Schwerkolt confirms split
- By Kassie Gadeke
- Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
Team owner Charlie Schwerkolt has confirmed his relationship with Walkinshaw Racing will end at the conclusion of the 2015 season.
Schwerkolt will remain in the Championship and said he and contracted driver Lee Holdsworth are reviewing options for 2016 and beyond.
Schwerkolt joined Walkinshaw Racing as a fourth entry for this season, after running his REC at Ford Performance Racing for the two previous years.
"The Walkinshaw Racing team have changed their business model - they're moving from four cars, to three cars, to two cars next year so it's a bit of a change of model," Schwerkolt told v8supercars.com.au.
"Going to have a look at my options - I've got some exciting options out there and I've got Lee Holdsworth obviously contracted and he is excited about moving on to a new venture and a new future.
"The parting was very mutual, [I have been] very happy there and Adrian [Burgess] is obviously a mate, I know Ryan [Walkinshaw] well and it's been a good time there but they've changed their model, so it's time to move on."
Schwerkolt did not confirm any further details around next year.
"We're just working out all of the options - there are some fantastic options out there whether I'm a customer car, whether I am my own team," he said.
"With whatever I'm doing, with the best gear I can get, the best people, and so I'm working through all that at the moment and there are some really good options out there and even at the last minute.
"I'm pretty good at getting good people around the place so we'll see where we get with it."
Schwerkolt said there were no issues with Walkinshaw Racing and he and Holdsworth were positive about seeing out the rest of the season, with the Coates Hire Sydney 500 still to run.
"Look, it's all positive, it's friendly - I understand they have to change their business model and what they have to do.
"We want to finish on a high and get some really good results for the rest of the year.
"We're still just knocking on that podium, just a few sixth, seventh and ninth and that stuff, so we're only moving upwards, hopefully we can jag one before the end of the year and that would be fantastic."
While his car has run changing liveries this year, Schwerkolt confirmed he had sponsors on board for 2016.
"All the sponsors are pretty pumped and excited about some of our plans," he said.
"We've got some great partners on the car who have been with me for a while, some for four or five years some of these partners and they're really pumped with some of the ideas, so that's great.
"Of course you can't go racing without them, it's fantastic."
Schwerkolt was a co-owner of Dick Johnson Racing but split with the team after the 2010 championship win by James Courtney. He returned to the championship in 2013 with Prodrive, running a Falcon FG for Alex Davison. In 2014 Jack Perkins took over the drive.
In 2015 Schwerkolt hired Holdsworth and reunited with Adrian Burgess by shifting to WR. The Englishman had been team principal at DJR when Schwerkolt was involved but joined the Melbourne squad in 2014 as managing director.
Walkinshaw Racing has yo-yoed between running three and four cars in the last few years. But the Clayton-based operation hasn't run only two cars since the 1990s, when Ryan Walkinshaw's father Tom owned and entered two HRT entries.
In 2015 WR is running four cars; the two HRT Holden Commodore VFs for Garth Tander and James Courtney, the Supercheap Auto Racing entry for Tim Slade and Schwerkolt's customer Team 18 car for Lee Holdsworth.
But the third WR entry will be disbanded at the end of the year. The Supercheap sponsorship has already been announced as going to Prodrive and Chaz Mostert next year, while Slade is moving on to Brad Jones Racing and the REC underpinning the entry has been sold to Super Black Racing.