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Holden scraps twin-turbo V6 development for Supercars

By Cameron Kirby, 06 Apr 2018 News

holden zb commodore supercar sandman

The ZB Commodore will terrorise Australian racetracks with a V8 engine for the foreseeable future.

HOLDEN has announced a halt on the development of a twin-turbo V6 engine for Supercars, effective immediately.

The surprising news means the racing version of the 2018 Holden ZB Commodore will compete in the series with a 5.0-litre V8 engine for the foreseeable future.

Holden’s factory race team, Triple Eight Race Engineering (branded as the Red Bull Holden Racing Team), was developing a new twin-turbo V6 for the series, which was slated to compete as a wildcard at a number of rounds this year, ahead of a full-time assault on the series in 2019.

In a statement to supercars.com, Holden marketing director Mark Harland confirmed the decision.

“After working closely with all Holden teams we have decided to put a hold on the development of the V6 Supercars engine,” he said.

“We are 100 percent committed to motorsport and our sponsorship of the Red Bull Holden Racing Team and supporting all Holden teams in both the Supercars and SuperUte paddock.”

The 3.6-litre twin-turbo V6 engine started development in 2016, with GM Racing’s engine facility in Michigan working with local parties to meet performance requirements. The V6 program began with then-factory Holden team Walkinshaw, and more recently moved to Triple Eight and its engine partner KRE in Queensland.

The V6 development engine is a modified version of the unit fitted to the Cadillac ATS-V.R GT3 car, which starts life as a road-car block. An early prototype of the engine in Supercars trim made its public debut at the Bathurst 1000 last year, in the form of Triple Eight’s ‘Sandman’ ride car with Greg Murphy at the wheel.

The ZB Commodore then made its debut in Supercars this year, racing with a continuation of last year’s 5.0-litre V8 engine.

Triple Eight boss Roland Dane said the decision to scrap the V6 engine program was made to help the team focus on winning races with the current V8/ZB package, which clean swept its first ever round in Adelaide at the hands of Shane van Gisbergen.

“We at Triple Eight are extremely proud of and grateful for the hard work and effort put in by all those involved in the development of the V6TT engine thus far,” he said.

“We’re very confident that the package would have been fully competitive and know that we have an extremely valuable bank of knowledge to refer to as and when a different engine platform is explored again in the future.

“For now we can turn our focus solely onto ensuring that the all-new 2018 Commodore is a race-winner for not just Triple Eight, but for our valued customers, partners and fans as well.”

The six-cylinder engine was poised to be the first to take advantage of Supercars’ Gen2 regulations which allow engines other than V8s, and body styles outside the current sedan formula.

Supercars’ CEO Sean Seamer emphasised the Gen2 rules could open doors for different engines and bodies in the series.

“Our current rules allow manufacturers and teams to implement various configurations of power plants,” he added.

“So, while the ZB won’t have a turbo engine configuration at the moment, it’s important that we, as a category, continue to build our learnings and expertise on forced induction.

“We look forward to continuing our great relationship with both Holden and the teams, irrespective of what engine they choose to run."

READ NEXT: 2018 Holden Commodore to get a V8!

Former factory Holden Racing Team boss Ryan Walkinshaw, now director for the rebranded Walkinshaw Andretti United team has backed the decision to retain the V8.

“The V8 engine is synonymous with this category, there is so much history and passion surrounding it, so it’s fantastic to see Holden and the sport listening to the fans,” he said.

“With a strong engine program, it’s great to be able to remove the uncertainty surrounding the future of the V8, now being able to continue to focus on the revival of our team, as Walkinshaw Andretti United.”