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The prospect of an all-American muscle-car contest between the Mustang and Camaro in Supercars remains on the backburner as Holden/General Motors continues to back its ZB Commodore Supercar, despite the talk of the Camaro option.
The appearance of a Walkinshaw Andretti United race-liveried road-car Camaro at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 sparked significant interest in the prospect of the Camaro going up against the Mustang, though both the team and manufacturer downplayed the possibility of an imminent arrival for the coupe.
Walkinshaw Andretti United has been the focus of the Camaro talk given co-owner Ryan Walkinshaw and his Holden Special Vehicles (HSV) organisation’s arrangement to import and convert to right-hand-drive Chevrolet products into Australia. But any potential Camaro Supercar project would need the go-ahead from Holden/ General Motors, which is committed to the current-generation ZB Commodore for the foreseeable future.
“We’ve got a strong relationship with GM, it’s absolutely critical that we have their support and engagement and permission to do it,” says Walkinshaw.
“At the end of the day we’re not going to do something without their permission, and we’ve got a road-car business relationship to maintain with them, so it’s going to be their call as well.
“We’ve still got technical work that needs to be done before we even have that discussion internally.
“Then there’s going to be a branding discussion and then there’s going to be a safety discussion and then a performance discussion, so there’s more to happen before we go down that route, for sure.”
The low-lying Camaro would require a rule change so an adequate body style could fit on Supercars’ control chassis/roll cage, a rule change denied to the Mustang. While the Mustang, the first coupe to be turned into a Supercar, met the current requirements after significant adjustments to its bodywork design, the Camaro would need a concession given its height difference.
Much will depend on the future of Holden and the Commodore in Australia, which have suffered a knock in the marketplace following a slump in sales for the ZB. Holden continues to back the ZB as its preferred racer in Supercars, despite the fact the road-car version of the Commodore has no V8 or rear-wheel-drive option.
New executive director of marketing Kristian Aquilina has renewed Holden’s interest in Supercars and a continuation of its backing for Red Bull Holden Racing Team is expected. But if Holden and the Commodore’s slide continues, the Camaro and other imported Chevrolet options appear the obvious alternative for the Australian marketplace.
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