Following last week's announcement by Triple Eight Racing that they had extended their sponsorship with Vodafone for another three years, taking them through to the end of the 2012 Australian V8 Supercar Championship, they pulled off another ...
Following last week's announcement by Triple Eight Racing that they had extended their sponsorship with Vodafone for another three years, taking them through to the end of the 2012 Australian V8 Supercar Championship, they pulled off another revelation today announcing that they will be switching from Ford to Holden at the start of next season.
Although driver Craig Lowndes, who is contracted to Ford, was absent, his team mate and defending champion and current points leader Jamie Whincup and team principle Roland Dane did the honors and unveiled a red Holden with the Vodafone logos at Holden's Port Melbourne plant on the eve of the Norton 360 Sandown Challenge.
Both Lowndes and Whincup previously both drove Holdens, Lowndes defected to Ford in 2001 whilst Whincup moved to the blue oval in 2005. Holden race fans knew it was only going to be a matter of time before Lowndes returned and many will be rejoicing now that Triple Eight Racing will be linking with the Holden Racing Team.
So why has all this come about. Following Ford's commitment at the end of the 2008 season to only support Stone Brothers Racing and Ford Performance Racing, Triple Eight Racing were left out in the cold, so much so that their two car team does not wear any Ford logos in protest. One of the reasons behind the decision was Triple Eight Racing's red Vodafone sponsorship was considered "too close" to Holden, who have been sporting red since the days of the Holden Dealer Team back in the early 70's.
Considering that Triple Eight Racing has been the lead Ford team for the past number of years this will be a blow to not only diehard Ford fans but may even impact on the series itself. Holden dominate the number of cars on the grid now, with an additional two next year it will be interesting to see what transpires. There has been some talk of another manufacturer joining the series down the track, but when that will occur is anyone's guess, as is who that manufacturer will be, if at all.
Most are saying Toyota, similar to their move into NASCAR in recent years, but with the world economic situation hitting all vehicle manufacturers worldwide, including Toyota, it may be some time before we find out.
What was a surprise was Whincup's swipe at Ford's lack of support to the team, given that he won the championship last year and is ahead in the points at present. If anything, today's show really rubbed it into the face of Ford all around the country, if not internationally. Whincup outlined that despite his best intentions to come to some agreement, Ford simply walked away. There was simply no loyalty shown.
Whincup stated that he was "personally excited" at the prospect of joining Holden, considering that he commenced his V8 Supercar career with Holden and can see no reason why the team can't continue their success in the future.