Supercars optimistic about seventh SuperUtes manufacturer
Supercars is hopeful of picking up a seventh manufacturer for this year’s ECB SuperUtes Series.
SuperUtes already features the Toyota Hilux, Mitsubishi Triton, Mazda BT-50, Holden Colorado, Ford Ranger, and Isuzu D-Max, with four manufacturers either directly supporting teams or represented by large dealers in the inaugural season.
According to category manager Kurt Sakzewski, a seventh manufacturer could be on the way in the first half of the 2019 season.
“The current field includes six manufacturers which is incredible support from a range of different brands,” said Sakzewski.
“That has been one of the most pleasing aspects as the series grows.
“We are expecting to add at least one more manufacturer in the first half of the year, making for seven brands in SuperUtes.”
According to a Q&A on Supercars’ official website, there are “soon to be six” variants of engines in the field.
Given the requirement to homologate a new engine and componentry, rather than opt for an existing SuperUtes model, the announcement suggests a significant level of factory support from the prospective new manufacturer.
Speedcafe.com understands that the additional manufacturer would be one with a local road going model line-up focused on 4×4 vehicles and utilities.
As foreshadowed by Speedcafe.com, there are also a variety of technical upgrades on the way, with Supercars confirming that engines and ride height are among the development items currently being worked on.
The category has nominated a specific goal of 350bhp output for each engine, while it is believed that a lower profile tyre is on the way which would account for much of the ride height change.
Most of the improvements are, however, not set to come online until after Round 1 in Adelaide.
“We are absolutely committed,” said Sakzewski regarding Supercars’ ongoing interest in SuperUtes.
“A huge amount of time was spent on research and development through last season and in the off-season, which we knew was going to be needed in year one and is ongoing.
“The benefits of the thousands of hours spent on improving the cars began to show by Newcastle and will become more evident in the first half of this year.
“There’s a number of technical improvements and updates which will come online by round two, which we will announce soon.
“Those developments will greatly improve the racing for the competitors as well as the spectacle for the fans and television audiences.”
Sakzewski also hinted at a small increase in the size of the field, which started at 10 for the opening round of 2018 and crept up to 13 by year’s end at Newcastle.
“We expect to have at least 16 entries by round two in Perth and 15 to start the year in Adelaide,” he said.
“The goal is to grow that to at least 20 by 2020,” Sakzewski said.
Sieders Racing Team has already confirmed to Speedcafe.com that it will have three Tritons on the grid this year with the chassis rolled at Queensland Raceway to return to the track.
The new season, which again spans eight rounds, starts at the Superloop Adelaide 500 on February 28-March 3.