A field of 10 cars will take to the Adelaide Parklands Circuit for the first ever round of the ECB SuperUtes Series next weekend.
Supercars is confident that it has resolved the cooling issues which hampered running at last week’s Balance of Performance test, but one of the six models has not been homologated in time to make the season-opener.
The Toyota Hilux will have the greatest representation with three cars spread across Sieders Racing Team and its customer Western Sydney Motorsport.
There will be two each of the Mitsubishi Triton, Mazda BT-50, and Holden Colorado, and a lone Ford Ranger which was the first SuperUte to be built.
The Isuzu D-Max of Steve Wilson is still awaiting an engine, and while the entry has not yet officially been withdrawn from Round 1, the former V8 Utes driver has stated that he will not be racing in Adelaide.
“Some not so good news,” said Wilson.
“Somehow after being one of the first to commit to building a SuperUtes, we have ended up being pushed to the last in the queue for the required engine homologation work carried out by Supercars.
“To date we have not had an engine nor been able to do any pre-season track testing at all, making it not possible to compete in the first round in Adelaide.”
Supercars’ Kurt Sakzewski says that the delay has occurred as a result of complications in developing the D-Max for the series, but predicted that it would be ready for the following round at Winton in mid-May.
“The D-Max required a fair bit more development work than the other models and it looks like, unfortunately, it’s not going to be finished in time,” he explained to Speedcafe.com.
“We had six different models of utes that we had to develop the engine package for as well as build the actual prototype vehicles for each one.
“As it turned out for the Isuzu, not just the engine but also the front half had to be redesigned on that car as well.
“We got very, very close, but we don’t think it’s going to be ready in time for next weekend.
“It’ll be ready straight after Adelaide.”
Sakzewski believes, however, that the overheating problems which restricted the Colorado and Hilux to two-lap runs at the BoP test have been resolved.
All five models will carry a variation of the cooling system which ran on the Peters Motorsport BT-50 during the test, after the team worked to overcome problems it encountered during its earlier running at Queensland Raceway.
“We’ve just worked on a few different changes including the cooling system on the car and the guys have got on top of that, so we’re very confident that we won’t have any issues,” said Sakzewski.
“I guess we’re lucky that running at Queensland Raceway last week, the weather was probably about as hot as you’re going to get it.
“There are some small modifications that have been made, the boys have managed to find a solution across all the vehicles, so moving forward we’re not expecting to have any cooling issues, certainly not at Adelaide.”
Parity is being finalised but Sakzewski says that there will not be dramatic changes from how cars ran at Queensland Raceway.
Among the entries in Adelaide are 2016 Dakar Rally winner and Mitsubishi ambassador Toby Price, three-time V8 Utes series winner Ryal Harris, and a Colorado out of Supercars outfit Team 18.
Further entries aside from the Wilson D-Max are expected from potentially as soon as Round 2, while Luke Sieders has predicted that his team will have a third Triton on the grid by the midpoint of the season.
The Adelaide 500 takes place from March 1-4.
Entry list: Round 1, Adelaide Parklands Circuit (Unofficial*)
|Peters Motorsport||Mazda BT-50||Aaron Cameron|
|Peters Motorsport||Mazda BT-50||Ryal Harris|
|Ranger Racing||Ford Ranger||Christopher Formosa|
|Ross Stone Racing||Holden Colorado||Tom Alexander|
|Sieders Racing Team||Mitsubishi Triton||Craig Dontas|
|Sieders Racing Team||Mitsubishi Triton||Toby Price|
|Sieders Racing Team||Toyota Hilux||Matt MacKelden|
|Western Sydney Motorsport||Toyota Hilux||Ben Walsh|
|Western Sydney Motorsport||Toyota Hilux||Craig Woods|
|Team 18||Holden Colorado||Tomas Gasperak|
* The Steve Wilson Racing Isuzu D-Max has not yet been officially withdrawn