Home' V8X Supercar Magazine : Oct Nov 2016 Issue 95 Contents 32
Fraternising with Foges
We had a lot of dialogue with those guys about what
they’re doing with the sport, where they were taking it and
if it fit where we wanted to be. So there was a lot of stuff
that needed to be worked through. It wasn’t as simple as it
had been in the past. We’ve always had the approach that
we won’t race what we don’t sell, so we’re going to have a
very different car. We needed to make sure it all fitted in
with what Supercars’ plans were going forward.
So the fact that there’ll be no V8 Commodore road
cars didn’t have a significant bearing on the deci-
Well, it was just one of the factors that we needed to
establish. So there were a whole number of touchpoints
that we had to work through to get a better understand-
ing of what it was all going to mean for us. Did it fit for
our next Commodore? Does this platform fit for our next
Commodore and where we want to position the car?
So there was a lot that we had to go through and a lot
more stakeholders involved. In the past, it was just a
couple of us that would work through it. This time, there
was a much broader stakeholder base to go through once
we’d evaluated all the work. So there’s a lot of science
behind it from our point of view.
We don’t just make a decision based on whether we do
or don’t like car racing ourselves. It’s based on the science
of the data and what it tells us, the number it spits out at
the end, effectively, whether it works for us or it doesn’t.
What does the science tell you?
It tells us that it works for our brand. We are evolving our
brand to talk to new audiences, but we also have a very
strong heritage and an engaged and passionate audience
that follows us from a Holden traditional-base point of
view. So we don’t want to forget those people. We have
new products and avenues to talk to the new audiences
that we want to get to, but we also want to talk to our
core fan base and this (Supercars) is the perfect platform.
Was this the most difficult renewal process?
Probably. We engaged all areas of our business. We had
GMIO (General Motors International Operations) in dis-
cussions, GM’s head of motorsport in North America Jim
Campbell and his team and (GM North America president
and ex-Holden boss) Mark Reuss and those guys.
They’ve been in dialogue with us and our GMIO office
(to which Holden now reports), but it all comes back to
what we want to do and whether it stands up. They know
that we understand our business and our customer base.
We engaged everybody that needed to be involved and
everybody understood in the end that this is where we
should be, certainly for the new car.
Was there a chance Holden might have pulled out?
Oh, yeah, for sure. You need to understand that the world
is a very different place now. Okay, this is the Supercar
category and it talks to a specific part of Australia. We are
now working with Supercars to try to expand that base.
So it’s great that Nissan is continuing to be involved,
it’s great that we’ve committed to it and we’re hoping that
some others on the fringe are looking at it. We know there
are a couple looking at it. The new engines make it better
for people like Nissan, Toyota, Hyundai, Kia and Mazda.
We wanted to make sure that it’s viable as a business;
that our teams and the other teams are viable and that it
makes sense for us to do it. I mean, we’ve all known that
racing is part of the GM DNA. North America has a mas-
sive racing program and the best part of our relationship
with them is that they’re very supportive of us. It helps us.
Did Ford Australia’s withdrawal make it more dif-
ficult to sell staying in to Holden management?
No. There are some areas of our management that look
at that, but the bigger picture we all understand is that
whatever other brands are doing doesn’t really reflect on
what we’re doing. We need to make sure it’s right for us.
So the fact that Ford decided it wasn’t for them, for
whatever reason, doesn’t have any bearing on us. Same
as if Nissan had decided it wasn’t for them.
It doesn’t help in the bigger picture but at the end of
the day, the program stands up for itself with us, what
our audience wants and where we want to take the next
generation car to.
The decision to drop Walkinshaw Racing and take
away the HRT brand after 26 years. Was that dif-
ficult or did it actually make itself?
It was extremely difficult, to be quite honest. Although
you try not to have an emotional link in business, that’s
a very emotional thing.
ABOVE: Triple Eight has
Holden Racing Team since
switching to Commodores
V8X95 p30-35 Foges McNamara.indd 32
29/09/2016 3:42 pm
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