Great news, soon there will be a race series where double-cab Toyota Hiluxs, Volkswagen Amaroks, Ford Rangers and Nissan Navaras can go wheel-to-wheel on track in anger. Yup, the only catch is bakkie mad Saffas will have to turn their attention to Australia for the privilege.
Low-slung V8-powered Fords and Holdens (Chevys in SA) ‘SuperUtes’ have been a support series for Aussie V8 Supercar racing for some time now, but it’s just been announced that in an attempt to move with the times and make the racing more relevant to the new car market, organisers will change the formula for 2017, employing traditional double-cab turbodiesels, opening the competition up to all manufacturers.
Speaking at the launch, Supercars Managing Director Matt Braid said the introduction of SuperUtes was an exciting development for Australian motorsport. ‘V8 Utes has been a popular and entertaining category but with the changing automotive market it’s important that the Utes series becomes more market relevant,’ he said.
‘Utilising production based turbo-diesel dual cab utes (bakkies) currently available for sale in the Australian market, SuperUtes will open the category to a variety of new manufacturers while still maintaining the spectacular and entertaining elements that make the category such a favourite with the fans.’
The technical regulations have only been broadly outlined but in an effort to attract privateer entries ahead of money-flush factory outfits, vehicles will use their original turbodiesel engine, with a set power output limit. The double-cabs will be rear-wheel-drive only, minimum weight will be around 1 800kg and now aerodynamic aids will be allowed. Similarly, to keep the playing field level, ECUs, wheels, tyres and brakes will all be standardised, with tyres supplied by Dunlop and brakes coming from AP Racing.
The first event of the new formula is planned for next July, with four more meets scheduled for 2017 before expanding further in 2018. We know circuit-based double-cab racing is a slightly fringe in SA motorsport, but lets be honest, who doesn’t want to watch their favourite bakkie in action each weekend?
In case you’ve never had the pleasure before, catch some typical V8 SuperUte action here: