Tasman Motorsport, which traces its origins back to one of the few V8 supercar teams based in Sydney, has announced it will disband after the final race of 2010.
Competing as Sprint Gas Racing and formerly Lansvale Smash Repairs, Tasman has sold its 2010 Supercar licences to proposed teams being formed by Lucas Dumbrell and D'Alberto Racing.
Spirited drives at Bathurst this year brought Tasman close a pair of podium finishes - Greg Murphy and Mark Skaife were a bit stiff not to pull of a victory there. Even more recently, Jason Bargwanna notched a superb pole for one of the races at the Gold Coast street circuit.
But not even these heartening results could save the team from closing its doors.
"It's is a shame to end such an era in the sport, but, our business model would not support the sporting success that we desired" said Tasman co owner Tim Miles.
"During the period of our ownership, the team has showed promise - generally in the enduros - and we were gutted to come so close - but still miss out on a pair of podiums at Bathurst this year."
Regular 2009 season drivers Murph and Bargs - Bathurst winners both - have been looking elsewhere for some time, and the signs are that the kiwi ace will land alongside Russell Ingall at Paul Morris's team. With money tight and budgets pinching, Bargs might struggle to secure a paying drive. Hope not. He deserves to find a competitive seat.
Tasman's Dandenong factory assets, including transporter, engines, tools and equipment, will be flogged off to other teams.
Co owner Kevin Murphy, Greg's father, will take two Sprint Gas VE Commodores for use in the V8 Development Series at GRM next year.
Some key Tasman technical personnel, under the guidance of team chief Mike Henry, are looking to set up a race preparation facility in Melbourne, possibly in league with engine man Royce McCort.
Tasman's 24-year lineage dates back to 1986 when Lansvale owners Steve Reed and Trevor Ashby appeared as privateers in pit lane in a VK Commodore, winning the Privateers Cup in 1988. The duo subsequently made 16 Bathurst starts to hold the record for most starts by a single driving combination in the history of the race.
Under Tasman ownership, the team achieved memorable results with runner-up finishes at Bathurst in 2005 and 2008 and third place in the 2005 Sandown 500.
Tasman has an impressive roll call of drivers of recent years including Cam McConville, Jason Richards, Jamie Whincup, Fabian Coulthard and Tony D'Alberto.
But teams can never run just on passion and enthusiasm and hope, with just a slender possibility of turning a profit.
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