Commodore closes on record

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 20/04/2015
  • By V8 Supercars

The last Holden V8 Supercar based on a locally-built Commodore is on the verge of setting a series of new records and could ultimately emerge as the most successful racer of all-time in the category by the time its career finishes later this decade.

The VF Commodore entered service in 2013 with the arrival of the new Car of the Future technical regulations and since then has amassed 61 championship race wins.

That places it third on the all-time winners' list, but it could move to second as soon as the May 1-3 Perth SuperSprint because the second-placed VT Commodore is on 63 wins.

After that, the only car between the VF and the top step of the podium is its immediate predecessor, the VE Commodore, which has 103 wins to its credit.

The top scoring Ford Falcon is the recently retired FG with 55 wins.

According to figures collated by Holden Motorsport, Holden is also closing on an historic 300 pole positions in its touring car/V8 Supercars history, with the current total sitting on 297.

With three pole positions and three race wins up for grabs at Barbagallo raceway, the VF could complete both significant achievements there, especially considering Commodores have claimed all six pole positions and won all six championship races conducted this year.

However, the new Falcon FG X swept qualifying and the race wins at the F1 Rolex Australian grand prix and last year the wins were shared at Barbagallo Raceway in WA between Ford, Holden and Volvo. So Holden's milestones might have to wait a little longer to be completed.

A Holden Motorsport program run by technical manager Peter Harker with the input of Holden Design and factory teams Triple Eight Race Engineering and the Holden Racing Team, the prototype VF Commodore ran for the very first time on Saturday, 13 October, 2012, the week following that year's Bathurst, completing aero validation at Holden's Lang Lang proving ground.

The completed race car was unveiled by HRT at Holden HQ on Monday, 11 February 2013, the day after the road car version was unveiled - the shortest period from road to race car in Holden history.

Fifteen VF Commodores fronted at the official V8 Supercars test five days later, three months before the road car was available to the public - a first in Holden history.

Because VF road car production had not begun, the original race cars used prototype pressings for bonnets, boots, prototype runs of headlights, tail lights, grilles and so on.

The VF made its racing debut at the Clipsal 500, with Craig Lowndes winning its historic first race in Race 1 for the event that year; Shane van Gisbergen claimed the Clipsal 500 title for TEKNO the following day in his debut Holden drive.

Lowndes, who currently sits on 99 race wins, could bring up historic win number 100 in WA.

Of course, the Triple Eight-run Red Bull Racing Australia has claimed the vast majority of the VF's poles and wins, especially Jamie Whincup, who won both the 2013 and 2014 drivers' championship in the VF and leads again in the early stages of 2015.

However, he deflects credit for the performance of the VF to T8's technical chief Ludo Lacroix, who designed the original aerodynamic package for the VF and the update that has debuted in 2015.

"V8 Supercars is all about the aerodynamic package and what makes the VF special for us is Triple Eight designed the aero package under the capable guidance of Ludo Lacroix," Whincup told v8supercars.com.au. "So we really feel as a team we are a big part of what the VF is all about.

"We just try to represent that car as well as we possibly can and we feel we have done a good job ... the VF is certainly one of the best cars I have driven if not the best.

"When we rate race cars we rate them in terms of balance, all four wheels sliding at the same rate ... and the VF has that. It has great downforce and it's not too draggy down the straights as well, so I really feel that Ludo and the crew have done a great job."

But Whincup admits the VF isn't his favourite, instead nominating the VE in which he won the 50th anniversary Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 with Paul Dumbrell in 2012.

Officially Triple Eight chassis 28, but better known as 'Kate', Whincup has purchased the car and had it refurbished to 2012 specification.

"That particular car I have quite a connection to, but the VF I drive now would be my second favourite."

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