East Coast Bullbars Secure Naming Rights.
The first turbo diesel dual-cab SuperUtes were unveiled today in Townsville with six models homologated and ready for production ahead of the 2018 Series.
The first two SuperUtes – the Ford Ranger and Mitsubishi Triton – broke cover at the Watpac Townsville 400 today with another four models – the Mazda BT-50, Toyota Hilux, Isuzu D-Max and Holden Colorado – all having completed scanning and homologation.
It was also announced East Coast Bullbars (ECB), a long-time supporter of the existing Utes category, was confirmed as naming rights partner of the ECB SuperUtes series in 2018, continuing its association with the hugely popular ute racing category in Australia.
“We are incredibly proud to be the naming rights partner for the inaugural ECB SuperUtes Series which will showcase our world class product in what is one of the largest segments in the Australian automotive industry,” said Ray Smith-Roberts, Managing Director – East Coast Bullbars.
“At ECB we pride ourselves on manufacturing the world’s best alloy bullbars and partnering with SuperUtes offers the platform to showcase what we know is the best product on the market. These SuperUtes reflect our core values of excellence in manufacturing, design and quality.”
Supercars Managing Director Matt Braid said today’s unveiling was a significant milestone for the ECB SuperUtes Series in welcoming ECB to the sport and with the invaluable input of Ross Stone in developing the category.
“ECB is a fantastic partner with an enormous passion for the ute segment which is the third highest category in the Australian car market to small cars and SUVs,” Braid said.
“This week the Ford Ranger and the Toyota Hi-Lux were again the most popular cars in Australia, selling more units than any other model in the country.
“These SuperUtes not only look stunning but are a purpose-built race car which will be amazing to drive, is market relevant, affordable and with the highest safety levels. This will be a fantastic Series to compete in and for spectators to watch.”
Multiple Supercars Championship winner Ross Stone has been overseeing the build of the first tranche of models and will return to top level racing in the Series with the Ford brand he and brother Jimmy had so much success with in their days as Stone Brothers Racing.
“It is going to be a fantastic category for the competitors and the fans,” Stone said.
“I wanted to look at something that would be a strong feeder category to Supercars and the more I looked at the SuperUtes the more I liked it. They are going to be a really good thing.
“It won’t be over the top with data but we’re going to have enough for a young driver to learn and have a good base of knowledge to progress into Dunlop Super2 Series or the main game.
“I’ve I really enjoyed getting in and helping the Supercars technical guys put the package together. It’s been a lot of work, but once the series is up and running I’ll just be a competitor.”
The Sieders Racing Team will run the Mitsubishi Triton as part of a multiple entry operation with Craig Dontas confirmed as one of their drivers in 2018.
“Ute racing has been a huge part of the Australian racing culture and we see this as the next phase for what has been an incredibly popular category for such a long time,” Dontas said.
“We have played a big part in the Series and are very excited about the future with SuperUtes as a new and market relevant platform which will bring news fans to the sport.
“Our plan is to run a multi-car operation. The goal is to expand to at least three SuperUtes with a junior development style program with at least one additional entry.”
Current Utes competitors will be briefed in Townsville today with details of their race package designed to maximize safety, quality of racing and entertainment at the lowest possible cost.
The inaugural ECB SuperUtes Series is scheduled to commence at the Adelaide 500 (TBC) in March next year with an eight-event calendar including the CrownBet Darwin Triple Crown (TBC), the Townsville 400, the Coates Hire Ipswich SuperSprint, Red Rooster Sydney SuperSprint, Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, Gold Coast 600 and Coates Hire Newcastle 500 (NB: calendar subject to change).
The Series will be broadcast live on FOX Sports and on Network TEN at five of the eight events.
Top-line specifications for SuperUtes:
- Production based dual/twin cab ute
- Rear wheel drive
- Manufacturer Turbo diesel engine, category controlled engine performance
- Weight minimum of 1800kg
- Manufacturers OEM Body Styling Options
- Control cage (CAMS approved control cage specification), brakes, tyres, wheels, springs/dampers
- OEM front suspension components (subject to confirmation)
- Control gearbox and ratios
- Control rear axle assembly, with controlled Detroit locker and ratio
- Control ECU (Motec)
Supercars approved control specification kit consisting of:
- Diesel Engine evaluation
- Motec dash colour display/data logger
- Exhaust – (OE manifold)
- Suspension – Front and Rear SupaShock shock absorbers and springs
- Brakes – Brembo 6 piston front and 4 piston rear calipers, Brembo front and rear disc’s
- Tilton Pedal box and master cylinders incorporating brake bias adjustments
- Control gearbox and ratios; Control differential and ratio; Control tyres; 20” Control wheels
- Control specification roll cage (bespoke to each manufacturer) – CAMS approved.