The 2020 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 will be the finale for this year’s COVID-interrupted Supercars season, as well as the last for the Holden Racing Team, which will cease to be after this weekend’s event.
While Holden Commodores will continue to race in 2021 (two thirds of the current Supercars grid are made up of ZB Commodores), the Holden Racing Team won’t. For Triple Eight Race Engineering, Bathurst will mark the end of their stint as the official factory team, which started back in 2017 and followed a Holden connection that started back to 2010 after they switched from FG Falcons to VE Commodores.
“It was a big moment when we rolled out the Commodores in Abu Dhabi for the first race of 2010 and finished one-two,” recalled Roland Dane, Triple Eight’s team principal.
Triple Eight went on to win the teams’ championship that year, in a season where they not only comfortably outpointed archrival Ford teams, but the factory Holden Racing Team, too.
In the next four years, Triple Eight would do ‘the double’ – drivers’ and teams’ championships - as well as achieving a Bathurst 1000 win in 2012.
Triple Eight would win the teams’ championship again in 2015, as well as that year’s Bathurst 1000, followed by teams’ and drivers’ titles in 2016.The team’s runaway victory that year led to Holden transferring their backing to Triple Eight and the title of the official Holden Racing Team in 2017.
Jamie Whincup would secure the 2017 Supercars drivers’ title for Triple Eight/Red Bull HRT in 2017, with another teams’ title following in 2018.
Dane, always the pragmatist, acknowledged that Holden’s passing is indicative of the ever-changing motorsport landscape.
“Eras come and eras go in motor sport – that’s life,” Dane mused. “(But) clearly there is a lot of Australian motor sporting history associated with Holden, going back to the 1960s, which we respect.”
While commiserations are perhaps more appropriate, GM-Holden says celebrations are planned for pitlane at Bathurst this weekend, but COVID restrictions around crowd numbers (only 4,000 fans will be allowed) and social distancing mean a major send-off is unlikely.
“Going into the final Holden ‘factory’ Bathurst race together, we want to again thank Triple Eight Race Engineering, and all our wonderful supporters, drivers, engineers, dealers, commercial partners, marketers and everyone who contributed to Holden’s motor sport successes going back to the 48-215 ‘humpy’,” said GM Holden Interim Chairman and Managing Director Kristian Aquilina.
“Whilst it’s an emotional time, these people helped make Holden the cultural icon that it is. Holden’s motorsport history transcends the track, leaving an indelible mark on Australian and New Zealand life.
“We also want to reassure our 1.6 million Holden owners that Holden will be providing parts and service for at least 10 years.
“Ultimately, our customers and fans made Holden what it is – something we can all be proud of.”