Holden has confirmed it is staying in the Supercars Championship after this year but is switching its support to the Gold Coast-based Triple Eight team instead of the current Walkinshaw Racing operation based in Melbourne.
Two of Triple Eight’s racing Commodores will be entered as ‘Red Bull Holden Racing Team’ from next year and Triple Eight will develop the next-generation Holden Commodore racer ahead of its debut in 2018.
With non-V8 engines allowed into the series from next year there is speculation Holden’s next-generation racer will be a turbocharged V6 machine based on the Opel Insignia, with Holden confirming that its next-gereration Commodore will be the basis the Supercars entrant from 2018.
And Triple Eight will be the sole supplier of that all-new Holden racer so other teams who race Holden-badged vehicles - such as Brad Jones Racing, Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport, Tekno Autosports and even Walkinshaw Racing - will be sourcing those cars from Triple Eight.
This year seven of the 14 Holdens on the grid each championship round are already chassis and engine packages purchased from Triple Eight
Despite losing its official factory team status, Walkinshaw Racing has confirmed it will be staying in the Supercars Championship next year with a pair of Holden Commodores and while there will be no financial backing from his company, Holden Managing Director Mark Bernhard said, like other teams racing Commodores, Walkinshaw Racing will have available other support such as marketing and technical assistance.
In terms of the driver lineup, it is widely known that current Holden Racing Team driver James Courtenay - who is managed by British-based Aussie Alan Gow - has been investigating opportunities to advance his career by racing internationally so today’s announcement may accelerate those plans.
Walkinshaw’s team, run by Ryan Walkinshaw, the son of the late Tom Walkinshaw, had run the factory HRT team since 1990.
Today’s announcement was not specific about the future of Holden Special Vehicles (HSV) which is also run out of the Walkinshaw factory in Clayton, Victoria - obviously the end of local Holden production will result in a massive change in the way HSV operates going forward.
While Holden is ‘in’ there is still no word from Nissan about its future in Supercars beyond this year.
Nissan spokesman Peter Fadeyev told TMR discussions are ongoing with Japan.