Team Australia co-owner Craig Gore has pledged to keep the initiative running in the Champ Car World Series this season, despite announcing that he is to wind down his V8 Supercar operation at home.

Gore's WPS/WOW Racing team put out a statement on Monday [11 February] revealing that it had been withdrawn from the V8 series because of 'personal business and health commitments'. As well as wanting to commit more time to the continued growth of his businesses - especially the financial services group Wright Patton Shakespeare - recent health problems are taking a toll on Gore's ability to spend time at racetracks on either side of the globe. The 41-year old suffered an inner-ear injury while in his helicopter last October and, while he continues to recover well from that injury and the subsequent operation, he still needs to avoid constant loud noises.

While revealing that he had sold his two team licence agreements to undisclosed parties in Australia, Gore's statement insisted that the Gold Coast businessman remains committed to the Team Australia programme and driver Will Power, where the Walker Racing-run operation is backed by Gore's Australian wine export company Aussie Vineyards and its Au brand.

There has been considerable speculation as to the health of Team Australia owing to Gore's health and business concerns, with the worst rumours suggesting that he would withdraw completely from Champ Cars - a move seen as another nail in the category's coffin. Today's announcement suggests that Walker will be able to run one car in the now familiar yellow-and-green livery of Team Australia, but will have to search for alternative backers if it is to maintain a two-car presence on the grid.

Gore also has significant involvement in the Gold Coast Indy 300 event each October as an event sponsor, and will remain involved in both that and the safety car programme Wright Patton Shakespeare backs in the V8 series.

"It's been an exciting journey and I would like to think that we did it our own way at WPS Racing over the past four seasons," he said of his V8 team, "Operating a successful team in this sport is an enormous challenge. With my business interests absorbing more and more of my time, and my doctor continually in my one good ear telling me how important it is to look after myself, I just cannot dedicate the time and effort required to mould our operation into a race-winning V8 Supercar team. It is my belief that if you are not in this game to win races, then you shouldn't be around."

Gore is currently working on other plans that involve the grassroots of Australian motorsport to play a supporting role to his Team Australia programme.

 

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