If there’s a silver lining to the impending demise of the Australian car industry, it’s the fact it gives manufacturers a chance to really let themselves off the leash.
Okay, so tight development budgets mean we’re never going to see a final Falcon GT-HO or Holden GTR-X, but there’s still plenty of scope for limited-run specials that offer something fresh to an enthusiast public clamouring to grab one last slice of Australiana.
When it comes to limited-edition cars, no-one can match HSV. We’re looking for something beyond the usual ‘stickers, paint and build plaque’ though, with a stripped-out track-ready Clubsport on our wish list.
HSV has prior form here. Back in 2006, Clayton prepared 20 VY Clubsports for a one-make race series in the Middle East – which resulted in some very interesting interpretations of how to drive a race car.
Those cars were fairly standard, stripped of anything that didn’t make them faster around a race track and beefed up in the all-important cooling, transmission and braking departments. It’s from that car we take inspiration, and it should be a relative breeze, so get to it, HSV!
Engine: Underneath that serious bonnet vent is the 7.0-litre LS7 V8 lifted from the Camaro Z/28. Dry-sumped with titanium ’rods, it thumps out 377kW and 649Nm while being as durable as steel wool.
Cooling: With a hard life on track ahead of it, cooling is key. The radiator is upgraded while extra coolers are added to the gearbox and diff (the 9.75-inch unit used in the supercharged GTS).
Bodywork: Carbon aero bits might seem a bit fancy, but a mob in Geelong (currently in the motorcycle business) are whizzes at knocking up small-volume carbon trinkets. Support local manufacturing!
Rolling stock: Centre-lock wheels, wrapped in Pirelli P Zero Trofeo tyres, exude motorsport cool. Brakes are a straight lift from the GTS with comp-spec fluid and pads; with the R’s lighter weight, fade will never be an issue.
Interior: Interior loses all creature comforts, including rear seats, but keeps air-con and gains a full roll-cage instead. HSV’s EDI system is present, but only Race and ‘Everything Off’ modes remain. Weight loss is in the region of 150kg.
Price: While $150,000 is a lot of money for a Clubsport, the R will eat anything this side of a $300K 911 GT3. And, with just 25 examples, exclusivity is guaranteed. Just don’t park it in a shed under a car cover.