Holden was the first manufacturer to commit to Gen2 and has over half of the Supercars grid running its Commodores in 2017. But what impact is that having on Supercars? Issue #97 takes a look.
Issue #97 is your must-have guide to the new season, including full-field driver profiles, team-by-team changes and event previews. Included with the print edition is a 2017 Freightliner-backed Supercars calendar fridge magnet and V8 champions and Shane van Gisbergen poster.
Issue #97 is on sale now in stores with the digital edition available in the official V8X app (in the App Store and Google Play), online at DigitalEdition.V8XMagazine.com.au and in the Magzter app store.
CLICK HERE for more information on issue #97.
The 19th of January 2017 will go down as a significant date in the history of Holden's involvement in Supercars.
At Holden's Port Melbourne headquarters, the new-look Red Bull Holden Racing Team was launched. Triple Eight's Red Bull-backed entries were introduced as the only factory-backed Holden entries with Walkinshaw Racing stripped of its manufacturer funding and Holden Racing Team name.
Yet there was no mention Red Bull Holden Racing Team moniker on the cars of reigning champion Shane van Gisbergen and Jamie Whincup. Gone too is the emblematic lion and helmet logo of the Holden Racing Team, shelved given its incompatibility with the Red Bull branding. There was no mention of the launch on Holden's social media channels. And, most significantly, long-time Holden Motorsport Simon McNamara's tenure with the manufacturer was coming to end.
Holden signed a three-year commitment to Supercars in 2016. Triple Eight not only has the factory backing and Holden Racing Team name but is also charged with designing and building the new-look imported Commodore into a turbocharged Supercar under the Gen2 rules from 2018.
But the uncertainty that hung around the future of Holden Motorsport and the discontent from fans over the Holden Racing Team switch and Red Bull-dominated branding has called into question Holden's involvement in Supercars.
With Triple Eight the exclusive builder of the next-generation Commodore, other Holden teams could be in a position where they will need to be customers of Triple Eight to continue running Commodores.
Meanwhile, according to a poll run by V8X Supercar Magazine, 76 per cent of fans believe Holden should have retired the Holden Racing Team name rather than transfer it from Walkinshaw Racing to Triple Eight. Also, 68 per cent believe the Commodore name should have been retired following the end of Australian production, rather than rebrand the incoming Insignia model a Commodore.
The fan angst comes at a time when 16 of the 26 entries on the 2017 Supercars grid are Holden VF Commodores, with Garry Rogers Motorsport forced to revert back to running Commodores for the first time since 2013 following the departure of Volvo.
That leaves eight Holden teams (Triple Eight, Walkinshaw Racing, Garry Rogers Motorsport, Brad Jones Racing, Erebus Motorsport, Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport, Tekno Autosports and Team 18) to two Ford teams (Prodrive Racing Australia and DJR Team Penske) and one Nissan (Nissan Motorsport).
The imbalance must be dealt with by Supercars heading into Gen2. Fears of a 'Commodore Cup' are growing louder and must be addressed with Holden's own mixed messages in terms of its commitment.
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