The name Walkinshaw carries with it a proud history of collaborating with major automakers to produce some of the most lust-worthy racing machinery and road-going performance vehicles ever known. The Jaguar XJR-9 was developed by Tom Walkinshaw Racing. So were the Nissan R390, Porsche WSC-95 and Mazda MXR-01 – top-tier Le Mans prototypes all. Walkinshaw helped Jaguar develop the XJR-15 and XJ220 supercars.
TWR went under when the Arrows Grand Prix team it owned went bankrupt, but the name (and the family behind it) resurfaced to establish Walkinshaw Performance, the outfit behind Holden Special Vehicles. GM's Australian subsidiary relies on HSV to both run its V8 Supercars operation and tune its Commodore sedans into veritable muscle machines – the likes of which other General Motors divisions were eager to import in the form of the Pontiac GTO, Chevy SS and Vauxhall VXR8.
Unfortunately Holden, as you may be aware, is ceasing its manufacturing operations, leaving the future of HSV and Walkinshaw Performance hanging in the balance. Holden has stated that it intends to keep HSV and Walkinshaw right where it is, tuning whatever vehicles it might have to offer in the future into the tire-shredding monsters we've come to know and love. But Walkinshaw isn't about to sit around and wait.
These days the company is run by founder (and former European touring car champion) Tom Walkinshaw's son Ryan. With Holden transforming itself into a sales conduit for imported GM products, Ryan Walkinshaw is looking to greener pastures. And that could take him and his outfit to Detroit.
According to Aussie car site Motoring.com.au, Walkinshaw is keen to capitalize on its expertise to springboard into producing a flagship line of performance Chevrolets. That could mean importing the partially completed vehicles from Michigan to its facility in Australia. Or it could move its operation to Lansing where assembly of the next generation of Alpha-based, rear-drive GM vehicles – including the Cadillac ATS and CTS and the next Chevrolet Camaro and SS – is being centralized.
If Walkinshaw gets its way and the plans come to fruition, it could be charged with producing a new line of Chevrolet Special Vehicles just like it's done for Holden. Looking at vehicles like the new Camaro Z/28 and Corvette Z06, we can't help but wonder if Chevy really needs the help, but then that's how Mercedes-AMG (not to mention HSV) got its start, so who knows what the future could hold for Walkinshaw and the next generation of performance Chevys.