Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Olympian John Steffensen becomes SuperUtes driver for 2023

The overlap between the Olympic Games and motorsport is surprisingly vast, and John Steffensen will be another addition to the pool as he commits to the full 2023 Haltech SuperUtes Series season, driving the #99 Toyota Hilux for Western Sydney Motorsport.

Steffensen won the men’s 4x400m Relay silver medal for Australia in the 2004 Summer Olympics, which he backed up with a pair of golds at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in 400 m sprint and 4x400m Relay.

He began racing in 2017 in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge, finishing eighth in points before going on to compete in the Porsche Carrera Cup and Aussie Racing Cars. Like the SuperUtes, the latter is a feeder series into the main Supercars Championship.

“It’s an insane race car to drive,” Steffensen said of the SuperUtes. “I really was blown away with the SuperUte setup when I had my first test a few weeks ago.

“It handles really well, it’s light in the rear which adds a bit of excitement and the calibre of racing drivers in the category means we’ll definitely be putting on a proper show.”

Interestingly, Steffensen is not the first Olympian to race a Toyota Hilux. While his Hilux is built for a completely different discipline and surface, reigning Dakar Rally winner Nasser Al-Attiyah won the 2012 bronze medal in shooting for Qatar. Other medalists to race include 2022 Winter Olympic snowboarder and off-road veteran Nick Baumgartner, four-time Paralympic cycling gold medalist Alex Zanardi from the world of open-wheel racing, cycling greats-turned-sports car racers Jason Kenny and Chris Hoy, and skeleton gold winner and rally racer Amy Williams.