Holden’s VF SS V Redline Ute has become the fastest ute to take a lap around the gruelling Nürburgring in Germany. With Holden’s Dynamics Engineer, Rob Trubiani, behind the wheel, the V8 powered Australian icon took 8 minutes and 19.47 seconds to blaze around the track, faster than many exotic sports cars costing a few times more than the humble ute.
“We came up with a plan to tackle the Nürburgring and break the world record for a commercial or utility vehicle but when we did our research it seemed one didn’t exist, so we decided to set a record instead!” said Mr Trubiani.
“Without a lap record to break, we sat down and calculated what we thought the Ute could do and targeted around 8min 30sec. Initial practice sessions at the track confirmed that was a stretch target so that’s what we aimed for. To slash 11 seconds from that time with an 8m 19.47sec lap was incredible. There may not have been a utility-vehicle record before but I’m proud to say the VF SS V Redline Ute is now the Nürburgring benchmark!”
The lap time was set during a full run of the Nordschleife section of the Nürburgring, a total of 20.8km.
The SS V Redline Ute is powered by a 6.0-litre V8 pushing out 260kW @ 5,600rpm and 517Nm @ 4,400rpm. It is one of the most popular of the Commodore range due to its sports car-like performance and load carrying versatility.
The Redline range has been specifically designed and tuned for superior track performance, with bespoke ultra-sports tuned FE3 suspension, along with high-performance tyres measuring 245/40/R19 at the front and 275/35/R19 at the rear.
The SS V Redline chassis and suspension set-up includes new spring and damper tunes front and rear, larger stabiliser bars and stiffened suspension bushes. Brakes are track-tested, including front Brembo disc brakes utilising four-piston callipers.
The programme was conducted during the ‘Industry Pool’ days, during which the track is shut to the public and manufacturers have exclusive access.
“For any car enthusiast the Nürburgring is like the Holy Grail. It’s the toughest, craziest, most demanding race track in the world and for the Ute to handle everything that was thrown at it and set the time we did shows what an exceptional vehicle it is,” said Mr Trubiani.
“The Nordschleife section of the ‘Ring is the ultimate test of man and machine. It’s 20.8km long and has more than 170 corners with huge elevation changes and multiple surfaces – there is no tougher test for a car and its dynamics. If a vehicle can handle The Green Hell it can handle anything and proves yet again that Holden’s testing and development processes produce world-class cars with world-class handling.”
“Being surrounded by mostly European manufacturers at the industry days, the Ute really stood out and I was getting plenty of thumbs up. Plus a few of the more expensive European cars on the track got a shock as this red Aussie Ute flew past them!” continued Mr Trubiani.
“The VF Commodore can mix it with Europe’s best. The advanced technology, performance focus and attention to detail makes the SS V Redline Ute a bonafide track-capable sports machine. Right down to the Head-Up Display which can project lateral G readings onto the windscreen along with a tachometer displaying graduating shift lights – this car was born for the track.
“The Ute was simply awesome to drive on the Nürburgring. When it comes to Go, Stop and Turn the SS V Redline is the ultimate Holden. The redesigned suspension, the electric power-steering system, strategic weight reduction in key areas like the aluminium bonnet and countless other engineering upgrades has elevated the VF to a new dynamic level. Driving the SS V Redline Ute at the ‘Ring has been the highlight of my career,” said Mr Trubiani.
The SS V Redline Ute that set the lap time was a product-correct engineering test vehicle that was being used in Europe for validation purposes, before taking on The Green Hell. It is Stock standard, apart from a small amount of additional negative camber dialled into the front wheels (although still within production tolerances) and the removal of the speed limiter.
The Ute ran flawlessly for seven days and 35 gruelling laps in total, an equivalent of 720km of punishing driving. The only component that required changing during the entire programme was the tyres and brakes.
“We completed almost 3.3 million kilometres of testing during development of the VF and it’s a reflection of the uncompromising and world-class engineering that has gone into the new Commodore. It’s something everyone is very proud of and shows the world what the Holden team is capable of. For the SS V Redline range we wanted to push the handling envelope to create the ultimate sports machine and the lap time certainly proves we’ve done that,” said Andrew Holmes, Programme Engineering Manager for the VF.
“The VF Commodore really is the best car Holden has ever built and the most advanced car ever created in this country,” continued Mr Holmes.
Mark Reuss, President of General Motors North America and former Managing Director of Holden, also drove the SS V Redline Ute at the Nürburgring and described the Australian icon as: “Spectacular. The steering system is one of the best I’ve ever driven – a perfect balance with real track capability.”
The lap record at the Nürburgring also forms the basis for the new VF Ute advertising campaign. Hit play in the video below to see the lap.