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Sunday, June 16, 2024


THE news that new Grove Racing signing Lee Holdsworth will carry the #10 on his Mustang in next year’s Repco Supercars Championship brings back a number that has largely been on the sidelines of the category for quite some time.

The team, now 100% owned by the Groves after buying the Kelly family out of its remaining 50%, has elected to park the #7 that the team has used ever since it was created as Kelly Racing in 2009.

That number was carried by Todd Kelly throughout his time driving for his family team and was passed on to new signing – and now Brad Jones Racing-bound – Andre Heimgartner after Kelly retired at the end of 2017.

Now it’s been confirmed that Holdsworth will run #10, bringing back an ex-Mark Larkham number that has lots of history in the ATCC/Supercars paddock.

The last two times that #10 was wheeled out it was a one-off number change for a regular championship competitor.

At Pukekohe 2015 in a one-off on Ash Walsh’s Erebus Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG to promote Penrite’s 10 Tenths Racing Oils brand.

At Bathurst in 2014 it was a one-off on Tim Slade and Tony D’Alberto’s Supercheap Auto Commodore to mark the 10th year of the company backing the Bathurst 1000.

The XBOX wildcard at Bathurst in 2013. Photo: an1images.com / Justin Deeley.

The previous use of #10 was also as a one-off, though for the XBOX, Triple Eight-run wildcard at Bathurst in 2013, rather than for a regular championship runner making a one-off number change – Andy Priaulx and Mattias Ekstrom finished a solid 10th.

The last time the #10 graced the grid on a full-time basis was on Andrew Thompson’s, Walkinshaw Racing-run Bundaberg Red Racing Commodore in 2010.

Andrew Thompson at Sandown in 2010, a miserable season for the former DJR Development Series driver. Photo: an1images.com / Justin Deeley.

It had come to WR in 2009 and been used by Paul Dumbrell’s Autobarn Commodore after a year off in 2008 following the withdrawal of WPS Racing on the eve of that season. 

The pathway to WPS’ use of the number came via Mark Larkham’s Mitre 10 team that fired up with its unique, one-off, open wheeler inspired Falcon EF built in 1995.

Larkham used the number – with its obvious connection to his sponsor – throughout the rest of his time racing V8 Supercars, including taking the last race win for a #10 in the championship at Calder Park in 2000.

After he retired from full-time racing at the end of 2003 it was passed on to his team driver Jason Bargwanna, who retained it when Larkham rolled his squad into WPS Racing for 2006.

Jason Bargwanna tackles the kerbs on the Gold Coast. Photo: an1images.com / Justin Deeley.

Before Larko picked up the number, #10 had been largely absent for nearly a decade since Robbie Francevic carried it on his way to becoming the 1986 Australian Touring Car Champion for Volvo.

The Kiwi won at Amaroo, Symmons Plains and Adelaide International Raceway on his way to winning the crown, the second year the championship was run to Group A international regulations.

Robbie Francevic became the oldest-ever Australian Touring Car Champion with his win in 1986 for Volvo. Photo: an1images.com / Ian Smith.

A few other notable names have also run #10 in the championship over the course of history.

Jim Richards used it on his Melford Falcon in 1977, Allan Grice ran it on his Craven Mild Torana at Symmons Plains and Calder in 1975, and Murray Carter also ran it on his Falcon for a few rounds in 1974.

But in 2022 it becomes Lee Holdsworth’s new number in his return to a full-time Repco Supercars Championship seat and no doubt the 2021 Repco Bathurst 1000 winner will be keen to write his own history with the number.

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