AFTER doing things his own way brought him a pair of Australian Manufacturers Championship titles, Garry Holt is now of the opinion that ‘if you can’t beat them, join them.’
Holt won two titles and a pair of Bathurst 12 Hour races in a BMW 335i, however the past few seasons have seen the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution become the dominant force in Australian Production Car racing.
So, the Sydneysider has decided to join the Mitsubishi brigade and will return to the series this weekend at the Shannons Nationals presented by Hi-Tec Oils round, at the Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit.
Holt’s new Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X RS is a sister car to the dominant TMR Evo raced to the last two titles by Stuart Kostera, with Holt set to team with Ryan McLeod in a pair of one-hour AMC races that form part of an action-packed weekend at the Shannons Nationals on May 26 & 27.
“It is very much a case of ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’,” Holt said.
“When you can’t beat the dominant car all you can do is stop whinging about them and get the same machinery to try and beat them on equal terms!”
The proprietor of Sydney’s Eastern Creek Karts, Holt has an affinity with the three-diamond brand, having won the GTP title in an earlier model EVO Lancer in 2006.
“I raced both the Evo 7 and Evo 8 models and had a lot of success in the Mitsubishi product, but after a few seasons of running the BMW it will take a little while to re-adapt my driving style to suit the four-wheel drive car again,” he explained.
“You drive the car a lot differently so it is about adapting your style – but the car is fantastic.
“TMR have done a beautiful job of building these cars and you can tell straight away why they have been so successful. We shook down the car down at Eastern Creek and it was fast right out of the box so it should be really good.
“This weekend (at Phillip Island) will be a learning experience but we will use it as preparation to challenge at the front for the remainder of the year.”
Fresh from a six-hour race at the same circuit three weeks ago, another strong field has entered for this weekends’ round at the Island with a strong battle expected at the front of the field.
Six-hour race winner Jim Pollicina is back and will do battle with the always competitive TMR Australia combination of Stuart Kostera and Inky Tulloch’s identical car. Competition throughout the classes will also be strong with the grid featuring a host different makes and models.
An all-female team will also tackle the pair of one-hour races, 18-year-old Maddison Gray confirming Samantha Bennett will co-drive her Toyota Echo in Class D.
The AMC endurance races will feature as a part of a massive Shannons Nationals presented by Hi-Tec Oils program set to take to the picturesque 4.45km Phillip Island circuit this weekend.
The Australian GT Championship and Touring Car Masters Series’ make their returns to the series for the first time in years, whilst the staple Porsche Staff Solutions International GT3 Cup Challenge continues its competitive start to the season with a competitive Porsche pack.
Australia’s fastest tin-tops’, the Kerrick Sports Sedan Series, return with their strongest field in years – including a rebuilt and revitalised Alfa Romeo GTV for seven-time champion Tony Ricciardello.
A massive field of Superkarts will also commence their national title campaign this weekend.
In excess of 150 cars are entered across six classes, with on-track action commencing Saturday morning and racing later that day.
All of Sunday’s action will be broadcast live on the internet via www.thenationals.com.au.
Tickets are available at the gate with weekend passes priced at $35, with kids under 16 admitted free.
Action from Phillip Island will be broadcast in subsequent weeks on the popular ‘Speedweek’ program on SBS TV, plus regular replays on Australia’s only 24/7 Motorsport Network, SPEED TV Australia.
For more information head to www.thenationals.com.au