Australia's Superutes series is a rather interesting one. There, you have a field full of pickups ripping up the racetracks, which makes for close racing. While pickups aren't exactly made for the circuit seeing these things take on corners at speed is an amusing sight.
That brings us neatly to Isuzu. While the words Isuzu and motorsport don't exactly go hand in hand, the Japanese automaker has entered the series earlier this year with the D-Max. But what makes the D-Max Superute a race truck?
For starters, it gets a totally revamped rear suspension. The D-Max race truck has horizontal shock absorbers and those lead springs have been chucked out in favor of coilovers. Extensive changes were also made to the front suspension, albeit not as dramatic as the rear. These chassis changes does allow the D-Max to be much lower to the ground. It then rides on 20-inch alloy wheels specifically made for the D-Max superute.
The cabin is stripped out, and weight was kept to a minimum. With these pickups usually tipping the scales at over 2,000 kilograms, this race truck has been trimmed down to “just” 1,800 kilograms. Still heavy, but light for a dual-cab pickup nonetheless. Also part of the package is a rollcage, brake bias adjuster, and a MoTec ECU.
As for the engine, it's based on the 3.0-liter turbodiesel mill on the top-spec models. Whereas the road-going version has 177 PS and 380 Nm of torque, the one in the Superute puts out 340 PS and, more significantly, over 600 Nm of torque. No sequential manual transmissions here, the Superute uses a six-speed manual transmission. Isuzu isn't mentioning any performance figures, but this might just be a D-Max that can do the 0 to 100 km/h sprint in the six-second range.
How is it doing in the series, you ask? It's actually leading the championship, making Isuzu foray in to circuit racing a success so far.