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Sons of Guns: Continuing the Legacy of Australian Racing Legends

Fast cars, adrenaline-fueled racing, and an unwavering passion for speed are just a few things passed down from generation to generation among some of Australia’s most famous motorsport families.

While most of the best local drivers in Supercars Australia and Formula 1, such as Lowdnes, Whincup, McLaughlin, Van Gisbergen and Ricciardo, reached the pinnacle of motorsport without following in the tracks of famous fathers, many children of famous drivers have been brave enough to give it a try. When you grow up with a superstar driver as a Dad you have an insider’s view on the challenge of getting to the top. It’s inspiring and daunting at the same time. While some choose to follow their dreams away from the racetrack, others aim to step into the enormous shoes of their racing predecessors, crafting their own remarkable track records under the watchful eyes of greatness.

The legacies left by some of Australasia’s racing legends, like Brabham, Johnson, Richards and Perkins, continue to inspire their children and grandchildren. Sons and daughters grew up in a family that ‘lived to race’, and some who inherited their Dad’s love for competing are now continuing the name and tradition, becoming daring drivers of super-fast cars.

Today we will delve into the stories and successes of some of Australia’s most famous racing families, including fathers and sons who have continued to share a passion for speed and engineering excellence in the exciting and challenging sport of championship-level auto racing.

legendary race car driving families in australia

 

Steven and Jett Johnson

When it comes to Australian motorsport, the Johnson family is a name that needs no introduction. Richard ‘Dick’ Johnson is a famous name in Australian motorsport spanning half a century at the top of V8 racing. Dick Johnson’s passion and energy created DJR, the only team with 1,000 starts over 50 years in the Australian Touring Car Championship (ATCC), V8 Supercars and Supercars Australia. The ‘unlucky’ Queensland ‘battler’ is hugely popular for his achievements on the track, winning the ATCC five times and the Bathurst 1000 on three occasions, with his laconic humour and dedication to the sport building a massive fan base beyond Ford diehards.

Steven Johnson, the son of racing legend Dick Johnson, is considered a very good driver, despite not having the track record of his famous father. He’s been competitive in Supercars and then continued to impress with three championship wins in the Touring Car Masters between 2017 and 2019. Steve shares his Dad’s humility and dedication to continue the Johnson racing team ‘dynasty’.

And now we’re seeing the emergence of Jett Johnson, Steven’s son, the young up-and-comer who is already turning heads in Australian motorsports. With a natural talent for driving and a hunger to succeed, Jett is quickly gaining a reputation as one of the most exciting young racers in the country. He currently leads the Promaxx Performance Exhausts TA2 Muscle Car Series and for a driver that just turned 18 in March 2023, the expectation is that Jett will be thrilling fans, just like his Dad and Grandad in the years ahead.

legendary australian race car drivers family - dick, steven, and jett johnson

 

Jack Perkins

The Perkins family is a name that has become synonymous with success. And Jack Perkins, the son of racing legend Larry Perkins, is no exception. When you consider his father’s accomplishments, as a top driver with exceptional engineering know-how, it becomes clear that Jack is the product of a motorsport high achiever.

With a natural talent for driving and a family legacy to live up to, Jack may not emulate his Dad’s mark on the sport. However, every fan knows that to even compete in the Supercars Championship requires great skill and dedication. With one win and three podium finishes to his name, there’s more to come from Jack.

Larry won the TAA Formula Ford “Driver To Europe” Series in 1971 and the Australian Formula 2 Championship in 1972 before taking on the challenge of the 1975 European Formula Three Championship series.

With four wins in the Australian Touring Car Championship (ATCC) and V8 Supercars Championship, 160 starts and an incredible six Bathurst wins, Larry is one of the most successful drivers in Australian motorsport history.

race car driver jack perkins and father larry perkins

 

Steven Richards

With 12 wins, 60 podium finishes, six pole positions and five Bathurst wins to his name, Steven has established himself as one of the most successful drivers of his generation.

But considering his father Jim Richards’ achievements, it becomes clear that motorsport success runs deep in the Richards family. Jim, a New Zealand Motor-racing Hall of Fame inductee, boasts an incredible 15 championship titles and seven Bathurst wins – making him one of the most accomplished drivers in Australasian motorsport history.

It’s clear that Steven Richards has inherited his father’s talent and passion for the sport. But Steven’s success is not just down to his family name. He has proven time and again that he has what it takes to compete at the highest level, with a natural talent for driving and a relentless work ethic that has seen him overcome countless obstacles in his career. And like his Dad, he’s one of a rare few who can master the Mount Panorama Racing Circuit at Bathurst.

steven richards and father jim richards - australian car racing legends

 

James Moffat

James Moffat is one of the most promising drivers in Australian motorsport, with a talent and passion that runs deep in his blood. The son of the legendary Allan Moffat, James has been making a name for himself on the track with a string of impressive performances.

With two wins, six podium finishes and one pole position to his name, James has already proven that he has what it takes to compete at the highest level. Plus, with three podium finishes at Bathurst 1000, James is clearly a formidable competitor on one of the toughest tracks in the world.

Of course, when you consider the incredible career of his father, Allan Moffat, it’s clear that James has some big shoes to fill. Allan was one of the most successful drivers in Australian motorsport history, with 100 starts, 32 wins, eight championship titles and four Bathurst wins to boot. He was even awarded the Order of the British Empire for his services to motorsport.

brabham family - car racing legends in australia

 

Geoff and David Brabham

Geoff and David Brabham are two of the most accomplished names in Australian racing, and their achievements have continued their father’s legacy, the great Sir Jack Brabham. Geoff made 48 starts in Formula One and won nine times. David’s success, on the other hand, spans multiple disciplines, including the Australian Drivers’ Championship, British Formula 3 Championship, Macau Grand Prix, All-Japan GT Championship, and the American Le Mans Series in both the P1 and LMP classes.

But it is their father, Jack Brabham, who sets the standard for the family. He won the Formula One World Championship three times, in 1959, 1960, and 1966, and accumulated 14 wins, 31 podiums, 13 pole positions and 12 fastest laps throughout his career.

His accomplishments were recognised with numerous honours, including Officer of the Order of the British Empire and Officer of the Order of Australia, as well as being named a National Living Treasure.

moffat family - australian race car drivers

 

Glenn and Aaron Seton

Glenn and Aaron Seton have made names for themselves in Australian racing, following in the footsteps of their father (and grandfather), the legendary Barry Seton. Barry’s son Glenn amassed an impressive record of 40 wins, 104 podiums, and 16 pole positions over the course of his Australian Touring Car and Supercars Championship career. Glenn’s young son Aaron has made nine starts and achieved one podium finish since his Dunlop Super2 Series debut and at 24 years in 2023, there’s plenty of time ahead to add to that impressive start.

Barry Seton is a true icon of Australian motorsport, with four championship titles and four Bathurst class wins to his name. His success and longevity in the sport have made him a respected figure among fans and drivers alike. His influence on the sport has been felt for generations, and he has been formally recognised as a V8 Supercars Hall of Fame inductee.

seton family - legendary australian race car drivers

 

Ben Grice

Ben Grice, the son of Australian racing legend Allan Grice, is another racer that’s been making a name for himself on the track with an impressive record of 30 wins, 52 podiums and 15 pole positions. His natural talent and hard work have been evident in his results, and he continues to push himself to new heights in the sport.

Allan Grice’s legacy in Australian motorsport is just as impressive, with four championship titles and two Bathurst wins to his name. His success on the track has made him a beloved figure in the sport, and his ‘knock-about’ friendly manner and broad ‘cowboy’ hat made him a real character in the sport.

For Ben, following in his father’s footsteps has been both a source of inspiration and pressure, but he has proven himself up to the challenge. His dedication to the sport and his innate talent has allowed him to carve out his own path while still paying homage to his family’s proud legacy in racing.

allan grice and his son ben grice - australian race car drivers

 

Ben Bargwanna

Ben Bargwanna, son of Australian touring car racer Jason Bargwanna, is carving out his own path in the racing world. At just 22 years old, Ben has already achieved an impressive record on the track, including one win, five podium finishes, and one pole position.

Jason Bargwanna, a two-time Bathurst champion and V8 Supercars race winner, was a force to be reckoned with during his career. With seven wins, 23 podium finishes, and two pole positions, he was known for his aggressive driving style and ability to outmaneuver his opponents.

Now, his son Ben is following in his footsteps, determined to make his own mark on the sport. With his impressive record and unwavering passion for racing, Ben has the potential to become another great of Australian motorsport.

Ben Bargwanna and his father, Australian touring car racer Jason Bargwanna

 

Tabitha Ambrose

It’s a story that’s causing a new buzz in motorsports: Tabitha Ambrose, daughter of legendary driver Marcos Ambrose, has decided to follow in her father’s footsteps and enter the racing world. And she’s already showing she can go head to head in this male-dominated domain. With just a few races under her belt, Tabitha has shown tremendous skill and determination, finishing 14th in her first race and improving from there. She finished in 10th place in her second race, followed by an impressive 8th place finish in her third. And she capped off her first racing weekend with a sixth-place finish in her fourth race.

It’s clear that Tabitha has inherited her father’s talent and passion for racing. Marcos Ambrose, a two-time Supercars champion with 28 wins, 66 podiums, and 18 pole positions under his belt, is widely regarded as one of two great Tasmanian drivers of his era, along with the legendary John Bowe. He left Australia as a champion and tackled the unfamiliar and fiercely competitive US auto racing at the top echelons.  He’s impressed with success in the elite NASCAR arena, becoming the first Australia to win, scoring two wins, 26 top tens, and three poles in the Cup Series, earning the shot at the top following five wins, 18 top tens, and four poles in the Xfinity Series.

With her father’s support and guidance, there’s no telling how far Tabitha Ambrose can go in the world of motorsports. But one thing’s for sure: she’s already making a name for herself, and the fans are engaged by her desire to hone her skills and chase her dreams.

Tabitha Ambrose and father, legendary driver Marcos Ambrose

 

See what it takes to become a true son or daughter of the track

If you’ve been inspired by the remarkable accomplishments of these motorsports legends and their talented offspring, it’s time to take the plunge and experience the thrill and speed of racing for yourself with one of our driving experiences. You could have the ultimate bonding moment with your own son or daughter at Bathurst and have an incredible day out with family at the track. Or surprise a friend or loved one with an experience gift card to let them have an unforgettable driving or hot laps ride experience of their choice.

drive a race car in australian through fastrack experiences
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