In a bid to ensure its three limited edition models — the Commodore Magnum, Director and Motorsport — are taken seriously, Holden has tested them to the same extreme standards required for GM’s global track capable cars.
Testing is undertaken at General Motors’ Milford Race Course. It’s a gruelling track used to certify cars as track capable with GM’s stamp of approval. Other vehicles in the GM world with the level 3 track certification include the manic supercharged V8 Corvette Z06 and the equally as hair raising Chevrolet Camaro ZL1.
To achieve level 3 track certification, the vehicle must be able to do 24 hours of race pace laps at the Milford Road Course. The in lap and out lap doesn’t count and if a certain lap isn’t within a certain race pace timeframe, it doesn’t count either.
Part of testing also includes going through a full tank of fuel at VMax, at temperatures above 38 degrees Celsius ambient. The certification ensures that from a powertrain and braking perspective, they are capable of being driven hard without risk of overheating or part failure.
You can see the full details in our track review of the Magnum, Director and Motorsport, but to successfully achieve the Level 3 certification, each of the limited editions had an additional engine oil cooler fitted, an auxiliary automatic transmission cooler (for six-speed automatic models) and an in-tank radiator water-to-oil cooler for manual models.
Speaking to CarAdvice at the drive of the three limited edition models, Holden’s lead vehicle dynamics engineer, Rob Trubiani said that he’s chuffed with the performance of the cars.
“So all of those cars now have a level 3 track capability. Their cooling performance is up to being belted around a race track, the performance of the vehicle in general can handle that kind of extreme work,” Trubiani said.
“They ran through a 24 hour endurance test. It’s 24 hours done at race pace, so they don’t count the in or out lap, it’s purely the laps that are done on the limits. Every lap is monitored for the lap time and they accumulate the time. You need to be on pace.”
“It’s 24 hours accumulated, for example in a day you might get five hours of time accumulated. You do a full tank run, you come in and they check over the brakes and tyres to make sure it’s okay. Fill up the car and back out again.”
Trubiani said that being part of an illustrious group of cars with a similar rating meant a lot to him. And, he was happy with the way the vehicles performed while the media tested them non-stop at the Phillip Island race track.
“Corvette, the high level Camaros, it’s in that league. It’s an impressive field to be in,” Trubiani said.
“That shows its track capability. We lapped non-stop for the whole afternoon and the cars kept going. You were able to get in them and drive them home…”
So it’s quite clear that these cars are more than just a minor mechanical tweak. They are confidence inspiring cars with a heap of track potential.