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Holden Racing Team Reveals 2001 Season Livery

Friday, February 9, 2001

Available for immediate use


Reigning V8 Supercar Champions the Holden Racing Team has now unveiled the cars and colour scheme that will take titleholder Mark Skaife and new signing Jason Bright into the 2001 racing season. The Number 1 and Number 2 VX Holden Commodores feature a variation of the striking red theme of the past couple of years, with the design co-ordinated by the team at Holden's Design Centre in Melbourne.

2000 Champion Mark Skaife predicts a tough year ahead in defending his title, but believes the Holden Racing Team is well placed for that defence.

"Everyone wants to knock off the current leaders so I expect it will be pretty fierce out there this year," Skaife said at the launch. "However the strength of HRT is in its infrastructure and people - areas that we've concentrated on over the break.

"The stability of the crew will I think, be the key, especially with the changed format for the new season ahead that involves pit stops at most rounds. This brings a greater element of 'team' into play and the talents of the pit people will have a big bearing on the championship outcome." Skaife remarked.

Fresh from a season in Indy Lights in the USA and debut drives in Indy Cars and Le Mans sports cars, Jason Bright is an exciting new signing for HRT. At 27, Bright brings a mountain of experience to the Team, with championship wins in Formula Ford (1995), Formula Holden (1997) and victory at Bathurst in 1998.

"I was working on returning to the US this season," Bright pointed out, "but the offer to join the best V8 Supercar team in Australia was too good to refuse and I jumped at the chance.

"I've won Bathurst, came second last year and performed strongly in 1998 and '99 with the Stone brothers in V8's, so I see no reason why I can't be a contender for this year's series. With Mark as my teammate and the HRT crew's knowledge and experience, I'm in the best possible position."

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Bright had one test with the Team prior to Christmas and with further testing and the V8 support races at the Australian Grand Prix, should be fully up to speed prior to the Championship starting at Phillip Island in late March.

The Holden Racing Team is the benchmark team in Australian motor sport, winning the V8 Supercar crown in four of the past five years and the last three in succession. In the period from 1996 to 2000, HRT has:

 Won 31 of the 56 rounds contested - 55%
 Taken 29 pole positions over the 56 rounds - 52%
 Won 78 of the 156 Championship races in that time - 50%

At the launch, an expansion to TWR Australia's Holden Young Lions programme was announced, with Mildura teenager Rick Kelly signed to join the development squad. The 18-year old younger brother of Todd Kelly will contest the Formula Holden Championship in a car prepared by championship-winning team Birrana Racing out of Adelaide.

"It's a great opportunity for me," said the younger Kelly. "I really appreciate the support HRT has given both Todd and myself, as this is a very difficult career to try and get a start in. To have an organisation such as HRT behind you can be the difference between a career and just a dream."

The teenager competed in his first season of Formula Ford last year, missing out on the title by one solitary point and in his first drive in a Formula Holden in New Zealand late last season, took two third placings.

Older brother Todd was brought into the Young Lions' programme in 1997 and has recorded sixth and fifth place finishes at Bathurst. He also won his first V8 Supercar race at last year's GMC 400 in Canberra and regularly qualified in the top 10.

New Holden Racing Team initiatives announced at today's launch included the 2001 range of HRT apparel and merchandise. HRT's John Crennan revealed that any purchaser of HRT gear this season will be eligible to win an HSV Club Sport valued in excess of $A65,000.

John Crennan also revealed that leading sports lawyer Jeff Browne of Browne and Co. has become a director of the Holden Racing Team. Browne and Co. is the largest Sports Law practice in Australia acting exclusively for the Australian Football League since 1985.

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Browne and Co. also act exclusively for the Australian Olympic Committee and played an important role in assisting the AOC in the staging of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. Browne and Co. act for numerous other Olympic sports and organisations such as Athletics Australia and the Melbourne and Olympic Parks Trust.

While the Holden Racing Team's sponsor base remains stable with an average tenure of 7 years, new clients to join Australia's leading motor racing team include Olex Cables, Skilled Engineering, Freightliner Trucks and Detroit Diesel-Allison.

The HRT VX Commodores will have one further test session prior to the season starting for Mark Skaife and Jason Bright at the Australian Grand Prix V8 Supercar support races at Albert Park (Melbourne) on 2 to 4 March.

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Contact: Aalbert van Ham (09) 526 6619 (direct telephone line)


Profile: Jason Bright
Date of Birth: March 7, 1973
Place of Birth: Moe, Victoria, Australia
Resides: Melbourne, Australia
Status Fiancée - Melanie
Height/Weight: 178 cm/76 kgs
Interests: Surf and jet skiing, fishing
Vehicle: Holden Commodore

The Holden Racing Team welcomes Jason Bright to the V8 Supercar Champion Team for the 2001 season. Jason joins HRT after a season in Indy Lights in the United States, and a year that also included a debut drive in and Indy or "Champ" car at last October's Indy Grand Prix on the Gold Coast.

The 27 year-old has a "blue-chip" motor racing pedigree, beginning in karts in the Gippsland region where he was born. Jason took out numerous titles in the development category between 1988 and 1992, while in 1991 he had his first taste of Formula Ford, culminating in his winning the National title in the junior open-wheeler class in 1995.

The following year, Bright competed in two series - Australia's Formula Holden and the United States' Formula Ford 2000, finishing second in both Championships. In 1997, Jason concentrated his efforts in Australia, winning the Australian Driver's Championship (Formula Holden), then had his first taste of V8 Supercars, driving a one-off round for Gary Rogers at Symmons Plains, before partnering Alan Jones to finish third in the Sandown 500.

Two full years in V8 Supercars followed with the Stone Brothers' Ford team, with Bright taking out the 1998 FAI 1000 at Bathurst with Steven Richards. In the 1999 V8 Series, he scored a round win, a second and four 3rd placings and also took out three pole positions.

In trying to realise the overseas dream, Jason gained a seat with Dorricott Racing in the USA last year, realising one 1st place, two seconds and two thirds to finish sixth in the title race. He also became the first Australian to drive an Indy car on home soil when he contested last year's Indy Car Grand Prix on the Gold Coast, running in fifth place retiring after being caught up in an on-track incident.

Last December, Bright was offered the seat at the Holden Racing Team for 2001 - an offer he quickly agreed to - before wrapping up the 2000 season partnering Greg Murphy and David Brabham in Adelaide's Race of a Thousand Years and finishing in third position in a Panoz sports car.


Australian Formula Ford Champion 1995
Australian Driver’s Champion (Formula Holden) 1997
FAI 1000 winner 1998


Profile: Mark Skaife
Date of Birth: April 3, 1967
Place of Birth: Gosford, New South Wales, Australia
Resides: Melbourne, Australia
Status: Married to Belinda; Son named Mitchell
Height/Weight: 180 cm/75 kgs
Interests: Water sports, skiing, squash, music
Vehicle: Holden Commodore

In 2001, Mark Skaife wears the coveted Number 1 on his racecar reflecting the third time in his touring/V8 Supercar career he has won the Australian Championship. Skaife secured his third title by finishing sixth at last year's FAI 1000 in what was a remarkably consistent year, and goes with Championship victories in 1992 and 1994.

In securing victory in 2000, Mark recorded four pole positions, four round wins, three seconds and a third in the thirteen round Championship. Perhaps his most memorable drive was at the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide where after mechanical dramas in Saturday's first 250k leg, Skaife started Sunday's heat from the rear of the grid and overcame first heat then a thunderstorm to secure possibly the best win of his career.

Another racer who graduated from karts, Skaife started his circuit career in 1984 at age 17. The early part of the nineties was probably the most productive time for him, with victories at Bathurst in 1991 and '92, Touring Car titles in '92 and '94 and "Gold Star's" in the Australian Driver's Championship in '91 '92 and '93.

A move to the Holden Racing Team upon the retirement of Peter Brock in 1997 has led to the next successful phase of his career, finishing third in the V8 Supercar series in both 1998 and '99, before last year's success.

Off the track, Skaife involves himself in industry issues, including track safety and design (he was an advisor on the layout of the Canberra street circuit,) is on the Product Development Committee at Holden Special Vehicles and is a regular on Australia’s Network Ten television channel.


Bathurst 1000 1991, 1992
Australian Touring Car Champion 1992, 1994, 2000
Australian Drivers Champion 1991, 1992, 1993
Sandown 500 1989
Pukekohe 500 (New Zealand) 1991


Profile: Rick Kelly
Date of Birth: January 17, 1983
Place of Birth: Mildura, Victoria, Australia
Resides: Melbourne/Mildura
Status: Single
Height/Weight: 180 cm/73 kgs
Interests: Water sports, bicycle racing
Vehicle: Birrana F. Holden

From Mildura comes another member of the "Kelly Gang", with 18 year-old Rick, joining elder brother Todd at TWR Australia. After a stunning debut season in Formula Ford in 2000, Rick has the opportunity to further advance his motor racing career with a step up to the Australian Drivers Championship this year in a Birrana-prepared Formula Holden.

Rick followed in brother Todd's footsteps, beginning his karting career at the age of seven for a couple of seasons, before having a two year break from he sport.

Coming back in at the "juniors' level, Kelly won two classes in the Victorian State Series and also won the North-West Victoria titles in 1999.

Last year Rick stepped up to Formula Ford and in his debut season, finished runner-up in the Championship, missing out on the title by one point at the last round at Mallala. In his first outing in the category at last year's Australian Grand Prix meeting, Kelly gained two third placings and, set a new lap record for the class.

A test in a Formula Holden followed, which lead to him competing at the first round of the Tasman Series in New Zealand, where two third placings left him sharing the lead in the series.

Rick's performances impressed TWR Australia Management, who signed him to a three-year contract. Malcolm Ramsey's Birrana Racing Team has been commissioned to run Kelly in this year's Formula Holden Championship, and Rick will also begin a test program with TWR's Holden Racing Team, with a view to competing in the V8 Supercar long distance events, later in the season.


2000: Runner-up Australian Formula Ford Championship
2000: Two 3rd placings AGP Formula Ford support races
2000: Lap record AGP Formula Ford support races

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