Championship-winning outfit Team Vodafone will switch marques from Ford to Holden from 2010, the team announced at a press conference at Holden headquarters in Melbourne today.
The team's decison to switch manufacturers comes just over a year after Ford restructured its commitment to V8 Supercar, which saw it focus on Ford Performance Racing and Stone Brothers Racing and drop support for Team Vodafone and Jim Beam Racing.
In response to the decision, the Team Vodafone cars have run this season without Ford logos, which have been replaced with those of the team's sponsors.
Last week, the outfit signed both Whincup and Lowndes and title sponsor Vodafone to three-year extensions, securing their services until the end of 2012.
Alan Batey, Holden's executive director of sales, marketing and aftersales, but the company's chairman and managing director from September 1, announced the decision earlier today.
"Holden has a long and proud history in motorsport that stretches back over 40 years and today's announcement is an exciting step into the next chapter. Our commitment and passion for motorsport has not waived.
"Today we are making a clear statement on just how much we value this sport and how much we value winning. We are very excited about working with Team Vodafone and are thrilled to welcome back both Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup to the Holden family."
Whincup joined Team Vodafone in 2006 after a season at Garry Rogers Motorsport in 2003 and a year at Tasman Motorsport in 2005, both in Holdens, and said he was excited about driving a Holden again.
"I started my V8 Supercar career in Holden teams and didn't quite get the results I wanted so now I have the chance to rectify that," said the reigning V8 Supercar champion.
"Triple Eight is a cohesive and dedicated team and I am very confident that we can continue to record similar results when we climb aboard our new Commodores to start the 2010 season.
"I look forward to working with Holden and hope that we can shoot for further championship success together."
Lowndes has an even stronger association with Holden, nearly winning Bathurst at his first attempt in 1994, and driving for the factory Holden Racing Team for his whole V8 Supercar career before driving a Ford in 2001, winning three championship titles and a Bathurst 1000 victory in his four championship campaigns.
Team Vodafone itself has strong links with another General Motors marque, with its UK parent Triple 8 having run the factory Vauxhall team for nearly fifteen years, claiming several championship titles along the way, though the partnership with Vauxhall will end at the end of this season.
Since taking over the Briggs Motorsport team, Team Vodafone have become one of the most successful teams in the category. It's first full season in the sport, 2004, was a disappointment, but since then it has gone from strength to strength.
From 2005 onwards, the team has won three Bathurst 1000 and two Sandown 500 enduros on the way to winning 47 races in that time. In each of those years, the team has had at least one driver in contention for the title at the final round (two in 2007), with Jamie Whincup becoming their first V8 Supercar champion in 2008 and currently leads this year's title race.
The move of Team Vodafone from Ford to Holden leaves the series with an even greater imbalance between the marques, the current 18 to 11 split in favour of Holden set to become 20 to 9 if the status quo otherwise remains.