WHAT would a racing version of the Mercedes-Benz X-Class look like?
The reveal of Merc’s premium load-lugger last week had us pondering that question here at Wheels HQ, so we took it upon ourselves to come up with an answer.
What you see here is an artist’s mock-up, illustrating the potential look of a competitive X-Class ready to tackle Aussie racetracks in a new category called SuperUtes, set to fire up in 2018.
The freshly rebranded SuperUtes category is designed specifically to put dual-cabs powered by diesel-turbo engines door-to-door. The series replaces the current V8 Utes series, which is contested only by car-based Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon utes that will no longer be built.
The hypothetical X-Class shown here combines almost everything required for a SuperUtes X-Class, with a little extra spice; OEM body styling, lowered SupaShock suspension, 20-inch wheels and tyres, race livery and exhaust, and the mandatory sponsor stickers for that last bit of track-cred.
The Mitsubishi Triton, Ford Ranger, and Mazda BT-50 will all appear in the category when it debuts next year. A further three utes – the Toyota Hilux, Holden Colorado, and Isuzu D-Max – are also eligible for homologation.
The Mercedes wasn’t included in the initial release from Supercars when the category was launched, most likely to do with the car not being launched yet.
But technically there isn’t really anything standing in the way of someone buying an X-Class, going through the homologation process, and taking it racing.
However, a Mercedes-Benz Australia spokesperson told Wheels “I am not aware of any discussions” regarding the brand’s new ute appearing on a racetrack anytime soon. So don’t hold your breath for this pipedream to become a reality.
Regulations for SuperUtes specify a production-based dual/twin-cab ute with a turbo diesel engine and rear-wheel drive, and a minimum weight of 1800kg, with body styling limited to OEM options.
The top of the line X-Class has a 190kW/550Nm 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel engine, mated to a seven-speed auto. A racing version would need to use the series’ control gearbox and MoTeC engine management for category controlled performance.
SuperUtes also mandates a control roll cage, Brembo brakes and Tilton pedal box, as well as a common rear axle assembly with a Detroit Locker differential.
Ross Stone will run a team using Ford Rangers, Siders Racing Team is signed on and will campaign Mitsubishi Tritons, while three-time series champion and the first man to perform the shoey in motorsport, Ryal Harris, will race a Mazda BT-50.
Eight rounds have been confirmed for 2018, taking place alongside the Supercars series starting with the Adelaide 500, followed by Darwin, Townsville, Ipswich, Sydney, Bathurst, Gold Coast and Newcastle.