Graham McRae's McRae GM3 at Sandown Park in 1978.  Copyright oldracephotos.com/Neil Hammond. Used with permission.

Rothmans International series 1978

The field for the 1978 Rothmans series was headed by three Australians returning home from successful overseas careers: Warwick Brown in VDS's 1977 Lola T333CS converted to T332 specification, Surtees F1 driver Vern Schuppan in one of the works Elfins and Grovewood Award winner Bruce Allison in his ex-VDS 1976 Chevron B37. Once again the series could boast few overseas "name" drivers to attract the fans. At the opening round, Brown won comfortably despite strong challenges from veteran Kiwi Graham McRae who set fastest lap in his late-1976 McRae GM3, and Alfredo Costanzo in the well-used ex-Brian McGuire 1974 Lola T332. Schuppan and Elfin teammate Garrie Cooper also went well in their 1976 Elfin MR8s, as did Canadian John Cannon in his 1973-1976 bitza March. Brown won again at Adelaide, but only after his engine began to smoke, allowing Schuppan and Johnnie Walker (Lola T332) to close up. McRae had a good run to fifth place, equalling Brown's fastest lap.

Allison led at Surfers Paradise until the Chevron's engine expired, after which Brown led, harried by John McCormack in his interesting Leyland-engined McLaren M23. The Leyland engine overheated, allowing Brown to seal the title with a third win and Schuppan to take another second place. Brown emphasised his dominance by leading the final race from start to finish although McCormack was again close behind until his engine failed him, a sadly common theme for the Australian-prepared F5000 racers. Allison took over second spot, and McRae again set fastest lap as he finished third.

The races

05 Feb 1978 > Sandown Park Cup

12 Feb 1978 > Adelaide '100' at Adelaide International Raceway

19 Feb 1978 > Surfers Paradise '100'

26 Feb 1978 > Oran Park "100"

1978 Rothmans International Series table

1Warwick BrownLola T333/T332C - Chevrolet V836 pts4 wins
2Vern SchuppanElfin MR8B-C - Chevrolet V815 pts 
3Bruce AllisonChevron B37- Chevrolet V89 pts 
4Johnnie WalkerLola T332 - Chevrolet V88 pts 
5=Garrie CooperElfin MR8-C - Chevrolet V86 pts 
5=Graham McRaeMcRae GM3 - Chevrolet V86 pts 
7=John CannonMarch 73A/751 - Chevrolet V84 pts 
7=Don BreidenbachLola T332 - Chevrolet V84 pts 
7=John GossMatich A51/A53 - Repco Holden V84 pts 
10=Keith HollandLola T332 - Chevrolet V8
Chevron B24/B28 - Chevrolet V8
3 pts 
10=Alan HamiltonLola T430 - Chevrolet V83 pts 
12John David BriggsLola T332 - Chevrolet V82 pts 

Previous: the 1977 Internationals

Points table from Autosport 2 Mar 1978 p7.