Melbourne adds to V8 Utes fraternity
A pool of Melbourne drivers are flooding in to join the 2011 Yokohama V8 Ute Racing Series -- protected by Armor All including Kosi Kalaitzidis, Sean Carter and Bundaberg Racing's Cameron McConville.
Up until recently the only Melbourne based teams was Bob Jane T-Marts backed Kim Jane of Fast Track Racing and James Brock.
Although Brock is still based in Melbourne he is leasing his car out to Stephen White (Melbourne) for round one before sending the car up to Queensland where it will be leased by Brendon Cook.
Joining the Melbourne driver base is Kosi Kalaitzidis who went to the final round of the 2010 Yokohama V8 Ute Racing Series -- protected by Armor All in Sydney with one aim in mind "to buy a V8 Ute" and he walked away with Steve McFadden's Ford BF, which will be backed by Priority Engineering.
"I've always been interested in the Utes, it's a fantastic category and l decided at the end of last year it was time to get involved that's why I went to Sydney," he said.
"I'm a very competitive person and like to race in a competitive series which is why the V8 Utes appealed to me."
"The level of driving has changed over the last few years, there's not as much biffing and barging as there use to be and I'm sure it will only get better."
Kalaitzidis a former VW Golf GTI and Proton Factory driver has only had one test in the Ute but is looking forward to his first round.
"I tested the car for the first time last Friday and the car felt good," he said.
"My aim for my first round at Clipsal is to be in the top ten, I raced there back in 2002 and 2003 in a Proton and really liked the track".
The next Melbourne driver to join the V8 Ute line-up is Sean "Cruisy" Carter who will be leasing Steve Hodges Holden VE for the year and the former MINI Challenge and 944 Porsche Cup driver is happy to make his plan come to fruition.
"My plan has always been to spend two years in each category as part of the learning process and once we found out the Mini's were finished there was really only one choice and that was to step up and give the utes a go," he said.
"The V8 Ute series is seriously competitive, with a lot of very good drivers and it will be interesting to see where I sit in the field come qualifying time at the Clipsal 500."
Although Carter has a Rookie of the year trophy under his belt from the 944 Porsche Cup he is a little concerned about the weight of the Ute.
"The biggest thing for me to get used to will be the weight transfer of the Utes as well as all that power being fed through the rear wheels, plus, I‘m used to ABS brakes which we don't have in the utes, so it's going to be a serious challenge but one I can't wait to begin," he said.
"Cruisy" will get his first taste of a V8 Ute very soon when his new team, Williams Race Tech, head to the Winton circuit for the first of three tests that the recently turned 20 year old will undertake before his debut on the streets of Adelaide in March.
-source: aus v8 utes