After two years in the V8 Supercars wilderness, Lee Holdsworth is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that his Walkinshaw Racing move yields results.
The deal between the factory Holden team and Racing Entitlements Contract holder Charlie Schwerkolt was made public on Monday, officially ending a tumultuous silly season for Holdsworth.
Announced last August to be staying on at Erebus, the 31-year-old then signed in November to drive Schwerkolt’s Ford Performance Racing Falcon.
Circumstances again changed just weeks later, when James Rosenberg’s exit from Walkinshaw Racing opened a more commercially attractive opportunity for Schwerkolt’s entry, leading to a deal that was completed last week.
Stressing the importance of Walkinshaw’s ongoing factory backing from Holden, Holdsworth has declared the team “the better opportunity for me and a more secure one long-term” over FPR, which will be without Ford support in 2016.
Entering his 10th full-time season, the Holdsworth says that the latest move will make or break his chances of ever winning a V8 Supercars title.
“I think this is genuinely the best opportunity I’ve had to date,” Holdsworth told Speedcafe.com.
“This is a really important time in my career to be getting results and I have to make the most of this opportunity.
“At my age, I’m 31 years old and this is the prime of my career. The best years of my career are meant to be over the next five years.
“That’s why I had to really focus on getting into the best position to be able achieve what I want to do, which is win races and championships.
“I’ve enjoyed developing the car (at Erebus) but the fun of getting results and being rewarded for your hard work wasn’t there.
“You’ve got to live life in the now and that’s what I’m getting back to. This is about right now, not the future. I want to get results as soon as I can.”
After three years in Queensland, Holdsworth will move his young family back to Melbourne in the coming weeks as part of his commitment to the squad.
While Walkinshaw team-mates James Courtney and Tim Slade are based on the Gold Coast, Holdsworth says being close to the factory is an important piece of the puzzle.
“We’re fully committed to this year and giving it our best shot,” said Holdsworth, who was born in Melbourne before spending the majority of his school years in Queensland.
“At this stage with the team, everything is an unknown for me, so I need to make myself available to my engineer and everyone else at any time.
“We’re away (from home) enough as it is and with the workshop just down the road, I can develop a bond with the guys quicker and easier.”
Holdsworth joined Schwerkolt in visiting Walkinshaw’s factory last Friday, when the two-year deal was officially signed off.
Holdsworth will be engineered by Alex Somerset, inheriting the crew put together for Nick Percat last year,
Dismissing any suggestions of awkwardness over stepping into Percat’s place, Holdsworth was full of praise for the team’s “winning culture” and its potential for success.
“Everyone wants it (success), but there’s a lot more to achieving it as well,” he said.
“You need resources, the right people and the attitude in order to go ahead and win races and championships.
“From what I’ve seen, they have all of that there.”
CLICK HERE for more with Lee Holdsworth in this week’s Cafe Chat.