Red Bull Racing Holden Commodores to carry a special retro-inspired livery in the Bathurst 1000

IN its 50 years of involvement with the Great Race factory Holden teams have covered more than 80,000 racing kilometres at Mount Panorama, but come this year's Bathurst 1000 that won't be the number on the mind of Craig Lowndes.

For him it will be about being number one.

Ten years after Lowndes last drove with Jamie Whincup in an Supercars endurance race, the duo will reunite for a tilt at the Bathurst 1000.

Of the seven victories Lowndes has posted in the Bathurst epic, three have come alongside Whincup and the Red Bull Holden Racing Team stars shape as one of the favourites to win again this year.

If they could do so, it would be the perfect way for Holden to mark its 50th anniversary of factory involvement in motor sport.

"Jamie and I individually have a lot of experience at Bathurst, but we also have a great history racing together," Lowndes, who won with Whincup from 2006-08, said.

"To be teaming up with him again in the year that marks the 50th anniversary of Holden's factory involvement in motor sport will be something we will remember for years to come."


As part of the anniversary, the Red Bull Commodores will carry a special retro-inspired red and white livery.

It draws inspiration from Peter Brock and Colin Bond's 1971 Sandown 250 and Bathurst 500 Holden Toranas.

Though Bond and Brock had to settle for fourth and eighth respectively at Bathurst that year - the honours going to Ford driver Allan Moffat - Whincup hopes he and Lowndes will be able to steer it to a chequered flag.

"Craig and I are obviously looking forward to racing together again and it's a great that we will be doing it with such an iconic livery on our car," Whincup said.

"Being the factory Holden team is something that Triple Eight is really proud of, so it's pretty special to be marking their 50th anniversary of factory involvement in this way.

"Holden has had a lot of success at Mount Panorama and we're very lucky to say we've played a small part in that. Lowndesy and I will certainly be trying to add to that next week."

It will not just be the experienced Lowndes and Whincup - a duo who boast 42 Bathurst 1000 starts between them - who will seek success in a special liveried Commodore.

Shane van Gisbergen will steer the #97 Red Bull entry and will have three-time Bathurst 1000 winner Garth Tander as his co-driver.

"Garth has settled into the team really well. He's been coming to test days, ride days and spent quite a lot of time at the work shop, as well as doing plenty of racing in other cars, so we're both looking forward to getting on track at Bathurst," van Gisbergen said.

"It's very cool to have a different livery on the cars for Bathurst. Hopefully the fans like it as much as we do and we represent Holden well for their anniversary."

Factory Holden entries have a strong record at Mount Panorama with 15 victories, while since 1969 factory-backed cars have covered a total of 12,977 laps in the 500/1000 enduros.

It made it a hard choice to pick which car to pay tribute with via this year's retro livery.

"We tried many variations, but the 1971 HDT livery ended up being the perfect inspiration because of its unique historical appearance," GM Design Australia exterior manager, Peter Hughes, said.

"The horizontal heritage stripes over the roof, for example, are unmistakable and should make a statement over the top of the mountain, just as they did back in 1971.

"It's a great way for everyone to celebrate a wonderful history of factory Holden Bathurst entries and the heroic drivers, both past and present, that race them."