Holden has signalled its intention to race its first fully-imported Commodore in the V8 Supercars Championship following the end of local production.
The car company has today confirmed that its new mid-sized sedan, said to be based on the next-generation Opel Insignia, will continue the Commodore nameplate in the Australian market.
Holden is assisting its German General Motors stable-mates with the design of the front-wheel-drive car, with a test mule running at its Lang Lang facility in Victoria.
V8 Supercars’ next-generation rules, set to be introduced in 2017, will allow manufacturers to field two-door vehicles, fuelling suggestions that Holden could race a V8-powered coupe.
Holden Motorsport has however today stressed its desire to race the new Commodore, should it recommit to the sport beyond its current contracts with the Holden Racing Team and Red Bull Racing Australia.
The sponsorship deals with the two teams, which were signed last year, are understood to cover the 2015 and 2016 seasons, leading up to the Holden factory shutdown the following year.
The Commodore has underpinned Holden’s racing efforts in Australia since its debut in the Australian Touring Car Championship in 1980.
“Racing is an integral part of Holden’s DNA and Commodore is the most successful nameplate in Australian Touring Car and V8 Supercar history and we are looking forward to winning races and championships with Commodores in the future,” said McNamara.
“We have every intention of racing Commodore for many years to come, but obviously we need to keep working with the regulators and ensure the specific program is the right one.”
Holden has meanwhile emphasised that its decision to continue the Commodore name on a fully-imported, front-wheel-drive vehicle has come after extensive market research.
“We know the decision to retain or retire the Commodore nameplate will stir passionate responses among Holden fans and customers,” said Holden Executive Director of Sales, Peter Keley.
“That’s why we’ll ensure the next-generation car drives like a Commodore should.
“The vehicle will be tuned and honed by Holden engineers and technicians at our world-class Lang Lang Proving Ground in Victoria, ensuring it performs in Australian conditions and to Australian expectations.
“Right now, our Vehicle Performance team is helping shape the next-generation Commodore for Australian customers.”
What engine the new-generation Commodores will race with remains unclear, as the new-for-2017 V8 Supercars rules are set to allow new-generation engine platforms, including turbocharged fours and sixes.
While teams may continue to run their current 5.0 litre powerplants under the Gen2 regs, the new Commodore will not be sold with an eight-cylinder engine.
Holden’s decision to keep its famous nameplate and positivity towards a racing future are in stark contrast to recent decisions by Ford, which will kill-off its Falcon brand and racing program in the coming years.