The American influence in Supercars increases in 2018 with Andretti Autosport and United Autosports buying into Walkinshaw Racing to create Walkinshaw Andretti United, a team Ryan Walkinshaw and his new partners will be hoping can follow in the footsteps of DJR Team Penske, as we examine in V8X Supercar Magazine issue #102.
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Three years after Dick Johnson Racing and Team Penske joined forces, the goal for Walkinshaw Andretti United is to replicate DJR Team Penske’s rise to the front of pitlane.
It’s been a tumultuous 12 months for Walkinshaw Racing. The loss of factory Holden funding and the Holden Racing Team name was the culmination of a slide down the grid that couldn’t be ignored relative to the new official Holden team, Triple Eight Race Engineering.
Ryan Walkinshaw took over his father Tom’s business interests in 2011, including the Holden Special Vehicles and Holden Racing Team in addition to various interests in Europe. But the Holden Racing Team was still reeling from the ownership changes between Tom Walkinshaw and Mark Skaife. Without a drivers’ championship win since Skaife in 2002, the once mighty Holden team was struggling to keep pace with the front-running teams.
The 2017 season shaped as vital as the team rebranded without the Holden Racing Team moniker and launched as Mobil 1 HSV Racing, eager to prove the loss of factory status wouldn’t condemn the team to the midfield. Yet despite a season-opening podium in Adelaide for James Courtney, performances slipped and led to the team splitting with team principal Adrian Burgess mid-season.
Having seen what Team Penske’s impact has had on Dick Johnson Racing, Walkinshaw set about finding new partners who could invest in his team and get it back to the front. Enter Zak Brown and Michael Andretti.
“We’ve looked at what both companies have to offer the team moving forward, which is why everyone should be so excited,” says Walkinshaw.
“This combination of international expertise is a pivotal step in accelerating our development, getting us where we need to be.
“We’ve been looking for partners who can add value to the team both on and off the track, so to be able to find that so resoundingly is the most pleasing element.
“United Autosports and Andretti Autosport’s experience, knowledge and record both on and off the race track, gives us, our current partners and any future partners access to global networks and talent pools.”
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