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Holden commits to next-gen Commodore racer

Race relations: The 2018 season of the Australian Supercars will feature just one factory-backed Holden team wearing Red Bull livery.

2018 Commodore to race in Supercar Series as Holden confirms single factory team

16 Aug 2016

HOLDEN’S imported next-generation Commodore will line up on the grid of the Australian Supercars Championship from 2018 following a three-year agreement struck between the car-maker and Triple Eight Race Engineering.

The new agreement between the racing team and Holden will result in the formation of a new team dubbed the Red Bull Holden Racing Team at of the start of the 2017 season and confirms speculation that Holden planned to move to a single factory-backed race team.

The deal means that the Holden Racing Team (HRT) will be dumped by the end of the 2016 season but will reportedly continue without the team name or support of the car-maker it has been racing with for more than 25 years.

While providing little information on the 2018 Commodore racecar, Holden said in a statement today that the new factory-backed Red Bull Holden Racing Team “will develop, build, race and win with the next-generation Commodore Supercar from 2018”.

The next Commodore will launch late next year following the closure of Holden’s Australian manufacturing operation and is set to be based on the front/all-wheel-drive architecture of the next-generation European-sourced Opel Insignia mid-size sedan.

In announcing the agreement, GM Holden chairman and managing director Mark Bernhard paid respect to Walkinshaw Racing and the company’s history with the team.

“Motorsport has played a significant role in Holden’s heritage and we’re proud to be carrying on that tradition with the new Red Bull Holden Racing Team, while reshaping our brand and presence in the market and in motorsport. We’re taking our company forward,” he said.

“I’d also like to thank and pay homage to Walkinshaw Racing with whom we have shared a proud history over many years.

“We’ll also continue to help Walkinshaw wherever we can. We support every Holden team in pitlane through various avenues such as marketing support, technical support, sponsorship acquisition, even down to helping design certain race liveries.

“We’ll continue that with Walkinshaw and I wish them all the best. Our relationship with Walkinshaw remains strong and we are working closely on future road vehicle initiatives as part of our ongoing partnership with HSV.”

Mr Bernhard said the next-generation Commodore would live up to the expectations of the nameplate and praised the achievements of the Triple Eight team.

“Fans around the country will see the new Red Bull Holden Racing Team on the grid from next year but I’m especially excited about our next-generation Commodore hitting the racetrack in 2018,” he said.

“Australia can rest assured that our next-gen Commodore will live up to the iconic nameplate, on and off the track.

“Triple Eight is the most successful team of the modern era, they are simply the best at what they do. We’re very proud to continue our partnership with them.”

Arch-rival Ford disbanded the Ford Performance Racing team at the end of the 2015 season, although a number of non-factory-backed teams continue to race FG X Falcons this season.

The only other automotive brands in the Australian Supercars Championship are Volvo – which is pulling out at the end of this season – and Nissan, which is yet to announce whether it will continue on in the series.

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