Fans, teams and rival brands are hailing Holden’s contribution to motorsport after the bombshell announcement General Motors will retire the iconic brand by next year.
Supercars teams and officials will hold urgent discussions with Holden, with the decision sending a shockwave of uncertainty through the Supercars field just days before the start of this year’s championship at the Adelaide 500.
Holden has long been an integral part of Australian motorsport and is associated with many iconic moments and heroes including the late Peter Brock.
The brands success includes 21 Australian Touring Car/Supercars Championship titles and 33 Bathurst 500/1000 victories.
“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,” Supercars said in a statement.
“Holden has been firmly part of the heritage of our sport and has helped shape Supercars to become the sport it is today.”
Holden’s rivalry with Ford is one of the most iconic in Australian sport but that was put to the side today as the brand led the tributes.
We are saddened by Holden’s closure announcement. Holden was always a fierce rival. A great Aussie brand coming to an end is sad for our country, no matter your allegiance. We feel for those affected, and look forward to continued strong competition on the track. #VASC#Holdenpic.twitter.com/g16q44RUzS
1/1 – All of us here at Ford Australia are saddened to hear the news that Holden will cease operations. Holden is an iconic brand that holds a special place in the heart of many Australians, and has done so much to shape the Australian automotive industry and the country…
Former Supercars series champion Garth Tander said: “I feel fortunate to have driven a Holden product in every @supercarschampionship race in my 21 year career so far. “
Walkinshaw Andretti United, which fields two of the 16 Holden Commodores in the 2020 field, released a statement saying: “Our thoughts today are with the incredible men and women who make up the Holden workforce, the dealers, customers, and all Holden fans who have all been impacted by today’s news,” read a statement from WAU.
“Our team has shared a long and successful relationship with Holden in Australia for three decades.
“It’s very sad to see them leave. We are thankful for their support, and proud of what we have achieved together, including seven Bathurst 1000 victories, and six drivers championships.
“Our team and supporters have bled red for a long time, the lion and helmet will live on in our team’s history forever.”
So sad… From becoming an Aussie V8 supercars fan in the early 2000s, Holdens have always had a foreign mystique to me. Even if they just became GM bin parts.
“The FIM, IRTA and Dorna Sports regret to announce the postponement of the Red Bull Gran Premio de Espana, which was set to be held at the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto from the 1st to the 3rd of May. The ongoing coronavirus outbreak has obliged the event to be rescheduled,” read a statement from Dorna.
“As the situation remains in a state of constant evolution, a new date for the Spanish GP cannot be confirmed until it becomes clearer when exactly it will be possible to hold the event. A revised calendar will be published as soon as available.”
The MotoGP season opener is now scheduled for Le Mans in France on May 17. However, discussions are already underway to see that race pushed to at least June.
With heavy doubts over the Italian race at Mugello on May 31, the season’s earliest possible start could be at Barcelona on June 7.
REVISED 2020 CALENDAR
1 — Qatar, 8 March (Losail International Circuit) MotoGP class cancelled
2 — Spain, 3 May (Circuito de Jerez-Ángel Nieto) Postponed, no new date confirmed
3 — France, 17 May (Le Mans)
4 — Italy, 31 May (Autodromo del Mugello)
5 — Catalunya, 7 June (Barcelona-Catalunya)
6 — Germany, 21 June (Sachsenring)
7 — Netherlands, 28 June (TT Circuit Assen)
8 — Finland, 12 July (KymiRing)
9 — Czech Republic, 9 August (Automotodrom Brno)
10 — Austria, 16 August (Red Bull Ring)
11 — Great Britain, 30 August (Silverstone)
12 — San Marino, 13 September (Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli)
13 — Aragon, 27 September (MotorLand Aragón)
14 — Thailand, 4 October (Chang International Circuit)
15 — Japan, 18 October (Twin Ring Motegi)
16 — Australia, 25 October (Philip Island)
17 — Malaysia, 1 November (Sepang International Circuit)
18 – Americas, 15 November (Circuit of the Americas)
19 — Argentina, 22 November (Termas de Rio Hondo)
20 — Valencia, 29 November (Comunitat Valenciana-Ricardo Tormo)
The Indianapolis 500 was postponed Thursday until August because of the coronavirus pandemic and won’t run on Memorial Day weekend for the first time since 1946.
The race will instead be held August 23, three months later than its May 24 scheduled date.
“The month of May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is my favourite time of year, and like our fans, I am disappointed that we have had to reschedule the Indianapolis 500,” said Roger Penske, the motorsports titan who finalised his purchase of IndyCar and Indianapolis Motor Speedway earlier this year.
“However, the health and safety of our event participants and spectators is our top priority, and we believe that postponing the event is the responsible decision with the conditions and restrictions we are facing,” he said.
“We will continue to focus on ways we can enhance the customer experience in the months ahead, and I’m confident we will welcome fans with a transformed facility and a global spectacle when we run the world’s greatest race.”
The Indianapolis 500 began in 1911 but did not run in 1917, 1918 and from 1941-45 because of World Wars I and II. Tony Hulman bought the neglected speedway after the second war and the Indy 500 returned on Memorial Day weekend in 1946.
It has been scheduled for that weekend every year since, a familiar fixture for untold millions of fans over the years. Although inclement weather has occasionally disrupted the prestigious race, it had never been outright rescheduled until now.
“In times like this it is all about leadership and communication. We have both in IndyCar and NASCAR,” said Chip Ganassi, who fields cars in both series. NASCAR has not altered its plan to resume racing May 9.
Postponing the Indy 500 was an inevitable decision but still had to be difficult for Penske, who has already pumped millions into capital improvements to ready the historic speedway for its first 500 under new ownership.
“It’s a shame Roger has to go through this in his first year of owning Indianapolis Motor Speedway but you couldn’t have a better man in charge,” said A.J. Foyt, a four-time Indy 500 winner and team owner.
“It will still be the Indy 500. I never thought we’d see it like this, but all of the sports field has been affected. I’m just glad that we will be able to race.”
Penske Entertainment Corp. President and CEO Mark Miles said the series chose the August date to get away from extended delays caused by the coronavirus shutdown. The series did not choose Labor Day weekend out of fear of disrupting fans’ traditional plans.
The Indy 500 honours the military before the race, and Miles said the August date gives the speedway “a unique and powerful opportunity to honour the contributions and heroism of the doctors, nurses, first responders and National Guard members serving on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19.”
Miles also thanked NBC, which took over broadcasting the marquee race just last year from ABC. NBC is already scrambling after this week’s postponement of the Tokyo Olympics to 2021; the games had been scheduled to open July 24 and run for nearly three weeks.
Penske had been eagerly anticipating the March 15 start of the IndyCar season, but was forced to suspend the series 48 hours before the scheduled opener in St. Petersburg, Florida, when the coronavirus was declared a pandemic.
Four races were initially scrapped and IndyCar said it would resume racing May 9 on the road course at Indy. The opening race is now listed as May 30 at Detroit, but the schedule is in flux.
The Indy road course race will now be run on July 4, a day before NASCAR races at The Brickyard in an unprecedented doubleheader between the series. St. Pete now is listed at the bottom of the schedule with no date listed. Miles said if the race can be rescheduled, it would be as the season finale in October.
Races at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama, Circuit of the Americas in Texas and Long Beach, California will not be rescheduled. IndyCar moved the August race dates for Mid-Ohio and Gateway outside of St. Louis, while Portland was moved from Labor Day to one week after.
As for the 500, the new schedule will begin with practices August 12-13, followed by “Fast Friday” on August 14 and weekend qualifying. The following week is dark until August 20, with the final Indianapolis 500 practice on Friday, August 21 as part of Carb Day.
“I’ll tell you this, no matter what day or month or time they run the Indy 500 it’s the greatest race on the whole planet earth, we’ll just have it in August this time and it will still be super, super good,” said Bobby Unser, winner of the Indy 500 in 1968, 1975 and 1981.
Jack Miller is keen not to “put some kilos on where you don’t want to” in an extended MotoGP off-season due to the ongoing COVID-19-induced layoff.
The 2020 season start has been delayed to at least May due to the coronavirus outbreak, with Qatar cancelled and three further races – Thailand, the Americas and Argentina – postponed.
Miller left his base in Andorra has returned home to Australia with his parents in Townsville. There, the 25-year-old has continued his training program as he looks to stay fit and avoid putting on weight ahead of the 2020 season start, whenever that may be.
That has hit home for Miller, who despite being motivated to keep up his fitness regime, is being left frustrated about not being able to mentally prepare for an upcoming race weekend as postponements proliferate.
Having experienced challenges to maintain his body weight in a sport which demands little extra baggage on finely-tuned machinery, the Pramac Racing rider says being home in his native Queensland has helped him find a routine.
“I’m not going to lie, it does test your motivation levels when you don’t have a specific time or date to aim towards,” he said in an interview on his website.
“You spend the winter getting fit, getting ready, you’ve done testing and then it all just stops. It feels like you’re stuck in purgatory.
“My training programme hasn’t changed… I’m still cycling and I’m still running, and I’ve made a point of getting up early in the mornings and getting into it.
“[It is] easy up here because it’s warm too, that definitely helps.”
Hovering around 64 kilograms, Miller needs to keep his weight down as combined rider/bike weight can play a key role in overall performance.
Ducati’s Petrucci, who is 181cm and 78kg, said in 2018: “In corners I put more weight and more force on the rear tyre, so when there’s less grip the tyre slides and then it gets hotter, so lap by lap the tyre gets hotter and its performance drops.
“I don’t know how to solve this problem, but I know it’s one of the reasons why Alvaro Bautista [169 cm/58kg] has been so fast in some recent races. He is very light, so he can use a fast rhythm all through the race.”
Miller knows how important it is to keep motivation high with regards to fitness, despite the draining lag of the coronavirus outbreak, which is keeping everyone in doors.
However, the Aussie has also been able to tap into his home soil roots, revealing it’s “the most time I’ve spent in Australia for about 10 years”.
“It’d be easy to lose motivation, train a bit less, put some kilos on where you don’t want to… that’s definitely something I’m trying to avoid because in the past I’ve struggled to get weight off if I put some on,” Miller said.
“I’ve worked really hard on that aspect of my riding so I’ll keep things where I can, that way I don’t have to push as hard later to be as close to top shape as I can be.
“The one plus in all of this is that it’s really nice to be home.. you wish it was for better reasons and it sucks not riding but there’s a positive to take out of it, for sure.
“I’ve kept pretty quiet and have been tinkering away on some bikes in the shed to keep myself busy, to be honest.”