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Thursday, 26 April 2018 10:37

New Commodore: Under the skin of the ZB

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The Holden ZB Commodore has made a flying start as a Supercar. We go in-depth with Triple Eight Race Engineering to track the development of the new-generation Commodore in Supercar Xtra Magazine issue #104.

CLICK HERE for more information on issue #104.

For so many reasons the Holden ZB Commodore is such an important Supercar. The fifth-generation Commodore is the first to be based on an import rather than a locally manufactured road car, the first Supercar based on a five-door hatch and the first Holden racer developed from scratch by Triple Eight Race Engineering.

Yes, Triple Eight has had input into Commodore Supercars previously in tandem with Walkinshaw Racing, the team from which it wrenched away the factory Holden Racing Team brand simply through the sheer weight of its race and championship-winning performances. And, yes, it had designed a complete car previously, the brilliant Ford BF Falcon, which is regarded by many as the best racer of the Project Blueprint era. The ZB is also the first Supercar to be homologated under the ‘NewGen’ technical regulations.

David Cauchi, in addition to his role as Triple Eight’s head designer and Jamie Whincup’s race engineer – the duo have netted two drivers’ championships in four years – has been ZB project manager since late 2016.

The 10-year Triple Eight employee has mothered the project from the very first casual conversations to its racing debut. Cauchi led a small team of multi-taskers to develop the ZB including German aerodynamicist Florian Hoefflin, who was recruited from HWA in Germany specifically for the role, design office manager Ian Drapier, fellow engineers Grant MacPherson and John ‘Irish’ McGregor.

It’s been a seminal time for Cauchi, who was hired into Triple Eight by former technical director Ludo Lacroix. He even lived with the eccentric, brilliant Frenchman years ago as he learned his trade.

Of course, Lacroix departed to DJR Team Penske late in 2016 and has played no direct role in the ZB program. So Cauchi has been in charge of a project developing a car that will be raced directly against the DJR Team Penske Ford FG X Falcon his old mentor oversees.

Cauchi is the first to admit Lacroix’s teachings have helped him in this project. There’s an irony here... Lacroix’s pupils could school him on the track in 2018!

“Ludo always insisted that we be scientific, understand things, look at why things happen, why did that break, why did that not work?” says Cauchi.

“Force yourself or challenge yourself to have deeper understanding of all the mechanisms in the car and that will ensure you make better decisions.”

Read the full feature in issue #104. The print edition of issue #104 also includes a pullout poster featuring Craig Lowndes’ Autobarn Lowndes Racing Holden ZB Commodore.

CLICK HERE to purchase issue #104 within Australia.

CLICK HERE to purchase issue #104 within New Zealand.

CLICK HERE to purchase issue #104 for the rest of the world.

CLICK HERE to purchase the digital edition of issue #104.

CLICK HERE to purchase the Autobarn Lowndes Racing Holden ZB Commodore 2018 poster.

calendar-banner

Event Date
Superloop Adelaide 500 February 20-23
Melbourne 400 March 12-15
Tyrepower Tasmania Super400  April 3-5
ITM Auckland Super400 April 24-26
PIRTEK Perth SuperNight May 15-17
Truck Assist Winton Super400 June 5-7
Watpac Townsville 400 June 26-28
BetEasy Darwin Triple Crown July 17-19
Sydney SuperNight August 28-30
OTR The Bend 500 September 18-20
Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 October 8-11
Vodafone Gold Coast 600 Oct. 30-Nov. 1
Penrite Oil Sandown Super400  November 20-22
Coates Hire Newcastle 500 December 4-6
   
   

 

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1. Scott McLaughlin
288  
2. Jamie Whincup
261 -27
3. Chaz Mostert
234 -54
4. Cameron Waters
231 -57
5. Will Davison
231 -57
6. David Reynolds
210 -78
7. Lee Holdsworth
171 -117
8. Mark Winterbottom
162 -126
9. Fabian Coulthard
162 -126
10. Rick Kelly
150 -138

Full championship standings