V8 entry deadline to finalise 2011 grid

James Courtney leads the pack at Symmons Plains

James Courtney leads the pack at Symmons Plains

The final look of the 2011 V8 Supercars Championship grid will become clearer this Wednesday when official entries for next year’s championship are due.

Each Racing Entitlements Contact owner must submit their entries for the new year on December 1, and in the wake of James Courtney’s bombshell move to the Toll Holden Racing Team next year, the after affects are beginning to be felt – and the size of the field could be the first hit.

CLICK HERE for Speedcafe.com.au’s breaking news story on Courtney’s switch to Toll HRT for 2011 …

Next year’s championship could be run with one less car. The #10 Walkinshaw Racing REC has been placed for sale, and with no suitable buyer in the offing, V8 Supercars Australia will have the option to buy it back.

This move would reduce the field to 28 cars and that decision will be made within the next 48 hours.

With Walkinshaw Racing keen to downscale to three cars for 2011, the only real chance for the REC to remain in the sport was if it was purchased by Charlie Schwerkolt.

Schwerkolt has spent the second half of this year engineering a break up with his current V8 co-owner Dick Johnson, and Schwerkolt was planning on taking the #10 REC to Ford Performance Racing to run a fourth car for Courtney.

While Courtney’s decision to drive for Toll Holden Racing Team has cleared his personal future, it has only created more questions than answers in other parts of the sport – and all eyes now turn to Dick Johnson Racing and its owners Johnson and Schwerkolt. Will they split, or could they keep the famous team together? And what happens to the team’s major sponsor Jim Beam?

When contacted by Speedcafe.com.au today, Schwerkolt was poised to send out a statement but elected not to.

Another question that will be answered soon is where PepsiCo’s cash lands. In early November, sponsorship agency M&C Saatchi Sport and Entertainment announced it had been engaged by PepsiCo to manage its sponsorship within V8 Supercars. At this stage, there has been no announcement on where the Pepsi Max branding will land.

It is understood that FPR will now focus on its three cars for Mark Winterbottom, new signing Will Davison and The Bottle O’s Paul Dumbrell.

Courtney’s move to HRT has also ruled Greg Murphy out of the frame for a full-time drive at HRT.

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