Crennan names HRT ‘team of the century’
John Crennan has named Peter Brock as the most valuable marketing asset in the Holden Racing Team’s history as the curtain prepares to come down on the squad’s long association as a factory team.
In the wake of the HRT being given its last rites as a factory-backed squad, Crennan has named his ‘HRT Team of the Century’ in a special feature published in the October issue of the Australian Automotive Dealer Association magazine.
The bombshell news broke in August that the HRT brand will be switched from Walkinshaw Racing to Triple Eight next year, with the later to run under the new Red Bull Holden Racing Team moniker.
Commander-in-chief through HRT’s halcyon years Crennan lists Brock, who was welcomed back into the Holden fold in 1994 following a messy split with the maker seven years earlier, as the most valuable and complete marketing asset.
“Peter as a driver speaks for itself and also his contact with sponsors and the aura he brought to the team,” Crennan told Speedcafe.com.
“Everybody lifted because of him even though at times it was difficult behind-the-scenes.
“The inspiration he provided internally was always there.
“The moment Brock came on board, the needle completely changed for HSV (Holden Special Vehicles) in that we were accepted as a business.
“His contributions touched everybody.”
In Crennan’s self-described ‘HRT Team of the Century’, he lists its best drivers as Brock, Mark Skaife, Craig Lowndes and Garth Tander.
Jeff Grech, who oversaw 150 race wins with the HRT, has been named as the squad’s greatest team manager.
Crennan says the team’s engineering list is headed by Chris Dyer, who would later leave and famously engineer Michael Schumacher to great success in F1, Richard Hollway, David Swenson and Alister McVean.
Hollway and Swenson are now both at Garry Rogers Motorsport, working with Scott McLaughlin and James Golding respectively, while McVean recently moved from the HRT to Erebus Motorsport.
Crennan’s biggest accolade, however, is saved for Tomas Mezera, who has been named as the ‘Best team player and most genuine/authentic person to wear the Lion/helmet brand’.
Mezera joined the team as a driver in 1992 and also acted as team manager during the following season.
He lost his full-time drive to Craig Lowndes for 1996 and, after that year’s enduros, spent four years out of the squad before returning for the long distance events in 2001 and 2002.
“My point with Tomas (Mezera) is the equivalent in footy is the best clubman, not necessarily who kicked the most goals,” Crennan said.
“Tomas was someone who was 100 percent reliable, 100 percent honest, 100 percent authentic.
“He was as popular with the cleaner as he was with every other member in the team.
“When Neal Lowe finished with us in 1993, Tomas went in as team manager and stabilised that situation.
“He was someone you call on and was the genuine article.”
In the wake of the last rites given to the HRT, Crennan has previously outlined exclusively to Speedcafe.com key areas of where the team has fallen from grace over the last 10 years.
CLICK HERE for Crennan’s thoughts.
Crennan’s list below, as published by the Australian Automotive Dealer Association