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Friday, 19 August 2016 00:00

Jeff Grech: The rise of the Holden Racing Team

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Jeff Grech has done it all. He's worked at or managed some of the greatest teams in the history of Australian touring cars, including the Holden Dealer Team, Perkins Engineering, Gibson Motorsport, Holden Racing Team and Tasman Motorsport.

Now, he's back on the scene determined to lift Charlie Schwerkolt's Preston Hire Racing up the grid. And in the midst of his bid with the #18 entry, he recounts to V8X Supercar Magazine issue #94 what made the Holden Racing Team so great.

Issue #94 is on sale now in stores with the digital edition available in the official V8X app (in the App Store and Google Play), online at DigitalEdition.V8XMagazine.com.au and in the Magzter app store.

CLICK HERE for more information on V8X Supercar Magazine issue #94.

Grech arrived in March 1993 and he was the pin in the middle of the plan to bring the Holden Racing Team up to the level of the preceding Holden flagship outfit, the Holden Dealer Team. His initial role was as workshop manager but he eventually became the team manager.

John Crennan was in change of the business side of the team and he started on a plan. He wanted an experienced driver in the team that could help pull sponsors; the Holden deal was up for renewal and they needed to pull a rabbit out of the hat if they were going to do something special. Enter Peter Brock.

Brock came with Mobil, who remain with the team today, an army of supporters and plenty of experience. So that side was coming together, merchandise sales were going through the roof and a wave of clever young engineers (like Chris Dyer and Richard Hollway) and drivers (Craig Lowndes, Greg Murphy, Brad Jones and Mark Skaife) were starting to make noises and force change.

So Grech, Crennan and Tom Walkinshaw who owned the team sat down and formalised what they were going to do. Grech says the plan was always to build something special.

What followed... the Holden Racing Team won every championship from 1998 to 2002 (as part of eight in total over the journey, including two for the sister HSV Dealer Team) and in 2001 the Bathurst wins started to tumble. 

CLICK HERE to purchase the print edition of V8X Supercar Magazine issue #94 to read the full feature and interview with Grech.

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Event Date
Adelaide 500 1-4 March
2018 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix 22-25 March
Tyrepower Tasmania SuperSprint 6-8 April
WD-40 Phillip Island 500 20-22 April
Perth SuperSprint 4-6 May
Winton SuperSprint 18-20 May
CrownBet Darwin Triple Crown 15-17 June
Watpac Townsville 400 6-8 July
Coates Hire Ipswich SuperSprint 20-22 July
Red Rooster Sydney SuperSprint 4 August
The Bend SuperSprint 24-26 August
Sandown 500 14-16 September
Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 4-7 October
Vodafone Gold Coast 600 19-21 October
ITM Auckland SuperSprint 2-4 November
Coates Hire Newcastle 500 23-25 November

 

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Pos

 Driver

 Points

 1

 Scott McLaughlin

1775

 2

 Shane van Gisbergen

1614

 3

 David Reynolds

1448

 4

 Craig Lowndes

1362

 5

 Jamie Whincup

1342

 6

 Scott Pye

1279

 7

 Fabian Coulthard

1229

 8

 Rick Kelly

1216

 9

 Chaz Mostert

1109

 10

 James Courtney 

1104

 Full points table