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Ryan Walkinshaw has confirmed his Supercars team has recommenced work towards bringing a new manufacturer into the sport as soon as 2022.
With Holden pulling out at the end of the current year, Walkinshaw Andretti United had initially hoped to be changing brands for next season.
But with the introduction of Gen3 regulations pushed back due to COVID-19, WAU will stick with their ZB Commodore package for at least one more year.
A couple of suggestions for new manufacturers were mooted two years ago, the Kia Stinger and an Alfa Romeo
“The reason we’ll be running a Holden next year is because there’s not many options available,” Walkinshaw told the Loud Pedal podcast.
“Absolutely no disrespect to Ford because I’m actually a closet fan of a lot of Ford products and don’t buy into the aggressive Ford versus Holden rhetoric that a lot of other people do but I just think it would be detrimental to our fan base and to our race team for us to pivot across to a manufacturer that has had such a long history of competing with our team and our fans.
“So in respect of having only that option and Holden, we’re going to be continuing with the ZB Holden Commodore.
“However, we are anticipating that we will have a new manufacturer hopefully for 2022 or 2023.”
Walkinshaw couldn’t be drawn on the identity of who he was engaged in talks with beyond clarifying that “multiple” options are in the mix.
“Very early stages, but I’m pretty encouraged by the positive signs that we’ve had,” he added.
“But that will be more of a 2022 programme, at its earliest.”
Walkinshaw also revealed just how close they had come to securing a new make prior to COVID-19 striking.
“We actually had two manufacturers competing with each other for our team to become a new factory team for 2021 and sadly with the impact of COVID-19, both of those negotiations collapsed, which was really disappointing,” he said.
“One of them we were at contract stage.
“So if you asked me in February, I was pretty confident that we weren’t going to be running the Commodores in 2021 but sadly with what’s been going on in the world, that opportunity has disappeared.”
It appears most likely that the Holden badge too will remain on the WAU entries, currently steered by Chaz Mostert and Bryce Fullwood.
“To be honest, out of respect for our history and heritage with the Holden brand and the fact that it is a ZB Holden Commodore in essence, then we probably would end up continuing running with that badge,” said Walkinshaw.
“An alternative version would be we’d use the Walkinshaw Andretti United badge, I guess, and I know that Andretti do that… maybe we’ll do something like that but it’s not something we have thought about too much so far.”
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