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Ford hopes factory Supercars return attracts more manufacturers

Ford hopes its factory Australian Supercars return encourages more manufacturers beyond long-standing rival Holden to sign up to the series

Supercars was originally built on the concept of a Ford versus Holden battle, but the series welcomed new manufacturers when its 'Car of the Future' (now New Generation) regulations were introduced in 2013, including factory Nissan and Volvo efforts plus a customer programme from Mercedes.

But Volvo and Mercedes cars have since left the grid, and there are serious question marks over Nissan's plans beyond the end of its current contract, which expires this year.

Ford, which announced a revival of its factory backing in the series with its brand new Mustang Supercar earlier this week, hopes it will be competing against more makes than just Holden next year.

"I'd certainly like to see more than just red versus blue," said Ford Australia President and CEO Graeme Whickman.

"I think that's important. We don't measure ourselves against one manufacturer, whether it be on the race track or on the road.

"We're trying to distinguish ourselves separate to past history, Holden vs Ford, we look beyond that now.

"I hope that'd extend beyond the race track now as well."

Whickman said he had confidence the series could bring other makes in even if Nissan was to walk away.

"We had a point of view around what we thought when we walked into discussions with all the teams and Ford Performance about what we might come up against in the first instance," he said.

"But we have confidence though that will expand.

"We are fully expecting more than just red versus blue as the series has its own discussions with other OEMs."

Supercars CEO Sean Seamer said the series was still motivated about attracting more manufacturers.

"If it were to happen [Ford and Holden being the only cars on the grid] we'd continue to look to bring in further manufacturers," he said.

"There have been a number of ongoing discussions between Supercars teams and manufacturers. We're supporting those discussions.

"[The Mustang] project certainly puts a clear stake in the ground that we as a category is open to business.

"We're flexible with the guidelines we operate under and the Mustang, due to cultural and broad fan support for what Graeme and the teams are doing with Ford Performance, is starting to heat up other conversations.

"That's purely logical isn't it, really?"

Seamer added that Supercars had not given up on retaining Nissan, and said the series' Gen2 regulations would allow for the manufacturer's GT-R to be adapted into a Supercars-spec racer.

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