McNamara confirms Holden exit

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 10/02/2017
  • By Lewis Isaacs

Long-time Holden Manager of Sponsorship Motorsport Simon McNamara has confirmed his exit from the company after 22 years.

McNamara has been a mainstay of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship and supported a number of Holden teams and drivers of the sport.

McNamara championed Holden’s involvement in the series, including securing the switch of Triple Eight Race Engineering to the brand from Ford and awarded them official factory status for the next three seasons.

Under McNamara’s watch Holden Motorsport’s support also extended to non-factory backed teams including Walkinshaw Racing, TEKNO Autosports, Brad Jones Racing, Team 18, Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport and Erebus Motorsport as well as developing drivers like Nick Percat.

McNamara confirmed his exit on social media on Thursday.

“After 22 fantastic years at Holden, the time has come for me to look for new challenges, and I would like to advise you all that I left my position as Holden Manager of Sponsorship and Motorsport last Friday, 3 February,” he wrote.

“I am extremely proud of what we have been able to achieve together, most notably experiencing the most successful period in Holden’s long motor racing history.

“I am also proud to have secured Triple Eight Racing Engineering for Holden, with it dominating Supercars in the past seven years and recently being awarded official factory racing team status, and returning Holden to the AFL by successfully parting with the mighty Collingwood Football Club.”

Triple Eight boss Roland Dane explained McNamara’s role in securing the former Ford squad for Holden after it was courted by other manufacturers in 2009.

Dane and McNamara together at Sydney Motorsport Park last year. Dane and McNamara together at Sydney Motorsport Park last year.

“I’m very sorry to see him go after such a long and successful innings but he’s decided to move on and I can only reflect back and say what a good relationship he’s forged between Holden and Triple Eight over the years and congratulate him over 22 years of service to Holden,” Dane told Supercars.com.

“He’s done a great job for them, certainly the best motorsport manager I’ve ever worked with for a manufacturer or importer.

“Back in 2009, after Ford had dropped us, Holden had indicated through Simon early on the piece they wanted us to join the GM program. But it was in the middle of the GFC and the fallout from that.

“GM in North America was deeply affected by that and so we had a couple of options we were looking at in the manufacturer land as it were, that would have been a big step, not only for us, but the category at the time.

“But at the end of the day, Simon and Holden led at that time by Mark Reuss were very keen for us to join the GM ranks.

“We had to wait and see our way through the aftermath of the GFC and General Motors going through bankruptcy in North America then re-emerging. Literally within hours of it re-emerging, our deal was properly done with GM Holden here.

“He’s been the best motorsport manager I’ve come across over all the years I’ve been involved in the sport. All credit to him and we wish him all the best for the future.”

Supercars CEO James Warburton paid tribute to McNamara’s work with Holden and his legacy leading into the Gen2 Supercar era.

“For me, it’s been a relatively new relationship, but in the early stages of coming into Supercars, Simon was a fantastic help in terms of his ideas and his guidance in terms of what he thought was fantastic about the sport and what he wanted to see improved,” Warburton told Supercars.com.

“The great thing I appreciate about Simon is unless he’s winning, he’s one of the grumpiest people I’ve ever met in my life. He’s got that strong competitive instinct, he is a great hater in the heat of battle and coming from the media industry I’ve always enjoyed that about him.

“You’ve got to respect his record over the years and obviously he’s extremely well regarded by the team owners that have worked with him and a huge amount of drivers.

He supported all teams, not just the official factory teams, at any one time. He’ll be missed but I don’t think he’ll be a stranger to the paddock.

“In terms of legacy, he was extremely influential with Holden for Gen2 through the global channels and committing to it. That’s a big part of his legacy.”

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