Mobil 1 HSV Racing driver James Courtney says the Holden squad won’t have lost any fans as the team launched its new identity, insisting fans of the brand still think of them as their team.
While Triple Eight Race Engineering became Holden’s sole factory outfit as Red Bull Holden Racing Team, Courtney says the pressure is now on them to live up to reputation of the Holden Racing Team built by the Walkinshaw squad.
“I think are lot of people, they still see the Holden Racing Team as our team in that we have all the history,” he told Supercars.com.
“We built the history, not so much me, but the Walkinshaw family and the team. They built that legacy for Holden.
“I think the die hard, hardcore fans know. I think they’re going to hang around for sure. There’s a chance to grab some new fans and some back away from other places. I don’t think we’re not going to have anyone standing outside the garage. I think that passion and all those determined fans are still on our side. The response from the launch has been massively impressive. That’s felt by everyone in the team. They feel that passion, and it’s been received really well compared to the other one (Triple Eight). That’s been a big tick.”
Courtney added the move has galvanised the Walkinshaw squad, while he believes Holden’s switch of focus has put more pressure on Triple Eight than his own team.
“I wouldn’t say there is any more pressure. If anything, there’s probably less in the way that it’s all gone,” he added.
“I’d say there’s probably more pressure on the other blokes now than there is on us. I don’t see there being any more pressure.
“It’s very much a united front, and as a team, what we’ve gone through the last six months, with the changes, has probably brought us tighter as a group and given us a bit more determination. It’s in a very good place.”
Team manager Adrian Burgess also moved to emphasise the history of the Walkinshaw brand over HRT.
“The old HRT has been fantastic for our business, but equally now we can turn that page and start the Mobil 1 HSV Racing era,” Burgess told Supercars.com. “I’m sure that will be just as exciting and hopefully be more successful.
“At the end of the day, the guys and girls that have been in the team over that period and are here now, you need to remind them that they’re the ones delivering the outcomes. We might have been branded as HRT, but all of the staff and drivers and everything that delivered the outcome has been Walkinshaw Racing or Walkinshaw Performance.
“We’re certainly not going to call ourselves a new team like a few other teams have done in the past. We’re not a new team. But it is for us is a new era. A new chapter. We’re glad we’re taking all the people from the last chapter into the new one.”