What happened to utes, to circle work and the thrill of motor racing when Ford and Holden’s utilities disappeared a couple of years ago?

Perhaps unsurprisingly race organisers found a new genre to promote, Japanese 4×4 utilities popularised by the likes of Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger.

They might not have quite the appeal of V8s, but beggars can’t be choosers after all — what choice did they have?

SuperUtes are production models upgraded with a race kit that increases safety and performance of the cars as well as ensuring parity across the models.

One of the most significant changes to the SuperUte from the popular V8 Utes category is under the hood.

The production turbo-diesel engines produce 340bhp and a torque figure of 500 ft/lb. A category controlled Motec ECU monitors the performance across the cars.

The rear-wheel drive cars weigh 1,800kg and also feature control components including a CAMS approved roll cage, brakes, tyres, wheels, springs and dampers.

The drivetrain includes a control gearbox and ratios as well as rear axle assembly.

The second SuperUtes series has just wrapped up, with this year’s winner is the Caltex Delo Racing Isuzu D-MAX in its first season of competition.

The first series was won by Ryal Harris driving a Mazda BT-50.

Driving the D-MAX, Ross Stone Racing’s Tom Alexander driving onto the podium for the 15th and final time, at the Coates Hire Newcastle 500 at the weekend.

Over the course of the 24 races, Alexander chalked up five wins, 15 podiums and three pole positions, for a total of 1203 championship points— 67 points clear of Cameron Crick in 2nd.

“It feels so good to lift that trophy at the end of the season, it was a long road to get to here, but we did it,” an elated Tom Alexander said.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better team to support me, a better car to race, better sponsors—thanks Caltex Australia and Isuzu UTE Australia—who believed in me, or a better bunch of blokes to race against—they all drove incredibly well throughout the season.”

The Ross Stone Racing D-MAX SuperUte is built on the Isuzu D-MAX Crew Cab ute platform, using a production fitted 3.0-litre turbo diesel engine, with minor revisions to the powertrain and suspension setup.

Now, we mentioned earlier the diesel utes don’t have the same kind of appeal as a V8.

But word is the SuperUtes category set to shift from diesel to V8 power next year, with a controlled-class V8 petrol power plant.

There’s a bit of lateral thinking for you, just like changing the rules to allow the two-door Mustang to compete in the Supercars series.

No decision has currently been made if the Caltex Delo Racing Isuzu D-MAX SuperUte will return for the 2020 ECB SuperUtes Season.

Championship Points at the conclusion of 2019 ECB SuperUtes Season

1Caltex Delo RacingTom AlexanderIsuzu D-MAX1203
2Total Tools Team Triton RacingCameron CrickMitsubishi Triton1136
3EFS 4×4 RacingRyal HarrisMazda BT501053
4Fat Freddy’sBen WalshToyota Hilux985
5Western Sydney MotorsportCraig WoodsToyota Hilux781
6Allgate Auto Doors RacingChristopher FormosaFord Ranger730
7Mitsubishi Motors Team TritonToby PriceMitsubishi Triton575
8Craig ThompsonToyota Hilux552
9Tank WorldBenjamin FalkHolden Colorado545
10Mitsubishi Motors Team TritonElliot BarbourMitsubishi Triton336
11Jaiden Maggs248
12Sieders Racing TeamMichael SiedersToyota Hilux245
13Gerard Maggs231
14Jeff Watters229
15AC DelcoNathan PrettyHolden Colorado163
16Joshua Anderson141
17Kevin Stoopman127
18Madison Dunston123
19Sieders Racing TeamLuke van HerwaardeToyota Hilux99
20West End MazdaAdam DoddMazda BT5064
21Ronnie Conquest52
22Peter Major48
23Mitsubishi Motors Team TritonCraig DontasMitsubishi Triton19

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHECKOUT: New Triton joins rest of the rattlers

CHECKOUT: D-Max does a runner

Soon to be V8 SuperUtes never looked so good

Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.
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