ROSS STONE TO STEER SUPERUTES
By PAUL GOVER
Bathurst and championship winning team boss Ross Stone has emerged as a key player in the all-new SuperUtes category.
Stone has been doing low-key work on the Gold Coast since selling his Supercars squad to Betty Klimenko, stepping up to GT3 last year with Andrew Miedecke on Aston Martin, but is about to add his technical expertise as the SuperUtes move closer to their race debut later in the year.
Stone is part of a high-profile crew involved in the new category, including Pace Engineering which is working on the rollcage for the new utes.
The category is focussed on diesel-engined dual-cab utes including the Ford Ranger, Toyota HiLux and Mazda BT50, with high hopes for a wide range of competitors including the Volkswagen Amarok.
SuperUtes is now under the direction of John Casey, a senior executive at Supercars who also has responsibility for the Bathurst 12-Hour race, and he confirms Stone’s involvement to Auto Action.
“We needed to kick the category along and Ross Stone is part of that. He likes to describe his involvement as a ‘re-set,” Casey tells AA.
The pair met at Phillip Island yesterday (Friday) and talked through some of the key challenges for the SuperUtes vehicles.
The aim is to produce racers with around 350 horsepower and 400 Newton-metres of torque from their diesel engines, with a high-performance brake package and transmission shared by all utes.
Stone also intends to make the utes look more racey by dropping their ride height by at least 100 millimetres, with much bigger wheels as part of the deal.
AA believes Stone is building a Ford Ranger at his race base on the Gold Coast and is likely to field utes in the SuperUtes championship, but will be tapped for his experience across the board.
Date posted: April 22, 2017