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Australian Formula Pacific

Formula Pacific had been strongly resisted by CAMS, the Australian governing body of motor sport, when it was first negotiated in 1976 and introduced as an International formula in 1977. CAMS needed to replace Australian National Formula 2 (ANF2), which used the old Ford twin cam engines, but chose to invent a new formula for 1978, for 1600cc single-cam engines. While Formula Pacific flourished in New Zealand, Japan and to a lesser extent Southeast Asia, Australia had two struggling series, Australian National Formula 1 (ANF1) for Formula 5000 which had died out everywhere else, and ANF2 for single-cam engines that had never existed anywhere else.

After allowing Formula Pacific cars to run alongside the more powerful but unreliable F5000s in ANF1 in 1979 and 1980, it was finally announced in 1981 that Formula Pacific would take the place of F5000 as Australia's premier formula for 1982. National Panasonic sponsored a Formula Pacific championship for 1981, and the Australian GP was held to Formula Pacific rules in November 1981, attracting a very strong intenational field.

The seasons

The 1981 National Panasonic Championship: Lakeside (race 1), Lakeside (race 2), Adelaide (race 1), Adelaide (race 2), Calder (race 1), Calder (race 2), Oran Park (race 1), Oran Park (race 2), (Australian Grand Prix at Calder).

The 1982 Australian National F1 season: Oran Park, Adelaide, Wanneroo Park, Lakeside, Calder, Sandown Park, Winton, Australian Grand Prix at Calder.

The 1983 Australian National F1 season: Adelaide, Lakeside, Oran Park, Sandown Park, Winton, Australian Grand Prix at Calder.

The 1984 Australian Formula Mondial season: Adelaide, Lakeside, Calder, Winton, Oran Park, Wanneroo Park, Sandown Park, Australian Grand Prix at Calder.

The 1985 Australian Formula Mondial season: Wanneroo Park, Amaroo Park, Lakeside, Oran Park, Sandown Park.

The 1986 Australian Formula Mondial season: Sandown Park, Adelaide International Raceway, Wanneroo Park, Calder, Winton, Oran Park, Amaroo Park.

The idea of an Australian National Formula 1 (ANF1) was dropped after 1983, and from 1984 onwards the Australian Drivers' Championship was for cars built to Formula Mondial, the name the FIA had imposed on Formula Atlantic and Formula Pacific. The Drivers' Championship moved to the single-cam ANF2 cars in 1987 and was decided by a single race on the Adelaide Street Circuit on 13 November 1987, won by David Brabham. A series of ANF2 races was held in 1988, winning Rohan Onslow the Australian Drivers' Championship, after which the national championship moved to CAMS' new Formula Holden rules. This category had various names, such as Formula Brabham and Formula 4000, but remained in place for 16 years until 2004. From 2005 onwards, the Australian Drivers' Championship was held for International Formula 3 cars, until that category dwindled away in 2015, and the national championship was abandoned.

CAMS rebranded as Motorsport Australia in 2020, and reintroduced the Australian Drivers' Championship for the new Australian S5000 category to be held in 2021.