According to HSV’s engineering boss, Joel Stoddart, the move to an LS9 presented plenty of challenges.
Not the least of which was actually finding the engines, since the LS9 is now out of production within GM. “We had to head to the US and start going through warehouses trying to find enough engines,” he says.
“And then we had to kind of beg for them. At the start, we could only find a handful, but we kept at it and eventually found enough to complete the program.” Sounds like you can forget about ordering an LS9 crate engine any time in the future. Even then, the challenges didn’t stop there.
“We had to come up with a new accessory drive, too,” Joel says. “The Corvette has hydraulic power steering so the accessory drive included that. We didn’t need that (the Commodore has electric-assist) so the pulleys are our own.
“But an even bigger problem was finding a transmission to handle 800Nm. We knew the Tremec TR6060 from the Corvette could handle it, but that car has a transaxle, not a conventional layout. So we had to somehow put that gearset into our gearbox casing. Then we couldn’t find an input shaft anywhere in the GM world that was the right length, so we had our own made.”
Joel admits that that’s a lot of development work for a car that will be built just 300 times. That’s not a huge opportunity to amortise costs, and while nobody is saying for sure how much gold has been poured in to the W1 and the GTS-R line-up, HSV brass reckon the number is closer to $10 million than $5 million.
Yet, HSV claims the car will still be profitable, and stresses that “it’s not a price gouge on our part. Not by any means.”
To read more on HSV's 2017 range click here.