The bold new world of Holden’s Supercars race program has undergone testing, with the company reporting a successful test of its new twin-turbo V6 this week.
In a private test session held at the Norwell Motorplex in Queensland, the new engine, installed in the body of Red Bull Racing’s promotional Sandman panelwagon, was put through its paces at the hands of team drivers Jamie Whincup, Craig Lowndes, and Steven Richards.
"We are very happy with the initial running, GM Racing has given us a great base to work from," Red Bull Racing boss Roland Dane said in a statement.
"The test has been about getting kilometres on the engine and understanding what it needs at this point to prepare it for racing in Supercars."
Although the team will launch next year’s season with a carry-over 5.0-litre V8 developed under the current championship rules, the new Gen2 engine will be gradually introduced over the 2018 season.
An as-yet unannounced driver will pilot the turbo V6-powered car as a wild card entrant at selected races during the season, ahead of a full-scale introduction for the 2019 Supercars season.
The V6 engine will be unique to Holden in Supercars, and the first time a turbo charged engine has been used in top-level Australian touring car racing since the technology was outlawed in 1993 when the series reverted to a Ford versus Holden competition.
Despite the adoption of a V6 engine to more closely align the race program with Holden’s showroom offerings as the Commodore moves to fully-imported status from this year, the race car will be somewhat unique thanks to its twin-turbo setup and rear wheel drive.
Road-going versions of the 2018 Commodore will be split between either a naturally-aspirated V6 with all wheel drive, or a less powerful turbocharged four-cylinder with front wheel drive marking a seismic shift from the Commodore’s current underpinnings.