A mega-dollar marketing stunt for the Holden ute at the world-famous Nurburgring race circuit appears to have backfired.
Holden took a new VF Commodore SS ute to the high temple of horsepower in Germany a fortnight ago so it could become the fastest ute to lap the perilous 21km circuit known as “green hell”, and then use the achievement in advertisements.
But despite its V8 grunt and new lightweight materials the SS-V Redline edition was slower than a Renault hot hatch, which has a less powerful engine and is cheaper to buy than Holden’s hero car. The new VF Holden SS-V Redline ute is understood to cost more than $48,000, while the Renault’s RRP is $42,640.
Two years ago Renault’s Megane RS became the fastest front-drive production car to ever lap the Nurburgring, setting a time of 8 minutes and 7.97 seconds in June 2011.
The new Holden ute set a more leisurely time of 8 minutes and 21 seconds on its first day of testingt, putting it only a few seconds ahead of a Hyundai V6 Coupe, and slower than the Chevrolet Camaro with which it shares its underpinnings. Carsguide understands it may have done a marginally quicker time on the second day of testing.
When Holden was quizzed about the ute’s Nurburgring campaign, the company said the vehicle was there for routine testing. But Carsguide has learned Holden filmed the hot-laps at a considerable cost for an upcoming marketing campaign.
Former Holden boss Mark Reuss, who is now the boss of General Motors North America, was behind the wheel for the mammoth exercise. Reuss, formerly an engineer for the company, is one of the few General Motors employees qualified to drive on the Nurburgring.