ITíS clear that the Clubsport R8 is not just a fast and glorified taxi. Itís a hero car for bogans, a thin slice of the performance car wedge. Itís part of a cult, a religion, an addiction, where emotion and wallets meet, with emotion usually winning.
Weíre at the annual All Holden Day in Dandenong, and we feel a little out of place in our brand-spankers and completely stock R8.
Yet all the 400 cars here Ė chrome-bumpered sedans, panel vans and utes, large and small alike, fours, sixes and eights, turbo and supercharged Ė have one thing in common; they wear the Lion emblem on their bonnets and in their ownersí hearts.
And so the Clubbie R8 is welcomed into the tribe with open arms, the faithful admiring the six-piston AP Racing stoppers that perform so well pulling up its 1782kg mass, the Anthracite 20-inch wheels that still donít scupper the ride, and the optional rear wing that hampers rear vision, especially at night.
Owning a car with a Lion badge on its nose immediately breaks the ice. But despite the common thinking, itís a broad church. Take the blokes from the SS club, who reckon you donít need to spend the extra $35K that our Clubsport R8 costs over an SS. Or the blokes who prefer chrome bumpers and shun fuel injection in favour of a painstakingly tuned four-barrel Rochester. Whether youíre in a standard FB Holden, a rebuilt VL Turbo or the latest hardware from HSV, however, the kinship remains.
The R8 has booked us into the club, yet at a price. Its fuel economy is admirable for a 6.2-litre V8 Ė a best of 701km from the 71-litre tank is as good as the R8 gets, achieved on an interstate run Ė but around town youíre looking at close to 16L/100km. You need to keep it in Sport mode because Touring mutes the bi-modal exhaust too much and Performance doesnít feel much different on the street. You can feel its weight around corners, but those front seats hold you as firmly as the Continental rubber grips the road, even in the wet.
The R8 is extremely easy to drive and behaves itself in the city, even around corners that in my late teens had my V8-engined VH Commodoreís tail as switchable as an MP after an opinion poll.
The All Holden Day was quite a big deal, as is the R8. I canít say itís the car for all occasions, but so far it is the occasion.
Itís white, but a whitegood it ainít.
Two interstate trips contributed to this monthís excellent 9.6L/100km average.
The ADR claim is 12.9
IT HAPPENED in my last long-termer, and now itís happened in the Clubbie Ė twice. A rear tyre started deflating as I left Fordís HQ (perhaps Graeme Whickman spotted me) and the pressure monitors chimed on my way back to the office. In the boot was a can of goo, which worked, until days later a screw lodged itself in the same bloody tyre! Now there was no goo, or even a wheelbrace to remove the alloy and get it fixed. HSV has since fitted a 20-inch spare and toolkit snugly in the spare wheel well.
Date Acquired: March 2015 Price as tested: $79,365 This month: 2309km @ 9.6L/100km Overall: 3129km @ 11.1L/100km DP T O