Holden hasn’t ruled out an early end to its Supercars programme in the wake of General Motors axing the iconic brand at the end of 2020.
Monday’s announcement comes as a major shock to Australian motoring – and the Supercars world – in the week leading to the season-opening Superloop Adelaide 500, with the field to congregate at The Bend Motorsport Park in South Australia for an official pre-season test on Tuesday.
Midway through 2019, Holden announced it would continue on with its factory programme, run by Triple Eight Race Engineering, through to the end 2021. Within seven months, Holden had announced it would retire the Commodore nameplate before announcing the brand would be retired altogether.
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Considering the abrupt nature of the Commodore and Holden decisions, Monday’s announcement has cast fresh doubt over the factory deal and Holden’s involvement in Supercars.
Discussions between Holden, Supercars and Triple Eight are expected to be held in the coming days.
In a Q&A on the Holden Facebook account, when prompted over whether Holden would sponsor the Red Bull Holden Racing Team [Triple Eight], the brand responded: “We are aware of our commitment and we will work through with [the] Red Bull Holden Racing Team the implications of this decision”.
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“We’ve made a commitment and certainly we need to sit down with our partners, Supercars Australia and the Red Bull Holden Racing Team, which we’ll do hopefully in the coming days to talk about the appropriate transition,” Holden managing director Kristian Aquilina added in a press conference.
“But our intention is to still go racing in 2020 whilst we’ve got Holden vehicles out there in dealer showrooms… to the extent, about GM and its involvement in racing beyond that, that will be part of the same conversation.”
Supercars said in a statement: “Today’s news is understandably disappointing for fans who have followed Holden’s success in Australian Touring Cars and Supercars since its debut in the 1960s. Holden has been firmly part of the heritage of our sport and has helped shape Supercars to become the sport it is today.
“The Commodore will remain on track for the 2020 Championship season and we’re looking forward to seeing it alongside the Ford Mustang once again this weekend when the 2020 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship begins in Adelaide.”