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HSV gets cracking on GTSR

Special treatment: HSV’s 474kW GTSR W1 will get its supercharged 6.2-litre LS9 V8 fitted by a special unit at HSV’s Clayton factory.

GTSR super sedan goes into production as last hurrah for HSV’s Australian range

10 Apr 2017

HOLDEN Special Vehicles starts production of its swansong all-Australian GTSR range this week, starting with the “standard” 435kW sedan and Maloo ute variants and then introducing the limited-edition 474kW GTSR W1 flagship later in the month.

The company expects to build more than 1600 of the 435kW GTSRs – about 1000 sedans and 600 Maloo utes – by the end of this year when supply of the Holden Commodore source vehicle dries up with the closure of the Holden factory in Elizabeth, South Australia.

Only 300 GTSR W1s will be built for Australia and New Zealand, with all pre-sold to customers anxious to own arguably the greatest – and certainly most powerful – series production car ever built in Australia.

Priced at $169,990, it is the most expensive too, but there is no shortage of would-be buyers, many of them collectors wanting a piece of Australian history.

HSV has established a special unit at its Clayton factory in Melbourne to fit the W1’s 6.2-litre supercharged LS9 V8 – originally developed for the sixth-generation Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 in the United States.

HSV cars usually have their high-output engines fitted on the production line at the Holden factory, but in the W1’s case, LSA V8 engines will be installed as a temporary measure before being removed on arrival at Clayton and replaced with the LS9 by the specialist unit.

Only a handful of W1s will be built in the initial batch, with the remainder fed into production between now and September. Each will go out to dealers for customer handover as they are completed.

The GTSR range represents an investment of about $9 million for HSV which wanted to give its big Aussie cars an appropriate swansong before switching to modifying imported Holden cars from 2018.

The GTSR and GTSR W1 share a unique exterior design that, for the first time at HSV, includes bespoke front mudguards fashioned from the same composite material as the bumpers.

The W1 is distinguished by carbon-fibre trim on items such as the side fender vents and rear wing spoiler.

Both variants have 20-inch forged alloy wheels, but the W1’s are painted matte black and shod with track-ready Pirelli P-Zero Trofeo R tyres – nine inches wide at the front and 10 inches wide at the back. The GTSR’s wheels are the same size, but finished in a dark stainless look and fitted with ContiSport tyres.

Instead of the trademark Magnetic Ride Control (MRC) suspension of the GTSR, the W1 gets SupaShock coil-over suspension.

While the W1 gets the 474kW/815Nm LS9 from GM’s stockpile of spare engines, the GTSR sticks with GM’s current 6.2-litre supercharged LSA. However, its power has been bumped to 435kW – 5kW more than the current HSV clubhouse leader, the GTS. Peak torque is 740Nm.

Buyers can choose between six-speed manual and automatic transmissions for the GTSR, but the W1 comes with just one transmission: a close-ratio six-speed manual.

This transmission started out as a rear-mounted transaxle unit for the Corvette, but has been re-engineered by HSV for a back-of-engine application.

The W1 is said to be capable of sprinting from zero to 100km/h in 4.2 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited to 250km/h.

Massive 410mm front disc brakes are gripped by six-pot callipers from AP Racing on the GTSR and GTSR W1.

Pricing for the GTSR starts at $96,990 plus on-road costs for the Maloo manual, rising to $111,990 for the automatic sedan.

Meanwhile, HSV is also building its 30th anniversary commemorative range, marking the founding of HSV in 1987 by former British racing driver Tom Walkinshaw.

Production of those cars started in January and will continue until the end of the end year.

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