POLL: Fondest HRT memory from 1990-2016

Monday 12th December, 2016

10:00am

Author: Gordon Lomas ©

thumbFormed in 1990 the Holden Racing Team has been responsible for one of the most successful and colourful eras in Australian motor racing.

The team has claimed six Championships, seven Bathurst 1000 wins, 179 race wins, 73 round wins and 93 pole positions.

With the curtain now drawn on one of the most evocative chapters in Australian Touring Car/Supercars racing, it is time to ponder some of the most endearing memories from the Holden Racing Team.

Starting off in 1990, founding team manager Win Percy combined with Allan Grice to win the Bathurst 1000 in a car which was not meant to win but somehow defied the odds.

In the early 1990’s, the team hired Peter Brock, effectively ending the late great driver’s Holden isolation in what was to prove a marketing boon for the squad.

With a period of unrest following the dumping of Wayne Gardner in 1993 prior to Sandown, the new whiz-kid Craig Lowndes was hired for the 1994 enduros ahead of a full-time promotion to the team in 1995.

But it was Brock who broke-through for the team’s first ATCC round race at Eastern Creek.

The following season saw one of the team’s most fruitful calendar years when Lowndes pulled off the amazing triple crown feat by snaring the Championship, Sandown 500 and Bathurst 1000.

In 1997, the HRT would wave farewell to Brock who had decided it was time to call time on his full-time career, which was announced mid-year.

After returning from an unsuccessful European Formula 3000 bid, Lowndes quickly picked up where he left off by winning the championships in 1998 and 1999.

At the maiden running of the Adelaide 500, Lowndes made a remarkable recovery coming from last to scorch home in first place.

The team’s most lethal run arrived from 2000-2002 when Mark Skaife proved almost invincible in a clinical period of domination.

However the team’s edge evaporated when the empire of Tom Walkinshaw in the UK collapsed in early 2003 thus triggering a period of decline.

A rare moment of celebration was the 2005 Bathurst 1000 win for Skaife and Todd Kelly.

The team set about farewelling its most decorated driver with Mark Skaife retiring after the season-ending Oran Park round in 2008.

For 2009, the HRT would claim another Bathurst title with Garth Tander and Will Davison saluting while Tander would team up in 2011 with Nick Percat for another win at Mount Panorama.

James Courtney took back-to-back Clipsal wins on the streets of Adelaide in 2014 and 2015 while Garth Tander and Warren Luff landed the 2016 Sandown 500, which will forever stand as the franchise’s final victory.

Announced in August, Holden said it would be pooling is resources into the Triple Eight squad and using the HRT moniker with the Brisbane-based team, ending the era of one of the most marketable sporting teams in the country.

What sticks most in your mind as the most memorable moment for the Holden Racing Team?

 

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