Cobourn: “What’s Good for GM Isn’t Good For Supercars”

Jack Cobourn 0 Comments

With Sandown coming up, the focus should be on the fact that the 2016 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship is moving into its enduro phase and that Bathurst is just around the bend.

tander townsville

Driving into the sunset: Garth Tander and the Holden Racing Team are in their final year of factory backing. (Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images AsiaPac photo)

However, the focus is on the fact that after 30 years, Holden has decided to end its partnership with Walkinshaw Racing running its factory team to go to Triple Eight Race Engineering. The move has left a bad taste in many fans’ mouths, including mine.

When I first started watching V8 Supercars, early in the last decade, I became a Holden Racing Team fan. It wasn’t a hard choice, as they were the strongest team during the first few years of the 21st century.

Even when the team went slightly downhill, I stood by the team, because the team was the organization that introduced me to the sport and its history. As for Triple Eight, I very much rooted against them, as they had Holden Racing Team’s traitor Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup, whom I was not too big on because he seemed a bit of a whiner (later, I found his nickname of “Whingecup” and thought it quite apt).

When Triple Eight moved to running Holdens, I supported them the same way I supported the other Holden teams, but still stood by the Holden Racing Team.

But now, I am torn about what to do. Do I support Walkinshaw Racing or the Holden Racing Team? I am a man of loyalty, and 30 years is a long time to be a part of a team. As a HRT supporter, I respect the hard work it took to build a successful team, the years of toiling with inferior equipment, and the phrase “built not bought” comes to mind.

Which begs the question: why is the organizing body allowing this deal to go through? This really amounts to a monopoly, and anti-trust legislation comes to mind as I read the press release about the deal.

Triple Eight is the strongest team in the series, with Red Bull’s (among other sponsors’) money bankrolling them. Is Holden’s full backing really what they need? It only makes one team stronger, and with Volvo leaving the sport, the rest of the field, especially the other Holden teams, being between a rock and a hard place.

If I was Ryan Walkinshaw, what I would do is do exactly what Peter Brock did to build the 1980 Holden HDT Commodore that won Bathurst: build a special-edition HSV Commodore, have the dealers buy into the deal to fund the team, and call the team the Holden Dealer Team.

Then, the team advertise what dealers contributed to the fund on the cars when the series goes to those towns, and then fans who want to support the former HRT know what dealers paid into it and can support those dealers, thereby supporting their favorite team.

It’s only simple logic, something that Holden seems to have forgotten to do when dealing with its motorsport programs as well as its fans.

Former General Motors CEO Charles Wilson once said, “What’s good for General Motors is good for America,” but is what’s good for General Motors really that good for the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship? I’m inclined to say no, and many fans say so too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.