Neal Bates is an Australian rally and racing car driver who holds a unique position in the sport. He is the only driver to hold the Phil Irving Award for Engineering Excellence and the Peter Brock Medal for his contribution to the standing of motorsport in the community.
Neal and co-driver Coral-Taylor have won the Australian Rally Championship four times – the first to claim three in succession – won Targa Tasmania and have now become twice Australian Classic Rally Championship title holders.
Throughout his career Neal has been associated with Toyota in the Australian Rally Championship and for 19 years his Neal Bates Motorsport outfit ran Toyota’s official rally program in Australia.
He was discovered in a Star Search program in which aspiring professionals were invited to compete for a works drive. Neal won his class in the Bathurst 1000 on debut with Toyota.
A driving all-rounder, he’s twice finished top-10 at the Bathurst 1000, as well as driving with V8 Supercar teams including Paul Weel Racing, Glenn Seton Racing and Gibson Motor Sport
He competed in the World Rally Championship in the mid-90s, and with Coral Taylor became the first team to secure an international victory for Toyota’s World Rally Car.
Neal Bates quit professional racing in 2009, but couldn’t stay away. He restored a 1980 Toyota Celica, winning the Australian Classics Rally Championship at his first attempt in 2012 and defended the title the next year.
Last year he became the first Australian to win the Classic Rally of Otago and won it again in 2014.
Born: 19 March 1965