The death of local large-scale new car manufacturing will force the end of the V8 Utes racing series, but a the first two models for a replacement series have been unveiled this week.
The new series is called SuperUtes, and it will replace the V8-powered Holden verses Ford series which is currently in its last season.
Starting next year, SuperUtes will support the Supercars series. Organisers are aiming to have racing examples of the Toyota HiLux, Holden Colorado, Isuzu D-Max and Mazda BT-50 on the grid next year as well.
The Ford and Mitsubishi have been built by former Supercar champion team boss Ross Stone to specifications laid down by Supercars rule-makers.
Each pickup is based on a dual-cab, diesel-powered model. Instead of running four-wheel-drive each will be rear-wheel drive and fitted with racing suspension from SupaShock and brakes by Brembo. The utes will also feature a control gearbox and rear differential, along with a control wheel and tyre package.
Supercars managing director Matt Braid is confident the move to the more popular dual-cab utes will make an entertaining race series.
"This week the Ford Ranger and the Toyota HiLux were again the most popular cars in Australia, selling more units than any other model in the country," Braid said.
"These SuperUtes not only look stunning but are a purpose-built race car which will be amazing to drive, is market relevant, affordable and with the highest safety levels. This will be a fantastic Series to compete in and for spectators to watch."
Organisers have announced an eight-event schedule with races in Adelaide, Darwin, Townsville, Ipswich, Sydney Motorsport Park, Bathurst, Gold Coast and Newcastle.
No manufacturer has committed to supporting the series but the Sieders Racing team has confirmed it will enter multiple Mitsubishi Tritons.
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