Holden working with Supercars on factory future

Holden working with Supercars on factory future

Holden is already in talks with Supercars about the brand's post-2021 future and the shape of the category's technical regulations.

It was confirmed over the Townsville weekend that Holden has made a fresh two-year factory commitment to Supercars, with the Commodore bodyshape and V8 engine set to be retained for the duration of the new deal.

However the brand is already thinking beyond its new agreement thanks to the impending introduction of the Next Gen technical regulations, due in 2021.

There are a number of factors that could complicate Holden's future in the category, including a potential move to a control chassis more suited to two-door models.

There are also question marks over Holden's long-term strategy outside of Supercars, and where the midsized Commodore sedan fits in among the current shift towards SUVs.

Holden's marketing boss Kristian Aquilina confirmed that talks with the category about 2021 and beyond are underway, with the new NASCAR-inspired manufacturers' council offering a window into the future.

"Supercars have been very transparent to the extent that they can be," Aquilina said.

"I mean, they have to maintain equity and fairness in the competition. A few things should be surprises, a few things should be open and transparent.

"I reported to the new OEM council, which has given us some insight into where they're thinking’s at, and the future of the sport.

"It also gives us an opportunity to provide an input, but we’re not necessarily the arbitrators or the determiners of what the future of the sport and how the category is and the cars look like. That’s up to the category, but it’s great to have a forum for which to express our views and also hear what they’ve got on their mind.

"Through that forum we’ve got, I think, a fairly good view of the future. There’s some uncertainty too, which is probably about the right level of uncertainty for a sport that has to be equitable."

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Engines are set to be a big talking point for the Next Gen regulations, given that the current Gen 2 regs have failed to shift the category beyond the long-standing five-litre V8 formula.

One rumoured solution is matching V8 power with hybrid technology, which would help ensure there is some sort of link between race-going and road-going powertrains.

That's not being driven by Holden, however, with Aquilina more focussed on cost containment and crowd experience than a specific form of technology.

"I don’t have a view," he said when asked specifically about hybrids.

"My interest is to make sure that the continuing involvement in the sport is affordable to everyone and still delivers that excitement package for the viewers.

"So I don’t have a firm view on powertrain developments at this stage. It’s far too early."

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Series Supercars
Author Andrew van Leeuwen