Holden Racing Team's loss of factory support is the result of poor decisions by the team's owner, an ex-Holden motorsport boss has claimed.
John Crennan, who guided the HRT and Holden Special Vehicles (HSV) operations for two decades from 1991, says Walkinshaw Racing boss Ryan Walkinshaw is to blame for the decline of Supercars' most successful team.
On Tuesday, Holden announced they would only provide factory funding for the Triple Eight Race Engineering outfit owned by Roland Dane from next year onwards.
It brings an end to a 26-year relationship between Holden and Walkinshaw Racing which resulted in six drivers' championships and seven Bathurst 1000 wins.
Crennan says Walkinshaw has made "monumental mistakes" since inheriting ownership of the team following the death of his father Tom in 2010.
Crennan, who is currently working as a consultant for American giant Roger Penske's Australian operations, says among Walkinshaw's mistakes is an outspoken presence on social media and not moving from England to Australia to oversee operations.
He also says the poaching of respected team manager Adrian Burgess from Dane's team in 2013 put Walkinshaw in his fellow Englishman's crosshairs.
"His appointment of Adrian Burgess created an intense enemy in Roland Dane whose experience, influence and guile to my mind was always going to see a monster come back at some point," Crennan told motorsports website Speedcafe.com.
"It worried me at the time and I thought there would be a reset on that at some point."
In the wake of Holden's announcement, Walkinshaw has committed to racing a two-car team in next year's Supercars championship.
While partnering with a new manufacturer, such as Japanese brand Toyota, has been mooted, Crennan believes associating the team with the name of legendary driver Peter Brock could be the key going forward.
"I would be seeking to gain permission from the Brock family to use the Brock name and I would have that seen as a memorial to Peter Brock so that the Brock name could live on with his connection to HDT (Holden Dealer Team) and HRT," Crennan said.
Holden gets green light from Detroit to build $165,000 Commodore with supercharged Corvette power
MAY 27, 201611:44AM
The HSV GTS will form the basis of a new Holden supercar with Corvette power. Picture: Supplied.
News Corp Australia Network
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TALK about going out with a bang!
Holden will build a Commodore with more power than a Lamborghini as a high octane farewell present before the Adelaide production line falls silent next year.
The fastest and most powerful Commodore ever made will also be the most expensive, expected to cost in excess of $165,000 — almost twice the price of the dearest model on sale today.
It will be the last V8 sedan made locally, and the most powerful vehicle produced in more than 100 years of Australian car manufacturing.
Holden declined to comment on “future model plans”, however News Corp Australia can exclusively reveal General Motors in Detroit has finally given the green light to build a Commodore powered by the supercharged “LS9” V8 from the Corvette ZR1.
The supercharged V8 from the Corvette ZR1 is heading for the Commodore. Picture: Supplied.
The supercharged V8 from the Corvette ZR1 is heading for the Commodore. Picture: Supplied.Source:News Limited
The swan song supercar will eclipse the power of the current Commodore flagship — the Holden Special Vehicles GTS — with performance that will outpace the latest Porsches and Ferraris.
It will only be available with a manual gearbox because the engine has too much power for an automatic.
With in excess of 600 horsepower (or 475kW in modern terms) the limited edition will have more grunt than a V8 Supercar racing machine.
Fewer than 250 are expected to be built, as there are only a limited number of these particular supercharged V8 engines available out of the US.
The heart of the matter: the LS9 supercharged V8 has more than 600 horsepower.
Holden dealers have been inundated with inquiries following speculation on internet forums — but the project is so secret they too are in the dark.
Fan gossip says the car will be called “GTS-R”, a reference to a limited edition from 1996. But News Corp understands the new super sedan will have a unique name to reflect its exclusivity.
The supercar will be made by Holden Special Vehicles, a separate Melbourne-based firm that has been building Holden’s performance models for 29 years after the breakup with racing legend Peter Brock.
HSV GTS will get a more powerful stablemate, but the name is still a mystery. Picture: Supplied.
Part of the reason the Holden supercar is so expensive is because it will be built in a partially complete form on the Adelaide production line with the supercharged engine and gearbox from the HSV GTS — which will then be replaced by the “LS9” V8 at HSV in Melbourne.
It is not the first time HSV has performed a ‘heart transplant’.
In 2008 the company replaced the “donor” Holden engine with a massive 7.0-litre V8 from a racing version of the Corvette; in the end 137 HSV W427 cars were built at a cost of $155,500 each. Production ended prematurely in 2009 as the Global Financial Crisis took hold.
With buyers holding out for the last locally made Commodores, Holden is confident the supercar will be an instant sellout — especially as the imported Commodore due in 2018 will only have four-cylinder and V6 power.
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IT’S a new Holden Monaro, but not as we know it!
This sleek coupe unveiled in Detroit overnight is set to become the successor to the Holden Monaro.
The concept car might be wearing Buick badges but the grille has been designed to accommodate the proud Holden symbol as the company looks to source 24 new imported models from around the world by 2020.
Sleek lines ... The Buick Avista has a twin turbo V6 engine. Picture: Supplied.Source:Supplied
While there is not a V8 under the bonnet, the next generation Holden Monaro will have a twin turbo V6 with just as much grunt as a V8. For the tech heads: that’s 300kW of power.
Most importantly for performance-car fans, however, the sporty coupe is rear-wheel-drive — just like every Holden Monaro since 1968.
Holden is yet to officially confirm the arrival of the two-door Buick — or if it will wear the iconic Monaro badge — but News Corp Australia understands the coupe will arrive in local showrooms in 2018 to challenge the Ford Mustang, which has become an instant sellout success.
Behind the wheel ... Get into gear in the new Buick Avista. Picture: Supplied.
Behind the wheel ... Get into gear in the new Buick Avista. Picture: Supplied.Source:Supplied
The Buick-sourced coupe will at least be some consolation after General Motors executives confirmed last year there would not be a V8 version of the next generation Holden Commodore, likely to come from Opel in Germany once the Holden factory in Elizabeth closes in 2017.
The Holden Commodore of the future is expected to be powered by a choice of four-cylinder or V6 power, and front-drive or all-wheel-drive only, which is perhaps why enthusiasts are rushing Holden showrooms to get the last of the V8 model.
Although Commodore sales were their second lowest on record last year, more than one-third built was a V8, the highest proportion in the nameplate’s 38-year history.
Luxury ... The cockpit of the Buick Avista is designed to be comfortable and stylish. Picture: Supplied.
Luxury ... The cockpit of the Buick Avista is designed to be comfortable and stylish. Picture: Supplied.Source:Supplied
Holden sold the Monaro from 1968 to 1977 based on the Kingswood, and then from 2001 to 2006 based on the Commodore.
Holden secretly designed a two-door version of the latest Commodore but it was scrapped having never seen the light of day after General Motors went bankrupt in the 2008-2009 Global Financial Crisis.