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Powered by a 405 PS Corvette V8 engine, this Mitsubishi Triton is tearing up tracks in Australia

CY Foong · Jun 25, 2024 04:15 PM

Powered by a 405 PS Corvette V8 engine, this Mitsubishi Triton is tearing up tracks in Australia 01

Picture Australian motorsports and you might think about Formula One but there is another race series closer to the vehicles that rule the outbacks. No, it’s not the Toyota Land Cruiser but the humble pick-up truck, also known Down Under as utes.

Utes are synonymous with Australia as outside the plush urban cities like Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth, the country has vast, harsh deserts. It’s in these deserts where the ute thrives and just like any humble car in every part of the world, utes have their own racing series.

How to race a ute

Powered by a 405 PS Corvette V8 engine, this Mitsubishi Triton is tearing up tracks in Australia 02

The original format of V8 Ute Racing pitted Ford Falcon Utes against Holden Utes

Compared to the more famous V8 Supercars touring series, the V8 Ute Racing Series is about as exclusive to the country as Australian football. Formed in 2001, the race series mirrors that of V8 Supercars by pitting high-powered Holden and Ford utes against each other around circuits in Australia.

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However, when Ford and Holden ended production of their Australian-specific car-based unibody utes in 2017, the organisers needed to find a replacement series. In 2018, the revitalized SuperUte Series was born but with a major twist.

The new SuperUtes would utilise standard ladder-frame dual-cab pick-ups. However, the first couple of seasons were widely criticised as the standard turbodiesel engines were much slower than the previous V8-powered utes and the pick-ups’ higher centre of gravity made them prone to rolling over on the tracks.

Powered by a 405 PS Corvette V8 engine, this Mitsubishi Triton is tearing up tracks in Australia 01

Ahead of the 2020 season, new regulations were announced which also fitted the race series’ rebranding – V8 SuperUtes. The turbodiesel units were replaced by 6.2-litre LS3 V8s that were lifted off the Chevrolet Corvette and produced up to 405 PS.

Unfortunately, we all know what happened during that year so the season was cancelled. However, the rules were reintroduced once the series returned in 2021 and the V8-powered pick-up race series is currently entering its fourth season.

American heart, Japanese body

Powered by a 405 PS Corvette V8 engine, this Mitsubishi Triton is tearing up tracks in Australia 02

V8 SuperUtes is probably one of the most fascinating race series in the world as it pitted semi-pro racing drivers around some of the most famous tracks in Australia including the Mount Panorama Circuit in Bathurst and the Adelaide Street Circuit. Imagine seeing souped-up Hiluxes and D-Maxes going around the same circuit that F1 and touring cars would call home.

The 2024 season sees up to 23 teams taking part and the machinery used resembles the typical pick-ups with a massive V8 shove under the hood. Four teams are piloting this season in the Mitsubishi Triton which underwent massive changes.

Despite being open to various manufacturers besides Mitsubishi, the powertrains used by the all the teams are strictly the same. The LS3 V8 is built by Warspeed and hooked to a Tremac 6-speed manual transmission while the suspension is lowered for better stability around the corners.

Any extra modifications to increase the engine’s power output are strictly prohibited according to the rules. A Haltech NEXUS R5 VCU is installed to prevent further power and torque tuning to ensure those figures remain the same for every team.

Powered by a 405 PS Corvette V8 engine, this Mitsubishi Triton is tearing up tracks in Australia 03

With the regulations ensuring that each team would have a fair chance of winning or scoring points, racing a V8-powered pick-up truck around a technical track requires a lot of skill.

It also requires strong brakes and the Triton, just like the other SuperUtes, was given the same high performance brake upgrades seen in the V8 Supercars series. Upgrades like the Tilton pedal box as well as the Brembo disc brakes (6-piston front and 4-piston rear) are necessary to stop an 1,800-kg ute with precision.

Powered by a 405 PS Corvette V8 engine, this Mitsubishi Triton is tearing up tracks in Australia 04

All V8 SuperUte teams are also provided with the same set of Yokohama semi-slicks with 18x9.5J Lenso rims. Meanwhile, the handling set-up consists of a Detroit-locker differential and horizontally mounted Bilstein suspension shocks.

Though the Triton V8 SuperUte has plenty of major upgrades to be race-ready, it still has one functional similarity with its regular counterpart – they both continue to haul arse stuff.

Underneath the rear tonneau cover, teams are allowed to add loads to the bed to ensure the racing trucks meet the minimum weight requirement of 1,800 kg.

Powered by a 405 PS Corvette V8 engine, this Mitsubishi Triton is tearing up tracks in Australia 05

While Australia isn’t the only country that organizes racing pick-up trucks – Thailand has its own ongoing pick-up race series – the application of shoving a V8 engine is certainly unique as it dates to the roots of Australia’s storied and dearly missed automotive industry.

Powered by a 405 PS Corvette V8 engine, this Mitsubishi Triton is tearing up tracks in Australia 06

Back home in Malaysia, Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia (MMM) is currently offering a promotion for the Mitsubishi Triton. Selected variants offer cash rebates of up to RM 7,000 and low interest rates of up to 0.88%.

For customers who book their desired Triton via MMM’s online showroom with the ‘4SUREBELI’ promo code before 31 July 2024, they will receive a brand-new CSTUR camping inflatable bed for free.

Powered by a 405 PS Corvette V8 engine, this Mitsubishi Triton is tearing up tracks in Australia 07

All variants of the Mitsubishi Triton in Malaysia are powered by a 2.4-litre MIVEC 4-cylinder turbodiesel (181 PS/430 Nm). Power is sent to all 4 wheels via a 6-speed manual transmission or a 6-speed automatic gearbox.

Equipped with the Easy Select 4WD mode, taking the Triton off the beaten path is a cinch. The pick-up is also manoeuvrable around tight spaces in the urban sprawl with the 5.9 m turning radius one of the smallest of its class.

 The Mitsubishi Triton is available in Malaysia in 5 variants which are:

  • Triton 4x4 VGT MT: RM 110,000
  • Triton 4x4 VGT AT: RM 113,890
  • Triton 4x4 VGT MT Premium: RM 122,200
  • Triton 4x4 VGT AT: RM 135,900
  • Triton 4x4 VGT Athlete: RM 155,900

CY Foong

Writer

Traded advertising for a career that fits his passion for cars. Enjoys spotting cars during his free time and has a soft spot for Japanese Kei cars but drives a thirsty manual sedan.

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