WAU had manufacturers competing for 2021 Supercars deal
Ryan Walkinshaw says he had two manufacturers competing over a factory Supercars programme for 2021 before all negotiations were de-railed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Talking to The Loud Pedal podcast, the Walkinshaw Andretti United director has claimed the squad was well situated to deal with the impending Holden axing, with a pair of manufacturers vying over a factory programme for 2021.
According to Walkinshaw one of them was at contract stage, only for the pandemic to stop negotiations with both in their tracks.
"It's a little bit disappointing, we actually had two manufacturers competing with each other for our team to become the new factory team for 2021," he said.
"Sadly with the impact of COVID-19 both of this negotiations collapsed, which is really disappointing.
"One of them we were at contract stage. If you'd asked me February, I was pretty confident we weren't going to be running Commodores in 2021. But sadly with what's been going on in the world, that opportunity has disappeared.
"One had never raced in Australia before. Once of which had raced in Australia previously. I was pretty excited about getting those guys back into Australian motorsport. But sadly it wasn't to be."
When asked if one of those options was a rumoured BMW deal through the Andretti link, Walkinshaw was less than dismissive.
"You know I can't say," he laughed. "But I'm sure people can connect dots in a bunch of different directions..."
Walkinshaw's claims of new manufacturer interest are supported by his vocal opposition back in February of continuing with the Commodore beyond the Holden era, something he said was "not going to be attractive" for the team.
At that time, before the pandemic hit its straps, there was talk that elements of the Gen3 regulations could be brought forward to 2021 if required to entice a new manufacturer to join Ford in the series.
It's now expected there will be no change for next season, with the current Holden teams continuing with the Commodore, and Gen3 will come online in 2022 as planned.
As a result, Walkinshaw is now focussing his efforts on new manufacturer talks targeting a 2022 or 2023 start.
"We've now got new negotiations ongoing with a couple of new manufacturers," he said.
"It's very early stages, but I'm pretty encouraged by the positive signs we have. But that would be more of a 2022 programme, at the earliest."
As for which brands he's speaking to: "The current negotiations I can't talk about. We're under [non-disclosure agreements], I can't even give you any hints I'm afraid, out of respect for those discussions."
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