BATHURST, Australia (AP) — Shane van Ginsbergen drove his Holden Commodore to victory in the Bathurst 1000 Sunday in an emotional end to the marque’s formal involvement in Australia’s greatest motor race.
Holdens have contested the 1000 kilometer (600 mile) endurance race on the picturesque Mount Panorama circuit in New South Wales state since 1968, achieving a record 34 wins — 27 by Commodores — while fierce rivals Ford have 21.
In doing so, they have achieved almost cult status among Australian motorsports fans. But maker General Motors has decided to wind up the Holden marque from the end of the year and, while current Supercars teams will race their existing cars again next season, Sunday’s race signaled the end of an era.
General Motors will continue in touring car racing next year with its Chevrolet Camaro.
New Zealand-born van Ginsbergen overcame two safety cars in the last eight laps to hold out the challenge of Cameron Waters in a Ford Mustang and to win the race for the first time after finishing runner-up in 2016 and 2017. The win was also a triumph for co-driver Garth Tander and the Red Bull Holden team.
In a strategic finish van Ginsbergen and Waters, whose co-driver was Will Davison, pitted together but van Ginsbergen managed to stay ahead, winning by 0.86 seconds. He turned in some of his fastest laps of the day in the last stages of the race.
“It’s just awesome,” van Ginsbergen said. “The last few laps were really tough with the safety cars but the team did a faultless job and the car got better all weekend.
“It’s a great way to send out Holden.”
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