Right, let's start with a really terrible joke. Question: what's the difference between Australia and a pot of yoghurt? Answer: leave the yoghurt for long enough, and it'll develop its own culture.
What's this got to do with the Super Touring Bathurst 1000 of 1997 and '98? Well, it had echoes of the at-the-time very recent CART/IRL split in the States. After all, Australia's leading championship, for five-litre V8 Supercars, was not going to be represented in the country's biggest race, just as the CART World Series boys were effectively banished from the Indy 500. And the V8 Supercars formula even ran/continues to run to a similar philosophy to NASCAR, that great cultural icon of America.
Now, lo and behold, an expat Aussie named Alan Gow was coming to destroy Mount Panorama's 'Great Race' by enforcing a European culture upon it...
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Marcus Simmons is the deputy editor of Autosport magazine. As a child he was a regular on the chalk banks of Thruxton, before becoming an MSA timekeeper at the age of 17. Shortly afterwards, he started reporting for Motoring News and joined the staff in 1990.
After abandoning a parallel Formula First career – which had been as incident-packed as his childhood equestrian exploits – he moved to Autosport in 1996. Since then he has had two stints as a freelance and a brief spell as editor of Motor Sport magazine, during which the revered green cover was revived, before rejoining Autosport in 2008. He lives in Twickenham with his partner, two daughters, cat and guitars.