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HomeNewsRival team boss owns Holden’s last Bathurst winner

Rival team boss owns Holden’s last Bathurst winner

PREMIAIR Racing may have fallen short of a top 10 finish in its first Repco Bathurst 1000, but team owner Peter Xiberras left Mount Panorama a big winner.

The hire company tycoon and lifelong Holden fan will soon take delivery of the #97 Triple Eight Commodore that Shane van Gisbergen and Garth Tander steered to victory.

Prolific car collector Xiberras struck a deal with Triple Eight in 2020 to buy the Commodore, knowing it was one of the last two factory racing Holdens.

What he didn’t know then was that the #97 ZB would become one of just three cars to ever win the Great Race twice, including scoring Holden’s last. 

“It’s pretty special. It’s a car that’s going to be pretty hard to beat,” Xiberras told V8 Sleuth in the Bathurst paddock on Sunday evening.

“Not only that it’s the last Holden that will ever win Bathurst, it’s won two Bathursts, (almost certainly) two championships and won more races than any other car in history. It’s ticked a lot of boxes.

“It hadn’t really won much when I bought it… I just struck it lucky.

“Gen3 was coming and coming and they kept on pushing (its introduction) back. The further they pushed it back the more races it kept on winning!”

Although Gen2 chassis are in high demand ahead of their introduction to the Super2 Series in 2023, the van Gisbergen car won’t race in the second-tier.

Xiberras says it’ll be going “straight to the pool room” following its last racing duties at this year’s Adelaide 500 in December and subsequent handover.

From left: Dylan O’Keeffe, Peter Xiberras, Matt Cook and Geoff Slater (obscured). Pic: Supplied

It was a sweet end to a challenging Bathurst 1000 for Xiberras with his own PremiAir outfit.

James Golding/Dylan O’Keeffe finished 12th and Chris Pither/Cameron Hill 21st after being delayed by front splitter and power steering issues respectively.

“After watching or coming to this race for 40-odd years, for some reason today it was the most nerve-wracking race I have ever been too,” said Xiberras.

“One of the other team owners pointed something out to me that I probably didn’t immediately appreciate at the time – for a first ever Bathurst having both cars finish, apparently that is quite an achievement to do so.

The Golding/O’Keeffe Commodore across the top of the Mountain. Pic: Supplied

“I have to say that is a testament to the boys and girls and what they do and the maintenance and all the rest of it.

“Obviously, we had a bit of back luck with Chris’ car with the power steering issue and for Jimmy, if it wasn’t for that splitter delaminating, I am pretty confident that he and Dylan would have put us in the top ten somewhere.

“All round, yes we had a little bit of bad luck, but I think it was a good effort by all.”

Champion drag racer Xiberras started the PremiAir Racing Supercars squad in 2022 having bought the remnants of the Team Sydney outfit he’d previously sponsored. 

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