WAU still adamant Supercars can attract new manufacturers

Supercars Championship action last weekend at Wanneroo Raceway. Picture: Ross Gibb

Ryan Walkinshaw is adamant that Supercars can still attract new manufacturers for its Gen3 era despite his own team choosing to align with Ford.

Walkinshaw Andretti United yesterday confirmed it would depart the General Motors fold, but rather than teaming with a fresh brand altogether as it had expressed an interest in, has struck a lucrative arrangement with the Blue Oval.

It’s now almost certain that Supercars will be a two-brand series next year, Chevrolet replacing Holden as the arch-enemy of Ford.

As arguably one of the better placed figures to gauge market interest, Walkinshaw is sure that Supercars won’t be permanently restricted to a GM versus Ford narrative.

“It is important to understand that we spoke to multiple [brands] and we actually got close to a couple of agreements over the course of the last couple of years,” said the WAU director, who was recently elected to Supercars’ board.

“So there is interest there, and I think for the sport, Gen3 opens up a lot of doors for new manufacturers to come in, hopefully in a more cost-effective way, bringing down some of those barriers to entry that we’ve had previously.

“There’s a lot of great teams in Supercars as well that would be surely a good team for a manufacturer to come in as a platform to build on.

“At the moment for next year, we’re obviously only aware of the fact that we’ve got GM with the Camaro and Ford with the Mustang, but going through the process the last couple of years of exploring through many different manufacturers what their interest would be, I think there was genuine interest from a few.”

He expects that interest will only grow stronger once the new Mustang and Camaro hit the track at the 2023 season-opener in Newcastle.

“Once there is proof in the pudding, the product is on the race track, and people realise that the products are great and the racing is good and the sport has an exciting future, that will only compound the interest of manufacturers that we spoke to. So, hopefully,” Walkinshaw added.

“It won’t be with us, and that’s great because we have found a great new partnership with Ford, but I really do hope that some of the other brands that we spoke to or the other teams we have spoken to will see that the opportunity really is there and the ability to add value to their marketing and activation programmes is real and Supercars can play an important part in that.”

At this stage, it appears that five teams have committed to each of GM and Ford for the 2023 Repco Supercars Championship, with Matt Stone Racing the key question mark remaining.

Triple Eight Race Engineering, Erebus Motorsport, Brad Jones Racing, Team 18, and PremiAir Racing are all expected to field Camaros, while WAU will join Dick Johnson Racing, Tickford Racing, Grove Racing and the Blanchard Racing Team on the Mustang side.

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