Andretti Motorsport latest to invest in Virgin Australia V8 Supercars team

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BATHURST, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 05: (L-R) Michael Andretti of Andretti Autosport is pictured with Ryan Walkishaw of Walkinshaw Racing after announcing Walkinshaw Andretti United ahead of this weekend's Bathurst 1000, which is part of the Supercars Championship at Mount Panorama on October 5, 2017 in Bathurst, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

Michael Andretti joins Roger Penske, as two of American motorsports leading fraternity who have invested in the Australian Virgin V8 Supercars team. Andretti Motorsport in late 2017 entered into an agreement with Walkinshaw HSV Racing, to form the new team Walkinshow Andretti United.

Andretti Motorsport latest to invest in Virgin Australia V8 Supercars team

The group consists of the principal Australian V8 Supercars team Walkinshaw Racing – who run the Mobil Boost Mobile Racing brand – and Andretti Racing. Joined by United Autosports, who’s co-owner Zak Brown is regarded as one of, if not the, best commercial operator in motorsport.

Andretti and Brown have invested in the V8 touring car series, and follow Roger Penske. The respected owner and leader in IndyCar and American sports car racing. Penske became the co-owner of DJR Team Penske, along with Australian motorsport icon Dick Johnson.

While not the first foray by an American driver down to the Australian iconic event that is the Bathurst 1000, this trend is now for established groups to consider partnerships downunder. The financial investment made is also a commitment to the category.

Popular in the southern hemisphere, but with a strong following offshore, the touring car category has some similarity to sports cars. The opportunity to become involved in something new, is also a motivation. Michael Andretti said back in October “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 organisations working together.”

New challenge for Michael Andretti/Zak Ryan to succeed at

Andretti can see the challenge ahead. Not only will his name be associated with the team, but also in performance and results. Known for his hard-racing style, he has shown that as a team owner since 2003, the team has won the Indianapolis 500 five times and four IndyCar drivers’ titles since.

Known for his innovative approach the motorsports, Andretti Racing also races in Formula E, and the Global Rallycross Championship and Indy Lights in the US. The Virgin Australia V8 Supercars championship class will require the same investment, but with equal partners that includes United Autosport.

Zak Ryan will bring his wealth of knowledge too, to the new Walkinshaw Andretti United team. Known for his part in Formula 1, the UK-based team owner has expressed his determination to be successful. Brown said he hopes “we can share our experience and resources to make each team stronger.”

Penske Success in winning 2016 Manufacturers Championship

The lead of offshore investment had been taken by Roger Penske. A team owner since 2016, his first season was not all too successful. Yet the Ford-powered DJR Team Penske engineered team was a revelation in 2017. With several leading drivers, the team went on the claim the manufacturers title–only just missing out on the Drivers’ title ‘by a whisker’.

His Shell V-Power Team will again be at the forefront of the championship battle. Facing them, Ryan Walkinshaw and his drivers ; 2010 champion James Courtney and Scott Pye, will each be hoping the enthusiasm within the Mobil Boost Mobile two-car team, is a boost to their hopes.

Walkinshaw told Autosport “We’ve looked at what both companies have to offer the team moving forward, which is why everyone should be so excited.

“This combination of international expertise is a pivotal step in accelerating our development, getting us where we need to be.”

2018 Virgin Australia V8 Supercars Championship start days away

The new season kicks-off in Adelaide, the the Clipsal 500 leg. Races One and Two will see the foreign investment tested for the new team. Walkinshaw Andretti United group have plenty of energy and desire. Combine that with the improvements and innovations which all teams drive, then the likes of Michael Andretti and Roger Penske could be seeing more chequered flags, flying. This time, downunder.

The Adelaide Clipsal 500 begins on March 1.

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