Cadillac V6 mooted for Gen2 Holden Supercar

GM's new Cadillac GT3 contender is fitted with a twin-turbo V6

GM’s new Cadillac GT3 contender is fitted with a twin-turbo V6

A V6 twin-turbo from General Motors brand Cadillac has emerged as a possible replacement for Holden’s long-serving V8 Supercars engine in 2017.

Although yet to formally commit to the sport beyond the end of next season, Holden is currently working with parent company GM on its options for the upcoming Gen2 rule package.

Holden affirmed through motorsport manager Simon McNamara in January that it intends to race its new, fully imported, Commodore in the championship when it goes on sale in 2017.

Based on the Opel Insignia, the new car is expected to be sold in four and six cylinder variants only, leaving the V8 market segment for other coupe models.

While V8 Supercars rules will continue to allow manufacturers to race with V8 engines regardless of their corresponding road car’s standard configuration, McNamara is adamant that Holden won’t follow Nissan and Volvo’s lead in this area.

“We’ll make sure that we’ll only race what we sell,” McNamara told Speedcafe.com.

“We won’t race a car that’s sold with a four-cylinder and have it racing around with a V8 in it. We won’t do that.”

GM Racing debuted its new, in-house developed and built, Cadillac V6 twin-turbo in its FIA GT3 homologated CTS-V.R coupes at the Pirelli World Challenge season opener at the weekend.

The Cadillac engine in its road going form

The Cadillac engine in its road going form

Replacing a V8 powerplant in the decade-long Cadillac program, the 3.6 litre LF4.R engine sports twin BorgWarner turbochargers and produces 600bhp at 7,400rpm in its racing form.

The Cadillac joins the Ilmor-developed 2.2 litre IndyCar engine in GM Racing’s push towards V6 turbo technology.

“It’s one thing that’s been thrown up, but there are a couple of other options,” insisted McNamara when asked of V6 turbo power for V8 Supercars.

“We’re in the fortunate position of having a North American division with a motorsport operation that’s significantly larger than mine with a big bucket (of engines). They’re doing a lot of work on a whole range of engines.

“We’re in dialogue with those guys about what might work out of what they’re doing and then a little bit of stuff about where we’re thinking. Fortunately we’re able to tap into that to determine what our actual package might be.”

How a new engine will be phased into the racing program is also under discussion, with the possibility of using an off-the-shelf GM Racing product opening discussions for the manufacturer to take a greater ongoing role.

Three different firms – KRE, Walkinshaw Racing and Noonan Race Engineering – currently build Holden V8 Supercars engines for their respective teams.

Although key parameters are set, each has their specific components and specification, which are detailed in individual Engine Specification Documents.

The Cadillac engines, should they be imported from the United States, are said to cost around half of the estimated $130,000 price tag for each current V8 Supercars motor.

“We may do something with North America as far as the engine is concerned where we’ll have one person here that looks after them for all teams and controls them via Holden Motorsport,” said McNamara.

“Ideally we could get that to a point where we wouldn’t have to do much, we’d just have something coming from America and we’d just be the middle-man, effectively.

“That’s definitely an option, but there’s probably four or five others as well, including continuing on with the teams as they are and looking after them in others ways.

“We’re just looking at what the best things are for Holden, our brand, the next model Commodore and our teams that we’re supporting now and any that may or may not want to join up.”

While teams are keen to see a direction from Holden, McNamara says that it’s impossible to put a timeline on key decisions before V8 Supercars clarifies more details of its Gen2 rules.

Following last December’s declaration that it would open up the engine and body shape regulations, the category says it is aiming to release more information mid-year.

While ready to embrace new-generation engines, Holden is understood to be strongly against allowing two-door models, which could create an undesirable model mix among the competing manufacturers.

“We’re talking to V8 Supercars constantly about where it will go and what the sport will evolve into; we need to get a better understanding of that,” said McNamara of when decisions will be made.

“We’re looking at what we think will be the best technical package for us and if it marries up to what the category thinks and where it wants to take the sport, it’ll work. If it doesn’t then we’re going to have an issue. But we’ll see.

“The Commodore brand continues and we want to race Commodores but at the end of the day it needs to stack up as a business model for us and be an element of the marketing mix that works for us.

“Racing is in our DNA and in our blood. Everyone that’s in our ranks loves the fact that we do it. North America, we are very close with, and they know how well we go at it. We link up a lot with them.

“It’s all there, we just need to make sure the sport is where we want it to be to help us.”

Despite cutbacks in recent years Holden remains V8 Supercars’ most heavily invested manufacturer, financially supporting marquee teams Triple Eight and Walkinshaw Racing, as well as providing parts packages for all 12 Commodores in the field.

McNamara says that merchandise revenues help offset the cost of competing, while the brand each year receives approximately $90 million of media value from racing, as calculated by media monitors Repucom.

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