2019 Special Guest – Vern Schuppan AM

October 31, 2018

gnoo-blas-classic-autofest-2019-special-guest-vern-schuppanVern Schuppan is of one of Australia’s most accomplished and versatile drivers. He’s achieved so much in his career marked by his 1983 Le Mans 24 Hour win in the famous Rothmans 956 Porsche that he shared with Americans Hurley Haywood and Al Holbert. He was only the second Australian to win the famous race after Bernard Rubin in a Bentley in 1928. Only Geoff Brabham (1993) and David Brabham (2009) have done so since. He was also second in 1977 and 1982 and third in 1975.

Vern raced in three Indianapolis 500s, winning Rookie of the Year in 1976 and finishing third in 1981, the best result for an Australian until Will Power became the first Australian to win the famed race in 2018 giving owner Roger Penske his 17th Indy 500 success. In 2016 Vern returned to Indianapolis and was an ambassador for PIRTEK Team Murray as Matt Brabham, grandson of Sir Jack, made his debut.

Earlier in his career Vern won the 1971 British Formula Atlantic Championship, the Singapore Grand Prix in 1973 and the 1974 and 1976 Macau Grand Prix. At home he won the 1976 Rothmans International Series for Formula 5000 cars.

He was an open-wheel driver in Europe, North America, Japan and Australia, with 15 Formula 1 starts and might have had a celebrated F1 career had there been different circumstances with the cars.

Vern was a co-driver at the Bathurst 1000 for three of the biggest names in the race’s history, Dick Johnson, Peter Brock and Allan Moffat. His best result was a fifth but he and Moffat were leading the race in 1976 when their XB Falcon had engine problems.

Vern has an Order of Australia award and last year was inducted into the Motorsport Hall of Fame.