Triple Eight demonstrated the V6 twin-turbo in the Holden VF Sandman at last year’s Bathurst 1000.
Triple Eight demonstrated the V6 twin-turbo in the Holden VF Sandman at last year’s Bathurst 1000.

No guarantee turbo Holden will be ready for Bathurst

TRIPLE Eight boss Roland Dane is cagey on just how soon we will see a V6 turbo-powered Holden ZB Commodore taking part in Supercars races.

The new power unit was originally scheduled to be on the grid at the Adelaide 500, but it's debut program was later limited to a handful of wildcard appearances in a Triple Eight-run car, including a planned tilt at the Bathurst 1000.

But with plenty of work to do between now and when the new engine can join the grid, Dane is holding off on making the team's plans public.

"I won't do until I think that we've got a completely accurate handle on it," he said.

"There's always variables in something like this, and we need to have a clearer idea of where we'll land with everything in the development cycle before I put my hand up and say 'right, bang, we're going to be here'. I'm going to be careful like that."

When asked if he'd be willing to take the turbo ZB to the Bathurst 1000 for its debut race, Dane was noncommittal.

"I don't know. It would depend on how much work we'd done at that stage, where we were with testing and everything," he said.

"There's no question that the car's going to have to have more testing than you would ever normally do because it's such a big change.

"And it needs validation. We need to understand where the car is, and Supercars do as well."


One of the hurdles will be the need to redo the aero parity testing of the ZB Commodore, which will be different aerodynamically to the V8-powered version due to the increased cooling needs of the V6 twin turbo.

"That splitter will be different, the grille will be open, and it'll have bonnet vents for the intercooler exit," he explained.

"So that necessitates a different aero test and we need Supercars for that."

Another hurdle will be how Supercars chooses to regulate the power output of the turbo engine.

While the engine will have to conform to the same total horsepower cap as the V8s - the cumulative horsepower output measured at 50rpm increments between 5800rpm and 7450rpm - but the element of boost pressure is something the championship has not had to worry about since 1992.

"You don't need to be a rocket scientist to understand that we could very easily turn up and blitz everyone with a V6 turbo because it's incredibly easy to get more power than one of these," Dane said.

Open grille, bonnet vents visible on T8’s Sandman test machine.
Open grille, bonnet vents visible on T8’s Sandman test machine.

"(Supercars) will keep a very close eye on our boost levels to make sure we're not, because it's very easy to spike a boost level as you see in GT3 for instance, people having to try and be careful about overboosting momentarily, especially if you spin up on a kerb or something.

"Supercars will be all over that aspect of it, but the basic power level is already determined.

"For us it's more about the environment, the cooling of it, and also the packaging, and also driveability. Those are the big things for us."

Triple Eight rolled out three brand new ZB Commodores for a shakedown at Queensland Raceway on Friday, plus a fourth ZB for Tekno's Jack Le Brocq.

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