Red Bull HRT plots post-Holden future

  • Repco Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 18/02/2020
  • By Stefan Bartholomaeus

Red Bull Holden Racing Team boss Roland Dane will meet with General Motors officials this week, as planning begins for the squad’s post-Holden future.

Parent company GM announced on Monday that Holden will cease operations by 2021, drawing the curtain on Australia’s iconic car brand.

Dane currently runs Holden’s factory-backed Supercars effort in a deal that was last year extended through until the end of 2021.

Asked at the BP Ultimate SuperTest if he expects his team will continue to race Commodores next season, Dane was non-committal.

“I don't want to speculate on what we're doing next season at the moment,” he said.

“The ongoing situation is that I'm meeting with GM this week and we'll discuss what happens.

“Until then, there's nothing more to be said.”

On Monday, GM hinted at plans to retain a presence in Australia through a GM Special Vehicles division, but is yet to elaborate on details.

GM products such as the Chevrolet Camaro are currently imported into Australia by the Walkinshaw Group and sold as local right-hand-drive conversions.

Supercars is slated to introduce new Gen3 rules in 2022, designed to welcome more coupes such as the Camaro into the series.

Although not speculating on specifics, Dane said he will analyse the Gen3 plan – parts of which could be brought forward to 2021 - with Supercars in the coming weeks.

Dane acknowledged that continuing with the current Commodore, introduced in 2018, is meanwhile “conceivably” an option for next year.

“The homologation from Supercars will be valid for several more years, as it always is,” he said.

“If you remember with the [Ford] Falcon, even after they stopped production of the car and its availability to the public it carried on racing for several years.”

While Supercars has been planning for the exit of Holden from Australia for some time with its Gen3 project, Dane admitted he was surprised by the timing of the announcement.

“Look, the timing of this was definitely a surprise,” he said.

“As somebody who's very aware of the motoring industry on a larger platform, on a world basis, the lack of real plans going ahead was a concern, but there were some new models in the pipeline that gave us reassurance.

“But it is what it is. We're a very small market in Australia competing for the attention against much bigger markets.

“The decisions that affect the car industry on a wider basis are not made in Australia. They're made in Japan or they're made in Detroit or they're made in Germany.”

Asked if he thinks Supercars will lose fan appeal without the Holden versus Ford rivalry, Dane added: “Not if we, collectively, as the category, do our homework properly.

“I think that we can still provide the excitement and the show that people have come to expect over many years.

“Unfortunately, and one of the issues is, that many of the people that have been barracking for the Holden brand over the last 10 years or so haven't actually been buying the product, for whatever reason.

“It's a fact of life that people have been turning up to watch the races in other brands. It's something we're all aware of. Times change, and we have to change with them.”

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