A new manufacturer will join the crack Triple Eight team for the Gen3 era of Supercars racing.
The squad currently known as the Red Bull Holden Racing Team will park its Commodores at the end of 2021 and begin a new relationship.
Triple Eight supremo Roland Dane gives the first solid confirmation of a new deal, without going into any significant detail.
“We have another manufacturer. We know what we’re doing,” Dane tells Race News.
His confirmation of a new Supercars partnership will, inevitably, spark speculation about the identity of the manufacturer.
Toyota is the obvious choice, through its Lexus luxury brand, although other companies which might benefit from a Supercars connection include BMW, Hyundai and Kia.
There could also be an opportunity with Chevrolet, whose Camaro fits the Gen3 profile and has been the focus of ongoing speculation about a rival for the Ford Mustang, although the American company is closer to Walkinshaw Automotive through the post-Holden structure for its General Motors Special Vehicles operation.
Dane has made a number of approaches to Toyota Australia in Melbourne, including one visit also involving Supercars, and the company has a number of Lexus coupes that would be an ideal match to the two-door direction for Gen3 cars.
One of Supercars’ marketing partners also has close ties to Toyota, although there is no suggestion it could have completed a deal.
Gemba is a sports and entertainment agency which works for Toyota on projects including its AFL sponsorship, and was also appointed as the ‘research and insights partner’ for Supercars at the start of 2020.
Dane is not even prepared to hint about his future partner.
“In due course you’ll see. I’m not going to comment at all,” is his only response.
But Triple Eight is deeply embedded in the Gen3 program and has begun research and design work for the Supercars group in charge of the new vehicle regulations.
John Casey is taking point at Supercars HQ and Triple Eight is believed to be consulting on initial studies for the chassis and suspension.
“That stuff is not for us to comment,” says Dane.
The new Gen3 partner is part of Dane’s long-term plan to cement the future of Triple Eight, which already includes significant shareholdings for his daughter Jessica and champion driver Jamie Whincup.
He also has a tie-up with Mercedes-AMG for GT racing in the Asian region, although the planned program for 2020 in partnership with members of the royal family of the Malaysian state of Johor.
In the past, before his arrival in Australia, Dane was part of the Triple Eight team which fielded factory Vauxhall racers in the British Touring Car Championship, so he has ties to the Vauxhall-Opel organisation in Europe.
Triple Eight was also supported by Ford Australia in its earlier days, although Dane was driven into the arms of Holden when the blue-oval badge cut ties to T8 and Dick Johnson Racing in favour of a partnership with Stone Brothers Racing.