Leav­ing on a high note

The Weekend Post - Motoring - - CRUISE CONTROL | -

IT’S a bit sad re­ally that Holden (HSV) and Ford have left their best prod­ucts to last.

It’s a shame that Aus­tralian new ve­hi­cle buy­ers are opt­ing for im­ported SUVs in­stead of Aussie de­signed and made big sedans and wag­ons that de­vour our big open spa­ces.

As we be­come more ur­banised and with cheap air travel, the day of the big lazy six or V8 four-door sedan and wagon is over.

But that hasn’t stopped Ford and HSV from pro­duc­ing the best Com­modores and Fal­cons yet.

The Fal­con XR8 and XR6 Turbo Sprint mod­els are sold out. A to­tal of just 1400 lim­ited edi­tion Fal­con Sprints were built with 550 XR6 Sprints and 850 XR8 Sprints.

New Zealand was al­lo­cated 150 cars – 50 XR6 Sprints and 100 XR8 Sprints.

Each will re­ceive num­bered build plates for each model, lo­cated on the en­gine.

Now HSV en­ters the fray. Su­per­car power is com­ing to the home­grown Com­modore to cre­ate fastest Holden of all time.

Talk about go­ing out with a bang, Holden will build a Com­modore with more power than a Lam­borgh­ini as a high oc­tane farewell present be­fore the Ade­laide pro­duc­tion line falls silent next year.

The fastest and most pow­er­ful Com­modore ever made will also be the most ex­pen­sive, ex­pected to cost more than $165,000, al­most twice the price of the GTS model on sale to­day.

It will be the last V8 sedan made lo­cally and the most pow­er­ful ve­hi­cle pro­duced in more than 100 years of Aus­tralian car man­u­fac­tur­ing.

Gen­eral Mo­tors in Detroit has given the green light to build a Com­modore pow­ered by the su­per­charged “LS9” V8 from the Corvette ZR1.

The swan song su­per­car will eclipse the power of the cur­rent Com­modore flag­ship – the Holden Spe­cial Ve­hi­cles GTS (pic­tured) – with per­for­mance that will out­pace the lat­est Porsches and Fer­raris.

It will only be avail­able with a man­ual gear­box be­cause the en­gine has too much power for an au­to­matic.

With in ex­cess of 600 horse­power or 475kW, the lim­ited edi­tion will have more grunt than a V8 Su­per­car rac­ing ma­chine.

Fewer than 250 are ex­pected to be built, as there are only a lim­ited num­ber of these par­tic­u­lar su­per­charged V8 en­gines avail­able for ex­port from the US. UN­PRECE­DENTED de­mand for the new BMW M2 has en­abled BMW Aus­tralia to se­cure a sub­stan­tial ad­di­tional al­lo­ca­tion of the award­win­ning sports coupe.

Re­flect­ing Aus­tralia’s stand­ing as a key mar­ket for BMW M ve­hi­cles, up to 100 ex­tra units of the six-cylin­der, 272kW, rear-wheel drive M2 will be added to 2016 pro­duc­tion.

BMW Group Aus­tralia chief ex­ec­u­tive Marc Werner said the M2 had gar­nered glow­ing reviews.

“It’s also had great suc­cess on the show­room floor, with our ini­tial 300 unit al­lo­ca­tion for this year al­ready sold out,” he said.

“Se­cur­ing these ad­di­tional ve­hi­cles – a sup­ply in­crease of up to 33 per cent – is a huge achieve­ment for BMW Aus­tralia and re­flects strong sup­port from the global BMW fam­ily.

“We’re de­lighted to be able to re­spond to Aus­tralian cus­tomer and mar­ket de­mand so quickly with these ex­tra ve­hi­cles.

BMW Aus­tralia ex­pects most of the ad­di­tional M2s will be avail­able by the end of 2016.

Aus­tralia has one of the high­est pro­por­tion of Mve­hi­cle sales in the world, trail­ing only South Africa.

Last month, the BMW 2 Se­ries achieved 185 sales, a rise of 37 per cent over the same month last year, and neck-and­neck with the other in-de­mand new sports car, the Mazda MX5.

The new al­lo­ca­tion will be split be­tween the man­ual-only M2 Pure at the reg­u­lar price of $89,900 plus on-road costs and the seven-speed dual-clutch au­to­matic M2 at $98,900.

Pow­ered by a 272kW tur­bocharged six-cylin­der en­gine driv­ing the rear wheels, the M2 coupe is a unique propo­si­tion among Ger­man cars, with sim­i­lar-sized Mercedes-AMG and Audi high­per­for­mance hatch­backs fit­ted with turbo four-cylin­der en­gines and all-wheel drive. MA­REEBA brothers Mitch and Leigh Nay­lor are com­pet­ing in the Aus­tralian Pro­duc­tion Cars sea­son opener this week­end.

Mitch, 18, and Leigh, 24, are tak­ing part in the Shan­nons Na­tion­als in a Suzuki Swift Sport (Class E).

The Nay­lors have been com­pet­ing side-by-side in karts for more than 13 years and are mak­ing their de­but in a na­tional car rac­ing se­ries at the Phillip Is­land grand prix cir­cuit.

“Although we have lit­tle ex­pe­ri­ence in a race car, we ex­pect noth­ing less than a strong fin­ish in the Satur­day race,” said Mitch (pic­tured in the black Suzuki Swift be­hind Leigh in the white Swift).

“I have al­ways been a quick starter, and man­age to work a few spots off the first lap, and Leigh is gen­er­ally the con­sis­tency guy through­out the race.

“So I think I’ll have the first stint and see what we can do from there.”

The brothers say they could not have made it with­out spon­sors Ma­reeba Smash Re­pairs, Cur­cio’s Bak­ery, NQ Off-road Spe­cial­ists, Ross Cardillo Fi­nanc­ing, Per­for­mance Mo­tors and Bob Ram­say.

Round one of the 2016 Aus­tralian Pro­duc­tion Cars started yes­ter­day with three ses­sions of prac­tice and a 30- minute qual­i­fy­ing ses­sion, be­fore the Is­land Four Hour to­day.

In the big­gest en­try list for na­tional pro­duc­tion car rac­ing in some time, 22 cars and more than 45 driv­ers will tackle the open­ing round of what is a fourevent sea­son.

“With 22 cars for round one and even more wait­ing in the wings to hit the track with us at fu­ture rounds this year, I am very ex­cited about how the APCS is grow­ing and what lies ahead for us as a se­ries,” said APCS cat­e­gory man­ager Iain Sher­rin.

Class bat­tles will be the name of the game at Phillip Is­land this week­end, with strong com­pe­ti­tion lin­ing up in each class.

“A look at the en­try list throws up a lot of great names and I can see some great bat­tles un­fold­ing,” he said.

“From se­ries debu­tants to reign­ing class and out­right cham­pi­ons, from es­tab­lished and well-known rac­ers to 15 year old kids just start­ing out, we have it all in the APCS.

To­day a 10-minute warm-up will be held at 10.40am be­fore The Is­land Four Hour kicks off at 1pm.

The race will be live streamed for free to­day through then­ation­als.com.au.

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