Four-time Bathurst 1000 champion Greg Murphy has revealed his mount for the 2017 New Zealand Rally Championship, a turbocharged, all-wheel drive Holden Barina.
Built to AP4 (Asia-Pacific) regulations, the Barina uses a 1.8-litre version of GM’s 2.0-litre Ecotec engine, with a Garrett turbocharger boosting outputs to 260kW/500Nm, fed to all four wheels via a Sadev six-speed sequential gearbox.
The chassis was built by Force Motorsport and uses only the best componentry. Brakes are by Brembo with a Tilton pedalbox, while the dampers come from SupaShock, the company that supplies suspension to a number of Supercar teams as well as the new HSV GTSR W1.
The AP4 regulations are intended to allow top-level national rally competitors in Australia and New Zealand the opportunity to build a high-performance all-wheel drive vehicle at a reasonable cost ($150-200,000).
The chassis dimensions are strictly controlled, however manufacturer involvement is encouraged through the ability to use any small car bodyshell (e.g. Mazda 2, Holden Barina, Mini Cooper) and a manufacturer engine.
Engine size is restricted to 1.6 litres, however NZ allows 1.8-litre engines as a sort of ‘AP4 Plus’ category, with performance roughly equivalent to FIA R5 cars which cost more than twice as much.
Murphy’s Barina is not a factory entry, however Holden New Zealand as well as a number of dealers have backed the project financially and with technical support. Kiwi WRC star Hayden Paddon last year launched a very similar program with Hyundai New Zealand based on the i20.
Murphy will be joined in a second Barina AP4 by 2013 New Zealand two-wheel drive rally champion Josh Marston. The 2017 New Zealand Rally Championship starts at the Rally of Otago, held from April 7-9.