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Holden commits new Commodore to Supercars

V8 no more: Holden’s next Commodore will dispense with the V8 when it makes its Supercars debut in 2018.

Racing V8 to get chop, but Holden says Commodore will race on in 2018

26 Oct 2016

HOLDEN has confirmed that its new Opel Insignia-based imported Commodore will fly the company flag in Australia’s premier racing category, Supercars, from 2018.

However, the rumbling V8 engine that has become a hallmark of Holden racing over decades will become a thing of the past, most likely replaced by a twin-turbo V6.

The move will bring the Holden racecars into line with the German-made production Commodore that also will ditch the V8 option when it arrives in showrooms in February 2018 – only a few weeks before the all-new racecar is expected to debut at the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide.

Although a normally aspirated 3.6-litre V6 has been confirmed for Holden’s next Commodore, along with four-cylinder petrol and diesel variants, a turbo V6 hot-shot is yet to be mooted.

Perhaps that is where Holden Special Vehicles comes in, although no one is talking about that.

The rules governing V8 Supercars were changed to allow other engine configurations such as turbo fours and V6s. As well, the name of the series and governing body was also modified, dropping the V8 to become Supercars.

While hardened Holden racing fans will mourn the passing of the American-built 5.0-litre racing V8 that has served them so well with numerous championship wins and Bathurst 1000 victories, it is not the first time Holden has pitched a six-cylinder engine into the touring car fray, having stuck it to rival Ford with an inline six-cylinder Torana GT-R XU-1 in the hands of Peter Brock and Colin Bond in the early 1970s.

The fact that the new Commodore – like the 2017 Insignia of which it is a clone – is not rear-wheel drive is immaterial to Supercar racing, as all cars in the class sit on a bespoke racing chassis with a rear-mounted sequential transaxle driving the rear wheels.

The development lead will be taken over by Queensland-based Red Bull Triple 8 Racing, which is about to take over the mantle of official Holden Racing Team from Walkinshaw Racing.

Holden is the first car company to formally announce its intention to give the V8 the slip, and others might well follow. Nissan has an eminently suitable twin-turbo V6 that powers its GT-R super-coupe.

This engine has already been adapted to racing in several categories around the world, including the Swedish touring car championship.

While Holden’s racing fraternity is looking forward to getting on with the new era, Australia’s police forces are apparently also in no sweat about the imminent demise of V8s in their highway patrol cars.

Holden says it recently had representatives of the police forces from across Australia and New Zealand for a quick drive of its prototype V6 AWD 2018 Commodore, and they went away impressed.

Holden fleet sales representatives work closely with the blue-light brigade to ensure that new Commodore models cater for the changing needs of modern policing, including new computer equipment and other electronic aids.

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