Virgin Australia Supercars team Walkinshaw Andretti United may ditch its Holden Commodore for a factory-backed BMW entry.
According to The Daily Telegraph, the Walkinshaw squad has held secret, behind-the-scenes discussions with the German manufacturer and may field a factory-backed BMW M4 or M3 in the premiere Australian racing series. Team co-owner Michael Andretti is said to be the driving force behind the potential deal, with his Andretti Autosport operation already running BMW’s Formula E program.
Potentially Hinting toward the deal is Walkinshaw’s recent signing of former Tickford Ford Mustang driver Chaz Mostert. The 27-year old Australian is a part-time factory driver for BMW, having raced for various BMW teams in select GT racing events, including the Bathurst 12 Hour. Earlier this year, the German manufacturer said it was interested in signing Mostert to a full-time GT deal in 2020, with BMW Motorsport boss Jens Marquardt previously saying that “wherever we have a possibility to have Chaz in the car, we will try and do so.”
Walkinshaw had previously attempted to field a Chevrolet Camaro in the Supercars series, but abandoned the plan as it would have been too hard to mold the low-slung coupe’s body around the series’ sedan-shaped control chassis. Walkinshaw is the sole importer of the Camaro road car in Australia and wanted to use its racing efforts to promote its road car business. It’s not clear if the BMW deal would have any impact on its relationship with General Motors. Walkinshaw was formerly known as Holden Special Vehicles and produced high-performance variants of the Commodore and other GM products before changing its name to Walkinshaw in 2018 and turning its focus to specialty vehicle imports.
The Daily Telegraph’s source says BMW is looking at fielding either the M3 or M4 in the Supercars series and claims both models could be modeled to fit over the current-spec chassis. The BMW deal may also not take effect until 2022, however, when Supercars is set to introduce a new chassis. Supercars CEO Sean Seamer told The Daily Telegraph the series is in discussions with other manufacturers to join the series and working with them to develop the Gen 3 car.
“We are also in active discussions with other manufacturers about what they would like to see from our next-generation (Gen 3) car,” Seamer said. “As part of the Gen 3 planning work we are doing, we are looking to maximize manufacturer suitability to increase manufacturer participation and market relevance in the medium to long term.’’
Source: The Daily Telegraph