Next year’s all-new fully imported Holden Commodore might be about to depart from its long-treasured V8 rear wheel drive formula beloved by enthusiasts, but the traditional drivetrain layout is set to continue… in the motorsports arena at least.
Red Bull Holden Racing unveiled the new Supercars-prepared Commodore in Queensland this week ahead of its 2018 racing debut with six-time Supercars champion Jamie Whincup putting the new car through its paces.
Although the 2018 season car will be powered by a development of the existing 5.0-litre V8 engine from the current car Red Bull Holden Racing is also developing a new twin-turbo V6 engine in conjunction with GM’s powertrain division, set to go into use for the 2019 season.
Holden has committed to ongoing participation in the Supercars series, despite the closure of local manufacturing, with Whincup and teammate Shane van Gisbergen to run factory-supported entries in the 2018 season.
To develop and adapt the new Commodore hatch to the Supercars control chassis has taken around 20,000 hours with Computational Fluid Dynamics [CFD] software pivotal in helping shape the new car’s aerodynamics.
“There’s been a long line of successful Commodores on the racetrack and we’ve no doubt the new car will continue that tradition,” Mark Harland, Holden’s head of marketing, said.
“Triple Eight have done an amazing job of adapting the road car to the race-ready Supercar. It looks terrific and I can’t wait to see it in our drivers’ hands next year.”
An initial shakedown test took place at Queensland’s Norwell Motorplex just outside of the Gold Coast, with the 60km run used to ensure the new car will be able to complete a full three-day test planned ahead of the new race season.
Despite the short run, Whincup was impressed by the car.
“The team’s been burning the midnight oil behind the scenes for this moment when we finally get to bring the brand new Commodore to the track and test it for the first time,” Whincup said.
“So far it feels fantastic. The work that they’ve done behind the scenes to this point, in my opinion we’re 99 per cent there. There’s just some fine-tuning that’s got to go on in the next few weeks and the next few months until we unleash the full version in 2018.”
Red Bull Holden Racing is yet to show the car in its official race livery, with the shakedown test conducted under the cover of a special camouflage warpaint created by Holden designer Tom Grech.