Larry Perkins has paid tribute to Holden’s presence in Australian motorsport following confirmation that the brand will cease operations “by 2021”.
General Motors yesterday confirmed that local sales, design, and engineering would cease, while questions remain unanswered when it comes to the Holden Motorsport programme.
Late last year the brand reaffirmed its commitment to Supercars, a future which is now uncertain given the name will disappear by the end of the year.
A six-time winner of the Bathurst 1000 between 1982 and 1997, all at the wheel of Holden Commodores, Perkins has paid tribute to the brand’s ability to support motorsport despite the pressure from its parent company in Detroit.
“Holden’s greatest achievement was probably their ability to support car racing when General Motors kept saying, ‘we don’t support car racing,’ back at Detroit,” Perkins told Speedcafe.com.
“But in Holden, the Australian management, to their credit, worked out says over the last 30 or 40 years to get around that, and did it with enthusiasm, I might add, and I was very happy to have been part of it.”
Though he never benefitted directly from factory support, Perkins suggests he did receive help from the manufacturer, especially the staff it employed, over his career.
“Holden did support me, not as a works team, of course, but in lots of ways they supported me over all my, what, 20-odd years in racing,” Perkins said.
“I met many wonderful people in Holden, especially the guys behind the scenes and they did their job diligently and were enthusiastic about it.
“I’ve got great memories of working with many people at Holden.”
The Supercars legend added that the announcement came as no surprise and its impact will be comparatively small given only a tiny proportion of the Australian motorsport landscape is supported by the marque.
“Most people in Australia who go racing, as in the race car owners, they’ve never got a handout from the manufacturers, it’s only a very chosen few that they have been supported, if you like, by the manufacturers,” noted Perkins.
“The rest, the vast majority are racers, go racing because they’re enthusiasts.
“The crowds go to watch the racing because it’s been, I’ll use the word exciting, now over many, many years.
“So it’s up to the management arm of the racing categories now to not look down at the moment, just say, ‘well, nothing much has altered, let’s get on with it’.
“Let’s hope they’ve got good vision and know what they need to do.”