Ford may have delivered this year’s V8 Supercars champion, but Holden signalled they are not going to let it happen again in 2016.
Commodore driver Shane van Gisbergen won the season’s final race at the Sydney 500 on Sunday, finishing 0.4 seconds ahead of his soon-to-be Red Bull Racing Australia teammate Jamie Whincup.
The pair helped stave off a charge by title winner Mark Winterbottom, who finished fourth, denying Prodrive Racing Australia the teams’ championship for 2015.
Red Bull finished 103 points ahead on the teams standings, meaning they will retain the No.1 garage in pitlane for the sixth straight year.
“We’ve been here a few years now so we don’t know anything else,” team manager Mark Dutton said.
“All jokes aside … it is pretty critical.”
It looked an unlikely scenario earlier in the year, with Winterbottom and teammate Chaz Mostert the form drivers of the series.
But Mostert’s spectacular crash at Bathurst cruelled their campaign, just as six-time champion Whincup and Craig Lowndes hit some form.
A bad run for Mostert’s replacement Steve Owen at Sydney Olympic Park put the teams’ title firmly out of reach.
With his maiden championship wrapped up on Saturday, Winterbottom declared `gloves off’ for Sunday’s 74-lap feature.
While he didn’t get a podium finish, he was still up on the dais to officially be crowned champion after celebrating with a few on-track burnouts.
The season-closer didn’t disappoint with a fair share of drama.
Van Gisbergen all but ended polesitter James Courtney’s hopes of a race win after nudging him into a tyre barrier at the end of lap four.
The Kiwi escaped penalty, much to the ire of the Holden Racing Team.
No-one but Tim Slade’s Holden was to blame for a heavy shunt into the concrete barrier at turn 12, bringing a sudden end to his time at Supercheap Auto.
Slade, who is replacing Fabian Coulthard at Brad Jones Racing next year, escaped unhurt but the frontend of his Commodore was destroyed and caught fire.
Shortly after, a pitstop bungle saw a boom fall in front of Nissan’s garage after an air hose got caught on the rear wing of James Moffat’s Altima.
Van Gisbergen’s victory was the 11th of his career and ninth with Tekno Autosports, who welcome Will Davison in 2016.
“What an awesome way to finish, it’s been an awesome three years,” he said.