$40K plus price tag for ZB Commodore upgrade

Holden’s official render of the new ZB Commodore Supercar

Changing to the new ZB Commodore look next year will cost Holden teams more than $40,000 per car.

Updating from the existing VF shape will require around 30 new body panels and parts to reskin a GM V8-powered chassis.

Teams that make the switch will need to buy a set of production panels from Holden and a racing body kit from Triple Eight Race Engineering.

Speedcafe.com has discovered that the Holden parts will cost around $10,000 per car and the Triple Eight kit will be priced at more than $30,000 each.

Of the 16 VF Commodores running this year, up to 12 are expected to be converted to ZBs, adopting an exaggerated racing version of the styling of next year’s new fully imported road car.

Production of the last locally designed Commodore ends on October 20, with the German-made ZB to be launched next February.

Triple Eight, which is the homologation team for the ZB, will re-body its pair of factory backed cars for Jamie Whincup and Shane van Gisbergen, and also Craig Lowndes’s new-look third entry.

Walkinshaw Racing, Garry Rogers Motorsport, Brad Jones Racing and Erebus Motorsport are also planning to update their cars or build new ones to optimise the improved aero kit.

Developed by Triple Eight, the ZB-shape Commodore racer is due to run for the first time later this month at a secret test location, as revealed by Speedcafe.com two weeks ago.

As part of the deal with Holden to design the Supercars version of the ZB, Triple Eight retains the rights to the bespoke composite racing body panels and aerodynamic appendages.

The squad will be the exclusive supplier of the racing-specific body kit to other Holden teams to recoup the cost of design, tooling and production.

There are three sets of panels or pieces required to transform a Supercars chassis – the specifications of which are common to all cars – and mechanicals into a ZB Commodore.

A limited number of production panels are supplied by Holden’s spare parts division. They include the bonnet, side frames, inner door structures and frames, driver’s door outer skin and bulkheads.

However, unlike the VF, the standard roof panel and boot lid – or in the five-door hatchback ZB’s case, tailgate – have been replaced by T8-made composite items.

Along with the limited availability of imported panels, the production top can’t be used because the road car’s is a panoramic roof containing a large expanse of glass, while for practical purposes the rear lift-gate is a plastic composite piece engineered by T8 to operate like the road car’s hatch.

The other Triple Eight-made composite body parts include the three other door skins, quarter panels and fenders, plus the front bar and splitter, side skirts, and rear wing.

The ZB’s aero kit will be finalised in November following the Supercars-run aerodynamic straight-line airfield parity tests, measured against the existing VF, FG X Falcon and Nissan Altima downforce and drag numbers.

The final package is the aluminium and steel components needed to attach the ZB body bits to the chassis.

Technical drawings for those parts will be supplied to customer teams free-of-charge to produce themselves or they can buy them from Triple Eight.

A senior executive of another Holden team confirmed that the price of ex-factory panels and parts will be around $10,000 per car.

Triple Eight chief Roland Dane told Speedcafe.com that while the cost of the racing body kit had not been finalised, he forecast the bill for each set would be more than $30,000.

Holden teams that swap to the ZB will continue to run the Holden Motorsport five-litre V8 – which is actually a heavily modified version of a GM Racing NASCAR motor – while Triple Eight develops the Supercars version of the GM Racing twin-turbocharged 3.6-litre V6.

Holden has helped fund development of the motor to align the next racing Commodore with the VXR performance model, which is powered by a normally aspirated version of GM’s 3.6-litre HFV6.

The Red Bull Holden Racing Team will field a TT V6-powered ZB as a wild card entry at selected events next year before a planned wholesale move to the blown engine in 2019.

The twin-turbo V6 will be made available to the other Commodore squads from ’19 on an annual lease deal with GM Racing in Detroit.

The motors will be serviced by long-time T8 engine supplier KRE, which is assisting with the development of the Supercars version of the LF4.R powerplant used in the GT3 Cadillac ATS-V.R in USA racing.

Triple Eight will run the TT V6 for the first time in public during the October 5-8 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.

The twin-turbo 3.6-litre V6-powered Red Bull Racing ‘Sandman’ used for initial local development will perform daily demonstration runs in the hands of four-time Bathurst champion Greg Murphy.


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