Have your say: The best Walkinshaw/HRT driver

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 04/06/2019
  • By Mitchell Adam

The team now known as Walkinshaw Andretti United contested its 800th Supercars Championship race at the recent Truck Assist Winton SuperSprint.

Its debut came way back in 1990 at Amaroo Park, and what was the Holden Racing Team through to the end of 2016 is one of the most-successful operations in Supercars history.

That includes a haul of 180 championship race wins, six drivers' titles and seven Bathurst 1000 victories.

As you would expect, it has attracted its fair share of top-line driving talent over the years, led by names like Brock, Lowndes and Skaife.

Combined, its full-time drivers have won 13 ATCC/Supercars titles and Bathurst 34 times over their careers.

But who stands out for their performances with the team?

The below list is limited to full-timers, but with a nod to Bathurst-winning co-drivers Allan Grice, Tony Longhurst, Jim Richards and Nick Percat.

It also overlooks drivers to have raced for the sister 'Walkinshaw' arms over the years, namely Kmart Racing and the HSV Dealer Team and the Holden Young Lions.

You can read about each driver's performance with the Holden squad below, and cast your vote at the very bottom. 

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Win Percy
Full-time team driver: 1990-91
Championship best: Eighth, 1990 and '91
Bathurst best: First, with Allan Grice in 1990

The very first Holden Racing Team driver, and team manager, when Tom Walkinshaw took the project in-house for 1990.

A three-time British Touring Car Champion and Bathurst regular by the time he headed down under, Percy finished eighth in the 1990 and '91 seasons.

He did, though, take a giant-killing Bathurst victory in 1990 – HRT's first – in a VL Commodore with Grice against the all-conquering Ford Sierras, and second a year later.

Tomas Mezera
Full-time team driver: 1992-95
Championship best: Fifth, 1995
Bathurst best: Third, with Jason Bright in 2002

Already a Bathurst winner when he joined HRT, Mezera took over from Percy for an abridged 1992 campaign.

Mezera was there during a period of instability, and had a tenure as team manager as a result, before making way for Lowndes at the end of 1995.

He returned as a co-driver in far more successful times, taking a Bathurst podium with Jason Bright in 2002.

Wayne Gardner
Full-time team driver: 1993
Championship best: 14th, 1993
Bathurst best: Third, with Brad Jones in 1993

The Wollongong Whiz made a high-profile switch to car racing in 1993 with HRT, after a two-wheel career headlined by the 1987 500cc world championship.

A string of incidents and even being benched for Sandown made it a largely loveless single campaign that did at least net a Bathurst podium with Brad Jones.

Gardner duly formed his own eponymous team for 1994.

Peter Brock
Full-time team driver: 1994-97
Championship best: Third, 1994 and '95
Bathurst best: Fifth, with Tomas Mezera in 1996

The Holden hero returned to the factory fold in 1994, seven years after a messy split.

Brock arrived with long-time sponsor Mobil, which still adorns the team's Commodores, and won a round in three of his four seasons.

Perhaps his biggest legacy at HRT was mentoring Craig Lowndes in the early stages of his career.

Bathurst success eluded Brock at HRT, only finishing once; his run of misfortune included an engine failure while leading in his 'first farewell' in 1997.

Craig Lowndes
Full-time team driver: 1996, '98-2000
Championship best: First, 1996, '98, '99
Bathurst best: First, with Greg Murphy in 1996

Originally only a Sandown stand-in for Swede Rickard Rydell, Lowndes burst onto the scene at Bathurst in 1994.

He marked himself as a star of the future with second, and duly won the title in his rookie 1996 season, before winning Sandown and Bathurst with Greg Murphy.

A shot at Europe in 1997 didn't stick, but Lowndes returned to win two more titles before a high-profile switch to Ford.

Greg Murphy
Full-time team driver: 1997
Championship best: Fourth, 1997
Bathurst best: First, with Craig Lowndes in 1996

Murphy had big shoes to fill in 1997, replacing Lowndes in HRT's full-time line-up.

The Kiwi won the very first race of the season at Calder and three of the 10 rounds to finish fourth in the points, two spots ahead of team-mate Brock.

But with Mark Skaife replacing the retiring Brock and Lowndes returning from Europe, there was no full-time seat for Murphy in 1998.

Mark Skaife
Full-time team driver: 1998-2008
Championship best: First, 2000, '01 and '02
Bathurst best: First, with Tony Longhurst in 2001, Jim Richards in '02 and Todd Kelly in '05

Skaife proved a shrewd recruit for HRT to step into Brock's side of the garage, and like Lowndes was a pillar of its dominant era.

He won three-straight titles from 2000, two of those featuring Bathurst victories, before HRT's fortunes started to wane against the emerging Stone Brothers Racing.

Skaife still won 21 races between 2003 and his retirement at the end of '08, while juggling team ownership for the bulk of that period.

Jason Bright
Full-time team driver: 2001 and '02
Championship best: Third, 2001
Bathurst best: Third, with Tomas Mezera in 2002

Returning to Supercars after a US foray in 2000 that netted a Gold Coast Champ Car start, Bright was signed to replace Lowndes.

Skaife was the headline act, at HRT and in Supercars as a whole, during Bright's tenure.

But Bright still won the Adelaide 500 in his first season and two rounds in his second, finishing in the championship's top four each year.

Todd Kelly
Full-time team driver: 2003-07
Championship best: Fourth, 2005
Bathurst best: First, with Mark Skaife in 2005

Kelly progressed from the Holden Young Lions and Kmart Racing to join HRT in 2003.

That coincided with the start of the team's fall, but Kelly upheld his side of the bargain, beating Skaife in the championship in three of the four seasons.

The pair also teamed up to win Bathurst together in 2005.

Garth Tander
Full-time team driver: 2008-16
Championship best: Third, 2008 and '09
Bathurst best: First, with Will Davison in 2009 and Nick Percat in '11

Tander won the 2007 title for the sister Clayton Commodore outfit, the HSV Dealer Team, before being summoned to the factory effort.

He couldn't add to that crown but remained a regular race winner, even as the team's form became increasingly patchy.

The West Aussie remained a big-game racer throughout, winning Bathurst twice and the Phillip Island/Sandown 500 three times, including in his final season.

Will Davison
Full-time team driver: 2009-10
Championship best: Second, 2009
Bathurst best: First, with Garth Tander in 2009

Davison was signed from Dick Johnson Racing to replace Skaife and wasted little time settling in.

He edged Tander to second in the 2009 standings after the pair won the Phillip Island and Bathurst enduros together.

The 2010 season was a shocker, though, Davison leaving for Ford Performance Racing at year's end.

James Courtney
Full-time team driver: 2011-present
Championship best: Sixth, 2014
Bathurst best: Fourth, with Cameron McConville in 2012

Courtney arrived as the defending Supercars champion in 2011, after his triumph with DJR.

His HRT tenure started with a victory in the Abu Dhabi opener, and he grabbed at least one race win in five of his first six seasons.

Two of Courtney's campaigns were hit by injury, amid the backdrop of the team fading from the top of the pecking order.

Scott Pye
Full-time team driver: 2017-present
Championship best: Seventh, 2018
Bathurst best: Second, with Warren Luff in 2017 and '18

Pye was signed to replace Tander for 2017, as the squad lost its factory Holden backing and HRT name.

He grabbed an early win for the Walkinshaw Andretti United alliance at Albert Park last year and finished second at Bathurst in 2017 and '18.

Against Courtney, he won the intra-team championship battle in 2017 and '18 – when Pye finished a career-best seventh – but trails in '19.

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