First V8 Utes ready to test

THE first prototype V8 Holdens and Fords for Australia's exciting new ute racing series are expected to hit the track for back-to-back testing this week. A Holden Commodore VU SS and Ford Falcon AU II XR8 Pursuit are nearing completion in...

THE first prototype V8 Holdens and Fords for Australia's exciting new ute racing series are expected to hit the track for back-to-back testing this week.

A Holden Commodore VU SS and Ford Falcon AU II XR8 Pursuit are nearing completion in Brisbane under the supervision of series organiser PROCAR Australia, with a view to testing at Queensland Raceway on Friday.

The six-round series starts at Wakefield Park, New South Wales, on 5-6 May, following demonstration races in April at Adelaide's Clipsal 500 event.

The series will pit up to 20 of the iconic Fords and Holdens, with their performance equalised by strict "control" modifications determined by PROCAR Australia.

Modifications will include sealed, tamper-proof engines with MoTec engine management computers, identical wheels, tyres, springs and shock absorbers, plus safety equipment.

PROCAR Australia will supply most of the control parts, with the all-up cost of a race-ready ute estimated to be around $55,000.

Chief Executive Ross Palmer said the unique series had attracted strong interest from potential competitors.

The completion of prototypes by constructor Wayne Park was a key stage in launching the series, which has been approved by the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport.

"The competitors have been waiting to see how the utes looked and performed and how much they would cost with the control modifications," Mr Palmer said.

"We already have several committed teams and with the completion of the prototypes we expect more confirmations for the limited number of grid spots in 2001," Mr Palmer said.

"This is going to be one Australia's most spectacular racing series. Everyone loves a ute and the Ford and Holden each have their followers, so it's a logical step to put the latest V8 models on the track.

"They will be quick on the straight, but the suspension and aerodynamics have been designed to limit cornering grip so the fans will see plenty of slipping and sliding."

-Chris Nixion

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Series Road racing
Drivers Wayne Park