A surprised Red Bull Holden Racing Team boss Roland Dane will meet Holden bosses this week as he seeks clarity over the future of his Supercars team.
General Motors announced on Monday it would “retire” the legendary Australian motoring brand by the end of the year after years of declining sales.
Red Bull Holden Racing boss Ronald Dane is not sure what the future holds for his team.Credit:Getty Images
Dane, who was en route to South Australia for this weekend’s season-opening Adelaide 500, said he didn’t yet know what the decision meant for his factory-backed team.
Red Bull, boasting championship-winning drivers Jamie Whincup and Shane van Gisbergen, have been Holden’s exclusive factory team since 2017. Only last year, they signed a new agreement to take their partnership until the end of the 2021 championship.
With GM refusing to commit Holden support beyond this year, Dane admits he’s not sure in what form his team will race in next year’s championship.
“The ongoing situation at the moment, I’m meeting with GM this week and we’ll discuss what happens,” Dane told reporters at a pre-season test day in South Australia.
“Until then, there’s nothing more to be said really. It’s a discussion between me and them.
“The timing of this was definitely a surprise.”
Several options remain open to Dane and other teams racing Commodores in the Supercars field.
The Red Bull boss pointed to the recent example of teams racing Ford Falcons long after the car’s production had ceased, as a possibility to racing unbranded Commodores in 2021.
He also said there were “plenty of possibilities out there” when it came to other manufacturers signing on but refused to speculate just who they might be.
“We want to continue racing cars that represent what the Australian public has shown they enjoy watching, which are Supercars latterly, Australian touring cars over 60-odd years. And we’ve got to keep delivering a product along those lines,” he said.
“I think, collectively as a category, we will.”
Holden has been tied to Australian touring car racing since the 1960s with names such as Peter Brock, Mark Skaife, Craig Lowndes and Whincup all starring for the Red Lion.
Skaife said the demise of the Holden brand was akin to a death in the family but he was confident the championship would survive the end of the Holden/Ford rivalry.
“We have to accept that the Red v Blue, Ford v Holden, Collingwood v Carlton, Labor v Liberal scenario in terms of rivalry is over and we have to re-energise our product plan,” Skaife said.
“It requires market relevance … and it needs to have vehicles on track that espouse enthusiast values.
“You want to have cars that people want to drive, they love the sound of. Almost it’s sports-car land. It needs to be something that’s relevant to modern aspirational values.”
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