He’s the reigning Bathurst winner and qualified second-fastest for the Top 10 shootout this time around, but Supercars veteran Lee Holdsworth isn’t reconsidering his decision to walk away from the sport.
Holdsworth’s sensational effort as co-driver for Chaz Mostert in last year’s Bathurst 1000 success earned him a return to full-time driving this season with Penrite Racing – and his Bathurst brilliance shone through on Friday as he piloted his Mustang into second in qualifying.
But the 39-year-old is sticking firm on his decision to walk away from the sport after more than 500 race starts, and will move into real estate after this season.
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The driver who debuted in Supercars back in 2004 gained his real estate licence while co-driving for Mostert last season, and has reportedly turned down an offer from Blanchard Racing for next season.
“It’s obviously pretty fun to be up the front,” he said. “But no, I’ve made my call. I don’t want to dwindle away and just be running down the back and then retire. I want to be competitive and step out at a good time, which I think is now.”
He said he initially struggled in the qualifying session given the tricky track conditions.
Holdsworth said: “I took a long time to get up to speed, to be honest, in that session. At the start I was struggling to get a rhythm … I gathered some confidence and was able to push every lap then find a little bit more here and there.
“I had a couple of moments, nearly turned the car into a pancake a couple of times! But stoked – I was going to be stoked wherever I got into the top 10, I didn’t care where I was going to be. But to be P2, I was over the moon.”
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While he acknowledged tomorrow’s Top 10 Shootout will be a special moment, he is trying to balance his emotions with the job at hand.
“I don’t want to let the emotions get in the way. It’s obviously really cool to be here for my final year as a main driver and get in the Top 10 Shootout. I’m going to lap it up. I’m going to enjoy every moment of having the whole track to myself for one lap and put it all on the line,” he said.
“It’d be great if it was dry so we could put a set of slicks on. But I think it’s going to be something like this. If it is, we’ll all still be putting it all on the line for that one lap.
“It’ll be a memory that I’ll take with me forever.”