Big interest in Ute Muster debut

UP TO 20 V8-powered Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore utes will be on the starting grid when Australia's most exciting new motor racing championship, the UTE MUSTER, roars into life in April. The UTE MUSTER debuts with a series of demonstration...

UP TO 20 V8-powered Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore utes will be on the starting grid when Australia's most exciting new motor racing championship, the UTE MUSTER, roars into life in April.

The UTE MUSTER debuts with a series of demonstration events at the Clipsal 500 meeting on the Adelaide street circuit on 5-8 April, with the first of six championship rounds set for 5-6 May at Wakefield Park, New South Wales.

The UTE MUSTER has attracted huge interest, with more than 55 potential competitors currently seeking the available spots for 10 Falcon AU II and 10 Commodore VU utes, says series organiser PROCAR Australia Pty Ltd.

Ute expert and author of the books Beaut Utes and More Beaut Utes, "The Ute Man" Allan Nixon, says enthusiasts are planning to drive to Adelaide in convoys from many country areas to welcome the new championship.

A prototype Falcon and Commodore will be track-tested back-to-back later this month before PROCAR settles on identical performance and safety changes it will specify for every vehicle in the UTE MUSTER.

The utes promise a spectacular display of speed, with the same horsepower as their sedan stablemates but significantly less weight expected push to maximums to more than 225 kmh.

The racing utes will be constructed over the next few weeks using a "control" package of enhancement parts for each vehicle, supplied by PROCAR.

This is intended to ensure equal performance throughout the field, encouraging close competition and making good driving skill, team work and mechanical preparation the key ingredients needed to win races.

The control package is expected to include parts such as competition wheels, tyres, springs, shock absorbers, engine computer, rollover bars and a rigid cargo cover incorporating a rear wing. Engines will be tested to confirm power outputs for each model are equal and then sealed to prevent modifications.

Allan Nixon says the UTE MUSTER already has generated strong interest among enthusiasts in rural areas, tradesmen and others who drive utes for work or pleasure.

"The ute is more than a workhorse in the bush, it's a revered part of the lifestyle. The ute movement is growing, with weekend rallies all over the country, and now the UTE MUSTER will add some real excitement," he said.

"It combines some of the things Aussies love most - Fords and Holdens, V8 engines, utes and a heap of fun.

"I think it will draw a whole new group of fans who have never been interested in car racing before."

PROCAR Australia Pty Ltd is a division of the Brisbane-based Palmer Group. A pioneer of the commercial ownership and management of motor racing series, it also runs the Nations Cup - a series for exotic sports makes such as Ferrari, Lamborghini and Porsche - and the Australian GT Production Car Championship.

2001 UTE MUSTER

Rd 1 5-6 May Wakefield Park, NSW Rd 2 21-22 July Queensland Raceway Rd 3 18-19 August Eastern Creek, NSW Rd 4 15-16 September Sandown, Vic. Rd 5 25-28 October Surfers Paradise, Qld Rd 6 30 Nov.-2 Dec. Sandown, Vic.

Non-championship Demo. 5-8 April Adelaide, SA

-Chris Nixon

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Series Road racing