‘We’re still here, we’re still designing and engineering appropriate in Australia…’
Holden has arise its latest abstraction car, the Time Attack Abstraction Racer, online. Damn, it looks good.
We’ve been advised to abounding a show-stopping Holden abstraction over the years, although none absolutely like this. Looking at it, you could be forgiven for autograph it off as a whimsical, unrealistic activity crafted by a volume-selling brand’s bound designers gone wild.
Yet, as we abstruse this anniversary in a two-hour affair at the bobcat brand’s headquarters, the Time Attack Abstraction Racer is far added than that.
The banderole numbers should be enough: 1000kW, 3240Nm and a Bathurst lap record. Again there’s the way it looks. All told, it’s a affection activity for the accomplished engineers and designers at GM’s abandoned yet acute Holden studios.
In its broadly aggressive architecture and adroit engineering, the Time Attack Abstraction Racer is an absolute admonition that Holden is still here, it still touts absurd expertise. Bounded boilerplate accomplishment ability be dead, but all the Holden automotive aptitude didn’t atrophy and die with the branch in Elizabeth aftermost year.
There’s a alluring adventure abaft the Time Attack Abstraction Racer’s conception, architecture and creation. And we were advantageous abundant to apprehend it contiguous from the bodies involved.
How did this arise about? Well, it all starts with the end of the bounded motor appearance scene.
You bethink the big Melbourne and Sydney motor shows. They ran every year, eventually acceptable the Australian International Motor Appearance to abide accordant and cost-effective, alternating state-to-state in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Ultimately, it had all concluded by 2013. (Melbourne cancelled, again Sydney followed.)
The shows gave car basics a abode to blow and crowd new metal from about the world, but they additionally gave Holden’s architecture aggregation a belvedere to appearance what they could do aback applied considerations were removed from the conversation.
Among the abracadabra moments were the 1969 Hurricane (forward-looking tech), the TT36 (should’ve fabricated production), the Efijy (stunning, absolutely you’ll agree) and the Coupe 60 (VE Monaro, is that you?). There are more, but we won’t account them all here. Regardless, they were arise at motor shows Bottomward Under.
Richard Ferlazzo, Holden Architecture director, says developing the Time Attack Abstraction Racer was all about assuming bounded architecture to a bounded audience, instead of adopted motor appearance crowds with Buick, Opel and Chevrolet concepts.
“Behind this accomplished abstraction was the abstraction we would abide to do abstraction cars for the Australian market, and for the Holden brand. That’s absolutely important to us,” he explained, sitting about a annular table in his sprawling office. The abridgement of account for flashy, concrete abstraction cartage aimed at Holden’s heartland acceptable additionally plays a role.
“Without the motor shows in Australia anymore, acutely they went a cardinal of years ago, Holden absent that appointment breadth we could advertise our concepts at a motor appearance to the public.
“We abide to accomplish abstraction cars, by the way, for our added GM brands… but our affection is still with the Holden brand.”
Holden is at pains to accomplish bright the Time Attack Abstraction Racer isn’t advised to be a ‘replacement’ for today’s V8/Australian Supercars racers. For one, it’s advised to be a tearaway one-lap weapon, not an ability racer.
That raises the question: why bother absorption on Bathurst at all?
For one, Ferlazzo reminds us, it’s been bristles decades aback Holden’s aboriginal win at the allegorical circuit, and the Time Attack is advised to adore that win.
Second, it’s still the acme of Australian motorsport. If you’re aggravating to accomplish a splash, lapping Mount Panorama in 1:29.00 is a appealing acceptable way to do it.
How quick is that, you ability ask? Appropriate now, the official quickest lap about Bathurst is a 2:01.567, set by Shane Van Gisbergen in the McLaren 650S GT3 racer.
Scott McLaughlin was the aboriginal Supercars disciplinarian to bead into the 2:03 bracket with a 2:03.831 in Bathurst 1000 condoning aftermost year, while Greg Murphy’s allegorical ‘Lap of the Gods’ was a 2:05.8594.
The actionable record, however, was set by Jenson Button in a McLaren MP4-23 F1 car during a Vodafone achievement in 2011. His time? 1:48.8.
Although it’s not necessarily easy, it’s not absurd to brainstorm a car like the Time Attack Abstraction Racer ballyhoo that time.
Ewan Kingsbury, advance artistic artist on this activity – and the man abaft the TT36 Torana and Coupe 60 concepts, amid others – says bringing Mount Panorama into comedy was aimed at bond the accomplished with the future.
“We could accept gone bottomward that avenue breadth we did a array of approaching V8 Supercar,” he says, sitting alongside Ferlazzo in the huge architecture addition of Holden’s Port Melbourne headquarters. “When I attending at GM and GM Holden, it’s absolutely a aggregation that’s actual advanced now.”
“I capital to accomplish abiding the car that we did captured the affection and the appearance of Bathurst, and Holden’s accord to it from the past, but that it additionally took us into the future,” he says.
“We’re not harking aback to the past, but we’re still capturing that spirit and that acceptable attitude.”
And appropriately we come, neatly, to the car itself. Allotment architecture study, allotment engineering project, and a actual big flight of fancy, the Time Attack could be advised far-fetched. After all, it alone exists in a set of abundant renders, a video, and a small-scale adobe mirror model.
But the abstraction has been advised with one bottom in reality. Maybe it’ll be accessible in 2025, maybe 2030, but all the technologies featured actuality are already developed, or are actuality developed in some form.
“There’s article for everybody,” Ferlazzo says of the engineering abaft the Time Attack Abstraction Racer. “Those that aloof adore the adorableness and don’t accept the abstruse stuff, okay, they’re satisfied. But a lot of bodies like to assignment a little bit deeper, and it’s like unwrapping a present.”
“There’s addition layer-on-layer beneath there. It’s like, ‘wow! That’s absolutely cool.'”
The 100km/h dart takes aloof 1.25 seconds, and top acceleration is 480km/h, acknowledgment to four inboard motors authoritative 250kW each. Anniversary puts ability to the auto through a three-speed all-embracing gearbox.
There’s torque vectoring at all four corners, managing a accumulated 3240Nm on the fly.
The four motors draw on a graphene, solid-state 90MJ (25kWh) array backpack able of charging in aloof 90 seconds. That’s application the 1000kW, 800V/1250A charger pictured here, naturally.
Graphene has connected been mooted as a way to badly advance our accepted batteries. It’s fabricated from a filigree of carbon atoms, and is light, awful conductive and, based on weight, stronger than steel. It’s additionally big-ticket to produce, and hasn’t yet been commercialised. But, hey… so what?
“Because it’s virtual, money isn’t an affair – which is acutely a huge allotment of antagonism and architecture anything,” Kingsbury says, referencing the alloy of arising and new technologies on board.
Obviously, developing a graphene array would be fiendishly big-ticket in the absolute world, but developing the Time Attack Abstraction about opened a few altered doors.
“Because we were able to ‘blue sky’ the accomplished thing, and aloof aces altered account from motorsport, aeronautics, from all sorts of fields, we were able to mix that pot a bit abnormally and hopefully accommodate article which is new,” he elaborated.
The anatomy itself is fabricated of carbon-fibre, with a graphene-coated polycarbonate high section. That polycarbonate awning is, according to Kingsbury, aggressive by a NACA duct. Check out the top-down view; the affinity is clear.
If the NACA aqueduct is a attenuate nod to the aphotic art of aerodynamics, the underbody is a advanced altar to it.
Starting at the front, the forward-leaning bill has been advised with basal breadth in mind. There’s an ankle-breaking splitter, too, but the showpiece is a set of four ‘ground effects’ fans.
They’re not the arena furnishings you ability accept apparent on, say, a Chaparral. Instead of fans, the abstraction uses electrically-controlled ‘cyclogyros’ spinning at 50,000rpm. Aback they’re required, the blades bounce out and actualize downforce. They abjure aback not needed, acceptance Holden to abuse downforce from corner-to-corner on the fly.
Think of it as the aerodynamic agnate of torque vectoring. Coupled with a hydraulically-actuated rear wing, the Time Attack Abstraction Racer should stick to the Bathurst blacktop like glue.
Before it could be rendered, the Time Attack Abstraction bare to be, you know, imagined. Rather than activity to the aggregation with a akin production-focused abrupt from above, the abstraction of a forward-thinking racer was befuddled to the added architecture team, who again pitched ideas.
Ewan Kingsbury put advanced the acceptable proposal.
“We assignment competitively,” Kingsbury told CarAdvice. “Every activity we assignment on, a aggregation of designers will abide proposals and again it’s ‘best man wins’… That kinda brings out the best in anybody I think, and it affectionate of makes abiding you’ve got to be at the top of your game.”
There aren’t all that abounding links amid the Time Attack and the new Astra, Commodore, Equinox, Acadia… you get the idea. The headlights allotment their basal appearance with the accepted range, but there are actual few bright links to Holden’s administration language. You could put any added cast on this racer and it’d be as convincing.
Does this advance a abridgement of character in this concept? Was the Holden aggregation so bent up in the affective technology and road-hugging aero that it alone to architecture a Holden? That alarm – which, in abounding ways, ignores the complication of finer marrying ability to appearance – is ultimately up to the observer… but being able to aberration a Holden abstraction for a European hypercar is no bad thing.
Whatever the case, Ferlazzo argues there’s a 18-carat articulation to archetypal Holdens in the concept’s “road presence”.
“With any brand, aback we put an announcement like this out, it aloof captures the DNA,” he says aback prodded on how the Time Attack fits into a agency that includes the Equinox – a car absurd to win abounding administration awards. (At atomic it wasn’t advised by the Australian team.)
“The artistic surfacing, the way it sits on the alley – the stance, the alley attendance – and the bringing calm of forms that represents the brand,” he goes on, bottomward in some artist lingo.
“This one has the bent stance, the absolute look, and the able-bodied feel that I anticipate is alike with Holden.”
Will that alteration into approaching assembly cars, Holden or otherwise? Not directly. But the stance, or the ‘gestures’, basement this architecture could able-bodied arise on approaching General Motors cartage aimed at a all-around audience.
Making the Time Attack Abstraction a (virtual) absoluteness was the job of Holden’s centralized architecture visualisation team. It was sketched on cardboard and again angry into a calibration adobe model, breadth the architecture aggregation aesthetic its aboriginal ideas. That’s accepted convenance aback developing any concrete vehicle, but the aggregation says it was additionally adorning for the basal Time Attack.
The architecture aggregation formed hand-in-hand with the engineers at Port Melbourne to accompany the architecture to life, as allotment of a action that complex a lot of back-and-forth. Hopefully we’ll be able to adore the fruits of that action about like Forza or Gran Turismo, although Holden says it hasn’t fabricated any advances.
“It’s been a abundant acquirements acquaintance for me as a designer, alive with engineers… and often, me blame absolutely adamantine and actuality unreasonable, unrealistic with some of my demands,” Kingsbury explained.
Often, it was a case of the engineers advancing aback and “over-delivering”, advancing aback with “figures and numbers, and band-aid and means of accomplishing things that accept absolutely impacted me as a designer,” he continued.
Once the architecture was bound in, the car was 3D-rendered in CAD. Things like the abeyance setup, nitty-gritty of the anatomy structure, and the accomplished account on the underbody accept all been captured in abundant detail, while the abeyance geometry has all been created properly. The final blow was a video, created absolutely in-house.
Ferlazzo went out of his way to highlight the actuality Holden has absolutely gone to the time and accomplishment – added than once, actually. Although it’s forward-looking, the abstraction exists in some anatomy and is “entirely plausible” in an engineering sense.
“Can we body it today, with the accepted technology? Well, not in the anatomy that we’ve apparent it. But it’s not far off, it’s application technologies that are about the world, and bodies are talking about,” he says.
“We haven’t aloof fantasised… they’re talking about batteries that can do these affectionate of things, and all the added technologies, so whilst you can’t buy it appropriate now, it’s appropriate on the horizon.”
“That adds to the accomplished artifice about it.”
Richard Ferlazzo won’t say how generally they’ll come, and what they’ll attending like, but he wants basal concepts to appear on a “regular basis” activity forward.
Logic suggests the acknowledgment to this Time Attack racer will plan a role, too, but now the architecture aggregation has a aftertaste of the abandon offered by developing cars like this for the Holden cast specifically, they’re absurd to let it go.
“It’s abundant to be designing assembly cars, we’re actual beholden for the opportunities we have,” he explained.
“But like anything, aback it’s accountable it’s actual frustrating. This allows that outlet, that discharge of frustration, that you don’t accept to accomplish it in a anatomy that can be reproduced in hundreds of bags at an economical price.
“You can advance the boundaries a bit… that’s actual satisfying, because it allows that chargeless expression. With the shackles off I can do this!”
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