SUPERCARS Australia today announced a new category for 2017 – SuperUtes – which will replace the longstanding V8 Utes championship.
The series will be open to all manufacturers, and will feature dual-cab utes – or “trucks” as Ford and Holden now want to call them – and diesel engines.
A similar category exists in New Zealand, based off Ssangyong utes, and remains incredibly popular with competitors.
Supercars says the new category is designed to align with changes in consumer demands. Dual-cab utes now represent about one in five new-car sales in Australia.
Supercars took over control of the V8 Utes championship this year after the category’s previous manager folded.
"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 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.”
The category is a spin-off of the failed next-generation of V8 Utes, called EvolUTEion, which was designed to allow dual-cab body styles and turbo-diesel engines over a control chassis.
However, high costs, and slow pick-up by competitors killed off the idea.
It’s likely the new SuperUtes category will remain largely production-based, much like the current V8 Ute formula.
Supercars has confirmed the category will first race at the Townsville V8 Supercar round in July, followed by Queensland Raceway, Bathurst, the Gold Coast, and finally concluding at the planned Newcastle street race.