Walkinshaw: Bathurst win special because of the sh*t WAU had to endure
Monday 6th December, 2021 - 6:00am
Walkinshaw Andretti United co-owner Ryan Walkinshaw has praised the resilience and fight of his team after its crushing 2021 Repco Bathurst 1000 win with Chaz Mostert and Lee Holdsworth.
In a performance reminiscent of the team during its former glory days as the Holden Racing Team, Mostert and Holdsworth finished every session in the top three, started from pole position and won with ease – crossing the line four seconds clear of Cameron Waters and James Moffat, despite Mostert taking it easy in the closing stages.
While Mostert and Holdsworth attracted the lion’s share of attention, Walkinshaw said credit for the performance belonged to the entire WAU team after it had to reinvent itself in the wake of losing its factory Holden status and enduring many lean years by its high standards.
“[Winning Bathurst] means a lot,” Walkinshaw told Speedcafe.com. “More because this team has been through a lot of shit.
“We’ve had a lot of people trying to kick us while we’ve been down. I feel like we’ve been on the way up for quite some time now. The amount of work that’s gone into it and the people we have now, they’re the best people I’ve ever worked with. I’m incredibly honoured to work with Walkinshaw Andretti United and I’m incredibly proud of what they accomplished today.”
While many outsiders considered the dominant performance of Mostert, Holdsworth and WAU a surprise, Walkinshaw said it was expected after months of preparation.
“We’ve spent the last six months in the background working on this race, with a fair bit of investment and a few other things,” he explained. “We knew we’d be fast here. We sacrificed a few rounds to try and work towards this race. Previously at this race we’ve seen a few dominant drivers during the race, we’ve seen that with Scott McLaughlin, a few years before we saw that with Jamie Whincup as well, so sometimes this track, when fortune falls your way, the result comes to you.”
While insisting it was a team performance, Walkinshaw did reserve special praise for Mostert, which included setting a new qualifying lap record in the Top 10 Shootout before his comprehensive race win.
“I’m a bit biased but I’d say Chaz and Shane are the top two drivers in the category at the moment and I think he really showed that today,” he said. “At the same time, we’re a team – we win together, we lose together. But you’ve got to give it to Chaz, yesterday was one of the best shootout laps I’ve ever seen, absolutely incredible performance.”
Victory in the season-ending race means WAU heads into 2022 full of confidence and Walkinshaw believes it will be fighting for both major titles with Nick Percat set to replace Bryce Fullwood as Mostert’s full-time team-mate.
“Next year’s objective is we want to go and fight for the teams’ championship and we want to give Shane as hard a crack as we can for the drivers’ [championship] as well,” he said.
The 2022 season is due to begin with the Repco Newcastle 500 on the city’s street circuit on March 4-6, after Supercars released the calendar details on Sunday.