Chrysler to join V8 Supercars?
UPDATE The Sydney Morning Herald’s Drive section has revealed that Chrysler is seriously thinking about entering the V8 Supercar Championship. With the new Car of the Future for 2013 making entry easier for new brands, the American giant is keen.
The news was revealed by Drive’s Bruce Newton who quoted the President of SRT, the high performance arm of Chrysler as saying, “I am extremely interested (in V8Supercars). It’s not the first time I have heard of it but I don’t want to let on that we are committing just yet. It’s very unique to that market so it may work beautifully in the Australian market, so I am willing to help out if they are wanting to find a way.”
It isn’t the first time that rumors have surfaced of interest from other manufacturers of joining the Australian V8 Supercar Series, but none of those rumors have come with such high-up support.
If Chrysler did enter the Series, it would cost them around $10 million for a two car team and they would use the Chrysler 300C.01/24/12 Chrysler has become the first manufacture to openly confirm interest in taking on Ford and Holden in the V8 Supercar championship.
But the prospect of a 300C rolling onto the grid in 2013 when the new “Car of the Future” regulations debut is far from confirmed.
Nevertheless, there have been approaches by V8 Supercar teams to the local factory-owned distributor, Chrysler Group Australia, as well as discussions between CGA and the championship organization itself.
CGA, in turn, has kept global HQ in the USA informally updated on developments.
“I am extremely interested (in V8Supercars),” SRT Brand and Motorsports president and CEO Ralph Gilles told drive exclusively in Detroit last week. “It’s not the first time I have heard of it but I don’t want to let on that we are committing just yet.
“It’s very unique to that market so it may work beautifully in the Australian market, so I am willing to help out if they are wanting to find a way.”
For a Chrysler team to make it into the championship, multi-million dollar funding support would have to come from Chrysler’s international marketing budget, the SRT (Chrysler’s equivalent of HSV and FPV) and Mopar (after-market) divisions as well as CGA.
Running a competitive two-car team in the V8Supercar championship costs up to $10 million per annum. CGA would not simply be able to build a team from scratch as manufacturers are not allowed to own licenses. It would have to enter via an existing team.
CGA managing director Clyde Campbell confirmed no formal discussions had taken place with Detroit and SRT on V8 Supercars, but in theory at least he was positive about the concept.
“We are in constant communication with SRT, which is a brand we are trying to build,” Campbell said. “Ralph is relatively new to heading up the SRT brand and he is certainly a motorsport fan.
“SRT stands for Street and Race Technology and the race part of that needs to be borne out and it needs to be borne out in a category that fits the brands that we are trying to retail.
“The Car of the Future concept looks like it would suit in that regard. Certainly we haven’t closed the door, it’s something we are looking at. But at this stage it’s so preliminary we can’t say whether we are in or out.”
Car of the Future, which in theory at least will be cheaper to build than the current V8 racer, is a key plank in V8 Supercars plan to add brands and expand internationally. A round of the championship is scheduled for Austin, Texas, in 2013.
Chrysler has a previous connection with the V8 Supercar championship, supplying the first generation 300C SRT8 as a pace car for four years. Theage