Holden Racing Team

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Walkinshaw Racing
Manufacturer Holden
Team Principal Ryan Walkinshaw
Team Manager Adrian Burgess
Race Drivers 2. Scott Pye
22. James Courtney
Chassis Holden VF Commodore
Debut 1990
Drivers' Championships 6 (1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002)
Round wins 73
Race wins 179
Pole positions 93
2016 position 2nd (4,434 points)

Walkinshaw Racing is an Australian motor racing team based in the Melbourne suburb of Clayton. The team currently fields two Holden VF Commodores in the Supercars Championship for James Courtney and Scott Pye, along with a Porsche 911 GT3-R in the Australian GT Championship.

Formed in 1990 as the Holden Racing Team, it is one of the most successful Supercars Championship teams in the history of the category, having won the drivers' championship six times, and the series' signature race, the Bathurst 1000, seven times. In 2017, the Holden Racing Team name was transferred by Holden to Triple Eight Race Engineering and the team reverted to the Walkinshaw Racing name.

1980s[edit]

Holden Racing Team logo
Main article: Perkins Engineering

As part of the joint venture established in 1987 between Tom Walkinshaw and Holden to form Holden Special Vehicles, Tom Walkinshaw Racing (TWR) was to run Holden’s motor sport programme. TWR were responsible for designing the Holden VL Commodore SS Group A SV, which was homologated for racing in August 1988 after Holden Special Vehicleiis completed the required 500.

For 1988 it was decided to contract out the racing programme to Perkins Engineering although a car built by TWR in England was raced by Tom Walkinshaw at the Silverstone Tourist Trophy and Bathurst 1000.

For 1989 it was planned for TWR to run the full season with two cars. Win Percy and Neil Crompton were announced as the team’s drivers and a second VL Commodore built in England was tested in Holden Racing Team livery at Calder but with the likelihood of being mauled by the Ford Sierra RS500s, the Australian Touring Car Championship programme was cancelled. For the Sandown 500, Bathurst 1000 and Grand Prix support races, the programme was once again contracted to Perkins Engineering.

1990s[edit]

1990[edit]

In 1990 the operation was brought in house with longtime TWR driver Win Percy moving to Melbourne to fill the role of both driver and team manager. Percy drove at all Australian Touring Car Championship rounds except for Mallala where Neil Crompton drove after Percy returned to England for a family bereavement.[1] Percy's highest qualifying position was sixth at Winton and highest race result a third place at Lakeside, and he finished eighth overall in the championship.

At the Sandown 500, Percy and Crompton qualified the car fourth, however did not finish the race. For the Bathurst 1000 the team entered two cars with Percy, against the wishes of Holden and Tom Walkinshaw, recruiting Allan Grice to co-drive the lead car. Crompton was joined by Brad Jones. With Percy suffering a shoulder injury, his decision to hire Grice was vindicated with the latter handling the bulk of the driving on the way to an unexpected victory, the second car finished fifth.

1991[edit]

For 1991 the VN Commodore was homologated with Win Percy driving in all ATCC rounds except Lakeside where Allan Grice substituted while Percy competed in an event in Europe. Percy again finished eighth in the championship. At the Bathurst 1000, Percy and Grice teamed together to finish second, with the second car of Neil Crompton and Brad Jones not finishing after running out of fuel.

1992[edit]

With Win Percy having decided to return to England, Tomas Mezera was hired. Due to a budget shortfall and the need to develop the VP Commodore for the new V8 formula, HRT only competed at the Sandown, Lakeside and Eastern Creek rounds. Two 1993 spec VP Commodores were raced at the Sandown 500 with Mezera and Brad Jones finishing third while Percy and Grice finished fifth at the Bathurst 1000. Mezera and Jones drove two cars at the Grand Prix support races.

1993[edit]

With budget problems compounded by Castrol deciding to transfer its funding to Perkins Engineering, at the beginning of 1993 there was some doubt as to whether the team would compete in the 1993 Australian Touring Car Championship. Former 1987 World 500cc champion Wayne Gardner with only one touring car start was signed as the team’s driver with Tomas Mezera’s participation being dependent on additional sponsorship being secured, however he would ultimately compete in all nine rounds.

At the Sandown 500 Mezera was joined by Michael Preston, with Brad Jones and Allan Grice in the second car. For the Bathurst 1000 Mezera was joined by Win Percy with Gardner and Jones driving the second car to a third-place finish. Gardner won a race at the Australian Grand Prix.

The team’s season was dominated by off-track politics. Before the end of the championship chief engineer Wally Storey and team manager Neal Lowe had left the team with Mezera appointed as acting team manager. Before the Sandown 500, Gardner was suspended for two weeks from the team. HRT alleged Gardner was trying to poach the team’s sponsors for his own operation, Gardner claimed that he was acting on a request by the team to help secure extra funding. Gardner secured funding from Coca-Cola for 1994, but his proposal for taking part ownership was rejected by Tom Walkinshaw and he elected to form Wayne Gardner Racing. At Bathurst, Jeff Grech commenced what would ultimately be a very successful stint as team manager.

1994[edit]

In 1994 Peter Brock was signed to drive for the team. In spite of some resistance by some within Holden after the manufacturer's split with Brock’s Holden Dealer Team in 1987, the substantial Mobil and NGK sponsorship he brought to the team made the deal irresistible. Both of these sponsors remain with the team in 2015.[2] The team was competitive throughout the ATCC, with Brock taking the round win at Eastern Creek and second places at Sandown, Symmons Plains, Philip Island and Oran Park on the way to a third-place finish, Mezera finished ninth.

Brock's win at Eastern Creek was the HRT's first ever ATCC round win.

For the endurance events, Brad Jones and Rickard Rydell (who was driving a Volvo 850 for TWR in the British Touring Car Championship) were earmarked to drive the second car. However, with Rydell’s wife due to give birth, he was replaced by Craig Lowndes for the Sandown 500. After finishing fifth and setting the fastest lap of the four drivers, HRT elected to retain Lowndes for the Bathurst 1000. Despite Lowndes crashing in the warm up and spinning mid race, a stellar double stint from Jones saw the car finish second. The lead car crashed late in the race.

1995[edit]

For 1995 the VR Commodore was introduced. Brock remained a championship contender at the final round at Oran Park, finishing third with Mezera fifth. Lowndes and Greg Murphy ran the second car at the Sandown 500 and Bathurst 1000 however neither finished either race. After the Grand Prix support race it was announced that Lowndes would drive for the team full-time in 1996, he would take Mezera’s seat for the season ending Brock Challenge at Calder.

1996[edit]

With the demise of tobacco sponsorship, HRT had been able to lure many key personnel from Gibson Motorsport. This helped the team dominate the 1996 season with Craig Lowndes winning the ATCC, Sandown 500 and Bathurst 1000, the latter two in partnership with Greg Murphy. Brock finished the series in fourth being joined again by Tomas Mezera for the endurance races. With Lowndes headed to Europe in 1997 to compete in F3000, Murphy was hired as his replacement and debuted at two races in New Zealand at the end of the year.

1997[edit]

The year saw a number of mechanical failures with the VS Commodores that prevented HRT from following on from the success of 1996. One highlight of the year were one-two finishes at both Symmons Plains and Wanneroo. Just before the Eastern Creek round of the series, Brock announced his retirement from full-time racing. Overall, Murphy and Brock finished the year fourth and sixth respectively. Lowndes returned to drive in the endurance events with Murphy, while Mark Skaife co-drove with Brock. Lowndes and Murphy won the Sandown 500 while despite Skaife winning pole at both events, he and Brock failed to finish.

At selected events a third car was entered under the Holden Young Lions banner with Jason Bargwanna, Todd Kelly, Mark Noske and Stephen White driving. Bargwanna and Noske drove a car in the endurance races.

1998[edit]

For 1998 Lowndes returned to HRT and Skaife succeeded Brock. With the Holden Young Lions program sub-contracted to Gibson Motorsport, HRT returned to a two-car team except for the Calder round where Greg Murphy debuted the VT Commodore. Lowndes won the ATCC with Skaife finishing third. Lowndes and Skaife finished second at the Sandown 500. At the Bathurst 1000 despite winning pole position and leading much of the race, Lowndes and Skaife suffered a number of tyre failures finishing sixth. The second car of Greg Murphy and Mark Noske suffered a crash in late qualifying causing them to miss the shootout and cause endless problems throughout the race including the same tyre woes that Lowndes and Skaife suffered and retired on lap 86.

1999[edit]

Lowndes again won the ATCC with Skaife third despite Lowndes having to miss the Symmons Plains round after a car destroying rollover at Calder. Endurance driver Cameron McConville deputised in Lowndes’s 1996 winning VS Commodore. For the Queensland 500 and Bathurst 1000, Lowndes was joined by McConville finishing third and second respectively. Skaife was joined by Paul Morris finishing third at Bathurst.

A third car was entered in the endurance races under the Holden Young Lions with Todd Kelly and Mark Noske driving.

2000s[edit]

2000[edit]

In 2000 Skaife won the championship with Lowndes finishing in third. At the Queensland 500 Lowndes and Skaife teamed together to win. The second car was driven by Todd Kelly and Nathan Pretty, however failed to finish. At the Bathurst 1000, Lowndes and Skaife finished in sixth position with Jason Plato and Yvan Muller. Kelly raced the Holden Young Lions entry at some rounds being joined by Pretty at Bathurst.

Off-track Craig Lowndes wanted out of his ten-year management contract with Tom Walkinshaw and left the team at season’s end for Gibson Motorsport.

2001[edit]

In 2001, TWR Australia expanded to become a four-car operation with the formation of the two-car K-Mart Racing Team. Because a team could only race three cars under a Racing Entitlement Contract (REC), Romano Racing's REC was leased for the two K-Mart cars with the Romano car entered as a third Holden Racing Team car under the Holden Young Lions banner. Jason Bright joined the team. At the Queensland 500 Skaife and Bright shared a car with Tony Longhurst and Tomas Mezera driving the second. For the Bathurst 1000 the lead drivers were split, Skaife and Longhurst winning. Skaife won the series, Bright finished third.

2002[edit]

In 2002 Skaife again won the championship with Bright finishing fourth. HRT won the first eight rounds of the season. Jim Richards and Mezera drove the second car at the Queensland 500. At the Bathurst 1000 Skaife and Richards won with Bright and Mezera third. A third car was raced throughout the season under the Holden Young Lions banner by Rick Kelly, finishing fourth at Bathurst with Nathan Pretty.

2003[edit]

In early 2003 Tom Walkinshaw Racing collapsed and the team was put up for sale by the administrator. Holden purchased the team, but because manufacturers were prohibited from owning teams, it was quickly sold to Mark Skaife. The K-Mart team was purchased by John and Margaret Kelly, continuing to be a customer of HRT until the end of 2008. Paul Weel Racing also became a HRT customer with Jason Bright moving to the team with Todd Kelly commencing a five-year stint as the driver of the second car. For the endurance races Jim Richards and Tony Longhurst rejoined the team. Skaife and Kelly won the Sandown 500 with Longhurst and Richards finishing in tenth. At the Bathurst 1000 Skaife and Kelly finished the race in eighth after being black flagged late in the race to repair accident damage with Richards and Longhurst fifth.

2004[edit]

In 2004 Kelly finished the championship in seventh place and Skaife in twelfth after one of his worst seasons on record where it included a number of driver errors and reliability issues. For the endurance events Jason Plato joined Peter Brock in the second car. Skaife and Kelly finished the Bathurst 1000 in fourteenth position, two laps down after a belt from the engine broke early in the race.

2005[edit]

In 2005 both Skaife and Kelly won rounds of the championship with Kelly winning the Shanghai round. This victory gave HRT its 50th round win, the first team to do so. Skaife and Kelly won the Bathurst 1000. Jim Richards and James Courtney drove the second car, however failed to finish.

2006[edit]

In 2006 Kelly finished the season in sixth place and Skaife finished in a miserable sixteenth. Both drivers did have success during with Skaife winning at Pukekohe and Wanneroo and Kelly winning at Surfers Paradise and Phillip Island. With HRT out of the title race by the time of the endurance races and the sister HSV Dealer Team having both its drivers in contention, it was controversially decided to split its drivers with Garth Tander driving with Skaife and Kelly with his brother Rick at the HSV Dealer Team. However the plan was not successful with the Skaife/Tander car finishing 26th at the Sandown 500 and crashing on lap 1 at Bathurst after a driveline failure. The second HRT car was driven by Jim Richards and Ryan Briscoe and finished in 21st at Sandown and did not finish at Bathurst.

2007[edit]

The 2007 V8 Supercar season saw the debut of the new VE Commodore. Skaife finished sixth and Kelly seventh with post scoring race wins. Glenn Seton and Nathan Pretty were signed to drive the second car.[3] However, with Skaife requiring appendix surgery the week before the Sandown 500, a reshuffle saw Kelly and Pretty paired in one car and Seton and Tony Longhurst in the second.

2008[edit]

In 2008 defending champion Garth Tander engineer Matthew Nielson and sponsor Toll transferred from sister team HSV Dealer Team.[4] For the endurance races Glenn Seton was joined by Craig Baird. On 29 October Skaife also announced that 2008 would be his last season in a full-time drive in V8 Supercars. At the end of the year, Skaife sold his 50% share in the team to Tom Walkinshaw.

2009[edit]

With John and Margaret Kelly having elected to form their own team and use Perkins Engineering hardware, the team expanded to four cars in 2009, two entered under the HRT banner and two under the Walkinshaw Racing banner. One REC was purchased from WPS Racing and another was acquired from V8 Supercars Australia that had last been used by Romano Racing with Paul Dumbrell moving across with financial support from his family’s Autobarn business[5] while David Reynolds joined as the second driver with sponsorship from Bundaberg Red Rum.[6][7] Dumbrell finished 15th in the championship at seasons end with several top six finishes while Reynolds finished 22nd, showing pace and promise but no real results.

At HRT, Will Davison took Skaife’s seat.[8] Tander and Davison won the Bathurst 1000 with Davison finishing second in the series. HRT did win the team’s championship.

2010s[edit]

2010[edit]

In 2010, Fabian Coulthard and Andrew Thompson were signed to replace Dumbrell and Reynolds with Bundaberg Red sponsoring both cars.[9][10]

In 2010 Tander finished fifth and Davison 22nd. As a whole the team struggled to string together a series and ended a disappointing seventh in the team's championship. For the endurance races Tander was paired with Cameron McConville and Davison with David Reynolds. For the Bathurst 1000 the team ran a retro livery in recognition of the team’s 1990 Bathurst victory.[11]

2011[edit]

With Will Davison departing for Ford Performance Racing, defending champion James Courtney joined the team. The season started with Courtney winning in Abu Dhabi. For the endurance races, Tander was joined by Nick Percat and Courtney by McConville. Tander and Percat won the Bathurst 1000. Tander finished the season fifth, Courtney tenth.

On the Walkinshaw Racing side, the team downsized to a single car for Coulthard with continued support from Bundaberg Rum, the race number was changed to #61.

2012[edit]

In 2012 the team scored no wins with Tander finishing the season in seventh, Courtney tenth. Coulthard was replaced by Russell Ingall who brought Supercheap Auto sponsorship, the race number was also changed once again #66.[12]

2013[edit]

The VF Commodore made its debut in 2013. At the Townsville 400 Tander led a team one-two, breaking a 20-month drought for the team. Tander was again joined by Nick Percat for the endurance events, with Courtney joined by Greg Murphy. Tander also won a race at Phillip Island, James Courtney also won a race at Winton.[13] Ingall and Supercheap Auto remained with the team in 2013.

2014[edit]

Tander and Courtney again drove VF Commodores in 2014 with Warren Luff and Greg Murphy driving in the endurance races.[14] Ingall was replaced by Tim Slade and the car entered as #47.[15] The team expanded to a four car operation with a customer car fielded for James Rosenberg Racing with Nick Percat driving.[16] Adrian Burgess joined as team manager.

2015[edit]

The full-time driver lineup was maintained for 2015. Jack Perkins replaced the retiring Greg Murphy for the endurance races and also substituted for Courtney at a few rounds after the latter was injured. Russell Ingall joined Perkins at the Sandown 500 and Bathurst 1000. With James Rosenberg Racing returning it’s REC to V8 Supercars at the end of 2014, a customer car was fielded for Charlie Schwerkolt Racing with Lee Holdsworth driving.[17]

2016[edit]

With Supercheap Auto taking its sponsorship to Prodrive Racing Australia, the team downsized to two cars, the two Holden Racing Team entries. The third REC was sold to Super Black Racing while Charlie Schwerkolt Racing become a stand-alone team.[18] Tander and Luff won the Sandown 500.

2017[edit]

In 2017 the team will lose its Holden factory backing, but continue to field two VF Commodores under the Walkinshaw Racing banner.[19] Scott Pye will replace Tander.[20]

Ownership Battle[edit]

At the start of the 2007 season, a battle erupted over the ownership of HRT. Skaife had been hounded by governing body, the Touring Car Entrants Group of Australia (TEGA), for more than four months for paperwork proving compliance with the Teams' Licence Agreement, but had failed to show the required information. He was given until 12 March to provide the evidence, or the team could be removed from the V8 Touring Car Competition.[21]

Skaife managed to produce sufficient evidence and TEGA allowed HRT to continue racing. A commercial settlement was struck between Skaife and TEGA that ensured that Skaife, and not Holden Motor Sport owner Tom Walkinshaw, had ownership and control over the team.[22] It has been revealed that Tom Walkinshaw owned a 50% stake in Skaife Sports.[23] Subsequently in December 2008 Skaife sold his remaining interest in HRT to Walkinshaw.[24]

Loss of Holden sponsorship[edit]

In August 2016, Holden announced it would consolidate its sponsorship of the Supercars Championship at Triple Eight Race Engineering. This saw the HRT brand transfer to Triple Eight Race Engineering in in 2017 with the team rebranded Walkinshaw Racing.[19]

2017 onwards[edit]

Following the loss by Walkinshaw Racing of Holden sponsorship and the resulting transfer of the Holden Racing Team brand to Triple Eight Race Engineering, in 2017, the Walkinshaw Racing brand was revived as a two-car operation.[25]

GT racing[edit]

In 2016, Walkinshaw Racing entered the Australian GT Championship with a factory backed Porsche 911 GT3 R driven by John Martin.[26][27]

Supercars drivers[edit]

The following is a list of drivers who have driven for the team in Supercars, in order of their first appearance. Drivers who only drove for the team on a part-time basis are listed in italics.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Nissan's First, 1990 Shell Australian Touring Car Championship, Australian Motor Racing Year 1990/91, pages 108–109
  2. ^ "Holden Racing Team launches season livery". Speedcafe. 25 February 2015. 
  3. ^ "Seton joins Holden factory team". V8 Supercars Australia. 16 February 2007. 
  4. ^ All change for 2008
  5. ^ "Paul Dumbrell V8 Supercars Profile". V8 Supercars Australia. Retrieved 2009-03-17. 
  6. ^ "New driver for Walkinshaw Racing". Sportal. 2009-02-27. Retrieved 2009-03-03. 
  7. ^ "David Reynolds V8 Supercars Profile". V8 Supercars Australia. Retrieved 2009-03-17. 
  8. ^ "Rising V8 star Will Davison joins factory Holden Racing Team". V8 Daily Dump. 28 January 2009. 
  9. ^ Musolino, Adrian (2009-10-27). "Coulthard heading to Walkinshaw". Official site of the Australian V8 Supercar Championship Series. Retrieved 2009-12-15. 
  10. ^ Gunther, Briar (2009-12-11). "Bundy expands to two cars". Retrieved 2009-12-15. 
  11. ^ Retro livery set for Toll HRT at Bathurst Speedcafe 30 August 2010
  12. ^ Ingall to Walkinshaw Racing for 2012 V8X Magazine 28 September 2011
  13. ^ 2013 V8 Supercars Championship V8 Supercars
  14. ^ "Holden Racing Team livery launched at Mount Panorama". V8Supercars.com.au. 12 February 2014. Retrieved 12 February 2014. 
  15. ^ "Walkinshaw Racing confirms Slade for 2014". Speedcafe. 18 September 2013. 
  16. ^ Percat to drive for expanded Walkinshaw V8X Magazine
  17. ^ Lee Holdsworth will race a Holden in V8 Supercars 2015 season for Charlie Schwerkolt Racing Fox Sports 19 January 2015
  18. ^ Walkinshaw Racing Focus on Holden Racing Team in 2016 Walkinshaw Racing 21 November 2015
  19. ^ a b Walkinshaw continuing with two Holdens in 2017 Speedcafe 16 August 2016
  20. ^ Walkinshaw confirms Courtney, Pye for 2017 Speedcafe 16 August 2016
  21. ^ Kelly takes the first flag as Gore turns up heat on Skaife Sydney Morning Herald 3 March 2007
  22. ^ Kelly retains one-track mind ‘’Herald Sun’’
  23. ^ Motorsport: Walkinshaw half-owner of HRT (March 2007)
  24. ^ Mark Skaife sells up before last race ‘’The Australian‘’ Retrieved on 18 December 2010
  25. ^ Walkinshaw continuing with two Holdens in 2017 Speedcafe 16 August 2016
  26. ^ "Walkinshaw to run factory-backed Porsche". Motorsport.com. 5 February 2016. 
  27. ^ "Walkinshaw Racing eyes GT3 expansionPorsche". Speedcafe. 5 August 2016. 

External links[edit]