Holdsworth seals full-time Supercars return
Bathurst 1000 winner Lee Holdsworth has secured a full-time return to Supercars in 2022 with Grove Racing.
Fresh from conquering Mount Panorama as a co-driver with Walkinshaw Andretti United, Holdsworth has been called up to GR on a one-year contract.
He'll replace Andre Heimgartner in the GR line-up alongside David Reynolds, effectively taking the slot that was initially earmarked for Matt Payne.
Payne's promotion to the main game has been put on ice following a fast, but flawed, two-round cameo in Super2.
GR has already confirmed that Payne will instead contest the full Super2 season in 2022 ahead of a potential promotion in 2023.
Holdsworth was a full-timer in Supercars from 2006 to 2020, when he was somewhat unexpectedly left without a Tickford seat when the team scaled back to three cars.
He swiftly signed a Bathurst deal with WAU for 2021 which ultimately yielded his first Great Race win.
It's understood GR was already in contact with Holdsworth before Bathurst, but the deal was only inked since then.
He will sample the #7 Grove Mustang for the first time at a test day early next year.
“I’m blown away by this opportunity and I can’t wait to get back full-time into the Supercars Championship,” said Holdsworth.
“My full-time campaign was cut short at the end of 2020 and it certainly wasn’t the way I imagined bowing out from the sport.
"I’ve now got a great opportunity with Grove Racing to finish off my full-time career in Supercars while playing an important role in helping the team move forward for the future.
“Although sitting on the sidelines wasn’t much fun, winning the Bathurst 1000 made up for it. As soon as I got a phone call from Stephen [Grove] about driving with them full-time in 2022, I knew it was a challenge I wanted to accept.
“I’ve got an important role to play in the team for next year, and I’m excited by that. Having the chance to partner David Reynolds, who I know is one of the fastest drivers in the field, and help build this new team up to be a future force in the championship is very exciting.
“You can see Grove Racing is leaving nothing on the table. They have good cars, some new engineering and management talent, and they are building up their young driver programme too, so I’m looking forward to being a part of the whole program.
"Hopefully I can use some of my experience to help drive the team forward.
“What a great Christmas present! Now I’m just excited to drive the Grove Mustang for the first time early in the new year.”
Team boss Grove added: “It is a pleasure to welcome Lee to Grove Racing for 2022.
“Lee has proven to be one of the fastest and most reliable drivers in the Supercars field over the years, and we feel he will be the perfect fit for our team.
“He did an incredible job as the co-driver to Chaz Mostert in the Bathurst 1000, and they both thoroughly deserved the victory at the Great Race.
“Lee is one of the most experienced drivers in the field, and at this point of our team’s development, and with the implementation of the Grove Junior Team, we wanted to have an experienced driver, a leader off the track and most importantly, someone we know will work with our team to drive forward.
“Lee ticks all of those boxes. His resume speaks for itself and we can’t wait to get into the Supercars Championship with him and David Reynolds next year.”
Holdsworth's appointment finalises the 2022 Supercars field.
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