Even though the Australian-made Holden Commodore will cease to exist beyond 2017, Holden will continue to have a large presence in V8 Supercars. The automaker has announced a new multi-million dollar deal with the factory-backed Holden Racing Team to compete for at least the next few years, according to The Daily Telegraph.
The news comes after rumors surfaced earlier this year that Holden would quit the sport following the closure of its Australian manufacturing operations. HRT will now race alongside Red Bull Racing Australia as the only two factory-backed Holden teams in the series. Garth Tander and James Courtney will drive for HRT, while Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup will pilot Red Bull Racing’s Commodores.
“Motorsport is part of Holden’s DNA, having raced its products in Australia and overseas with great success for more than 45 years,” said GM Holden Motorsport and Sponsorship Manager Simon McNamara. “We’re incredibly proud of the Holden Racing Team — and the success we’ve built together in this sport. We’re certainly looking forward to working hard together over the next few years for more race wins and championships.”
Holden’s main rival in the series, Ford, has yet to confirm their participation in the sport beyond 2014. Its racing model, the rear-wheel drive Falcon, will also cease to exist beyond 2016. Holden has not said what model HRT nor Red Bull will field when Commodore production ends after 2016, but if the Commodore name doesn’t stick around, an all-new model could be homologated for V8 Supercars competition.
HRT was founded in 1990 and has somce won six V8 Supercars championships and won the legendary Bathurst 1000 seven times. Team owner Ryan Walkinshaw, who took over the team after his father Tom’s passing, said he was excited about the new deal.
“My dad started the Holden Racing Team 24 years ago and our family is hugely passionate about HRT, so we are fortunate to have a new, multi-year contract with Holden,” Walkinshaw said. “Our relationship with Holden extends further than just the race team, and Holden has been a great supporter of my father and our family.”
“Hopefully we can repay Holden’s faith with more race wins and championships,” he added.