BATHURST, Australia – Two-time defending Indianapolis 500 champions Andretti Autosport will be tackling a new venture next season, announcing Thursday they have purchased a stake in long-time Virgin Australia Supercars Championship team Walkinshaw Racing.
Long-time team owner Ryan Walkinshaw will be a co-majority stakeholder alongside Andretti in the combined operation.
McLaren Formula 1 boss Zak Brown, through his United Autosports team, is also a partner in the new venture. The team will be known as Walkinshaw Andretti United, pending approval by the Supercars Board.
The new partnership spans across three continents to combine a trio of icons in motorsport, and the team will begin competition under the new banner in 2018.
Andretti enters Australian motorsport’s leading championship three years after IndyCar rival Roger Penske purchased a stake in Dick Johnson Racing.
“I’m very excited to announce our new partnership with Walkinshaw Racing and United Autosports,” said Andretti Autosport team owner Michael Andretti. “I have always set a goal for Andretti Autosport to diversify and succeed across multiple platforms, and this opportunity is a natural next step for the team as we continue to expand globally.”
“Together with Walkinshaw Racing and United Autosports, we now have three iconic organizations working together. We are determined to succeed, and I have full confidence that this new venture, Walkinshaw Andretti United, will become a leading Supercars team.”
Walkinshaw’s team won the Supercars championship six times (1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002) under the Holden Racing Team banner, and has been victorious seven times in the series’ signature race, the Bathurst 1000.
After losing Holden factory support this season to rivals Triple Eight Race Engineering, the team rebranded as Mobil 1 HSV Racing. Scott Pye (No. 2) and James Courtney (No. 22) have been the squad’s full-time drivers this season.
Now, Walkinshaw gets a fresh start for 2018 with the backing of two giants in their respective forms of motor racing.
“To be able to partner with both Andretti Autosport and United Autosports is an honor,” said Walkinshaw. “We’ve looked from afar at what both have to offer the team moving forward, which is why everyone should be so excited. Fundamentally, we are doing it differently. 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 this team, both on and off the track, so to be able to find that so resoundingly is the most pleasing element.”
“It’s not only an alliance of technical expertise, but commercial prowess. Their 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. Today is the beginning of a new era. We are still firmly focused on the job at hand for 2017, but eagerly looking forward to 2018.”
Andretti and Brown have been partners already, pairing up through engine supplier Honda and McLaren F1 to campaign two-time F1 champion Fernando Alonso in the Indianapolis 500, and now join together again in Australia.
Of note, Brown purchased Walkinshaw Racing’s 2011 Bathurst-winning Holden earlier this year and will take laps in it at Donington Park next week.
“I’m delighted United Autosports have joined forces with Walkinshaw Racing and Andretti Autosport,” said Brown. “It is bringing together three iconic names in motorsport across three continents – Europe, Australia and America, where we can share our experience and resources to make each team stronger.”
Andretti Autosport and Supercars Media contributed to this story.
About the Writer
Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network.
Seelman grew up in the sport, watching his grandparents co-own the RaDiUs Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team in the 1990s.
The 23-year-old is currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., and is also serving as the full-time tour announcer for the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series.
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