Motorsport: HRT boss in town to pick up the pieces

James Courtney drives the #22 Holden Racing Team Commodore VF. Photo / Getty Images
James Courtney drives the #22 Holden Racing Team Commodore VF. Photo / Getty Images

Holden Racing Team boss Ryan Walkinshaw has jetted into Australia to begin picking up the pieces following Holden's bombshell announcement to axe his famous team.

The Sunday Telegraph can reveal the powerful owner of both HRT and performance company Holden Special Vehicles (HSV) will land in Sydney ahead of this week's round at Sydney Motorsport Park.

The young Scottish tycoon lives in the United Kingdom and has travelled half way around the world to fast-track plans for next year after his team was rocked by Holden's decision to end a 26-year partnership by pulling out as a team sponsor.

HRT fans were left devastated last week when the car manufacturing giant decided to pull the plug on the famous team and only sponsor the all-conquering Red Bull Racing Australia juggernaut from next year.

The decision to stop sponsoring HRT will cost the team about $2 million a year and also strip them off their famous name.

Red Bull Racing Australia will next year become known as the Red Bull Holden Racing Team, leaving HRT to find a new identity.

Walkinshaw declined to comment on the future of the team when contacted - but has made it clear he intends to run two Holden Commodores in the championship next year. With both his driver's coming off-contract and being hunted by rivals, Walkinshaw's first order of business is to lock down star pilot James Courtney on a new deal.

The Sunday Telegraph understands Walkinshaw wants to sign Courtney on a new deal and will meet the former champion to discuss the future of the team as early as Monday.

Courtney has been linked to rival teams and is also said to be considering a switch to race in a rival series in Japan.

Fellow off-contract HRT driver Garth Tander this week said Holden's decision to dump HRT would not stop home from signing a new contract with the team that could evoke some history by naming themselves the HSV Dealer Team from next year.

The Sydney Motorsport Park SuperSprint round of the championship begins at the track formerly known as Eastern Creek with practice on Friday.

- news.com.au

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