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Thursday, Feb 27 03:07pm
AUTHOR: Zane Shackleton

What the death of Holden means for Supercars

General Motors' demise of Holden has truly come at an awkward moment in the Supercars timeframe.


Supercars were inevitably always going to stop racing with the Commodore badge. It can only be so long that a series can keep racing a car make that, essentially, went out of operation almost three years ago.


However, GM’s decision has come at an intervening period between Supercars current generation of car and the Gen-III model that is due to hit the track in 2022.


Of course, Supercars had initially delayed the introduction of the gen-III cars to 2022 with the open possibility to again postpone the series’ latest technical developments until after the 2023 season.


Now that option looks incredibly dire.


The Gen-III car is designed to accommodate a wider range of body shells, promoting the series to house more international manufacturers should they choose to enter the championship.


The current Ford Mustang GT is the closest car on offer that reflects a gen-III approach. However, the Mustang will also undergo chassis modifications under the gen-III regulations.

 

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Roland Dane, team principal of Red Bull Holden Racing Team, has engaged in conversation with GM to draw a conclusion on where the Commodore stands in Supercars for next year.


Walkinshaw Andretti United have already confirmed their team will be seeking a different manufacturer of car to race for 2020, ditching the Commodore.


“Our team, personally, we’re not going to want to be running around in a car that isn’t sold here or doesn’t exist anymore,” Walkinshaw told speedcafe.com who broke the news.


However, it is incredibly unlikely that all current Holden teams will want to switch to another make of car for the new season.


The Holden Commodore is already homologated under Supercar rules so there is essentially no reason why it cannot race in 2021, waiting out the period until 2022.


But it leaves Supercars with two other possible alternatives. The first being to move the Gen-III regulations forth to come into effect for 2021 or to operate a ‘mixed-class’ of outdated Commodores and the (hopeful) GM alternative.


"We need to talk to all of the manufacturers, the suppliers, the teams, and the Commission,” said Sean Seamers prior to the Adelaide 500 weekend.


"With situations like this there's a natural reaction to want to solve it immediately, but it's a complex ecosystem. You've got to be methodical. Quick, but methodical."

 

Ryan Walkinshaw already deals in business with converting imported Chevrolet Camaro’s to right-hand drives for the Australian market.


If GM were to introduce any kind of ‘special vehicle’ sector, then Walkinshaw will undoubtedly play a significant role in this organisation.


Should GM’s 'special vehicles group' launch successfully within the year then Supercars could well and truly witness Camaro’s or Corvettes racing on the grid in 2021…with room for a handful of Commodores to fill out the grid.

 

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Though it must be warned that the Camaro has been reported to be discontinued come 2023, creating another world of issues further down the line.


Chevrolet seemingly done with the falling sales of the iconic muscle car. According to miamilakesautomall.com, sales of the Camaro have fallen to half of what was recorded less than ten years ago. Meanwhile, rivals at Ford and Dodge have had sales of their Mustang and Challenger go from strength to strength.


But of course, nothing is inked on paper just yet, so everything is rather speculative.


But one day the dawn will rise where zero Commodores are on the Supercars grid, and whether that is next year or 2022 remains in question.


Hopefully, in the coming future GM, Roland Dane and the Supercars commission will all have come to an agreement over the future of both GM's involvement within the sport and the role of the Commodore over the next few seasons.


Supercars must go ahead of their latest generation of car. For the sake of Holden and the sport entirely, it cannot be delayed beyond what is scheduled for 2020.


For now, Supercars have entered a very rocky period indeed.

 

Photo Credit: 9 Sports Australia

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