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Wednesday, 01 June 2016 00:00

Ford versus Holden: Where to from here?


The Falcon will race on in Supercars beyond the retirement of the nameplate off the production line, but for how much longer and what of the future of Ford versus Holden?

V8X Supercar Magazine issue #92 reflects on the Falcon and Commodore legacy, from their origins, on and off track battles, the greatest models and drivers and a look ahead to what will be the final generation to be part of this rivalry.

V8X Supercar Magazine issue #92 is on sale now in stores with the digital edition available in the official V8X app (in the App Store and Google Play), online at DigitalEdition.V8XMagazine.com.au and in the Magzter app store.

CLICK HERE for more information on V8X Supercar Magazine issue #92.

As you'll see throughout issue #92, Ford Australia's erratic commitment to its motorsport program has defined the Falcon versus Commodore battle over the last 35 years.

Into 2016, Ford Australia has somewhat back-flipped on its previous decision to withdraw support for Prodrive Racing Australia (PRA) and DJR Team Penske with parts, panels and minimal branding for the teams running the Falcon FG X.

Ford dealer Bayford has thrown its support behind PRA, while Roger Penske's links to Ford head office in Detroit helped gain some level of support for DJR Team Penske into 2016.

The Falcon will be raced past the end of road-car production later this year, with Prodrive Racing Australia confirming it will run the FG X for another two seasons at the least.

Beyond then, discussions will continue over whether the current Ford teams and the local dealers can muster up the backing for a team to run the Mustang into the Gen2 era, designed to allow such two-door coupes to race in the series.

Ford Performance has so far proved reluctant with the manufacturer's motorsport focus on its Ford GT sportscar and NASCAR commitments, though Penske's links with Ford head office leaving the door ajar for a continuation of a Blue Oval presence in Australia.

While Ford's future remains in a state of flux, Holden looks set to race on in the series with the new-look imported Commodore.

Ford's Supercars representatives insist passion for the brand remains despite the lack of an official factory presence, so long as the Blue Oval is represented on the grid.

"Gen2 gives people the option to change, but I don't know how many will," says PRA champion and Ford loyalist Mark Winterbottom.

"The Ford and Holden rivalry will still be there, even if it's a Mustang against a Commodore. Other manufacturers will still come in, but Ford and Holden have the heritage.

"When we go to places like Bathurst, you're reminded of how intense the Ford and Holden rivalry still is... and that's with the history of Mustangs, Sierras and Falcons.

"We still gain more satisfaction from beating the Holden entries at those big events for the bragging rights over Bathurst wins and championships."

Ironically, Ford's lack of significant support comes at a time when Winterbottom's PRA entry carries the #1 plate as the defending champion and DJR Team Penske expands to two entries and is on an upward trajectory.

Holden retains a significant numerical supremacy this season with seven teams and 14 entries to Ford's two teams and six drivers.

Holden's support of its Supercars' teams relative to Ford saw the former outperform the latter in all key records in the Falcon versus Commodore V8 era from 1993 to 2012.

Erebus Motorsport recently joined the likes of Triple Eight Race Engineering, Tekno Autosports, Brad Jones Racing and Charlie Schwerkolt Racing to join the Holden ranks despite previous Ford connections.

CLICK HERE to purchase the print edition of V8X Supercar Magazine issue #92.