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Features

Flashback: Twenty years on, the events of 2002

The Holden Racing Team was at the peak of its domination with a championship and Bathurst double for Mark Skaife in 2002.

11 April 2022

As we get into the 2022 Repco Supercars Championship, we look back at the key events in the history of Australian touring cars from the decade anniversaries in SupercarXtra Magazine issue #124.

CLICK HERE for details on issue #124, on sale now!

The Holden Racing Team and Mark Skaife carried their dominant form from 2001 into 2002, winning the championship and Bathurst 1000 double for a second consecutive season.

Skaife, still driving the Holden VX Commodore chassis number 045 which became known as the ‘Golden Child’, continued where he left off from the previous season, winning the opening five rounds of the 2002 season.

With teammate Jason Bright notching up two round wins in the middle of the season, the Holden Racing Team claimed victory in the opening eight rounds of the championship. With the VX on a winning roll and Ford’s AU Falcon struggling to keep pace, the off-track talk was dominated by debates around parity, which eventually led to the introduction of the Project Blueprint regulations from 2003.

Ford fought back with victory to Stone Brothers Racing’s David Besnard and Simon Wills in the Queensland 500, but Holden reasserted its dominance in the Bathurst 1000.

Skaife teamed with Jim Richards, a decade since their infamous Great Race win with Nissan in 1992, repeating their victory to give Skaife the Bathurst and championship double for another season. Commodores filled the top five positions in the race, underlining Holden’s superiority.

Garry Rogers Motorsport and Kmart Racing scored non-Holden Racing Team Commodore round wins courtesy of Jason Bargwanna and Greg Murphy at the Gold Coast and Pukekohe respectively, while Ford claimed its second win of the season with Stone Brothers Racing’s Marcos Ambrose at the season finale at Sandown to give a taste of what was to come in 2003.

In the end, though, 2002 belonged to Holden, with Ambrose the only Ford driver in the top six in the championship standings. Skaife had won his fourth Bathurst 1000 and equalled the record for most championship wins with his fifth title. However, despite their dominance in 2001 and 2002, it would be the final drivers’ championship win for Skaife and the Holden Racing Team.

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