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Saturday, May 25, 2024


GARRY Rogers has led heartfelt tributes to Lee Holdsworth after the veteran of 502 Repco Supercars Championship races announced his impending retirement from full-time driving.

Shifting his focus to family, Holdsworth will make a permanent return to co-driver life at season’s end, leaving him with four farewell events at Pukekohe, Bathurst, Gold Coast and Adelaide.

Bar last year, when he won the Repco Bathurst 1000 for Walkinshaw Andretti United, Holdsworth has been a fixture on the full-time grid since 2006.

That first opportunity came with Garry Rogers Motorsport, a relationship which would span six seasons.

MORE: How Holdsworth retirement changes silly season

Speaking with V8 Sleuth today, Rogers heaped praise on Holdsworth.

“His strengths were his character; he is just a really decent person,” said Rogers, who remembers “extremely well” the day his young gun memorably won at a wet Oran Park in 2007.

“He can drive a car, so that was important, but we need people that become part of the team rather than just want to be rowing their own little boat.

“He realised the importance of the teamwork in our place and certainly got involved in that.

“I mean as everybody knows, we had all our drivers in those days and still today working in the workshop. He fit into that and tried very hard.

“Everyone knows he is a good bloke but the important part to me was that he understood that our business and everyone’s motor racing business is about teamwork.

“He realised the importance of that from day one, worked tirelessly amongst the group to make sure that worked, because certain drivers can be very disruptive in their quest of what they want rather than what the team needs.

“I can only speak highly of the guy, and personally I love his commitment to his family, his wife, his kids. He’s just a good guy.”

GRM was well known for its jovial culture, and there was no shortage of that in the four years Holdsworth was teammates with Michael Caruso (2008-11).

“There was numerous funny events particularly when Robbo (Caruso) was here because Robbo was sort of the complete reverse to Lee but they blended well as a pair,” Rogers added.

Holdsworth aboard the #33 Commodore. Pic: an1images.com / Scott Wensley

Caruso echoed Rogers’ sentiments about the four-time Supercars race winner.

“Genuinely one of the nicest people in pit lane and one of the fiercest competitors that you enjoy racing against,” Caruso told V8 Sleuth.

“It’s a credit to him and his family and his upbringing.

“I know that he has had to do it the tough way to get into the sport so I can really appreciate that from my perspective and what he has achieved speaks for itself.

“Watching him lift the big trophy last year, if there was anyone else that could win it, I was happy it was him. And then to see him roll out for 500 races is astonishing when you look at the list of names that he shares that with, it’s really cool.

“For Lee, I’ve known him for such a long time both on and off the track now and I’m just looking forward to seeing his next adventure.

“He is the type of person that jumps in with both feet and gives it his all and I’m sure whatever his next steps are he’ll be just as successful.”

The pair enjoyed some special moments together at Mount Panorama, none more so than placing third in the 2009 Bathurst 1000.

“I remember when we drove home with our trophies, although third place, it meant the world to us,” said Caruso.

“That was really special and to be able to share that moment together was nice.

“Getting to team up again at Bathurst a few years ago again (for Tickford Racing in 2020), we’ve had so many good moments it would be hard to point out just one, but I think more the off-track stuff that we’ve been able to experience together even as our families have grown up together.

“Too many good moments and I’m sure that there will be plenty more.”

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