FHOLDEN: NRC Racing exits series

June 1, 2001 - The Directors of NRC International Pty Ltd have decided to accept an offer for the purchase of the team's three Reynard Formula Holden chassis, engines, spare parts and on going technical support from an American consortium...

June 1, 2001 - The Directors of NRC International Pty Ltd have decided to accept an offer for the purchase of the team's three Reynard Formula Holden chassis, engines, spare parts and on going technical support from an American consortium competing in a newly introduced United States open wheeler series. NRC Racing had been approached in response to its professional presentation, excellent finishing record and reputation.

Like many Australian manufacturers, NRC International Pty Ltd is under pressure to reduce costs in all areas of the company's operations in the current economic climate. The racing department, as a business division, is required to remain at the very least self sufficient during 2001. The Formula Holden component of this division has not been able to meet this criteria. This coupled with the business opportunity presented from the American consortium has made the decision to sell the obvious course.

As a result of this business decision, NRC International CEO and NRC Racing Team Owner Arthur Abrahams reluctantly withdraws his two entries from the remainder of the 2001 Holden Australian Drivers' Championship, effective immediately.

"This decision has caused great personal anxiety for me. I have maintained a passion for open wheel racing cars for over 15 years and I believe that we developed a highly regarded team during that time. However, in order to secure the company's growth, I must look after the complete business unit. The fact is that funding for the Formula Holden campaign has been marginal. When we received the American approach I would have been remiss in my responsibility to NRC International Pty Ltd not to give serious consideration to the attractive offer presented. The decision has been made on a commercial business basis and meets the needs of my company at this time, " Abrahams said.

NRC Racing are in negotiations to place Emerson Newton-John with another competitive Formula Holden team from the Calder Park round onward. NRC Racing publicly apologises to their driver for this interruption to his season caused through no fault of his own. Newton-John's team mate Stewart McColl was competing on race by race basis in 2001 and no confirmation had been received of his ability to continue competing for the remainder of the season.

Abrahams competed in the very first Formula Brabham race held at Mallala (1989) in a Shrike Formula Brabham but it wasn't until 1994 that NRC Racing commenced Formula Holden competition using the first of six Reynard Formula Holden chassis built by the team. Since retiring from the cockpit after the 1996 season, Abrahams then set about making NRC Racing a place for young drivers to springboard their careers. The team offered new drivers the chance to compete in a professional team environment complete with promotional services and extensive media relations support.

In late 1996 NRC Racing made the forward thinking decision to acquire and compete in the 1997 season with the first of the new generation Reynard high nose 95D chassis. Talented young driver Darren Pate joined the team and almost won his first race in that car at the 1997 Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park. After a successful rookie season he progressed to V8 Supercars.

In 1998 Mark Noske joined the team and was followed mid season by Austrian Markus Friesacher when NRC Racing rolled out its second car for the first time. For 1999 the team campaigned the talented Adam Macrow and Japan's Akihiro Asai, both progressing to other local and international categories. Kiwi Jason Leifting was also a NRC Racing Formula Holden driver for two races during that season.

2000 saw the team's most successful season to date with rookie driver Christian Murchison joining talented team mate Dale Brede, who has since been promoted to the team's Konica V8 Supercar program introduced this season.

For season 2001, the NRC Racing Formula Holden team introduced American Emerson Newton-John to Australia's fastest racing category, with NSW rookie and current second placed series driver Stewart McColl given a chance to display his obvious talent with the team on a race by race basis.

Outside of the Australian Championship, NRC Racing has fielded Formula Holdens for Kiwi drivers Jason Liefting, Matthew Halliday and 2000 New Zealand Grand Prix and Denny Hulme Memorial Trophy winner Andy Booth. European drivers Robert Lechner and Wouti Van Eeuwijk also competed with the team in New Zealand. NRC Racing also gave Garth Tander, Jason Bargwanna, Tim Leahey and many other young drivers testing opportunities upon their graduation from the Formula Ford ranks.

NRC Racing, through its own detailed media relations efforts, has made a significant contribution to the profile of the Formula Holden category and its drivers. This is something in which few other teams in the category offered. The team introduced companies including Panalpina, Primus, LG Machinery, Meiki, Toshiba, SEW Eurodrive, Spies Hecker, Saas, Kuka Roboter and many smaller companies to Formula Holden sponsorship, while also conducting corporate hospitality services for their sponsors at Formula Holden events as far back as 1996.

It must be clearly stated that this decision has nothing to do with recent outbursts against the category seen in the press from a number of uninformed factions. Since its inception, Formula Holden has grown to become the country's most advanced spring board category and its success rate in breeding high quality racing drivers speaks for itself. To date, no other category in Australia has proven that it can deliver drivers that are so well prepared for the next major steps in their careers.

"The advent of the Konica V8 Supercar series, the general slump in marketing funds available in the year following the Olympics and the introduction of the GST has more to do with the current grid numbers than any other cause. I am very disappointed with the current media trend of attacking Formula Holden. I also question why they have chosen to ignore the relatively small grids seen this year in Formula Ford, GTP & F3. If you look further you will find that F3000, Atlantic and Indy Lights are all suffering at present. I would like to see the media provide a balanced reasoned proposition rather than bashing an excellent and professionally run development category like Formula Holden," Abrahams said .

-NRC Racing

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Series Other open wheel
Drivers Matthew Halliday , Denny Hulme , Garth Tander , Akihiro Asai , Jason Bargwanna , Mark Noske , Dale Brede , Adam Macrow , Robert Lechner , Christian Murchison , Emerson Newton-John , Andy Booth