Holden has refused to commit to remaining part of the Supercars championship beyond 2020 after parent company General Motors announced it was retiring the automotive brand.
GM’s decision to scrap the brand in Australia and New Zealand by next year dropped a bomb on Supercars officials and teams just days out from the season opening Adelaide 500.
While Holden said it would fulfil its commitment to the championship this year, it was less certain about having a presence in Australian motorsport into the future.
Holden has refused to commit to remaining as part of the Supercars championship beyond 2020 after it was recently announced the automotive brand would be retired
That is despite its partnership with Triple Eight Race Engineering through the Red Bull Holden Racing Team being set to run until the end of the 2021 championship.
Seven other Supercars teams are also set to race Holden Commodores in 2020.
Urgent discussions between Holden, Supercars and Triple Eight are expected to be held in the next few days.
‘Our intention is still to go racing in 2020 whilst we’ve still got Holden vehicles out there in dealer showrooms,’ Holden’s interim chairman and managing director Kristian Aquilina said.
‘To the extent, about GM and its involvement in racing beyond that, that will be part of the same conversation.’
Holden has been a part of Australian touring car racing since the 1960s, with iconic names such as Peter Brock, Craig Lowndes, Mark Skaife and Jamie Whincup becoming synonomous with the Red Lion.
‘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.
Ex-factory team Walkinshaw Andretti United, who were Holden’s factory team for 27 years from 1990, expressed their sadness at Monday’s news.
‘Our team has shared a long and successful relationship with Holden in Australia for three decades,’ the statement read.
‘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 driver championships.’
Holden has ensure it will fulfill its commitment in 2020 but refuses to commit beyond the year as seven teams are set to race Holden commodores in the 2020 championships
AAP has sought comment from Red Bull Holden Racing Team about Monday’s decision.
Their main rivals DJR Team Penske – a Ford team – marked the news as a sad way to end a rivalry between the two brands.
‘Holden was always a fierce rival,’ the team wrote on Twitter.
‘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.’
Red Bull’s drivers – former champions Jamie Whincup and Shane van Gisbergen – will be on track along with the rest of the Supercars field on Tuesday for a pre-season test at The Bend Motorsport Park in South Australia.
This causes further uncertainty as Holdens partnership with Triple Eight Race Engineering through the Red Bull Holden Racing Team is set to run until the end of the 2021 championship