A famous 52-year old war has ended in a fairy tale finish for Holden with the Australian V8 legend claiming a final win over Ford.
In a fitting farewell for the brand that helped turn a regional race held on the side of a sheep paddock into Australia’s very own Monaco, Holden claimed its 34th and final Bathurst crown on an emotional day on the mountain.
A legend that began in 1968 when a car called the Monaro beat down a Falcon, Holden floored Ford in a thrilling final fight that went down to the last lap to leave the sport.
Dead and buried as a car company but a Bathurst legend that will never be lost, Shane van Gisbergen waved the famous red-flag for one final time on an emotional victory lap after beating new Mustang main man Cameron Waters in a one-on-one war.
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Triple Eight Race Engineering owner Rolland Dane held back tears after his team ended Holden’s official involvement in the sport with a famous win.
Shane van Gisbergen prevailed after a lengthy duel with Cameron Waters at Bathurst.
The Commodore will be on track without official support next year before being replaced by the Camaro in 2021.
“It was an awesome job by all these guys and I really wanted to acknowledge the end of an era with Holden,” Dane said.
“We are leaving them with a tinge of sadness but also looking forward to the future. We have great plans which everyone has seen and hopefully we will be back here in a couple of years with the most exciting cars Bathurst has ever seen. But it is farewell to Holden as a new car brand in Australia and we have had some great memories. We are really sorry that we can’t share this win today with all those fans that would usually be here because of COIVD.
Holden hero Garth Tander also paid tribute to the Aussie institution after claiming his fourth Bathurst crown in a Commodore.
Tander follows in the footsteps of the great Peter Brock who won nine Bathurst titles for Holden during a partnership that rivalled Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.
“It is really special for us to win this as Holden’s last official factory team,” Tander said.
“We get to stand on the top step of a place that means so much to Holden. It is really, really cool.”
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CHAMP’S MISSED CHANCE TO SILENCE CRITICS
– Rebecca Williams
Scott McLaughlin declared he is satisfied he has achieved everything he wanted to in Supercars, despite missing the podium and the chance to silence his critics over last year’s controversial Bathurst win at Mount Panorama on Sunday.
After what is expected to be his last full-time race as a Supercars driver ahead of a move to IndyCars the United States, McLaughlin was officially crowned champion for the third straight year before giving the strongest indication yet it was his last campaign.
McLaughlin had to settle for fifth place at Mount Panorama on Sunday as his Holden rival Shane van Gisbergen sealed his maiden Bathurst crown.
As he prepares to head off to the United States on Monday ahead of his IndyCar debut at St Petersburg next week, the DJR Team Penske star said he was satisfied he had done everything he had wanted to in Supercars.
“I have done everything I have wanted to achieve regardless of how St Pete goes,” McLaughlin said.
“I know right now I have got to grab this opportunity with both hands. It’s not an audition I would say … but I can’t be a gumby, I’ve got to go out there and drive the thing as fast as I can and acquaint myself as best as I can.
“I said I wanted to win a Bathurst, a championship and be a consistent front-runner (in this series). I really want to move up that leaderboard with wins and poles and really proud of all that.
“If it is (my last full-time race) I am completely satisfied.”
McLaughlin’s maiden Bathurst 1000 victory was shrouded in controversy last year with one rival team boss saying it remained “tainted” in the lead-up to this weekend’s race.
DJR Team Penske was slapped with a record-breaking $250,000 fine and stripped of 300 team points for issuing an illegal team order to McLaughlin’s teammate Fabian Coulthard.
The team was then handed another bombshell penalty after stewards found the team guilty of an engine breach at Mount Panorama. McLaughlin was stripped of his qualifying and top-10 shootout win from Bathurst, while the team was hit with another $30,000 fine.
Despite missing the chance to erase last year’s controversy with a podium on Sunday, McLaughlin said his third championship win was his “proudest”.
He celebrated the championship by burning rubber around the Mount Panorama circuit.
“To wrap the teams championship up along with the drivers championship is fantastic and was our goal that we had coming into it,” McLaughlin said.
“It was made a bit easier with Triple Eight’s little moment at the top of the hill, but I’m really proud. It’s been tough for everyone … It’s one of my proudest championships.
“I’m proud of everyone at Shell V Power Racing, it’s been an awesome year and it’s been hard for a lot of teams including ours and I’m just proud to bring home the bacon.”
McLaughlin will line up for Team Penske at the IndyCar season finale at St Petersburg in Florida on October 25.
He finished the year 451 points ahead of Tickford Racing’s Waters in the 2020 championship battle, completing a dominant year with 13 race wins – nine ahead of Jamie Whincup – and 15 pole positions.
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