Formula Holdens Heading to 2019 HSRCA Sydney Classic

Image via Ben Tebbutt

Joining the exciting 2019 HSRCA Sydney Classic entry is a set of magic Formula Holdens, which are set to compete in the Group Q, R & Invited Cars grid over the weekend.

Formula Holden was Australia’s premier open wheel category from its inception in 1989 until the end of its 2004 season. During that time the series hosted the Australian Drivers’ Championship and awarded the CAMS Gold Star, with drivers like Mark Skaife, Scott Dixon and Rick Kelly winning the title during the series’ nineteen year run.

Ben Tebbutt’s 1991 Romano SPA 001 helped kick off the career of Mark Skaife, who drove it in period. Skaife, who would go on to become a six-time Bathurst 1000 Champion and five-time Australian Touring Car Champion, won three consecutive Australian Drivers’ Championships from 1991 to 1993, while the series was known as Formula Brabham. Two of them were in this car, and he drove it the day he won the 1992 series and became the first and only driver to hold the Australian Drivers’ Championship, Bathurst 1000 title and Australian Touring Car title in the same year.

The car is totally unrestored and has been well-preserved in retirement since its final period race – the fifth and final round of the 1992 series held at Oran Park in New South Wales. It’s presented in its 1992 livery and the paintwork, liveries and sponsorship decals are the hand cut originals. It even still has its original numbered control tyres from that 1992 race at Oran Park.

Peter Doulman will bring his 1989 Shrike Formula Holden NB89H 002 along to join in the fun at the HSRCA Sydney Classic – a car that he actually drove in period.

The car was built in late 1988, its construction stretching into the 1989 season and very nearly into its first race, with the finishing touches completed at the track at the first round of the Australian Drivers’ Championship in May of 1989.

Peter drove the car for TAFE Team Motorsport during the 1989 series, sharing it with Mark Poole. Poole would go on to drive it for some years following, finishing the 1990 series second, outrunning up-and-coming V8 drivers Mark Skaife and Neil Crompton along the way.

It was driven by Aussie Grand Prix motorcycle racing legend Wayne Gardner for a race in 1990, before moving into Stan Keen’s hands. Keen raced it for some years, winning the Australian Silver Star Championship and the Australian Hill Climb Championship. After a long career in motorsport, Bo Jensen took custodianship of it in 2013 and completed a full restoration.

The third Formula Holden that we will see in action over the weekend is the Hocking 901 Formula Holden of Rohan Carrig.

The car, chassis 003, was built by Chris Hocking and finished on the 22nd of March, 1990, the day before its debut in the first round of the 1990 Australian Drivers’ Championship at Phillip Island. Hocking had been building cars based on March’s 87B Formula 3000, but Formula Holden rules did not allow for carbon fibre to be used in any of the cars’ structural composition. So, Chris recreated a March 87B chassis with an aluminium honeycomb construction, coupling it to a V6 Holden 3800cc and Hewland FGC gearbox.

Mark McLaughlin piloted chassis 003 for its debut at Phillip Island, but with no testing miles under its belt, it only made it to lap 10 of 20 before retiring early. These days it’s well sorted and in good hands, and we look forward to seeing it hit the track in anger this weekend.

The HSRCA Sydney Classic will be held over the 8th & 9th of June, 2019, and see some 200 historic sports, racing and touring cars take to Sydney Motorsport Park for a packed weekend of historic motorsport.

Spectator tickets will be available at the gate each day, and kids 12 and under get in free. Join us at Sydney Motorsport Park, catch the action, get up close to the cars and enjoy the unmatched hospitality and atmosphere of historic racing in Australia.

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