KELLYS ROB KMART, AS HOLDEN CRISIS ENDS
The last remnants of the TWR Australia racing empire have been dismantled this week, with the Touring Car Entrants Group (TEGA) board set to approve the sales of the Holden Racing Team and Kmart Racing Team and end months of unrest in the Holden camp.
Kmart Racing has been sold to property developer John Kelly, father to Holden drivers Todd and Rick, in a deal announced today by Holden racing director Ray Borrett.
With Mark Skaife's acquisition of the Holden Racing Team earlier this week, Holden has now divested itself of all three of its race teams, awaiting final approval from the TEGA board.
"This move follows the Mark Skaife arrangement announced earlier this week, and now sees three completely independently franchised teams operating - Skaife with HRT, Kees Weel with Team Brock and John Kelly with Kmart Racing," Borrett said.
"We have advised TEGA earlier today seeking approval of the deal.
"As a result of this arrangement, Holden is now in the process of divesting itself of any race team ownership as per TEGA regulations."
While Kelly and wife Margaret take control of the team's operations, the deal is believed to involve a complicated franchise restructure with the Ford-powered 00 Motorsport operation.
Nobody at 00 Motorsport was available for comment today.
"We've been involved with motor racing for a considerable amount of time and we have long-term objectives to ensure that the Holden teams stay at the front of the field," Kelly said in a statement.
Son Rick drives for the Kmart team alongside Kiwi Greg Murphy.
Skaife signed a 10-year lease to take control of HRT on Monday, in a deal that puts V8 Supercar racing's most successful driver in charge of its most successful team.
The five-time touring car champion joins the diminishing ranks of the owner/drivers, but he received support today from a man who's done it all before, Peter Brock.
In a column for The Daily Telegraph, Brock said Skaife could handle the demanding dual roles - if he learns not to be a control freak.
"It's going to be an interesting challenge for him, even if he does already have an established and successful team," he said.
"The trick, I found, is to learn the art of delegation in the day-to-day
administration and workshop management. Surround yourself with people
you can trust implicitly, and let them do their thing.
Brock remains the mentor and namesake of the Weel-owned Team Brock.
The TEGA board will meet after this weekend's round in Western Australia to discuss Holden's proposal, but chairman Kelvin O'Reilly has already given preliminary support to the Skaife deal.
Holden bailed out TWR Australia after its British parent went bankrupt, breaching TEGA regulations that stipulate a manufacturer cannot own a race team.
HRT and Kmart Racing have been racing under exemption since the sale, with TEGA twice extending the deadline for Holden to off-sell the teams.
Despite the ownership split, Kmart Racing and Team Brock will continue to receive technical support from HRT, in a deal that is likely to remain a bone of contention for the TEGA board.
--V8 WIRE (Jason Whittaker)
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