Home' V8X Supercar Magazine : Dec 2016 Jan 2017 Issue 96 Contents 50
HOLDEN RACING TEAM
1990 Former TWR driver
Win Percy is hired
to manage and drive
for HRT, now operating indepen-
dently in its own facility with the
likes of Rob Benson and Wally
Storey in the crew. Results are hard
to come by in the championship.
However, Percy and co-driver Allan
Grice upstage the turbo brigade to
take victory in the Bathurst 1000.
The win for the local Commodore
against the imported Sierras and
Skylines under the Group A rules
embeds HRT in the hearts of
1991 The new VN doesn’t deliver the desired results, aside
from another podium at Bathurst. Uncertainty around
the future of Percy as manager/driver and announcement
of a part campaign for 1992 raises questions over the team’s future.
1992 Tomas Mezera is hired as driver and Percy returns
as manager and endurance driver, with a part season
allowing the team to focus on the V8-spec VP Com-
modore that debuts with a third place at Sandown and claims fifth
1993 The dawn of the V8 era sees HRT expand to two entries
for the first time in the championship, with former
motorcycling world champion Wayne Gardner partner-
ing Mezera and former HDT and Dick Johnson Racing team manager
Neal Lowe replacing Percy at the helm. But poor results see Lowe part
with the team midway through the year, with Mezera stepping up as
driver/manager alongside new recruits Jeff Grech and Ron Harrop. The
tumultuous season continues at Sandown, where Gardner is benched
amid accusations he’s luring sponsors to set up his own team. He
returns at Bathurst to take third place and wins the non-championship
Australian Grand Prix in what is his final race for the team.
1994 Holden supremo John Crennan’s three-year plan to
take HRT to the top begins with the recruitment of
Peter Brock, returning to the factory Holden fold for
the first time since their split in 1987, and Grech establishing himself
as team boss. Mobil also comes on board in a relationship that contin-
ues to this day, while Chris Dyer adds to the engineering department.
Brock scores the team’s first round win at Eastern Creek, while rookie
Craig Lowndes stars on debut with second place at Bathurst.
1995 The team debuts the VR Commodore and Brock
takes race wins at Symmons Plains and Phillip Island
for third in the championship, achieving Crennan’s
goal of highest-placed Holden team in the standings. It’s a timely
result with the team’s deal with Holden up for renewal and Gibson
Motorsport angling for factory status. An extension is agreed, with
Lowndes rewarded with a full-time drive for 1996 in place of Mezera.
1996 HRT’s ascendancy is complete with Lowndes storming
to a record-breaking championship win that includes
16 race wins and six from 10 round wins. Young New
Zealander Greg Murphy joins him for the endurance events and they
duly win Sandown and Bathurst. Lowndes, with the help of Walkin-
shaw, does a deal to move to European Formula 3000 for 1997, with
Murphy rewarded with the full-time drive.
1997 Murphy wins on his championship debut at Calder
Park, though hopes of repeating Lowndes’ heroics are
dashed by a string of mechanical failures with the new
VS Commodore. Brock wins a race in his final championship round
before retirement at Oran Park and is joined at Bathurst by new
recruit Mark Skaife. But the duo can’t convert from pole position
after another mechanical failure, while Lowndes returns to partner
Murphy. Meanwhile, the team expands with the Holden Young Lions
entry to groom up-and-coming talent.
1998 Lowndes’ return from Europe leaves HRT with a
dilemma: three drivers and just two seats. Lowndes and
Skaife are awarded the drives, while Murphy settles for
endurance co-driving and testing duties. Lowndes duly continues
where he left off, winning the title despite the added complication
of debuting the new VT Commodore late in the season.
1999 Lowndes continues his domination with a third cham-
pionship win from three attempts, despite missing a
round through injury following a spectacular rollover
at Calder Park and the implementation of a control tyre. HRT wins
the inaugural teams’ championship, confirming its place at the top
of the pecking order in V8 Supercars.
V8X96 p48-53 HRT.indd 50
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