In the 1960s, Australian touring car racing was beginning to take over from open wheelers as the most popular form of the sport in that country. One of the new names to appear on the flanks of these touring cars was the Australian oil company, Neptune. Its Trident marketing logo was a familiar sight on race tracks in the 1960s as the Shell owned company sponsored three of the top touring car drivers of the time.
Jim McKeown – who was the first driver in Australia to race a Lotus Cortina – debuted in Neptune colours at Calder Park on Australia Day, 26th January 1964. Assembled by Colin Chapman’s Lotus Company in the UK with body shells provided by Ford, the Lotus Cortina of Neptune Racing Team would prove to be one of the slickest outfits in the pits.
In July 1964 they found themselves at Lakeside, Queensland trying to win the Australian Touring Car Championship. McKeown’s 1:08:20 lap put him on pole. He failed to finish the race when he clipped an abandoned car and crashed out of the race. McKeown campaigned Cortina’s for the next few season, including a change to Shell colours as the parent company took over sponsorship and Neptune was phased out. The former sports car ace and the Neptune Lotus Cortina will forever remain linked in Australian touring car history.
Drivers : Jim McKeown
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