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Supercars looking to lead new manufacturer talks

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Supercars looking to lead new manufacturer talks
By:
Jun 5, 2018, 9:39 PM

Supercars boss Sean Seamer says the series will look to lead talks with manufacturers rather than leaving discussions entirely to the teams.

Shane van Gisbergen, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden
James Courtney, Walkinshaw Andretti United Holden
Scott McLaughlin, DJR Team Penske Ford
Fabian Coulthard, DJR Team Penske Ford
Michael Caruso, Nissan Motorsport Nissan
Rick Kelly, Nissan Motorsport
Rick Kelly, Nissan Motorsport Nissan
Rick Kelly, Nissan Motorsport Nissan
Shane van Gisbergen, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden
Fabian Coulthard, DJR Team Penske Ford

While the series has always had a hand in manufacturer talks, its generally been left to individual teams to formalise and then service factory deals.

Recent examples include Kelly Racing with Nissan and Garry Rogers Motorsport with Volvo, while Tickford Racing and DJR Team Penske combined to help woo Ford back into the sport from next year onwards.

With Nissan on the way out and Volvo long gone, Supercars is left in a holding pattern in terms of manufacturer support despite the impending return of Ford.

And with the Gen2 rules already in play and 'Next Generation' in the works for 2021, all of which is heavily focussed on opening the series up to new makes, Seamer says the series could look to take a more active role in manufacturer talks in the future.

"I think there is an opportunity for us to improve the way that we embrace and work with manufacturers as a sport, and not putting that reliance on the team entirely," said Seamer.

"It's something that I'm looking at at the moment, and I have been very active in discussions with all manufacturers since I've started because we have to provide the platform, as I say, for them to extract as much value out of the sport as possible.

"We need to be easy to interface with, and that's not something that we should just pass onto the teams. It shouldn't all be on the teams."

Supercars teams are also mostly not reliant on manufacturer dollars, with only Kelly Racing (Nissan) and Triple Eight (Holden) proper factory teams as of right now.

Even then Kelly Racing is set to continue after Nissan's exit, while Triple Eight was a powerhouse squad well before the Holden backing came along for the 2017 season.

While not playing down the desire for new makes to come and spend money in Supercars, Seamer added that it is important for the sport that the teams can not only survive, but genuinely compete even as brands come and go – a key difference in comparison to other Touring Car series such as the DTM.

"The teams are all fully sustainable operating business models unto themselves, so working with manufacturers on the IP and the configurations of the car that their teams run is a relatively simple exercise," he said.

"It's not a commercial requirement.

"What's key for us is relevance and making sure that that appeals to both our existing fan base, and potential fan base as well. So our manufacturer relationships are about the relevance of what goes racing out on the track rather than it being a financial requirement to sustain the sport."

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Series Supercars
Author Andrew van Leeuwen