The Red Bull Holden Racing Team has revealed its 2018 Supercars Championship livery and the new Holden ZB Commodore that it and other Holden outfits will race in 2018.
The new car and livery scheme was unveiled at Sydney’s Royal Bottanical Gardens on Friday, with drivers Jamie Whincup and Shane van Gisbergen doing the honours.
The ZB Commodore, the first iteration of the fifth-generation Commodore platform, is based on the model sold by General Motors brands Opel and Vauxhall in Europe (badged as the ‘Insignia’) and by Buick in North America and China (badged as the ‘Regal’).
It is the first Commodore to be manufactured outside Australia following the closure of Holden’s manufacturing facilities in South Australia and Victoria in October 2017, and the first car released under the Commodore banner to feature a hatchback-style boot.
The ‘liftback’ car shape is a departure from the traditional sedan variants run by rival manufacturers as Supercars looks to attract wider carmaker interest under its ‘Gen 2’ regulations which allow a wider variety of car shapes and engine configurations.
The Supercars-spec ZB has been developed by Red Bull Holden Racing’s parent operation, Triple Eight Race Engineering, and will be run by all Holden squads this year.
While the retail versions of the ZB Commodore will be sold with either four- or six-cylinder engine configurations, the Supercars-spec version will retain the V8 powerplant before switching to the Triple Eight and GM developed twin turbo V6 configuration in 2019. That new engine will, however, make a number of wildcard starts over the course of the 2018 season.
The team’s #1 and #97 entries – driven by Jamie Whincup and Shane van Gisbergen respectively – feature a stunning new paint scheme designed by renowned livery specialist Peter Hughes. As Holden’s official factory team, the carmaker’s logos are prominent along with title sponsor Red Bull.
“The next generation livery is dominated by a completely dark blue front, fading to completely white rear and should be unmistakable on track. Graphics front and rear have been kept to a minimum, showcasing and highlighting the elegant lines of the new Commodore,” Hughes explained.
“Funky, bold slashes help connect the aggressive blue front to simple and bold white rear, where Holden’s signature nameplate is now vibrant black on white in keeping with our new corporate direction.
“I feel it’s a great way to celebrate the entry of a new era of Commodore into Australian motorsport and I hope the fans like the new look.”
Red Bull Holden Racing also used its launch to confirm that Whincup had signed a contract extension with the team until the end of 2019, aligning him to the existing deals in place for teammate van Gisbergen and Triple Eight’s third driver Craig Lowndes.
“I’ve been with Triple Eight for a long time now and we’ve achieved a lot together, but at the same time still feel we have so much more to prove,” the reigning Supercars Champion, a seven-time title-winner, said.
“I’m rapt to be staying within the family for at least the next couple of seasons and massively looking forward to the challenges that the new Commodore and then the V6 engine next year will present.”
The Red Bull Holden Racing Team has won the last two Supercars Drivers’ Championship titles with Whincup in 2017 and van Gisbergen in 2016, however is failed to clinch the 2017 Teams’ Championship, losing out to Shell V-Power Racing (DJR Team Penske).
Images via Red Bull Holden Racing Team