This is Holden’s last V8 - but you can’t buy it, you can only watch on as the Red Bull Holden Racing Team races its ZB Commodore-based around Australian tracks during 2018.
The team outlined its racing strategy for the next two years as it unveiled the car at an event on Sydney Harbour.
The V8 Supercar marks a bold new era for Holden, with the ZB being the first fully-imported Commodore offered by the brand in Australia. Despite local suspension tuning and some unique badging the production Commodore is otherwise an Opel Insignia from end to end.
The version that will take to the track is somewhat different, conforming to Supercars’ ‘Car Of The Future’ control chassis requirements that require rear wheel drive - something not available on the production Commodore - with this year’s car powered by a V8 engine, also unique to the track-going car.
New rules for the championship allow the use of two-door machines as well as turbocharged four and six-cylinder engines, or naturally aspirated eight-cylinder power.
Jamie Whincup and Shane van Gisbergen, championship winners in 2017 and 2016, will campaign 5.0-litre V8-powered versions of the new machine in a farewell-tour of sorts in 2018.
During 2018 Holden’s GM Powertrain-sourced V8 engine will make way for next season’s planned twin-turbo V6 replacement as a wildcard entrant at a number of rounds this year before its widespread adoption by Holden teams for the 2019 season.
Van Gisbergen told TMR he was looking forward to racing the new machine, which will feature twin-turbo V6 power for its 2019 championship tilt.
“I’ve always been a big fan of the V8 but it’s the way the world’s going,” he said.
“I like my turbos as well, growing up with cars like that. Driving it last year in testing, it’s a really strong motor and it has a lot of potential and it sounds good.”
Whincup said he is looking forward to the challenge of making the new car competitive.
“I’m all for innovation, keeping it fresh and moving forward,” he said.
“The best thing about being involved with this team here is we never stand still - we are always moving forward.”
The racer extended his contract with Red Bull through to the end of 2019, saying the team’s role as an engineering powerhouse introducing new cars and fresh engines was key to his decision to keep racing.
“I don’t have a huge amount of time left,” the 2017 champion said. “These two challenges are going to keep me going for a long time.”
Whincup said his team and spent “months and months” finessing the aerodynamics of the new car, resulting in the super-sized rear wind perched atop the Commodore’s tailgate.
Team boss Roland Dane said the new spoiler is the same distance from the rear axle as the outgoing VF Commodore, bringing similar aerodynamic performance to the previous model.
Compared to last year’s VF-based racers the all-new ZB Commodore’s smaller production dimensions are better fit for the control Supercars chassis, requiring less length to be cut from the bodywork.
Noting an in-car temperature difference of up to five degrees between the white car of teammate Craig Lowndes and his dark blue model last season, Whincup requested a gloss white roof to reflect heat away from the interior on hot days.
This year's look was styled by Holden designer Peter Hughes, who sketched up a bold new colour scheme with simple blue and white elements to the front and rear similar to Red Bull livery worn by Volkswagen’s championship-winning WRC team in 2016.
The new Supercars entrant will first turn a wheel in anger at the opening round of the 2018 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship at the Adelaide 500 on March 1-4.
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