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Holden Racing Team

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Template:V8 Supercar Team The Toll Holden Racing Team is a Melbourne based motor racing team. HRT is the most successful V8 Supercar racing team in the history of the category, having won the drivers championship six times, and the series signature race the Bathurst 1000 six times (1990, 1996, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2009)

The team's current full-time drivers are Garth Tander, and Will Davison<ref>{{#if:Fogarty

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History

Establishment

Holden Racing Team began following the establishment in 1988 of the joint venture between the TWR Group and Holden, in forming Holden Special Vehicles. It was created as a marketing link between the Special Vehicle’s section of race (Division) and the on-track heritage of Holden’s motor sport activities. Special Vehicles Racing (HRT's original name) debuted in the Group A class at the Calder Park Round of the 1988 Australian Touring Car Championship.

1980s

1988
The Holden Racing Team was born in 1988 following the establishment of the joint venture between the TWR Group and General Motors Holden, in forming Holden Special Vehicles. It was a logical step to form a touring car team to create a marketing link between the Special Vehicles division and the on-track heritage of Holden's motor sport activities.

However, as HSV was concerned with producing 500 VL Group A Commodores to meet the Group A regulations, the touring car operation was contracted out to Larry Perkins. The Special Vehicles Racing Team debuted at Calder Park Raceway using the previous "Brock" homologation of the Commodore VL Group A SS, before the new VL Commodore SS Group A race car, based on the vehicles produced by HSV, debuted at the 1988 Enzed 500 at Sandown Raceway. The car was nicknamed 'Batmobile' due to the big wings, scoops and skirts on the body and was driven by Larry Perkins and Denny Hulme in the race finishing second. The second car was driven by regular TWR stalwarts, Jeff Allam and Armin Hahne. Hahne replaced Walkinshaw himself, who was due to compete in this event but was unavailable and stayed in England.

For the 1988 Tooheys 1000, the TWR component of the team brought in the car they had run at the Silverstone TT in England. However, after a pitlane mishap where the car was dropped off its jacks before the left rear wheel had been secured, this car had suspension failure early on in the race. The car that Perkins prepared was running strongly until the end of the race when it retired with engine troubles, after Walkinshaw had stepped into the car, and ignored maximum engine rev warnings from Perkins. The Perkins-built car Allam and Hahne ran at Sandown became a spare car for the event, after plans to have Allan Grice and John Harvey use it as a third entry fell through. It was used only by Hulme in early practice sessions.

At the 1988 Australian Grand Prix support race, the team completed its first race win, with Perkins and Hulme completing a dominant one-two victory, walking away from the entire field and winning by a large margin. Hulme led most of the race, but was overtaken by Perkins with a handful of laps remaining.

1989
Larry Perkins was again contracted to run the racing program in 1989, and the team appeared only at the endurance races at Sandown and Bathurst, and the Formula One support races in Adelaide. This also saw the first appearance of the name "Holden Racing Team", even though it was effectively the Perkins Engineering team. Perkins teamed with Win Percy at Sandown and finished second, while Neil Crompton was paired with Steve Harrington. For the 1989 Tooheys 1000, Perkins teamed with Tomas Mezera with Percy and Neil Crompton driving the second car. The race for both cars ran smoothly for the team, with Perkins and Mezera finishing sixth and Percy and Crompton finishing behind them in seventh. The completion of the 1989 season saw the end of any ongoing Perkins involvement with HSV, after Holden and Walkinshaw insisted that the two cars be driven by Percy and Crompton in Adelaide, forcing an irate Perkins out of a drive in his own team at that event. For 1990, the operation of the team would be brought in-house.

1990s

1990
Walkinshaw engaged Win Percy to start the first "true" Holden Racing Team for the 1990 season. Percy was both team manager and the single driver for the entire Australian Touring Car Championship, however Neil Crompton did substitute for Percy at Mallala after Percy returned home to England following the death of his father. Percy's highest qualifying position was 6th at Winton and highest race result a third place at Lakeside, and he finished 8th overall in the championship. At Sandown, Percy and Allan Grice qualified the car fourth, however did not finish the race. Brad Jones joined Crompton in the second car. At the 1990 Tooheys 1000 at Bathurst, the Percy/Grice car took out the victory, after many of the race favourite Ford Sierras, and the sole Nissan GT-R suffered mechanical problems.

1991
For 1991, Percy again ran as the only driver for the Australian Touring Car Championship, using the newly homologated VN Commodores, after three previous seasons of running VL Commodores. The season was tough for HRT, with the championship dominated by the Nissan Skyline GT-Rs due to a championship which allowed highly sophisticated cars to compete against more basic vehicles. Percy again finished eighth in the championship. At the 1991 Tooheys 1000, Percy and Grice teamed together to score a second place for the team, with the second car of Crompton and Brad Jones being effectively disqualified for refueling outside of pitlane. Crompton had run out of fuel exiting The Cutting, and caught a lift in a Channel Seven helicopter to obtain a fuel churn from pitlane. After a discussion with the Clerk of Course, Crompton was allowed to return to pitlane and retirement, after he had expressed concerns over leaving the car on top of the mountain after the race.

1992
Due to a decision between TWR and Holden, it was decided that HRT would only compete in as many races that they could manage within their budget, the effect being that HRT only competing in three rounds of the Australian Touring Car Championship. They did have some success in 1992 with a third place by Mezera and Jones at the Sandown 500 driving a 1993 Spec 5.0L V8 car while at Bathurst Percy/Grice came home fourth outright and first in class, also driving a 1993 Spec car. Following the 1992 season, the category was overhauled to become the V8 Holden versus Ford challenge that the V8 Supercars championship is today.

1993
1993 was the first season of the new championship series using Holden Commodores and Ford Falcons powered by five litre V8 engines. It was also the year in which the 1987 World 500cc motorcycle champion, Wayne Gardner was signed to drive for HRT to be the second driver to Mezera. Both drivers competed in all nine rounds of the championship with the best result a second place to Mezera at Symmons Plains. Overall Mezera finished in seventh place and Gardner finished in fourteenth. Both cars failed to finish at the Sandown 500, and Mezera and Percy did not finish and Gardner and Jones finished in third place after qualifying third and fourth respectively at the Bathurst 1000.

1994
1994 saw the return of Peter Brock to a factory Holden team to team with Mezera. Brock also brought with him the sponsorship of Mobil and the team became the Mobil Holden Racing Team. The team was competitive throughout the season, with Brock taking the round win at Eastern Creek and second places at Sandown, Symmons Plains, Philip Island and Oran Park. For the endurance events, HRT hired Brad Jones and Rickard Rydell to drive the second car. At the Sandown 500, Jones was partnered by 1993 Formula Ford Champion Craig Lowndes due to a scheduling clash for Rydell, the pair finishing fifth with Lowndes raising a few eyebrows, with Brock and Mezera finishing 6th after qualifying first. At the Bathurst 1000, Mezera and Brock did not finish the race, however Jones and Lowndes (who HRT decided to race in place of Rydell due to Lowndes pace at Sandown) finished second. Brock finished the championship in third place, with Mezera in ninth.

1995
Brock and Mezera continued to race for the team in 1995 with Lowndes and Greg Murphy joining the team for enduros. The year was successful with numerous top three results for both Brock and Mezera. However, at both the Sandown 500 and Bathurst 1000, neither car finished either race. Brock finished the championship in third place and Mezera in fifth place.

1996
Lowndes joined Brock to drive for the team on a full time in 1996. This year was one of the most successful years for HRT by winning both the Sandown 500 and Bathurst 1000. Lowndes also became the youngest driver to win the Australian Touring Car Championship. Both Mezera and Murphy rejoined the team for the endurance races, with Lowndes and Murphy winning both events. Brock finished the championship in fourth position.

1997
1997 saw Lowndes head to Europe to compete in F3000 so Murphy joined Brock as the drivers for HRT. The year also saw a number of mechanical failures that prevented HRT from following on from the success of 1996. One highlight of the year however was the one-two finishes at both Symmons Plains and Wanneroo. Just before the Eastern Creek round of the series Peter Brock announced his retirement from full-time racing with the V8 Supercar Bathurst 1000 to be his final race. Overall, Murphy and Brock finished the year fourth and sixth respectively. Lowndes returned to drive in the endurance events to join Mark Skaife as the co-drivers. Lowndes and Murphy finished in first place at the Sandown 500, however neither car finished the Bathurst 1000.

1998
Lowndes returned to HRT in 1998 and joined Skaife as the drivers for the championship. Lowndes continued the success of 1996, by winning the championship for the second time in his second full year of V8 racing. Murphy and Mark Noske joined the team for the enduros and after qualifying the cars first and second at Sandown, Lowndes and Skaife finished in second position. At Bathurst, Lowndes and Skaife finished sixth and qualifying first, and Murphy and Noske failed to finish the event. Skaife finished third in the championship.

1999
The team drivers remained the same for the 1999 season, with Skaife finishing third and Lowndes winning his third championship for the team, despite fracturing his kneecap in a crash at Calder Park Raceway. The team finished first and second in four of the thirteen rounds of the championship season. Paul Morris and Cameron McConville joined the team for the Queensland 500 and Bathurst 1000, with Lowndes and McConville finishing third at the Queensland 500 and second at the Bathurst 1000. Skaife teamed with Morris to finish third at Bathurst.

2000s

2000
For the 2000 season, once again Lowndes and Skaife drive for HRT. Overall Skaife won the championship with Lowndes finishing in third place. For the Queensland 500 Lowndes and Skaife teamed together to finish in first place. The second car was driven by Todd Kelly and Nathan Pretty, however failed to finish the race while in a strong spot. At the Bathurst 1000, Lowndes and Skaife finished in sixth position with the international drivers Jason Plato and Yvan Muller driving the second car finishing in tenth was a great effort for the Europeans. At the end of the 2000 season, Craig Lowndes announced that he had decided to leave the team to drive for Gibson Motor Sport who were being re-invented as a Ford team.

2001
Lowndes' departure opened the door for Jason Bright to join the team in 2001. 2001 also saw a win at Bathurst for Skaife and Tony Longhurst as well as Skaife winning his second championship for the team. Bright finished third in the championship (Just missing out on a great 1, 2 for HRT) and Tomas Mezera returned to the team for the endurance races.

2002
2002 once again saw Skaife win the championship for the third year in a row, with Bright finishing fourth. HRT won the first eight rounds of the season (Skaife - seven wins, Bright - two wins). The endurance races were the next two rounds of the championship and Jim Richards and Mezera joined the team for these two rounds. Skaife and Bright failed to finish the Queensland 500 after qualifying second while Richards and Mezera finished fourth. At the Bathurst 1000, Skaife and Richards teamed together to win the event, ten years after they teamed together to win the event in a Nissan Skyline GT-R with Bright and Mezera finishing third, which was a great recovery considering that Tomas had stuck the car in the sand trap early in the day. The last three rounds of the championship were not as successful as the beginning of the season with the best finish a third place for Skaife at Sandown.

2003

In 2003, the parent company of HRT, Tom Walkinshaw Racing, suffered a financial collapse and a new owner had to be found. By mid-2003, it was announced that Mark Skaife would be the new owner. Jason Bright also left the team. Todd Kelly was hired to race in the second car. Jim Richards and Tony Longhurst were co-drivers for the endurance events. Skaife and Kelly drove together at the Sandown 500 and won the race with Longhurst and Richards finishing in tenth. At the Bathurst 1000, Skaife and Kelly were in 2nd right right up Greg Murphy and Rick Kelly's hammer with ten laps to go, when they were given a mechanical black flag to repair damage to the left rear door sustained in an accident with one of the Brad Jones Racing cars. Skaife and Kelly finished the race in eighth with Richards and Longhurst in fifth.

2004
2004 saw Skaife and Kelly as team mates for the championship. For the enduro events, Jason Plato joined Peter Brock as the co-drivers. Brock came out of retirement again to attempt to score his tenth Bathurst win, however this was not to be after Plato collided with John Cleland driving for Ozemail Racing, after Plato slid into a tyre bundle on pit straight and had tyre and bodywork damage. Brock did not race one lap. Skaife and Kelly finished the race in fourteenth position, two laps down after a belt from the engine broke early in the race. Overall Kelly finished the championship in seventh place and Skaife finished in twelfth after one of his worst seasons on record plus he had reliability problems through the year.

2005
The championship drivers remained the same for the 2005 season. Both Skaife and Kelly won rounds of the championship with Kelly winning the Shanghai round which was the first V8 Supercar round in South-East Asia. This victory gave HRT their 50th round win, the first team to do so. Skaife and Kelly teamed together to win the Bathurst 1000, and Jim Richards and James Courtney drove the second car, however failed to finish the race.

2006
2006 saw Skaife and Kelly team together for their fourth season together. Overall Kelly finished the season in sixth place and Skaife finished in a miserable sixteenth. Both drivers did have success during the season with Skaife winning at Pukekohe and Kelly winning at Surfers Paradise and Phillip Island. For the endurance races, a deal was done between HRT and the Toll HSV Dealer Team so that Garth Tander would drive for HRT with Skaife, and Todd Kelly would drive for the Toll HSV Dealer Team with his brother Rick Kelly. It must be noted that both teams were sharing data and had an engineering partnership with Tom Walkinshaw Racing, and therefore they were grouped by TEGA. This was done to allow Tander and Rick Kelly the best chance at winning the championship as they were first and second in the championship before the enduros. However, the plan backfired with the Skaife/Tander car failing to finish at both enduros. 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
The 2007 V8 Supercar season saw the debut of the new VE Commodores. Skaife and Kelly continued their partnership as the drivers of HRT in 2007. Former Ford driver Glenn Seton, a lifelong friend of Skaife, joined the team to participate in the endurance races at Sandown and Bathurst.<ref>{{#if: Seton joins Holden factory team

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2008

The 2008 V8 Supercar Championship Series sees changes for the factory team. Garth Tander replacing Todd Kelly, who has moved to Jack Daniel's Racing as well Rob Crawford becomes Team Manager, and Mathew Nielson both also from Toll HSV Dealer Team will join the team to engineer Garth Tander's car.<ref>All change for 2008</ref> Glenn Seton returned to the Holden Racing Team for the enduros, joining up with Gold Coast based kiwi Craig Baird. The pair in the running for a podium until an accident with the 2nd Jim Beam car. After the Super Cheap Auto Bathurst 1000, Garth is third in the championship behind last year rival Jamie Whincup and Mark Winterbottom. On October 29th Skaife also announced that 2008 will be his last season in a full time drive in V8 Supercars.

2009
Toll Holdings, though its transportation company Toll, increased its involvement to take over from Holden as the team's major sponsor. After a disappointing end to 2008, where he slipped from title contender to score only a third place finish in the championship, Garth Tander continues with HRT, where he was joined by Will Davison<ref>{{#if: Rising V8 star Will Davison joins factory Toll Holden Racing Team

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2010
In 2010, Garth Tander and Will Davison continued as driver, for the 2010 season the team acquired new bonnet sponsorship from Red Rooster replacing the lions of the bonnet that had been there for nine years, At round Seven, Hidden Valley the team debut two brand new VE Commodores, WR 012 now used as Car #2 for Tander and WR 013 which is now used as Car #22 for Davison replacing the three year old Commodores which were WR 006 and WR 007 (now being campaigned by Fabian Coulthard in Bundaberg Red Colours)

Ownership Battle

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 March 12th to provide the evidence, or the team could be removed from the V8 Touring Car Competition.<ref>Kelly takes the first flag as Gore turns up heat on Skaife</ref>

Skaife managed to produce sufficient evidence and TEGA allowed HRT to continue racing. A commercial settlement(payment) 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.<ref> Kelly retains one-track mind </ref> It has been revealed that Tom Walkinshaw owned a 50% stake in Skaife Sports.<ref>Motorsport: Walkinshaw half-owner of HRT (March 2007)</ref> Subsequently in December 2008 Skaife sold his remaining interest in HRT to Walkinshaw.<ref>[1]</ref>

See Also

Template:V8 Supercar Teams

External links