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Supercars teams 'need overseas backing'

Even the all-conquering Red Bull Racing (RBR) will need to follow Walkinshaw Racing's lead and join forces with an overseas powerhouse to be competitive in Supercars, team owner Ryan Walkinshaw says.

Walkinshaw Racing (WR) is set to become a heavyweight again, with IndyCar outfit Andretti Autosport and McLaren Formula One chief Zak Brown's United Autosports confirming they will buy into the once mighty Holden team from 2018.

In a game-changing call, from January 1, the team will be known as Walkinshaw Andretti Autosport, pending Supercars' approval.

WR team boss Ryan Walkinshaw and Andretti will be equal stakeholders, with Brown - once touted as the man to take over from Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone - holding a minority share.

Suddenly, the forgotten former factory-backed WR outfit, which had once boasted Peter Brock, Craig Lowndes and Mark Skaife, has all the resources in the world to return to Supercars' summit.

Andretti admitted fellow US motorsport great Roger Penske's move into Supercars, taking over Dick Johnson Racing (DJR) in 2014, had sparked his interest in the category.

And he suggested IndyCar greats Chip Ganassi Racing might also follow suit.

"I'm sure Chip is going to be watching this," five-time Indy 500-winning team owner Andretti said.

Walkinshaw said all Supercars teams would need cross ownership with an overseas partner to remain a contender - even RBR, whose drivers had won seven of the past nine Supercars championships.

"Since Penske have come in and got their act together with DJR, I genuinely believe it's going to be very, very hard - even for Triple Eight (RBR) - to beat those guys in championships going forward," he told speedcafe website.

"That's because of the resource, infrastructure and personnel experience that DJR Team Penske can leverage off the Penske organisation over in the US.

"You just can't compete with that."

Penske has turned Ford's Dick Johnson Racing into a dominant force since taking over three years ago and rebranding it DJR Team Penske.

This season, their drivers Scott McLaughlin and Fabian Coulthard are first and third respectively in the drivers' standings ahead of Sunday's Bathurst 1000.

McLaughlin has a maiden Bathurst title in his sights and will start from pole position in Sunday's race. He broke the Mount Panorama lap record on Friday in practice and again on Saturday to win the top-10 shootout.

Despite those undeniable results, RBR boss Roland Dane baulked at Walkinshaw's suggestion that every Supercars team would need to look overseas for backing in future to thrive.

"I think having the financial powers of some of these people is definitely useful, but I think we're very able technically at a local level," he told speedcafe.

Dane still welcomed WR's news, saying he was licking his lips at the challenge.

"I think it's fantastic for the sport for the Andretti name to be here," he said.

"You've got an international contingent coming in, and it helps validate the series, so I think it's really good news for all of us."