Former Bathurst winner Lee Holdsworth transitions to commercial real estate

After winning the Bathurst 1000 in 2021 and starting on the front row in 2022, Supercars veteran Lee Holdsworth is getting ready to step away from racing and take up a new career in commercial real estate.

Holdsworth has spent the past 20 years as one of the country’s top drivers but is now starting his transition into a full-time role with CBRE.

While his early retirement has come as a surprise to many, after finishing in sixth position at Bathurst over the weekend, Holdsworth said he was happy to go out at the peak of his powers.

“I never wanted to be a driver who dwindles away, who finishes their career by being pushed out,” Holdsworth says.

“My aim was always to retire while I was still competitive.

“Last year, having a year on the sidelines was a big eye-opener for me and a wakeup call to get onto life away from motorsports, because I soon realised there’s a big life out there and at some point, I have to get on with it.

“In some ways, last year was a really difficult year, but at the same time it was a great time to start pursuing a career in real estate.”

Holdsworth announced his transition into real estate earlier in the year and started working part-time with CBRE in their capital markets team, focusing on alternative markets like automotive and petroleum.

“I had some discussion with CBRE in late 2021, and we identified a gap in the market and thought there was an opportunity for me to apply my skills and contacts in the industry to the commercial real estate world,” he said.

Holdsworth said his focus at CBRE will be anything that falls under the automotive and petroleum banner, such as service stations, car dealerships, or oil and gas refineries.

For Holdsworth, 2022 has been a transition year, where he’s been working part-time at CBRE while still continuing to race.

“I’ve got 20 years of experience in automotive, so now applying that to the commercial real estate world is the big balance at the moment,” he said.

“It’s been surprising to see just how my two career paths have intertwined.

“I’ve been building relationships this year and recognised that this is a growing sector and given the state of the market, it’s a great time to be growing my knowledge to a point that I can step straight in next year,” he said.

“The goal is certainly to sell some property next year and continue to build relationships and build that alternative space at CBRE.”

With his sixth-place finish at Bathurst over the weekend, Holdsworth was relatively happy but would have preferred to have added another win to round out his career.

“I was relatively happy with the last race as the main driver,” he said.

“We all go there to win the race, so in that context, it was a bit disappointing to not walk away with the trophy.

“To be on the front row and to lead the race, we maximised our performance and the car was good for where it finished.

“We came away with a straight car and put on a pretty good result.”

While Holdsworth is happy to move onto the next stage of his career, he won’t be completely lost to motorsport.

“I’ll be back in a seat next year at Bathurst and most likely the Sandown 500 as a co-driver,” he said.

“But as far as other racing commitments go, I’ll probably have a little bit of fun in some other categories, just keeping sharp.

“But the family are ready to have me home on the weekends and be more of a normal dad, where I work through the week and have the weekend with the kids and my wife Alana.”

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Rowan Crosby

Rowan Crosby is a freelance journalist specialising in finance and real estate.