ARCHIVE: WHEN WEBBER TURNED DOWN THE HOLDEN RACING TEAM

Mark Webber. Pic: Porsche Newsroom

MARK Webber in a Holden Racing Team Commodore at Bathurst?

If Tom Walkinshaw had his way, it would have happened for the 2000 FAI 1000.

Our latest snippet from the Motorsport News Archive winds the clock back to June 2000, when Webber was part of the Walkinshaw fold chasing an Arrows Formula 1 seat.

History shows HRT ended up fielding Brit Jason Plato and Frenchman Yvan Muller in car #2 at Bathurst, alongside Craig Lowndes/Mark Skaife in car #1 and Todd Kelly/Mark Noske in its Holden Young Lions entry.

ON the eve of his first test session in the current Arrows F1 car, Mark Webber has turned down a Bathurst drive with HRT.

The offer came during a meeting with team owner Tom Walkinshaw after the Monaco F1/F3000 weekend, Walkinshaw offering Webber a spot with the V8 Supercar team in which he retains part ownership.

“It was nice to be asked and, one day, it would be a good thing to do,” Webber told us this week.

Webber considered the offer for a few days before politely declining:

“I told Tom that it (Bathurst) isnʼt what Iʼm after right now. My focus is solely and completely on F3000 and F1. He understood that and, I think, appreciated where Iʼm coming from.

“Obviously, if you were going to be doing Bathurst, HRT would be one of the best teams to drive for in Australia, so one day when itʼs the right time, then for sure…”

Car #2 leads the Young Lions Commodore across the Mountain in 2000. Pic: an1images.com / Graeme Neander

In the meantime Webber is set to conduct his first full-on test with the team, in the current Arrows A21 Supertec at Silverstone on July 6.

A seat-fitting and set-up session was completed at the teamʼs headquarters last Thursday, in preparation for

the test, at which a number of other major teams will be present.

“Itʼs great at last to get a proper run in the car,” Webber said this week.

“Iʼve been waiting for this moment, and hope I get a good clean day of running, to show what I can do.”

Webber returns to F3000 action late next week at the Magny Cours French GP round of the series, keen to get a serious result under his belt after the disappointment at Monaco. He retains third in the championship.

Further time in the Arrows F1 car will come during three days of straight line testing at Vairano, in Italy, on July 19-21.

WHILE Webber will be a TV viewer for the enduros, Mark Noske has been named as one of Holden Racing Teamʼs enduro drivers – by Craig Lowndes.

Noskeʼs name jumped out of the hat when Lowndes confirmed that the Ferrari Nations Cup driver would join himself and Mark Skaife at the post race media conference in Canberra.

When asked whether Noske had actually been confirmed in the squad, HRT spokesman Paul Weissell said, “he has now”.

While three drivers have been confirmed in the squad, and Canberra race winner Todd Kelly seems certain to drive the mycar Young Lions VT, David Brabhamʼs name continues to be linked to the team, while there could be a fourth driver (and second international) in the squad, meaning that Noske may join Kelly in the HYL car.