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Holden Heartbeat – Revisiting HRT

When it comes to Australian motorsport, there is no team more iconic than the Holden Racing Team. HRT is one of most successful teams in the previous V8 Supercar series and here we will take a look at some of the defining moments in the team’s long history.

HRT was formed in 1990 out of the joint venture that began a few years earlier between Holden Special Vehicles and Tom Walkinshaw Racing. That year, the VL Commodore with its roaring V8 was pitted against a technology focused field which included the Ford Sierra and Nissans GT-R. Although the GT-R had been dominating the season, Mt Panorama provided one of the most memorable Bathurst 1000 races of the decade, with Allan Grice behind the wheel the team won against all odds laid the foundation for future success in the series.

In 1994 Rickard Rydell was unable to compete in the Bathurst 1000 due to family matters back home in Sweden, so a young Formula Ford driver was chosen to take his place, that person was Craig Lowndes. Lowndes showed a stunned crowd that he had what it takes up against motorsport legend John Bowe and two years later become a full time driver for HRT, winning a huge amount of races and then going on to take home the crown in the 1998 and 1999 championships.

It would be difficult to mention HRT without noting its most important figurehead, the legendary Peter Brock. Brocky was arguably Australia’s most successful motor racing driver and was somewhat of a Bathurst Legend and signed to the team in 1994. With a string of wins under his belt, the deal only solidified Peter Brocks dedication to Holden.

Later on HRT began to enter their golden years with Mark Scaife behind the wheel of the imposing VX HRT 045. Skaife piloted the powerhouse to take two championship and Bathurst victories from 2001 to 2002 with Tony Longhurst and Jim Richards as co-driver. The partnership was a winner and in 2003 the car was converted to a VY under new Project Blueprint rules. Word is that Scaife loved the car so much, he still owns it!

HRT defined motorsport in this country and was the home for many of Australia’s most well-known drivers. Although future of the team is up in the air, the name HRT will no longer continue after Holden decided to end their 26 year relationship in August of this year. Hopefully the team will evolve with the support of Walkinshaw Racing but this remains to be seen. After winning six drivers championships and Bathurst seven times, we are proud to have witnessed the passion and prowess of one of the country’s most important motorsport teams.

What is your favourite moment in the long history of HRT? Head over to the Rare Spares Facebook page and let us know in the comments!

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