Despite recent reports that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) CEO Sergio Marchionne is keen to see his Alfa Romeo brand return to Formula One racing, the local division says it's happy not having a presence in the Australian motorsport scene… for now anyway.
Consistently rumoured to be on the cusp of considering entering the local V8 Supercars series – in a race car based on the 6.4-litre V8 Chrysler 300 SRT – FCA Australia product and marketing director Zac Loo told CarAdvice that, at this stage, motorsport is not something the Australian arm is interested in participating in.
“[Despite past speculation], we won’t be doing that,” Loo said of any unconfirmed entry into V8 Supercars.
“From a local proposition, [motorsport is not really something we’re interested in], but not that we’re closed to it either. So we’ll see where we go.”
In response to reported comments from his often controversial CEO, Loo said, “It’s definitely too early to have the discussion from our side, but obviously Alfa Romeo has a very rich, proud racing heritage, so that’s something that we want to elevate and highlight.
“But as far as making any comments on F1, that’s Sergio’s job…”
With the FCA umbrella encompassing Alfa Romeo, Abarth, Chrysler, Dodge, Ferrari, Fiat, Jeep, Lancia, and Maserati, there’s plenty of scope within the group to enter a vast array of motorsport categories. The fastest growing of which, in recent times, is GT3 racing.
With ever-increasing public and private interest, and more support from brands such as BMW, Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes-Benz/Mercedes-AMG and Nissan, the local Australian GT Championship is proving a successful category, well above being a mere marketing tool.
For the opening round of the 2016 Australian GT Championship in Adelaide on March 3-6, the local category has a confirmed starting grid of twenty-eight cars. By comparison, 2015’s opening round had a field of 16 cars.
But while the local series will see Audi, BMW, Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren, Mercedes-AMG, and Porsche battle it out from round one, other than the Prancing Horse, no other FCA brand car will be represented.
Loo acknowledged past privateers – such as Greg Crick – have previously run the Dodge Viper locally, and that the new 480kW/812Nm 8.4-litre V10 Viper provides the group with a potential GT3 racer.
But he would not be drawn on whether FCA would aid a local racing return for the Viper, saying only, “It will be interesting to see where racing goes in the country.”
Would you like to see more brands racing in Australia? If so, which ones and what models?