I wrote this post originally for Richard's F1 - check it out here!
Exciting times for the V8 Supercars! Following the unveiling of the Austin 400’s race format of Ultimate Sprints on Wednesday, there is now talk of Chevrolet joining the fray as an unofficial manufacturer over the May event!
A spokesperson for Holden Motorsport said that: “A firm decision on its marketing plans with Chevrolet for Texas is yet to be made and that nothing is currently being ruled out.”
The Chevrolet link can be made a number of ways and has been done before by the parent company, General Motors. It is particularly timely as well, considering that the Holden VF commodore will soon be available in the United States, under the Chevrolet SS badge.
Previous cases of rebadging include Todd Kelly’s Commodore VE in Bahrain as the Chevrolet Lumina, and Rick Kelly’s rebadging as a Buick a couple of years earlier in 2005 when the series made its brief foray to China.
Rebadging makes business sense, as the cars are then marketed as exports in that nation. This is likely part of the campaign to introduce Holden to the States, after the rebadged Aussie sedan debuted in at the NASCAR Daytona Speedway earlier this year. Shipments of the Commodore to the US are penned to begin in November.
The Car Of The Future Holden Commodore has already been sent to the southern states of America to market the race, and is already dressed up in Chevy bodywork.
The 28 cars will compete over a weekend in four races of 100km each, two on Saturday and Sunday respectively. The reported crowd estimate is 87,000; however with no major local star looking likely to compete, as well as the NASCAR All-Star weekend and the Indianapolis 500 qualifying action all over the same few days, it might be a tougher sell than expected.
For comparison, last year’s debut Formula 1 race drew crowds of 265,000 over the three days – meaning around 88,000 a day. However a recent two day Grand-Am meet just garnered 27,000. The V8s will likely fall somewhere in between.
Interestingly for the Australians, this might be a way past the 2016 manufacturing deadline. Mark Reuss, head of GM in North America, has indicated Holden could keep building the new VF Commodore beyond 2016 if US demand takes off.
“That’s a champagne problem to have. I’m sure the guys at Holden can find a way to keep building it if they had to. General Motors and the guys at Holden can be very resourceful,” he said
Commodore fans will be hoping the Americans love their V8 beast more than ever!