It may no longer be the official Holden Racing Team (HRT), but the hunger to win is still as strong as ever at Mobil 1 HSV Racing.
V8X Supercar Magazine looks at the Walksinshaw Racing's off-season transformation from the Holden Racing Team to Mobil 1 HSV Racing in issue #98.
Issue #98 is on sale now in stores with the digital edition available in the official V8X app (in the App Store and Google Play), online at DigitalEdition.V8XMagazine.com.au and in the Magzter app store.
CLICK HERE for more information on issue #98.
In August last year, Holden confirmed the Walkinshaw camp's worst fears. The Australian arm of General Motors was taking the HRT moniker and the official factory team status away from the Melbourne-based team and was handing it to Roland Dane's Red Bull-sponsored outfit in Queensland.
This announcement followed decisions from both Holden and Ford that they are withdrawing from manufacturing in Australia, a situation that will seriously change the face of Supercars.
Holden's decision to relocate the HRT brand ended a three-decade partnership between Holden and the team based next door to the Holden Special Vehicles (HSV) factory in the Melbourne suburb of Clayton.
The partnership had been a fruitful one, which included six championship trophies (three each for Mark Skaife and Craig Lowndes) and seven Bathurst 1000 victories (starting with the famous Win Percy and Allan Grice win in 1990). But the reality was that, from a results point of view, the team had fallen on tough times in the past five years, while Dane's team had dominated the Supercars scene.
The significance of losing the HRT name cannot be underestimated. The Holden Racing Team brand is one of the strongest in Australian motorsport, with the merchandise sales at the team's peak rumoured to be worth around $1 million a year.
This decision would be the Formula 1 equivalent of FIAT taking the Ferrari moniker away from the current Maranello-based team and giving it to another team in the pitlane.
There was much speculation after the initial shock of the announcement as to what the Walkinshaw camp would call its team for 2017 and beyond, but it was no real surprise that it revived its HSV Racing moniker.
Back in the mid-2000s, the Clayton team campaigned four cars in the championship – two under the banner of the Holden Racing Team, while the other two were raced using the HSV Dealer Team name. The Walkinshaw family, which owns the team, is also the proprietor of modified Holden road car specialist, Holden Special Vehicles.
HSV Dealer Team was incredibly successful in its short-lived history having won the championship in both 2006 with Rick Kelly and 2007 with Garth Tander.
While many may have seen the stripping of the HRT name as a kick in the guts that would take some recovering from, HSV Racing team manager Adrian Burgess was determined not to let it take the focus of the team away from winning races and being competitive in 2017.
Included in the print edition is a pullout poster featuring Mobil 1 HSV Racing.
CLICK HERE to purchase issue #98 to read the full feature.