The loss of Holden in Supercars is “massive” but the formula will evolve and carry on, Red Bull Holden Racing Team star Jamie Whincup says.
Holden drivers and team personnel preparing for the first race of the season came together in Adelaide on Wednesday in a show of strength and solidarity, just two days after General Motors announced plans to shut down the car brand by the end of the year.
Supercars officials were blindsided by the shock decision which casts some doubt over the future of the competition beyond 2020.
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The red lion will roar around the testing street circuit this weekend in the Adelaide 500 for what could be the last time, and Whincup said he hadn’t stopped thinking about the Holden bombshell.
“It was a sad day to see such an iconic brand decide they were going to pull up stumps by the end of this year,” the seven-time champion said.
“But you evolve. Things move on. While there was a great era of red versus blue that’s going to change.
“It’s massive in our world, but you just come back to the fact that there’s 600-plus people who lost their job a couple of days and so many dealers who lost their job.
“They just didn’t go to work for the pay, they went to work to represent the brand that they believed was the best product in the country.”
Brad Jones Racing driver Nick Percat, a previous winner in Adelaide, echoed Whincup’s thoughts, describing the loss of Holden as a real shock.
“My dad, grandad and great-granddad all worked at Holden so it’s a bit sad for them and for us in the racing community,” he said.
“The Holden-Ford rivalry is what Supercars is all about.
“But racing is just such a small part of it. All the employees of Holden who won’t have jobs anymore, that’s the really disappointing thing.
“As a brand, they employed so many people, produced a great product but unfortunately, it’s come to an end.”
Percat said he wasn’t looking too far ahead and certainly not to what he might drive next year.He’ll leave that to his team boss.
But he admits to having one eye on what could come to pass towards the end of the season.
“If it comes to the end of the year and you’re the last bloke to win in a Holden, that will be very special,” he said.