Penske: 2015 “difficult”

Wednesday 23 July 2014 17:10
By: V8 Supercars

The boss of US motorsport giant Penske Racing has conceded a presence on the V8 Supercars grid in 2015 is now “difficult but not impossible”.

But Tim Cindric, the president of Penske Racing, has also reaffirmed the operation’s desire to race V8 Supercars and also confirmed an alliance with Dick Johnson Racing remains its preferred option.

The entry of the US team, which races in both NASCAR and Indycar and is owned by motor racing legend Roger Penske, has been widely anticipated for 2015 since Cindric visited the 2013 Sydney 500 and news broke of negotiations with DJR.

“Is it (2015) realistic or not? We have had a lot shorter timelines on other programs,” Cindric told v8supercars.com.au. “It’s difficult but not impossible.”

Cindric said there was no “defined deadline” for a decision on 2015 Penske presence on the V8 Supercars grid.

“We will continue to evaluate behind the scenes,” Cindric said. “We are continuing to try and find out if there is a path there that we can look at and say ‘hey this makes sense’.

“It is still our goal and our vision to try and figure it out.”

Penske’s investment in truck distribution in Australia and New Zealand is the catalyst for its examination of involvement in V8 Supercars.

Both Penske and Cindric have said they would have liked the situation to be sorted this month (July), but Cindric told v8supercars.com.au that deadline wouldn’t be met.

“I have always stated that by July we would have liked to have known which way we were headed,” Cindric told v8supercars.com.au. “The facts are we are still very interested in V8 Supercars, it’s something we hope we are able to do at some point whether it is 2015 or 2016.

“Right now we would have thought we would have been able to put together a program, but the facts are we don’t have one from a sponsorship side or manufacturer support.

“So I would say we are still doing our diligence and hoping we are able to put something together at some point.”

Penske and Cindric visited DJR in June, met almost the entire team. Cindric said he came away impressed with the group for both its “resilience” and “talent”.

“I really think they have a very solid core group of people. They are very resilient, they have been through a lot and I can sense that they are very hungry and that they deserve some success at some point.

“There was nothing within that organisation that turned us off. I feel like my time there further enhanced my understanding of what their capabilities are given the proper resource.”

He said a Penske-DJR alliance was still “possible”, but so was a stand alone operation created from the ground up. But he also conceded that latter scenario made a 2015 arrival even more unlikely.

Cindric made it clear the recent departure of DJR sporting director Campbell Little, who he has formed a strong friendship with, was not relevant to any potential Penske-DJR deal.

“I have a personal relationship with Campbell, but as far as that decision, that is personal to DJR and I respect that. They know their business and I can’t pretend to comment or have an opinion.”

Cindric confirmed an interest in former V8 Supercars champion Marcos Ambrose returning from NASCAR to lead a Penske assault.

“If we have a picture develop there we would certainly like him to be part of it. But the driver perspective would be something that comes secondary to a lot of other things.”

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