POLL: WAU’s manufacturer switch for Gen3 Supercars
Monday 9th May, 2022 - 3:05pm
There’s no question what the hot topic has been the past seven days in Australian motorsport.
Speedcafe.com’s exclusive report that Walkinshaw Andretti United – formerly known as the Holden Racing Team – would switch to Ford Mustangs for the 2023 Repco Supercars Championship shocked many.
Now that the dust has settled following the team’s official confirmation of the move last Friday, we want to know whether you think it’s the right move, in this week’s Pirtek Poll.
The prospect of the Clayton team partnering the Blue Oval is one that even WAU director Ryan Walkinshaw admitted was weird, having spent the first 27 years of its existence as the factory Holden squad.
The likes of John Bowe though have come out in support of WAU, saying the team owes Holden nothing after the marque swapped allegiance to Triple Eight Race Engineering for 2017, and then exited the market altogether.
Nevertheless, the news has proven divisive.
On the plus, WAU will receive factory support from Ford, who pulled out all the stops to maximise its announcement, with CEO Jim Farley even along for the ride.
What exactly factory support looks like is not known, but it has been capped to five teams for the first season of Gen3, with Ford ruling out partnering any further teams outside of its 2022 quartet plus WAU.
Walkinshaw made the point that recent history showed that factory support is essential to its unequivocal goal of winning championships, and that is why they had also scoured the market for new manufacturers.
It was determined that Ford was their best bet, and the team believes it will without question be better for its change of identity.
The major downside is the risk of alienating a percentage of its fanbase which had remained loyal from its HRT heyday, even through some particularly rocky periods in the 2010s.
WAU has been on the front foot in managing any potential backlash, saying it understood some supporters would not appreciate the news but hoping many would follow them across the brand divide for who the team is and what it stands for.
The face of the operation, Chaz Mostert, does already have plenty of Ford fans to draw on following his Bathurst 1000-winning tenure at Tickford Racing.
One element apparently unaffected is the road car division of the Walkinshaw business, with no flow-on deals announced in tow of the racing agreement.
With many factors in mind, we ask, do you think WAU has made the right decision to join Ford for next season?