Driving To Deliver Your Business

Racing a SsangYong pick-up truck

It’s racing with a difference, and then some…

Of all the not-so-obvious vehicles to go motor racing in, a two-tonne pick-up truck must surely sit right near the top of the list. Yet that’s just what SsangYong is doing this year, hoping to capitalise on road vehicle sales that are up 30 percent with a high-profile racing series called the SsangYong Musso Pick-Up Racing Challenge. It’s all part of the brand’s plans to grow its exposure and lift its annual UK sales to 10,000 per year.

For ?17,000, eager racers can get into a fully-prepared Musso and charge around with like-minded others in a fully supported one-make race series. It’s billed as an alternative starter route for amateur racers and has already gained itself quite the following.

To find out what it’s like, we took part in the Cadwell Park round of the championship. Ahead of the event, the firm assured us that although it’s a pick-up, it’s also a proper racer: no less than 400kg has been taken out of the machine’s kerbweight, and it has a full roll cage and bespoke race suspension. The 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine remains, but it’s been tuned up to produce over 200bhp, which is still not headline-grabbing but, as we discovered the first time we fired it up, the dramatic noise it now makes is still enough to make it feel seriously racy.

Like the other racers, our car was decked out with semi-slick Avon race tyres and powered by a special blend of racing diesel; the ECU was sealed by the officials to ensure nobody could steal an advantage – the aim is to ensure any winning margins are delivered only through racing talent. So it was with apprehension that we lined up on the 12-car grid, staring at the red light, waiting for it to go green and find out what would happen.

We’re in the middle of the grid and, as the pack gets underway, it’s immediately clear these are no novice racers – the elbows-out style of BTCC touring car racing is soon adopted. The truck itself is surprisingly well sorted on the race track, we discover. It’s locked in rear-wheel drive guise, and the balance is nice and pure, helping us dive into corners and start exploiting its racing breeding.

It’s only when we get over-eager that the inevitable effects of such a heavy machine take over – keeping it neat and tidy is the trick. We do this and, surprisingly, find ourselves in third place by the end of the race, beaten only by racers James Gornall and Cam Jackson.

This was a bit of a result, not least because the race itself was so much fun. We stood on the podium convinced that this sort of truck racing should have a future. Whether it comes back for another year in 2018 is another matter; the man in SsangYong UK who had the idea, Paul Williams, has since departed.

But we hope it continues, because pick-up racing like this is not only crowd-pleasing, it’s also a blast to race in.

It may be unconventional, but in the oh-so corporate world of motorsport, it’s all the better for it.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *