Home' V8X Supercar Magazine : Oct Nov 2016 Issue 95 Contents 33
So it was very difficult, especially from my point of view,
given the amount of time and effort we put into that
organisation and that brand, the assistance we’ve given
them over the journey and the close relationship we had
with the Walkinshaw family.
It was a very, very difficult decision and a very diffi-
cult thing to call Ryan (Walkinshaw) and tell him. But, to
his credit, he understands that business is business. The
world is a different place from a business point of view
and I can’t physically do what we used to do in the racing
and try to be everybody’s friend.
We help everybody as much as we can and we’ll con-
tinue to help them and we are working through programs
now to help them as they go forward. But, yes, it was a
very, very difficult thing to do.
There are a lot of dedicated and clever people in there
that have been working their backsides off to turn it
around. But for whatever reason their efforts just haven’t
been able to bear fruit. We can lead them on a certain
path, but we can’t control it all. It’s their own destiny.
We have worked closely with them, but I’m not sure
some of the things that have gone on were ideal for the
team in terms of changes. They didn’t quite get their
heads around what they needed to do from an engineer-
ing point of view with Car of the Future as quickly as some
others and it’s hurt them in the long run.
The surprise of Holden’s recommitment wasn’t
that you cut back to one team, but that you’re
transferring the HRT to Triple Eight.
Well, we haven’t said we’re transferring the brand. What
we’ve said is that they’ll be Red Bull Holden Racing Team.
What the machinations of that are we’re yet to reveal and
fully get our heads around, as well. But the brand itself,
as in that lion/helmet logo, we’re putting on the shelf.
I wouldn’t have thought that a lion and a bull would go
together and we know how passionate and restrictive Red
Bull are around their branding... we’re the same.
But Peter Hughes does an amazing job – and has done
an amazing job over a number of years – with the HRT liv-
eries and for most of the other Holden teams. He’s doing
some stuff for us at the moment to work out where we
go with it all.
It’s a change of recent attitude for Holden in as far
as allowing the HRT brand to be associated with a
team title sponsor. Why the change? Was it a neces-
sary compromise to get the deal done?
That’s part of it. When we went through the evaluation
process, we looked at all of that and asked the questions,
did we need a standalone Holden Racing Team or did we
need to have reasonably good commercial partners?
Red Bull is a brand we want to partner with. They talk
to a different audience than we do and we want to be able
to tap into their audience. So it all works from a pure com-
mercial sense for us as we go forward.
Is the plan in 2018 to switch to the new Commodore
body shape and a new engine?
Yes. We’re working through the engine program. The
engine we’ve been looking at for nearly two years.
We’ve been through all of GM’s architectures to see
what might fit for us, so we’ve whittled it down.
As for the body, Peter Hughes and the design guys have
been working on the packaging for probably the last six
months, with the backing of (GM global design chief)
Mike Simcoe, who’s a big supporter and big follower of
what we’re doing.
So Mike’s been great and given Pete the resources
internally to do a lot of the surface work (designing and
shaping the racing body kit). So there’s a lot of work going
on and the plan is to roll out in 2018.
It won’t have a V8 engine, right? You reiterated
that you won’t race an engine configuration that
you don’t sell, so it’s going to be a twin-turbo V6 or
a four-cylinder engine.
Yeah, it’ll be one of those. It won’t be a V8 engine.
ABOVE: Holden will be
merging the Holden Racing
Team and Red Bull brands
into one in 2017.
BELOW: Long-time Holden
Racing Team driver Garth
Tander lost his drive with
Walkinshaw Racing as part
of the Holden reshuffle.
Scott Pye will join James
Courtney at Walkinshaw
Racing in 2017.
V8X95 p30-35 Foges McNamara.indd 33
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