Holdsworth, Caruso mateship to drive podium quest

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 13/10/2020
  • By Connor O'Brien

Lee Holdsworth and Michael Caruso believe their close friendship will underpin their hunt for a repeat of the podium effort from last time they teamed up in the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.

Holdsworth and Caruso each have one piece of Mount Panorama silverware in their possession, from 2009 when they co-drove to third as Garry Rogers Motorsport teammates.

They departed the GRM stable at the end of 2011 and ’12, respectively, but have remained close ever since.

It’s a factor that could play into their hands come Sunday.

“I suppose the thing is and it was similar with [Thomas] Randle last year, we had a lot of fun in the lead-up,” Holdsworth told Supercars.com.

“When you’re enjoying things and enjoying the week and the lead-up to Bathurst, I think it goes a long way to how the weekend actually pans out for you.

“If there’s one thing I have learnt in my career, it’s that the week of Bathurst you really just have to soak up the atmosphere.

“There’s not going to be as much atmosphere as we have experienced in the past with the crowd and everything but you have to enjoy the week and if you go in relaxed you tend to do quite well.

“So having Caruse as my teammate will go a long way in helping the mental state.”

Unsurprisingly, Caruso is taking a similar view. The 37-year-old switches onto the #5 entry having driven the sister Tickford Mustang of Cameron Waters last year, running strongly in the 2019 Great Race until being taken out by Chaz Mostert.

“Putting the performance side apart from it, because we both know we’re capable of achieving a result that we’d love to achieve, but being teammates from the GRM days, from there we have always stayed in touch and been good family mates as well,” said Caruso.

“Our kids know each other and all that sort of stuff so it’s just a nice relationship and I think that flows on in the garage with the people that work on the car.

“You spend quite a bit of time together for that week, heavily involved in preparing yourselves for what is the most important race of the year so having that good camaraderie and feeling in the garage is something that is really good to be a part of.”

Their similar driving styles looms as an added bonus.

“We both started our career at a similar stage and learnt to drive a certain driving style because we were both at GRM at the same time and really that’s how you develop your style, from the first car that you were in,” said Holdsworth.

“I think we achieve our speed in the same way.

“I feel like in the practice sessions we will progress quite quickly in terms of setting the car up this year because having Caruse in the car, he’ll be able to continue with the set-up from where I left off from my session and that’s going to help a lot.

“He’s not going to need the laps around Bathurst to get up to speed, he has done plenty of miles around there so looking forward to it, can’t wait.”

Opening practice for the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 will get underway at 9:30am local time on Thursday.

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