Ford is bringing the latest in a line of wild SuperVans to Bathurst, marking the first time one of its crazy cargo carriers has come to Australia.
The American auto giant has chosen the Repco Bathurst 12 Hour endurance race to roll out the specially modified SuperVan 4.2.
Piloted by French racing driver Romain Dumas, the SuperVan 4.2 will take part in a number of public demonstrations on the mountain and feature at a public display.
Not only will the SuperVan be present at the Australia’s international GT3 enduro, it will also feature the weekend after at the Thrifty Bathurst 500 Supercars season opener.
In its last outing, the SuperVan finished second outright and first in class at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in the US.
“SuperVan 4.2 will take on the challenge of Mount Panorama in the same configuration it raced in at Pikes Peak – as the ultimate expression of what is possible with electric performance and Ford’s EV technology,” said Mark Rushbook, global director of Ford Performance Motorsports.
The SuperVan 4.0 originally debuted at the 2022 Goodwood Festival of Speed. In order to prepare the van for Pikes Peak however, Ford applied a number of changes.
Under the skin of the revised van — which became the SuperVan 4.2 — the drivetrain was revised to lower weight and improve balance so the car can better tackle a track’s many twists and turns.
While the SuperVan 4 had four electric motors making a total of 1471kW (2000 metric horsepower), version 4.2 has just three STARD UHP six-phase motors, with two at the rear and one up front. Total discharge power is said to be 1050kW (roughly 1400hp).
There’s also a STARD battery pack with lithium polymer NMC pouches, and the ability to recharge at 600kW.
Other changes include a new regenerative braking system, upgraded driveshafts, and a perspex windshield.
It rides on Pirelli P Zero race tyres allied with carbon ceramic brakes, unequal-length double wishbone suspension at both ends, and “motorsport-grade” front and rear subframes.
Ford also extensively revised the van’s aero, with an even larger carbon-fibre front splitter and rear wing to increase downforce to two tonnes when driving at 240km/h.
All this is quite different from the SuperVan 1, which debuted at Brands Hatch in the UK in 1971 and was powered by a mid-mounted 300kW V8 inherited from the GT40 supercar that conquered Le Mans.
13 years later, the SuperVan 2 debuted. But not wanting it to go unnoticed, Ford took to the renowned Silverstone racing circuit in the UK a year later, where it hit a top speed of 280km/h.
In 1994, SuperVan 2 was heavily revised and fitted with a 484kW Cosworth ‘HB’ V8, becoming SuperVan 3. It went on to perform public demonstrations until 2001. The car briefly returned in 2004 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Transit by performing more public demonstrations.
“Driving SuperVan 4.2 is always a huge privilege and after the successful outing at Pikes Peak, I am delighted that the Ford Performance team keep finding new and exciting ways to push the envelope,” said driver Romain Dumas, who recently piloted a Porsche 911 and scaled the highest volcano in the world, Chile’s Ojos del Salado.
“For any racing driver, Bathurst is a unique and exhilarating challenge and I can’t wait to give the Australian fans a show they will hopefully never forget.”