Walkinshaw believes Gen3 will ‘de-risk’ Supercars
Saturday 19th December, 2020 - 6:00am
Walkinshaw Andretti United boss Ryan Walkinshaw believes the arrival of Gen3 in 2022 will “de-risk” the championship.
The closure of Holden and thus the demise of the Commodore meant Supercars was faced with having just one make and model in the category, that being the Ford Mustang.
Ford has committed to being part of the next-generation Supercar with its Mustang, which will be homologated by Dick Johnson Racing.
Supercars has, however, found a replacement for the Holden Commodore through a new deal with General Motors Specialty Vehicles.
Gen3 will see the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 join the championship. Triple Eight Race Engineering will be tasked with the homologation process.
Walkinshaw has welcomed the arrival of Gen3, who said it would have been “devastating” not to have another marque in the championship.
“It’s pretty important that you’ve got two manufacturers, for sure,” Walkinshaw explained.
“I think it would’ve been pretty devastating if we went into 2022 with only one model to race. That would be a disaster.”
As it stands, Walkinshaw Andretti United has not committed to which make and model it will utilise when Gen3 is introduced.
The team was known to be in advanced talks with one manufacturer to join the championship until the coronavirus pandemic put paid to those discussions.
BMW was rumoured to be at least one manufacturer in the mix
The team has links to the marque via Walkinshaw Andretti United part-owners Andretti Autosport, which runs the factory BMW outfit in Formula E.
Walkinshaw believes two manufacturers has to be the championship’s baseline and should target bringing more marques to the grid.
“I think two can work. It has worked very, very well historically for this category,” said Walkinshaw.
“But I think if Gen3 is to make sense and if the value is to be extracted from the work that’s gone into Gen3, I think that that value is qualified by how many new manufacturers are interested in the category and how many we can get committed to join up.
“There’s opportunity there to be had for a long period of time and it’s our job to now explore it and bring some manufacturers in. It’s only good news for the category.
“It derisks the category so we don’t end up being in a situation where you’ve only got two brands, you only need one of those brands to disappear for whatever reason and you’re back struggling again trying to find someone urgently to fill that gap so that you’ve got someone else, two different brands, to race against.
“I think it’s pretty important to have three or four because it just creates a more sustainable model, more interest, more money flowing into the category, and more potential interest from people who are aligned with those brands and it de-risks it. So I think it’s pretty important personally.”
While Walkinshaw said he couldn’t be sure whether more manufacturers might join the category, he said Gen3 was a step up from the current Gen2 set-up.
Gen2 has largely been prohibitive for the introduction of two-door models to the championship.
The chassis is based around a four-door platform, meaning the incumbent Ford Mustang had to be stretched to suit the frame.
Under Gen3, most body panels of the race car will have to match the dimensions of its road-going counterpart.
“I think it’s an improvement (over Gen2),” said Walkinshaw.
“We’ll see how big that step forward is based on what the results end up being.
“I can’t predict that, I really can’t. I do feel it’s a step forward, for sure, and it’s given us really good ammunition.”