Holden has confirmed its ongoing commitment to V8 Supercars racing despite the current question marks over its future as a manufacturer in Australia.
“Racing is a natural for us, we are absolutely committed to V8 Supercars,” Holden managing director Mike Devereux told v8supercars.com.au.
“I think we get good value from being involved in the sport and it is part of our DNA.
“The sport is looking fairly robust. There are couple of new teams in there that are showing up well, so I think the sport is pretty healthy.”
Devereux’s support for the category comes at the same time as traditional rival Ford debates whether it will renew its sponsorship deal with its factory team.
Ford has announced it will cease manufacturing in Australia no later than October 2016 and kill off the Falcon nameplate.
At a major new product launch at Sydney’s Fox Studios last Tuesday, Ford Australia president Bob Graziano indicated a decision on backing for Ford Performance Racing would be made within weeks.
Holden is waiting on the result of the federal election and negotiations with the new government to determine if it will continue with a commitment made in 2012 to build new generations of the Cruze small car and Commodore production cars at its Elizabeth plant out to 2022.
If those negotiations for more co-investment are unsuccessful then in all likelihood Holden would cease manufacturing in 2016.
It currently has multi-million dollar multi-year contracts with both the Walkinshaw Racing/Holden Racing Team and Triple Eight Race Engineering/Red Bull Racing Australia.
Devereux praised the efforts of Walkinshaw Racing chairman Ryan Walkinshaw in lifting the performance of HRT, which scored its first win since Bathurst 2011 when Garth Tander and James Courtney ran one-two in Race 21 at the Sucrogen Townsville 400.
“Ryan and I are pretty close, we have dinner when we can and I am usually, intimately, aware of what he is doing to make sure we put the best team on the track and I think he is doing that.
“He has a great pair of drivers, the car is showing its mettle and improving every week. Ryan is an aggressive businessman, he plays to win, and I am proud to be his partner.
“Obviously there is an emotional connection with HRT because of the name of the team and so on, and also because Ryan and the Walkinshaw family have been partners with Holden through HSV for such a long time.”
In recent weeks Walkinshaw has overseen the renewal of Courtney’s three year deal and controversially hired away Adrian Burgess from Roland Dane’s Triple Eight organisation to replace Steve Hallam as the managing director of Walkinshaw Racing in 2014.
Devereux shied away from commenting on the Burgess deal and the impact it might have on relations between his two factory team owners.
“Those decisions I will leave to them to work out,” he said.
“Roland Dane and Triple Eight are a spectacular operation,” he added. “And VF has won most of the races it has contested this season. We are kicking it pretty good with both teams.”