WHEN is a V8 Ute not a V8 Ute – well that happens when V8 Supercars and Australian V8 Ute Racing announce a long term strategic partnership, as they did today (Saturday, February 28) that will oversee the next generation of the Series.
The evolution of the category from 2016 will transform from its current production based utility platform to a twin and single ab cab utility based race series, to coincide with the demise of local production of the current Ford and Holden V8 Utes.
V8 Supercars and the Australian V8 Utes will work together to develop a platform which will allow multiple manufacturers to compete with an equal performance balance.
It will introduce the category to new models from the light utility and light truck range, also encouraging competitors to race turbo diesel engines (the opening up of other engine configurations and body shapes is not unlike the Gen-2 concept set down for the Supercars series from 2017).
New manufacturers will be sought to complement the existing Holden and Ford entries, just as V8 Supercars has welcomed Nissan, Volvo and Erebus Motorsport with its Mercedes-Benz AMG E63.
V8 Utes race exclusively at V8 Supercars events, joining the V8 Supercars Dunlop Series, Porsche Carrera Cup, Formula 4 and Australian GT Series as primary categories on exclusive arrangements.
“We are excited to announce this long term partnership with Australian V8 Ute Racing to develop and run a utility based category,” said V8 Supercars CEO James Warburton.
“This alliance will allow V8 Supercars to add its significant technical might to the development of the next phase of these crowd pleasing racers. This will be a highly competitive series which reflects the DNA of a significant segment of the automotive market.”
V8 Utes and all official support categories enjoy the benefits of competing at V8 Supercars events in front of massive crowds and television audiences.
“This year we will see more live television across the Fox Sports and Ten networks than in the history of motor sport in this country, including every support category live and in HD,’ Warburton said.
“This gives motorsport the highest profile and greatest reach it has ever had. With that it is important that our world class support categories benefit from the uplift in exposure.
“This alliance also gives us the opportunity to work with Australian V8 Utes Racing and share critical technical information on the journey towards the next phase of the category.”
Motorsport administrators SPHERIX will continue to manage the day to day and event operations of the category which starts its season at the Clipsal 500 Adelaide this weekend.
“This is a significant step forward in the roll out of the next evolution for Australian V8 Ute Racing, given the changing dynamics of the industry, and the relevance of utilities in vehicle sales,” V8 Ute Racing Chairman Peter Henry said.
“The racing product, parity structure and technical rules of the V8 Supercars Championship is admired world-wide and the opportunity to work directly with the team is enormous. We have spent the last 15 years building a great fan friendly product however, times have changed, the traditional Ford and Holden Ute as we have known it will be no longer be available, so we have to embrace the new generation of Utility vehicles.”
“Our combined charter is simple – to evolve into a new Series, more relevant to what is being sold in the current market, while not losing the entertainment value it is renowned for.”
Following today’s announcement, deposits were taken for the first ten race Utes to be built with the launch of the new evolUTEion platform to be at the Clipsal 500 in 2016. Its expected the first race Ute will be completed for a public launch and display at this years Sandown 500 in September.