Jaguar’s first and only Bathurst 1000 victory in 1985 with its howling XJ-S V12 coupes. Perhaps less known is that TWR also ran booming V8-powered Rover SD1s there the previous year, which dominated the new Group A ‘preview’ class and showed that the muscular British sedan was poised to become a serious contender in Aussie tin-top racing.

However, the Rover V8 threat never emerged when Australia dumped its home-grown Group C rules in favour of the FIA’s international Group A class in 1985. There was no factory presence by Jaguar Rover Australia in the Australian Touring Car Championship that year, as the company’s energies were focused on TWR’s three-car Jaguar assault at Bathurst in October.