28 March 2023 | General

Big HSV set for final Bathurst fling as Camaro awaits

WITH A new Chevrolet Camaro waiting in the wings, long-time Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour contender Chris Lillis has confirmed the 2023 event will be the swansong for the team’s venerable HSV Clubsport.

Lillis, Nathan Callaghan and Matthew Holt will return for another Bathurst 6 Hour campaign in what is the end of an era for the team as they trade HSV for Chevrolet later this year.

The team’s VF Clubsport, nicknamed ‘Kate’ made its debut in the 2019 running of the six-hour and will aim to finish on the same high it started.

“Kate was very quick at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst international last year,” Lillis explained. 

“As this will be her last run, we will be doing everything we can to replicate our success in the 2019 Bathurst 6 hour when we she made her debut. Whilst the outright podium we got that year will be harder now with the number of X-class cars and the Mustangs, we will give it our all.”

Holt, Lillis and Callaghan finished third outright in the 2019 race – the only time an Aussie-built car has finished on the outright podium of the Easter enduro in its six editions to date. 

That third place was the last time something other than a BMW stood on the outright B6HR podium. 

“We will be looking to keep the Mustangs honest in class and continue to prove how good Australian cars were built.”

The team had planned to debut their brand-new Camaro – the first built to 3 Production Car rules in Australia – though delays ensured the well-developed backup was pressed back into service.

The Camaro will instead make its debut in the second round of the Australian Production Cars Series at Sydney Motorsport Park this June.

In the meantime, the team’s HSV features a slick new livery plus new support from Statewide Oil and ongoing backing from long-time supporters, Bilstein.

“We were wanting to release our new partner to our racing program with the unveiling of the Camaro, but we were holding off to see if we would make the grid,” Lillis said.

“We were working towards having it ready for the race but there have been a lot of challenges with the build, and we won’t quite mate the date.

“We are excited to get the Camaro out on the track later in the year as we know it will be a good thing and it is what we need to compete on a level playing field with the Mustang. 

“The Club Sport is still a testament to how good Aussie Muscle is and has given us the APC Class A2 Championship every year since 2017 – so after this year’s 6 hour it will be bittersweet to park her up.

“We are happy to announce that, along with the extension of our great relationship with Bilstein – through Heasman’s of Sydney – the addition of Statewide Oil to our supporter base.

“Statewide oil is a family-owned business that was formed in 1985 and not only supplies Mobil 1 oil to Western Australia but also South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania. 

“I will again be joined by Nathan Callaghan and Mathew Holt and appreciate our whole sponsor group – we’re looking forward to another successful year.

“Thank you to Heasman’s Bilstein, Statewide Oil, Mobil 1, Cachet Homes. Harvey Norman Commercial WA and Metcalfe Automotive.”