When we first saw pics of the Holden VF ute circulating at the Nürbugring we sensed it was little more than a marketing gimmick. And it looks as though we were right. With the VF SSV Redline ute Holden is claiming the title of the world’s fastest utlility vehicle at the Ring, a title which, until now, never existed.
Holden test driver Rob Trubiani was at the wheel during an industry pool test day and posted a lap time of 8:19.47, around 11 seconds better than their 8:30 target time. Holden says the car is a “product-correct engineering test vehicle” with its speed limiter removed and increased negative camber at the front wheels.
You can expect to see and hear a lot more about this lap when the VF ute goes on sale. For now there’s a decent gallery of pics and four videos for you to watch.
The main video shows the full lap with commentary from Trubiani, it’s actually quite a decent effort we have to say. Despite Trubiani’s claims that the ute’s electric power steering is the duck’s guts, to our untrained eye it looks a touch light and requires too much turn to reach full lock.
Holden VF Ute Conquers the Green Hell!
- VF SS V Redline Ute posts 8m 19.47sec lap at Nürburgring; sets world record for a commercial and utility vehicle*
- Holden Vehicle Dynamics Engineer, Rob Trubiani behind the wheel
- Record lap forms basis of new VF Ute advertising campaign
28 June 2013. Holden’s new VF SS V Redline Ute has proven itself Australia’s ultimate sports machine and a world-beating performance car by setting a world-record lap* at the toughest racetrack on the planet – the famous Nürburgring in Germany.
With Holden Dynamics Engineer, Rob Trubiani, at the wheel of the VF SS V Redline Ute the Australian performance icon posted a sizzling 8m 19.47sec lap – faster than many exotic sports cars costing several times more than the Ute.
“We came up with a plan to tackle the Nürburgring and break the world record for a commercial or utility vehicle but when we did our research it seemed one didn’t exist, so we decided to set a record instead!” said Mr Trubiani.
“Without a lap record to break, we sat down and calculated what we thought the Ute could do and targeted around 8min 30sec. Initial practice sessions at the track confirmed that was a stretch target so that’s what we aimed for. To slash 11 seconds from that time with an 8m 19.47sec lap was incredible. There may not have been a utility-vehicle record before but I’m proud to say the VF SS V Redline Ute is now the Nürburgring benchmark!”
This lap time was set during a full run of the Nordschleife section of the Nürburgring, a total of 20.8km.
The pinnacle of Holden’s performance range, the SS V Redline range (available as a sedan, Sportwagon and Ute) has been specifically designed and tuned to maximise the three fundamentals of vehicle performance: Go, Stop and Turn. SS V Redline models are equipped with unique, ultra-sports tuned FE3 suspension, along with the widest wheels and tyres ever fitted to a mainstream Holden and the first ‘split’ front and rear tyre arrangement.
The SS V Redline split combination of 19×8.5-inch front wheels with 245/40/R19 ultra high-performance tyres and larger 19×9-inch rear wheels with 275/35/R19 ultra high-performance tyres emphasises its track-ready credentials.
The SS V Redline chassis and suspension set-up includes new spring and damper tunes front and rear, larger stabiliser bars and stiffened suspension bushes. Brakes are track-tested, including front Brembo disc brakes utilising four-piston callipers.
Rob Trubiani was accompanied to the ‘Ring in April by Holden technician Michael (‘Turbo’) Cutajar to achieve the world-record mission. Michael is employed at Holden’s Proving Ground in Lang Lang, Victoria. The program was conducted during the ‘Industry Pool’ days, during which the track is shut to the public and manufacturers have exclusive access.
“For any car enthusiast the Nürburgring is like the Holy Grail. It’s the toughest, craziest, most demanding race track in the world and for the Ute to handle everything that was thrown at it and set the time we did shows what an exceptional vehicle it is,” said Mr Trubiani.
“The Nordschleife section of the ‘Ring is the ultimate test of man and machine. It’s 20.8km long and has more than 170 corners with huge elevation changes and multiple surfaces – there is no tougher test for a car and its dynamics. If a vehicle can handle The Green Hell it can handle anything and proves yet again that Holden’s testing and development processes produce world-class cars with world-class handling.”
“Being surrounded by mostly European manufacturers at the industry days, the Ute really stood out and I was getting plenty of thumbs up. Plus a few of the more expensive European cars on the track got a shock as this red Aussie Ute flew past them!” continued Mr Trubiani.
“The VF Commodore can mix it with Europe’s best. The advanced technology, performance focus and attention to detail makes the SS V Redline Ute a bonafide track-capable sports machine. Right down to the Head-Up Display which can project lateral G readings onto the windscreen along with a tachometer displaying graduating shift lights – this car was born for the track.
“The Ute was simply awesome to drive on the Nürburgring. When it comes to Go, Stop and Turn the SS V Redline is the ultimate Holden. The redesigned suspension, the electric power-steering system, strategic weight reduction in key areas like the aluminium bonnet and countless other engineering upgrades has elevated the VF to a new dynamic level. Driving the SS V Redline Ute at the ‘Ring has been the highlight of my career,” said Mr Trubiani.
The SS V Redline Ute that set the lap time was a product-correct engineering test vehicle that was being used in Europe for validation purposes before taking on The Green Hell. Stock standard apart from a small amount of additional negative camber dialled into the front wheels (although still within production tolerances) and the removal of the speed limiter, the Ute ran flawlessly for seven days and 35 gruelling laps in total.
The only components that required changing during the entire program were tyres and brakes, a testament to the robust engineering of the VF Commodore range.
“We took a standard six-speed automatic VF SS V Redline Ute and subjected it to 35 laps and more than 720 kilometres of intense punishment at the Nürburgring and the car didn’t skip a beat; it soaked it all up and set a hugely impressive lap time,” said Andrew Holmes, Program Engineering Manager for VF.
“We completed almost 3.3 million kilometres of testing during development of the VF and it’s a reflection of the uncompromising and world-class engineering that has gone into the new Commodore. It’s something everyone is very proud of and shows the world what the Holden team is capable of. For the SS V Redline range we wanted to push the handling envelope to create the ultimate sports machine and the lap time certainly proves we’ve done that.”
“The VF Commodore really is the best car Holden has ever built and the most advanced car ever created in this country,” continued Mr Holmes.
Mark Reuss, President of General Motors North America and former Managing Director of Holden, also drove the SS V Redline Ute at the Nürburgring and described the Australian icon as: “Spectacular. The steering system is one of the best I’ve ever driven – a perfect balance with real track capability.”
The lap record at the Nürburgring also forms the basis for the new VF Ute advertising campaign. For video of the full lap, exclusive behind-the-scenes footage and to download the World Record Ute mobile game visit http://www.holden.com.au/worldrecordute
About Robert Trubiani:
Rob is a Vehicle Dynamics Engineer with Holden and the company’s premier test driver.
Rob is the only Holden employee who is currently certified as a Nürburgring Industry Pool Driver and is one of only 21 employees across Holden and General Motors North America who holds this certification.
The VF Redline Ute World Record was Rob’s third time driving at the ‘Ring and he has completed more than 150 laps of the world’s toughest racetrack.
Rob started at Holden in 1996 as a Chassis Development Engineer and has worked on every Commodore program from VT through to the current VF.
Rob also led development of the dynamics tune for the Chevrolet Camaro, based on the Holden-developed Zeta platform underpinning VE and VF Commodore.
For the VF program, Rob led development of the Electric Power Steering (EPS) system, all FE2 and FE3 suspension tunes and tyre development.
World Record Holden VF SS V Redline Ute Specifications:
- VF SS V Redline Ute
- 6.0L 90-degree OHV V8 with Active Fuel Management (AFM) technology
- 6-speed automatic transmission
- 260kW @ 5600rpm
- 517Nm @ 4400rpm
- FE3 ultra-sports tuned suspension
- Brembo® front disc brakes
- Forged 19 inch alloy wheels
- 245/40 R19 (Front) & 275/35 R19 (Rear) Ultra High Performance Tyres
- Colour Head-Up Display
- Electric Power Steering with selectable Competitive mode tune
- Forward Collision Alert
- Lane Departure Warning
*Well, we’re claiming it anyway. VF Ute is certified by the Australian Government (DOTARS) as Class NA – Light Goods Vehicle.