Walkinshaw Andretti United will commemorate its and Holden’s shared history with a special message on its cars at this weekend’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.
The retirement of the marque means that the 2020 running of the Great Race is the lion’s last event in an official capacity, although ZB Commodores are set to race again in the Supercars Championship for one more year.
WAU’s lineage includes a period of just over a quarter of a century when it competed in the Australian Touring Car Championship/Supercars Championship as the Holden Racing Team.
It enjoyed incredible dominance in the latter half of the 1990s and early 2000s when it won the championship six times in seven years, courtesy of Craig Lowndes and then Mark Skaife.
The HRT racked up even more victories in the Great Race, beginning with its very first as an inhouse Tom Walkinshaw Racing operation in 1990.
A second followed in 1996 when Lowndes achieved the triple of Bathurst 1000, Sandown 500, and championship, before the iconic red Commodores prevailed at Mount Panorama in 2001, 2002, 2005, 2009, and 2011.
Holden moved the factory status to Triple Eight Race Engineering in 2017, while Walkinshaw Racing became Walkinshaw Andretti United in 2018.
Walkinshaw Group, the company behind HSV, retains formal links with General Motors through the new GM Specialty Vehicles, but the race team is set for a new era with the retirement of the Holden marque this year and introduction of Gen3 regulations in 2022.
As such, Cars #2 and #25 will run with the message, ‘Holden – Thank you for the memories!’ across their rooflines.
“(Holden has) been such a big part of our history and DNA as a team,” WAU Team Principal Bruce Stewart told Speedcafe.com.
“We recognise that things changed and we just wanted to respectfully say thanks for the memories, thanks to all the staff, and thanks to all the fans.
“It’s a huge part of our business and what we’ve been, and that’s what it’s about on our cars.”
As one of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship’s Melbourne-based team’s, WAU has been on the road since July 6 due to border closures.
Stewart said the special circumstances surrounding this weekend’s Great Race, which will be the season finale, will make the occasion even more significant.
“It’s the grand final of our sport and any time you come here, it’s amazing,” he remarked.
“It is truly amplified by the fact that it’s the last event of the season, it’s amplified by the fact that the championship is decided, so it’s a real grand final with all the teams participating.
“We’re always excited to come here but I think it just adds a little bit extra.
“That’s also amplified by the fact that ourselves and a lot of the Victorian teams have been on the road for a hundred days.
“We all want to put our best foot forward and that just adds a little more to it, if there can be, at such an amazing event.”
Chaz Mostert will share his #25 Mobil 1 Appliances Online ZB Commodore with incumbent WAU co-driver Warren Luff, while Bryce Fullwood is joined by Kurt Kostecki in the #2 Mobil 1 Middy’s entry.
Practice 1 starts tomorrow at 09:30 local time/AEDT.