The Holden Racing Team’s VF Commodores will adopt special bonnets this weekend celebrating the car manufacturer’s sponsorship of the Rugby League State of Origin.
Garth Tander’s bonnet will sport the hues of the Queensland Maroons, while team-mate James Courtney, originally from Sydney, displays the colour of the New South Wales Blues.
The promotion occurs in the first year of Holden’s naming rights sponsorship of the State of Origin and Kangaroos rugby league national team; a deal believed to be worth $5 million.
“This is every kid’s dream, competing in the Origin colours of their home state, I love it and can’t wait to get out there wearing NSW Blue,” said Courtney.
“I’m passionate about my Sydney ‘Westie’ heritage and I’m a huge Origin fan – the plan is to avenge our defeat in Origin II last week by getting the Blues HRT Commodore out front and keeping it there.”
Courtney scored his first pole position in his three-year HRT tenure last time out at Hidden Valley and currently sits ninth in points heading to Townsville.
Tander, who has appeared less comfortable with the development direction of the HRT VFs in recent races, now sits just 58 points ahead of his team-mate.
“The first goal in motorsport has always been to beat your team-mate and that’s never been truer than this weekend,” said the 2007 champion.
“He had a good run in Darwin, but if we can turn the tables then I’m looking forward to seeing James’ face when the ‘Queenslander’ chant goes up!”
The Victorian-based, West Australian-born Tander has claimed an allegiance to Queensland thanks to the squad’s star players usually competing with the Melbourne Storm in the National Rugby League.
This season is the first since 2009 that Holden has controlled the bonnet space on the HRT entries following outside backing from fast food chain Red Rooster (2010) and energy drink firm Rockstar (2011-2012).