Even Holden Special Vehicles (HSV) has noticed an increased divergence between race car success and road car sales in the modern era.
The old aphorism ‘win on Sunday, sell on Monday’ has been on the nose for years elsewhere in major categories perhaps excluding GT, so much so that a dedicated factory-backed tuning division agrees.
We spoke to HSV managing director Tim Jackson recently, where he outlined the company’s future with Holden once Australian manufacturing dies, promising a bright future and even discussing its hyped Colorado pickup derivative to challenge the Ford Ranger Wildtrak.
Above: Holden's Colorado Z71 could soon be topped by an HSV performance hero
He told us when we broached the topic of racing — remember, HSV parent Walkinshaw has its own Supercars team — what modern racing meant to car sales, in an era where it’s made world-beaters such as the W1 super-sedan.
“I think there has been, over time, a divergence. It’s not as closely linked as it used to be,” he responded.
“Now I probably can’t show you data to that effect and show you how it’s different, but so much development happens on the road side that’s not related to what’s going on on the race side, and consumers today are sophisticated enough to go ‘ok, what is a good car, does that meet my price, content, performance expectations within the sphere I’m buying in’.
Above: the HSV GTSR W1
“I still think when you look at what’s been our traditional customer base, motor racing figures as an important part of their interests and pastimes. If the equation is would we be happy if we were doing better on the track, yes we would be.
“But our product development on road cars has a much greater impact on sales.”
HSV has become increasingly sophisticated with its offerings, with its final run of GTSR and W1 Commodores blowing us away. We’re expecting numerous tuned versions of imported Holdens to emerge in 2018, though plans beyond Colorado are secret still.
“… You can see the changes going through the auto industry, and I see this divergence of motorsport and what has been its traditional suppliers and backers on the auto side. Everyone is struggling with what it means, and how does it reference back to the goals of the OEs?" Jackson added.
“I don’t have the crystal ball, but you can see the world’s been changing. It’s not new, but we are certainly noticing, it’s been happening for about 10 years.”
Don’t expect Walkinshaw to reduce its racing commitments, but what’s clear is that HSV’s development and marketing won’t necessarily have racing pedigree solely at forefront.