Not a day goes by that I don’t see a comment or email from a reader pontificating about how excellent small, diesel-powered pickup trucks are. You still can’t buy enough in the U.S., but at least next year you’ll get to see them on race tracks!
While we have NASCAR and the NASCAR Truck Series here in the U.S., Australia has V8 Supercars and formerly V8 Utes, “ute” being the Aussie word for “pickup” but in this case referring to the El Camino-style cars-with-truck-beds so beloved in the Land Down Under.
But apparently that love is actually starting to wane, as four-door pickup trucks are gaining popularity as default work/play vehicles. We like those here in the U.S. too, though I’m jealous to report the Australians get a lot more diesel-powered manually-shifted versions of vehicles in this category.
Starting next year, those little diesel trucks are going to hit some of Australia’s biggest racing circuits as “SuperUtes”; a sideshow at V8 Supercar races and replacing the V8 Utes series, according Supercars.com.
As Supercars Managing Director Matt Braid said in a press release:
“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.”
So the series will feature the little trucks we long for like the Ford Ranger, Toyota Hilux, Holden Colorado (Chevy Colorado), Nissan Navara (Nissan Frontier), Mitsubishi L200 and heck, maybe even SsangYong will get in the mix!
As for the specs on these trucks, Motoring.com.au reports:
“The technical specification for the pick-ups will include a control rollcage, cosmetic aero additions, a control Motec ECU and the possibility of a control transmission and rear axle assembly.”
“The performance kit will include an exhaust, front and rear shock absorbers and springs, six-piston front and four-piston rear brake calipers and front and rear discs, a pedal box and master-cylinder with brake-bias adjustment, control tyres and control wheels.”
Diesel power, rear-wheel drive, mid-sized pickup trucks racing fender to fender on paved tracks. Now this just might get me into on-road car racing again.
Apparently the series is hoping to get 15 to 20 trucks racing next year, and get the grid up to 32 for an expanded season in 2018.
We’ll try to figure out how to watch these events from the U.S. before then. In the meantime, hopefully we can look forward to some silly exhibition videos with some SuperUtes in action.