Show cars or concept cars tend to come from two different schools of thought – mild and production oriented, designed to gauge public opinion or wild and funky with little basis in production reality but which allows engineers and stylists to exercise their creative talents to the full. HSV’s latest show car manages to straddle a mid point between the two.
In a move that further emphasises the serious intentions behind this car, HSV has revived a truly legendary nameplate for its latest showstopper – GTS/R. Motor sport connectivity is deeply entrenched in the HSV philosophy and GTS/R is unquestionably a badge that blurs the line between road and racetrack.
Far from being a show pony designed only for special motor show appearances, the GTS/R is being envisaged as a very important strategic business tool for HSV. It’s a car that not only creates dreams and aspirations; it backs them up with a fully driveable race track package that opens an enormous array of exciting possibilities.
Styling for the GTS/R show car is based on the sleek body of HSV’s recently released AWD sensation, the Coupe 4 and, like that model, was also penned by HSV Head of Design, Julian Quincey. Using the base car’s extra track width Quincey was able to create bold new pumped out guards, ground hugging sills and a deep rear apron that work together to form a very low, wide racetrack stance. The aggressive front-end is characterised by a gapping air dam and brake cooling ducts that give an unmistakable connection to the racetrack.
Penetrating new headlights are High Intensity Discharge (HID) but parking lamps and indicators use cutting edge LED technology, as do the rear lamps which feature distinctive, twin 3D-effect hotplate LED rings. ”What we’re trying to do” Quincey explains,”is preview some processes that we’d like to use on future HSV models. In terms of front and rear lamps, we’re trying to get a more high-tech effect on HSV’s. With LED technology we don’t have to invest heavily in the reflectors because all that is in the LED itself, you only have to worry about the exterior shape and the layout of the LEDs.”
The reworked rear end includes a diffuser to improve aerodynamics and an active rear wing. Mesh grilled vents at the rear of the front guards aren’t just there for show, says Quincey. ”You get a high pressure build up at the back of wheel arches so the vents are there to reduce that – it’s something you’d see on GT racecars.”
Underneath, the drivetrain and chassis more than match the promises of the race-bred exterior styling. Up front there’s an awesome new 6.0 litre LS2 engine, in this case with some very special enhancements – forged pistons with billet conrods, double row timing chains, high lift camshaft, roller rockers and recalibrated ECU. In addition, the radiator has been lowered and angled backwards to allow a carbon-fibre cold air intake to direct air straight from the twin nostril grille to the engine’s throttle body. As you’d expect the output is prodigious – 335kW @ 6200rpm and 605Nm @ 4800rpm.
Transmission is a close ratio six-speed manual unit, with high clamp force clutch, driving to a 3.73:1 differential complete with spool diff locking mechanism. For the front chassis and suspension the HSV engineering team have really gone to town in creating a totally customised set up. Virtually all is unique to GTS/R and everything is beautifully crafted, including a light-weight chrome moly tubular front crossmember, light-weight cast aluminium lower control arm and knuckle, relocated top strut mount and Ohlins struts incorporating rebound and low and high speed compression adjustment.
The boundary pushing specifications of GTS/R are epitomised by the front brake package in the form of AP Racing 374mm Carbon Ceramic cross-drilled rotors clamped by six piston callipers. This system represents the very pinnacle of current braking technology.
Inside, the GTS/R combines craftsmanship with racecar functionality with a full-width carbon fibre instrument panel, a Race Tech (suppliers to HRT) competition seat, a full chrome moly roll cage (constructed from 52 metres of tubing) to FIA regulations including finite element calculations to minimise weight. The piece de resistance is an AP Racing pedal box assembly – this cutting edge racing technology delivers a pull style master cylinder for precise pedal feel, electronically adjustable brake balance bar and an electronic throttle.
Filling the wheel arches and providing tremendous grip are gorgeous, Quincey-designed 19 x 9-inch and 19 x 9.5-inch three piece ROH wheels with Bridgestone 245 x 35ZR19 and 275 x 30ZR19 performance/race tyres. Above the left rear wheel arch is race style dry brake fuel filler.
-Race fuel cell with dry brake fuel fill system -Engine oil cooler -Carbon fibre cold air intake over radiator -Lowered and angled 2-row high efficiency aluminium radiator incorporating heat exchanger for power steering -Rear differential cooler -High volume baffled sump -Adjustable blade style sway bar -Fast ratio linear steering rack -Race tech competition seat with helmet support -Full chrome moly roll cage to FIA regulation -Carbon fibre instrument, door and floor panels -Fully integrated fire extinguisher system
GTS-R’s FutureThe GTS-R has a potential future far beyond just a show special. HSV is currently assessing interest in creating a one make GTS/R series to help provide a pathway for young drivers who aspire to one day compete in the V8 Supercar Series. Further details will be announced as they become more concrete.
Interestingly, talk of a one make series has sparked export opportunities to Asia and the Middle East where there are several excellent racing facilities but a scarcity of racing cars and events. Indeed, two confirmed orders have already been received for GTS/R models from the Malaysian Grand Prix Commission.
HSV’s Managing Director John Crennan stated, ”this is an inspired project for HSV and consistent with the company’s constant efforts to look outside the Australian automotive square. I can certainly envisage a limited number of these cars being ordered and individually built for enthusiasts of the HSV brand for them to use privately at race tracks or on closed circuits, with the GTS/R’s becoming highly valued investments.”
HSV is delighted to announce that the GTS/R will play a key role in an exciting new partnership with the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, where a fleet of the cars will be used to give passengers the ”thrill of a lifetime” in a Hot Laps Programme around what is universally regarded as one of the world’s iconic race tracks.