RACE TO DIRT

SUPASHOCK IS TAKING ITS SUCCESS IN SOME OF THE WORLD’S MOST COMPETITIVE CAR RACING ARENAS TO THE ROAD… AND OFF IT.

WORDS DEAN MELLOR PHOTOS MELISA SAVICKAS

Innovative South Australian suspension company Supashock, renowned for supplying leading car racing teams both in Australia and overseas, has developed a new damper specifically catered to the four-wheel drive market.

Completely designed and manufactured in Australia, the Supashock is a highend product made from meticulously machined and constructed components and materials, including extensive use of aircraft-grade aluminium.

Supashock, which supplies dampers to leading V8 Supercar Championship team Prodrive Racing Australia, expects the development of its four-wheel drive range of shock absorbers will see the company grow substantially over the next 12 months.

“As a company operating in the automotive manufacturing industry, Supashock now has the opportunity to create jobs and preserve skills otherwise lost as a result of the winding up of local vehicle manufacturing by Holden, Ford and Toyota,” Supashock Managing Director Oscar Fiorinotto said at Supashock’s recent launch at Adelaide International Raceway.

“By the end of next year we aim to have 30 new jobs from the 4x4 range alone.

Supashock is a growing company with great scope for new tech, skills and jobs.”

Supashock has developed a suspension system to suit a wide range of popular fourwheel drive utes including the new Toyota Hilux, Ford Ranger/Mazda BT-50, Holden Colorado/Isuzu D-Max and Volkswagen Amarok.

A unique feature of the Supashock is the damper’s large diameter body and small internal shaft, which is claimed to allow for a greater oil volume than more traditional twin-tube shock absorber designs, as well as better resistance to bending.

The body of the shock is made from hard chrome-plated steel and the shock features Supashock’s own piston designs and tailored shim stacks. Up front the shocks feature progressive-rate steel springs, while the rear shocks will be supplied with matched leaves or coils depending on vehicle application and the owner’s specific load/driving requirements.

“What you see here, you will not see anywhere else,” Fiorinotto claimed at the launch. “Our system, which we’ve spent quite a lot of time developing, has an air-ride component to it that enables the [vehicle ride] to be a lot softer.

The company provided six vehicles for comparison at Adelaide Raceway: standard and Supashock-equipped examples of the new Toyota Hilux, Ford Ranger and Holden Colorado. The test loop included a high-speed lane-change test, a highspeed cornering test and a bump test.

The vehicles equipped with the Supashock system offered a significantly softer ride than the standard vehicles, as well as improved steering response and better damping control. Through the test track’s high-speed corner, the Supashockequipped vehicles required less steering input and less correction than the standard vehicles, and they were much more composed on the bump test, which consisted of a set length of harsh bumps that were driven at 40km/h.

Supashock believes it has developed a system that will appeal to drivers who rarely venture off-road, as well as those who regularly tackle serious off-road terrain.

Supashock is yet to announce pricing on its 4x4 suspension system, but considering its local design, manufacturing and high-quality components, it will probably have a high price point. The company is currently in the process of setting up a distribution network and hopes to ramp up production of its product in the near future.

“Supashock is bucking the trend in the automotive industry; we’re working on diversification and developing products not just for the 4x4/SUV markets, but also for military and mining.

And to make sure we get there as quickly as possible, assistance from state and federal governments would help us accelerate our growth and enable us to employ more South Australians,” Fiorinotto said.