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Mark Skaife/Todd Kelly

Australian Muscle Car - - Contents -

The third in­stal­ment in our se­ries on race­tracks which hosted some of the great­est mus­cle car stoushes. We check out what re­mains of Catalina Park. Theme song: ‘Don’t Tear It Down’ by Spy vs Spy.

#2 Holden Rac­ing Team Holden Com­modore VZ Chas­sis – HRT 050

De­buted in late 2004 at Sym­mons Plains by HRT and driven by Mark Skaife as a VY Com­modore, HRT 050 was up­dated to VZ spec­i­fi­ca­tion in 2005 and stayed as Skaife’s #2 car for the en­tire sea­son, in­clud­ing vic­tory at Bathurst with Kelly (on the Mil­dura driver’s 26th birth­day no less!) and a sec­ond place in the Sandown 500.

It started 2006 as the #22 car of Todd Kelly be­fore a new chas­sis was com­pleted for Kelly in time for Queens­land Race­way and this car be­came a spare.

Jim Richards and Ryan Briscoe drove it in the en­durance races at Sandown and Bathurst (with Briscoe stun­ning all by top­ping qual­i­fy­ing at the for­mer and Richards crash­ing out at the lat­ter – his last-ever Bathurst 1000 start) be­fore it was re­paired and used by Kelly to win on the Gold Coast over­all and then claim a race win in the in­au­gu­ral round in Bahrain.

It was also the same car Kelly was driv­ing when in­no­cently in­volved in the cham­pi­onshipde­cid­ing con­tact be­tween brother Rick and Craig Lowndes at the sea­son fi­nale at Phillip Is­land.

It was then sold to NRW Hold­ings in Western Aus­tralia – spon­sors of Mark McNally in the Fu­jitsu Se­ries – and was in­tended to be used as a ride-car based in Perth, though it was wheeled back into ac­tion for a few rounds late in the 2008 De­vel­op­ment Se­ries.

It was in­volved in a crash in the open­ing round of the 2009 DVS at Ade­laide and had its last race ap­pear­ance at Win­ton that year.

From there it re­mained in stor­age in Western Aus­tralia be­fore DVS team owner Ben Eg­gle­ston fi­nally se­cured it in early 2013 and com­menced a restora­tion project to re­turn it to its 2005 Bathurst­win­ning con­di­tion – in­clud­ing se­cur­ing the en­gine it used to claim Moun­tain vic­tory.

“The car was in a container in a Perth, we checked all of the bits and pieces, had the trans­port ready to go, put it on the train and sent it back to Mel­bourne,” he says.

“We want ev­ery­one to be able to en­joy it. It’s an im­por­tant part of HRT’s his­tory and that of Aus­tralian mo­tor­sport. Not only for the Bathurst win with Skaife and Kelly, but also the fact it was Jim Richards’ last Bathurst 1000 car and was also run by Todd full-time and Ryan Briscoe, who did great things in it too.

“In part­ner­ship with our event com­pany, Mar­que Man­age­ment, there will be var­i­ous events where the car will fea­ture, which is very rare,” says Eg­gle­ston.

“For cor­po­rate spon­sors or part­ners of our Dun­lop Se­ries or GT cars it’s a huge ben­e­fit as well. It’s a big car­rot if you are an en­thu­si­ast.

“I have a mas­sive love for it. John Sil­ver­thorne from NRW was good enough to let this car go. He knew in our talks that one of the con­di­tions of sale was that it was go­ing to be brought back to its for­mer glory.

“We can’t wait to have it fin­ished and take him for a ride.”

2014

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