Aus­tralian MUS­CLE CAR

Australian Muscle Car - - Muscle Sport -

Holden has sup­ported lo­cal mo­tor rac­ing like no other. Fish­er­mans Bend’s fund­ing of teams in the Bathurst clas­sic has been un­bro­ken since 1968, when the short-lived Holden Dealer Rac­ing Team la­bel was ap­plied to a trio of Monaro GTS 327 en­tered by Syd­ney rac­ing iden­tity David McKay.

That sup­port is guar­an­teed un­til at least 2019, pro­vid­ing a mas­sive fil­lip to the Su­per­cars cham­pi­onship as it en­ters its post-V8 only era. Noth­ing re­ally changes in a tech­ni­cal sense for 2017, but con­fir­ma­tion of Holden’s move to the next-gen­er­a­tion Com­modore shape for 2018 means the Su­per­car’s pow­er­plant will re­flect the re-badged In­signia road­car’s en­gine. Oth­er­wise, what would be the point of con­tin­u­ing?

There­fore, the Red Bull/HRT-branded Triple Eight six­cylin­der turbo Com­modores will al­most cer­tainly com­pete in 2018 against some cur­rent gen­er­a­tion V8-pow­ered VFs. So who will the bulk of the tra­di­tional V8-lov­ing Holden fans cheer for? Will they yell for the cars they per­ceive to be Aussie-built Com­modores (i.e. the older V8 cars) or the new shape Com­modore which will mir­ror the fully-im­ported and re­badged Opel? Could get awk­ward...

A lit­tle dis­claimer here: the 2017 Opel In­signia is yet to be of­fi­cially con­firmed as the first fully-im­ported Com­modore and Holden is yet to con­firm the turbo six for 2018 Su­per­cars duty. But what other choice does Holden have? Many Holden en­thu­si­asts will bemoan the end of V8-pow­ered race­cars, but at least the brand races on. Con­tin­u­ing in Su­per­car rac­ing was no sure thing.

It ap­pears that Roland Dane pre­sented Holden with the deal of a life­time, one that slashed the Gen­eral’s in­vest­ment in the sport by award­ing ex­clu­siv­ity to Triple Eight, who will be able to make a buck from sup­ply­ing other Holden teams. Then there’s the mer­chan­dis­ing gold mine that comes from cou­pling the HRT and Red Bull drinks logo. Wouldn’t you love a piece of that ac­tion?!

Be­yond mer­chan­dise, I wouldn’t be sur­prised if the HRT brand is far less prom­i­nent in 2017 than it has been in the past. And that’s what it is now – a brand. It was once a team name. Now it’s just a la­bel, switched from one team to an­other. In do­ing so, it won’t have the same cred­i­bil­ity in the eyes of many. Cer­tainly not mine.

Yet, none of that re­ally mat­ters in the grand scheme of things. The im­por­tant thing is that the Red Lion races on. For as long as it does we should be truly grate­ful.

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