Supercars Australia has announced that it will add a new racing category to its schedule of events for the 2017 race series.
Called SuperUtes, the new category will see diesel dual cab workhorses modified for track duty with control wheels, tyres and brakes. Competition rules state that SuperUtes must run their original turbodiesel engines, cannot weight under 1800kg, and must be rear wheel drive.
The new racing class is set to take over from the existing V8 Utes class, which ran Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon utes - but with the end of Falcon production this year, and the impending end of the Commodore ute next year no eligible contenders remain for the class.
“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,” Supercars Australia Managing Director Matt Braid said.
“Utilising production based turbo-diesel dual cab utes 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.”
While the previous V8 Utes category gave teams a limited choice of either Holden or Ford entrants, the new SuperUtes class opens up the possibility (though not yet confirmed) of adding Toyota, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Volkswagen, Nissan, and a slew of other dual cab ute manufacturers.
The (relatively) lower cost of vehicle development also opens the field up to privateer teams with the Supercars Australia control package expected to be priced at around $60,000 in addition to the purchase price of the vehicle.
The SuperUtes series will kick off in July 2017 at Ipswitch, scaling up to an expected full grid for the start of the 2018 season.