The Clayton Commodores
Continuing of our series on the cars that have won the Bathurst classic, this issue we focus on five Commodores from the Kmart/HRT/ Walkinshaw family that conquered the Mountain
Throughout the 12-year period covering 2001 to 2012, it’s hard to believe that only two ‘teams’ won the annual Bathurst 1000-kilometre V8 Supercar race. We say different ‘teams’ given the fact that the 2003 and 2004-winning Kmart Racing team was based in the same Clayton, Melbourne, business park as the 2005, 2009 and 2011-winning Holden Racing Team, though run as a separate operation utilising a common equipment provider in Holden Motor Sport – later to become Walkinshaw Racing.
And, of course, it was the Brisbane-based Triple Eight Race Engineering team who claimed success in 2006, 2007 and 2008 with Fords (which we’ve covered in recent issues) and with Holdens in 2010 and 2012.
Regardless of the finer details of team structures, the fact those 12 consecutive years of Bathurst winners came from such a limited pool of teams is quite amazing and underlines a unique era of dominance of the race.
In the case of ‘Clayton Commodores’, two were won under the Kmart banner, one during Mark Skaife’s ownership of HRT and two when the factory team was fully owned again by the Walkinshaws.
If Claytons was ‘the drink you had when you’re not having a drink’ (remember the 1970s advertising campaign?), the Kmart Commodores were the factory Holdens that Greg Murphy and Rick Kelly drove to repeat victories when they weren’t driving factory-backed cars!
Murph’s 2003 mount was very much the real deal when it comes to famous Bathurst winners, as it’s the car in which he completed his 2:06.8594 ‘Lap of the Gods’.
In issue #70 we outlined the life story – and whereabouts today – of the Mark Skaife-driven ‘Golden Child’ Commodore (chassis HRT 045) which took victory in 2001 and 2002.
This edition we put the spotlight on the five cars from the same stable that have since added to the Clayton operation’s impressive tally of Bathurst wins