First track test for Holden V6 turbo

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 30/06/2017
  • By Stefan Bartholomaeus

Triple Eight has completed the first track test with its new V6 turbo Supercar engine, taking to Norwell in its Sandman ride car.

Although recently announcing that the engine will only appear as a wildcard at selected events next year rather than a full roll-out, the team has already kicked off the next stage of its program.

Based off the 3.6 litre V6 twin-turbo run in General Motors’ Cadillac GT3 cars, the engine development is being orchestrated by GM Racing from its headquarters in Michigan, USA.

With the first development engines now in the hands of Triple Eight and its engine partner KRE, the team spent Monday and Wednesday at Paul Morris’ Norwell facility on the Gold Coast.

Overseen by a GM Racing technician from the USA, the engine clocked a reported 256km of running across the two days.

The team is using its ‘Sandman’ ride car for the testing, which is based off a Supercars chassis raced by Jamie Whincup in 2013.

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Whincup, Craig Lowndes and Pirtek Enduro Cup co-driver Steven Richards all took to the wheel during the test, with Shane van Gisbergen away in the United States.

All three drivers who tested have recent experience of turbo race engines in GT3 cars, with Lowndes and Whincup having shared a Ferrari at the Bathurst 12 Hour.

Richards, however, did all the running on Wednesday and appears a logical option for the team's planned wildcards next year.

“We’re very pleased with the initial running,” said team owner Roland Dane.

“A huge amount of work has been done already, both at GM Racing in Pontiac, Michigan and also here in Queensland.

“There’s still plenty more to do, but we’re now going to crack on with the development behind closed doors.”

While making the category’s power limit isn’t an issue for the engine, the testing work is focussed on driveability and cooling.

The team has released pictures of the testing showing the Sandman with a revised front bar and bonnet to accommodate the air in-take and intercooler ducts.

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While bonnet vents are not currently allowed in Supercars, the modification is seen as necessary in order to extract hot air from the intercoolers. 

Extensive modifications to the engine for Supercars racing has seen its intercoolers and turbos moved from the GT3 version for packaging and centre-of-gravity purposes.

Although without the outright cornering ability of a full Supercar, Dane says the Sandman is a solid test mule for the initial track work with the engine.

“There aren’t any advantages or disadvantages to running the engine in the Sandman for what we’re doing at the moment,” expained Dane.

“It’s about getting kilometres on the engine and understanding what it needs at this point to prepare it for racing in Supercars.

“It’s not far away from being competitive, but Supercars is a very competitive category, so we can’t leave anything on the table.”

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Dane meanwhile enthused over the sound of the engine that will become the first non-V8 in the category since 1993.

“Awesome," he said of the noise. "We’ll let people in on it soon.”

The Sandman had been built by Triple Eight in 2014 as a design collaboration with Holden, giving the team’s ride program a point of difference over its rivals.

It’d previously run a KRE Supercars V8 Supercar engine, stroked to 5.5 litres and putting out over 700bhp.

It's underpinned by chassis 888-032, which was used by Whincup in the first eight events of 2013, taking eight wins before being parked after providing inconsistent responses to set-up changes at a pre-Sandown test.

Its rebirth as the Sandman came with the development of a paddle-shift kit for the control Albins transaxle, but has since been converted back to the traditional stick shift for the V6 testing.

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