Holdsworth surprised by special celebrations

18 Aug 2022
Old car, new number part of 500th celebrations
3 mins by James Pavey

Milestone man Lee Holdsworth was left taken aback by a special Penrite Racing surprise at Sandown.

Holdsworth will record 500 race starts in the Penrite Oil Sandown SuperSprint opener.

The 2021 Bathurst 1000 winner was met by team members in pit lane on Thursday afternoon.

Team owner Stephen Grove presented Holdsworth to the crowd before they moved to uncover a car.

The car in question was the Smiths Trucks VY Commodore Holdsworth raced in his 2004 debut.

Holdsworth made his debut for Robert Smith Racing 18 years ago.

He completed the enduros before rolling out at Eastern Creek as a wildcard.

Garry Rogers Motorsport signed him for the 2005 enduros and another wildcard at Phillip Island.

Holdsworth made his full-time debut in 2006 with GRM, where he remained until 2011.

Stints at Stone Brothers Racing/Erebus Motorsport, Team 18 and Tickford Racing followed before he missed out on a 2021 seat.

He was handed a co-drive lifeline by Walkinshaw Andretti United, and he duly won Bathurst with Chaz Mostert.

The Great Race breakthrough, which came in his 18th start, paved the way to a sensational full-time return with Penrite Racing.

The Smiths Trucks car wasn't the only surprise, with team members all given a mask of Holdsworth's face.

The 39-year-old was also presented with a cake.

The cherry on top was a number change, with Holdsworth to race at Sandown with #500.


"I didn't see it coming," Holdsworth told Supercars.com.

"It's really special to have my first car here and my 500th car next to it.

"When you line up against those guys, it puts the nerves on you.

"I lined up with them on this grid with them back in 2004.

"The 476th race stands out the most, which is the Bathurst 1000 win last year with Chaz.

"It took a lot of races to win that one, but it still goes down in my memory as far above the rest as my greatest achievement."

Holdsworth's 2022 campaign is highlighted by an Albert Park podium, but it has otherwise been a challenge.

Through eight rounds, Holdsworth is 13th in the championship, albeit 109 points from the top 10.

Holdsworth's future remains a talking point, with the veteran linked with a move away from the team.

The five-time race winner remained tight-lipped on his future, but reiterated the fire is still burning.

"I only want to be in this sport if I'm competitive," he said.

"If I've got the motivation and drive to run at the front. I don't want to just be a number.

"I still feel I've got that ability. I feel I'm racing better than ever, I feel as fit as ever.

"We'll see what next year brings."

Cars will hit the track at Sandown on Friday. Purchase your tickets now.

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