Superutes, the most interesting development in motor racing in Australia is starting to make some headway. Beyond the Supercars move to Car of the Future, the addition of new manufacturers and the allowance of non-V8 power-plants in the main series, even bigger changes are afoot for the utes. Gone is Australian manufacturing and the coupe utility with it. It’s a shame, but no-one was buying them anyway. Which means the Ute series, despite being well-loved is no longer relevant. Changes needed to be made and while a bit unconventional, the solution is to replace the V8s with the turbo diesel dual cabs that the buying public of today prefer.
Holden have today put out a press release declaring their involvement in the series along with the first artists impression of the Colorado Superute. Beyond the usual throwaway quotes and marketing bumf –
Finished in the popular Satin Steel Grey, it is complimented by Holden’s iconic Lion logo and the brand’s geometric graphic element
That might not be saying much, but the announcement itself is exciting. It takes the grid out to at least 5 different makes adding to the already completed Mitsubishi Triton and Ford Ranger Superutes with the Mazda BT-50 and Isuzu D-Max also in build. The Toyota HiLux has been listed as eligible to be raced, but no reports have been forthcoming as yet about a team producing one for racing.
This is the real strength in Superutes and it is twofold, diversity and devotion. After 20 years of top racing categories in Australia only being contested by two makes, genuine diversity of the field raises the interest value exponentially. Especially if they get the parity right, which dovetails into the second strength – devotion to brand. Aussies are an allegiant bunch, the strength of the Holden v Ford rivalry of the last 20 years and beyond is testimony to that. Add to this the strength of the dual cab ute market which makes up nearly 20 per cent of new car sales in Australia and race fans can jump on and support a race team who races the actual car they bought, not just the brand. This is a bigger deal than it sounds and not until competition starts will the action draw attention away from the noise and discussion around the loss of the beloved V8.
That’s what can happen. If they get this right – and it certainly looks like the Superutes are going in the right direction – the loss of the V8 sound will be forgotten very quickly for the close, variable racing that this series could very well – and very much needs to provide.
A video has surfaced on Speedcafe.com of the Mitsubishi Triton Superute getting its first shakedown test at Norwell in Queensland. The short clip shows the Triton tackling a fast left hand bend and the handling looks… lively. It’s a shakedown, so the set up is going to be far from sorted but it bodes well. Trickier cars to drive means more scope for errors, thus more scope for different speeds, thus more scope for overtaking. Add to that a field of drivers that usually get very willing and that spells a recipe for some seriously good motorsport entertainment.
As a semi-Triton owner (Pajero Sport) my allegiance is already set.
What do you think? Can the prospect of good racing with a mixed-up grid of multiple manufacturers make up for the loss of the V8? Weigh in below in the comments!