V8 Supercars Championship Series leader Jamie Whincup is set to debut a brand-new Holden Commodore VE at Darwin’s Hidden Valley round (June 18-20).
The TeamVodafone driver will be the first of the champion team’s drivers to get a new car, with team-mate Craig Lowndes likely to debut his new Commodore at Phillip Island’s endurance race in September.
The Triple Eight Race Engineering squad switched from Ford to Holden chassis at the start of this year, building two new Commodores over the off-season. The team also played its part in the design of Paul Morris Motorsport’s two Commodores.
Team principal Roland Dane told Speedcafe.com.au that the main aim behind the build of the new cars is to ensure it has two race-ready spares in its Brisbane, Queensland workshop.
“We aren’t making a big song and dance about it, but Jamie will probably be in a new car at Darwin,” he confirmed.
“The chassis is built, it just needs to be assembled – and Craig will have his car for Phillip Island. That’s the plan.
“The new cars won’t be hugely different. They’ll be nicer and we’ve tidied up a few things up. You can make cars nicer, but you’re not really going to make them quicker these days. You just put them together better.
“It also means that we have two spare cars, which is really where we want to be. With the way the calendar is shaping at the end of the year, it will handy to have that.”
Dane says there has been lots of interest in other teams purchasing his Commodore chassis, but is happy to keep his focus on TeamVodafone and his techincal alliance with Paul Morris Motorsport.
“I’ve had plenty of interest in people asking if they can buy Commodores, but we’re not going to,” he said.
“I’ve said all a long that we’ve got all the cars that we need for ourselves, and we’d wait and see what the revisions to the rules would be and see how that pans out. We’re quite comfortable with these for now.”
TeamVodafone’s two new cars will be joined in the coming races by a bunch of other brand-new race cars, including Toll HRT (two new cars at Darwin). Kelly Racing, Garry Rogers Motorsport, Stone Brothers Racing and Brad Jones Racing are also expected to wheel out new rigs in the coming months.