Lee Holdsworth will join Tickford Racing for the 2019 Supercars Championship season, with the team also confirming the re-signing of The Bottle-O liquor retailer as the naming rights sponsor of the #5 Ford Mustang entry he will pilot.
The former Charlie Schwerkolt Racing driver will effectively swap seats with Mark Winterbottom, whose move to replace Holdsworth in its #18 Holden ZB Commodore was confirmed last month.
Holdsworth, a three-time race-winner in his thirteen seasons of full-time in the Supercars Championship, will be teammates to Tickford’s incumbent drivers Chaz Mostert and Cameron Waters. The Campbellfield team will also run a fourth Ford Mustang in a customer partnership deal with 23Red Racing, which will field Will Davison as its driver.
The former factory Ford squad endured one of the worst campaigns in its history in 2018, claiming just one race win (Mostert at the Gold Coast 600) and a further three podium finishes (two for Mostert and one for Winterbottom).
“I’m pumped to be teaming up with Tickford Racing and The Bottle-O,” Holdsworth said. “Even though they feel they had a tough year, I believe Tickford Racing is still one of the best teams in the paddock. I’m feeling fit and driving as well as ever, so I’m ready to show what I’ve got. It’s exciting to have the support of The Bottle-O, and I look forward to rewarding them with a great 2019 season.”
Holdsworth will join Tickford Racing after four trying seasons with Charlie Schwerkolt Racing since it became a standalone team in 2015. Despite failing to claim a podium finish during this time, Tickford Racing team principal believes that the 35-year-old is the man for the job.
“Obviously we’re very pleased that Lee will be driving the new Ford Mustang,” he said. “He’s the right man for the job. He’s a good driver, a good bloke, a good fit with The Bottle-O, and we believe he will bring us great results on and off the track. He’s got something to prove in 2019, as do we. We like that he’s bullish about the coming year, and we’re excited to get him on track.”
With Tickford Racing having sacked Richie Stanaway midway through the New Zealander’s two-year deal with the team after a string of poor results, Edwards will no doubt be expecting Holdsworth to fire.
Holdsworth’s appointment means just three full-time race seats – two at Kelly Racing and the sole TEKNO Autosports drive – are still to be confirmed for the 2019 season.
|2019 Australian Supercars Championship – Confirmed Entry List|
|#||Team / Entrant||Logo||Car||Logo||Driver||Flag|
|2.||Walkinshaw Andretti United||Holden ZB Commodore||Scott Pye|
|5.||Tickford Racing||Ford Mustang S550||Lee Holdsworth|
|6.||Tickford Racing||Ford Mustang S550||Chaz Mostert|
|7.||Kelly Racing||Nissan Altima L33||TBA|
|8.||Brad Jones Racing||Holden ZB Commodore||Nick Percat|
|9.||Erebus Motorsport||Holden ZB Commodore||David Reynolds|
|12.||DJR Team Penske||Ford Mustang S550||Fabian Coulthard|
|14.||Brad Jones Racing||Holden ZB Commodore||Tim Slade|
|15.||Kelly Racing||Nissan Altima L33||Rick Kelly|
|17.||DJR Team Penske||Ford Mustang S550||Scott McLaughlin|
|18.||Charlie Schwerkolt Racing||Holden ZB Commodore||Mark Winterbottom|
|19.||TEKNO Autosports||Holden ZB Commodore||TBA|
|21.||Tim Blanchard Racing||Holden ZB Commodore||Macauley Jones|
|22.||Walkinshaw Andretti United||Holden ZB Commodore||James Courtney|
|23.||23Red Racing||Ford Mustang S550||Will Davison|
|33.||Garry Rogers Motorsport||Holden ZB Commodore||Garth Tander|
|34.||Garry Rogers Motorsport||Holden ZB Commodore||James Golding|
|35.||Matt Stone Racing||Holden ZB Commodore||Todd Hazelwood|
|55.||Tickford Racing||Ford Mustang S550||Chaz Mostert|
|78.||Kelly Racing||Nissan Altima L33||Simona de Silvestro|
|88.||Triple Eight Race Engineering||Holden ZB Commodore||Jamie Whincup|
|97.||Triple Eight Race Engineering||Holden ZB Commodore||Shane van Gisbergen|
|99.||Erebus Motorsport||Holden ZB Commodore||Anton de Pasquale|
|TBA||Kelly Racing||Nissan Altima L33||TBA|
Image via Tickford Racing