An HSV Maloo driven by an Australian-born journalist has set a new record at the oldest motorsport venue in the world still in continuous use – Shelsley Walsh hill climb in Worcestershire, UK.
Autocar magazine editor-in-chief Steve Cropley became the first person to send a light-commercial vehicle (LCV) up the 1000-yard (914.4-metre) hill climb in anger, setting the new benchmark in the 317kW/550Nm 6.2-litre V8-powered ute.
Cropley said the plan was not just to set a record for an LCV in the Vauxhall-badged, Melbourne-built HSV, but to set a time respectable enough to take some beating.
“Despite the track being dampish and littered with wildlife that thought the hill climb season had ended, we managed a 38.65-second run,” he said.
“The Maloo’s huge torque, decent launch control and easy handling made the whole experience less of a chore than it should have been, too.”
Mark Constanduros from Shelsley Walsh was welcomed the new record.
“We always welcome new ways of tackling the hill, and seeing such an incongruous vehicle blast up the track driven by one of our favourite journalists was quite something,” Constanduros said.
“I’m certain that it’ll lay down the gauntlet to manufacturers of other LCVs, though they’ll have to try hard to beat Steve’s time.”
Despite claiming the record for the LCV class, the Maloo is a long way short of the overall record held by Martin Collins in an open-wheel race car, who stopped the clock at 22.58 seconds in 2008.
Shelsley Walsh hill climb was first used in 1905 and still uses its original layout.