News of the Holden Racing Team brand moving from Walkinshaw Racing to Triple Eight from 2017 has fired up the Supercars fanbase.
Social media sprung alive with reaction on Tuesday as fans digested news of the Red Bull Holden Racing Team moniker and Holden’s commitment to homologating a next-generation Commodore.
Many within the sport have expressed relief at Holden’s decision to continue in the category following robust debate within the General Motors outpost over its marketing direction ahead of the impending end of local production.
While speculation that Walkinshaw was set to lose its factory backing had been circling for some time, few had expected the HRT insignia to simply be moved to Triple Eight.
There has been no love lost between the two outfits over the last decade, with their rivalry only increasing since Triple Eight switched to Holden in 2010.
Although Triple Eight’s on track domination of the battle arguably made Holden’s shift in funding focus logical and inevitable, many fans have been critical of the decision.
“This is a bastardisation from Holden Motorsport,” wrote enraged fan Tim Gregory on Speedcafe.com’s Facebook page.
“You can’t just decide to piss away 26 years of history.
“Imagine if Collingwood were sick of not making the top eight so they rebranded Hawthorn to the Magpies. There would be an outrage.”
“To take the iconic HRT name from Walkinshaw and giving it to 888 is a kick in the teeth for the diehard HRT fans,” added another fan, Mark Attard.
“If Holden didn’t want to support that team anymore they should of put the HRT name to bed.”
Another declared the move worse than Ford’s decision to withdraw support from Dick Johnson Racing.
“This is beyond Ford shafting DJR, 90% of die hard Holden fans were HRT (fans),” wrote BJ Morrison. “Poor form I reckon!”
Ryan Walkinshaw’s Twitter account was also flooded with support for his team, which has vowed to continue to race Commodores next season.
Great to see so much support from our @holden_racing fans. We are proud if our history and success, which will stay with us forever.
— Ryan (@RyanWalkinshaw) August 16, 2016
Others on Facebook were eager to point out that Walkinshaw’s team only has itself to blame for its lack of results.
“Unlike Ford, Holden is making a long term commitment to the sport. Yet everyone is giving them crap,” wrote Randall Green.
“Walkinshaw Racing has had more than enough time and resources to turn it around and they haven’t.”
Although the Red Bull Holden Racing Team name will be used by Triple Eight next year, Walkinshaw noted on Twitter that the helmet and lion HRT logo that has been a hallmark of the brand since its inception in 1989 is set to be retired.
Have your say on Holden’s decision via our comments box below or by visiting Speedcafe.com’s Facebook page.