THE LAST WINNING HOLDEN RACING TEAM COMMODORE RESTORED

Back in Red. The last Holden Racing Team winner is back in VF specification and its familiar factory warpaint. Photo: Walkinshaw Group.

THE car that carried the Holden Racing Team to its final victory has been restored to its 2016 Sandown 500-winning specification and livery.

Driven by Garth Tander and Warren Luff to victory in the Melbourne endurance classic, the chassis was later converted and used by the Walkinshaw Andretti United team as a ZB Commodore race car, though it has since been converted back to VF specification as it ran in HRT’s final year.

V8 Sleuth is currently putting the finishes touches on a new book, ‘Holden Racing Team, The Cars, 1986-2016, Second Edition’ that is due to be released mid-season and is currently available here to pre-order.

The book documents the racing history and afterlives of every car to race under the HRT banner, from the first VL Group A SV Commodore right through to the chassis that has been restored, WR 023.

Tander drove WR 023 home to victory at Sandown in 2016 despite a flapping front guard blowing off and amid pressure from Red Bull pilot Shane van Gisbergen in the latter stages, hanging on to take his first Sandown 500 win.

Garth Tander and Warren Luff took the #2 HRT Commodore to victory at Sandown in 2016. Photo: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith

The win turned out to be the last time the Holden Racing Team won a Supercars Championship race prior to the factory Holden funding – and HRT name – being moved across to Triple Eight’s Red Bull Commodores for 2017.

The very same chassis was in contention to win at Bathurst some weeks later until Tander was involved in the accident that also damaged Scott McLaughlin’s Volvo and saw Jamie Whincup received a post-race 15 second time penalty for forcing the Volvo off the track.

The restored ex-HRT chassis was raced by Scott Pye in 2017 under the Mobil 1 Racing banner as a VF and was converted to ZB and used by James Courtney and Jack Perkins at the 2018 Sandown 500.

Courtney drove WR 023 for the 2019 season (including a podium finish at Bathurst with Perkins) before it finished its racing career at that end of that year, Courtney’s final season with the team.

The car was sold by the team via auction back in 2019 and V8 Sleuth understands the private collector who was successful in purchasing the car asked for it to be returned to its final HRT-winning specification and livery by the team, a project that has now been completed.

The car – WR 023 – was recently placed on display in the foyer of the Walkinshaw Group’s headquarters in Melbourne, a timely reminder of the history of the business and Holden, through both its association via HSV and HRT.

The WR 023 chassis sits on display at the Walkinshaw Group. Photo: Walkinshaw Group.
With over 20 years in the Australian motorsport industry, Noonan is the head of V8 Sleuth. He’s held a range of roles including working in television with Seven and Ten, print media and public relations. With a specialty in Australian motorsport history, he’s known around racing paddocks as ’the Sleuth’ and started his motorsport media career in 1997.