UTE: Sandown: Inaugural Great Aussie Ute race preview

Jones, Beattie and Brand in star-studded line-up for Sandown's Great Aussie Ute race. Boasting a world champion, a Bathurst winner, a motorcycle legend, V8 Supercar drivers, country singer and a football star among its two-driver teams, the ...

Jones, Beattie and Brand in star-studded line-up for Sandown's Great Aussie Ute race.

Boasting a world champion, a Bathurst winner, a motorcycle legend, V8 Supercar drivers, country singer and a football star among its two-driver teams, the inaugural Great Aussie Ute race seems certain to live up to its name at Melbourne's Sandown International Motor Raceway next weekend.

Undoubtedly it will be the first time the 1980 Formula One world champion Alan Jones, now 55, has raced a ute.

But for retired 500 cc motorcycle grand prix ace Daryl Beattie, it will be the first time he has raced a car.

Jones has signed up with Gold Coast golfing buddy, dual Bathurst winner and V8 BRute Series leading light Alan Grice, 59, creating the most formidable combination in the field of 22 240 kmh Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon utes.

Beattie, also from the Gold Coast, was confirmed this morning to partner Sydney's Jack Elsegood, who was a leading first-grade player with the Roosters rugby league team until he switched successfully to motorsport in 2002.

Grice/Jones and Elsegood/Beattie will be in Ford Falcon XR8s, while the leading Holden Commodore SS rivals include another pairing of famous motor racing names, Brock and Harvey - James Brock, the son of Peter Brock and Gavin Harvey, the son of John Harvey.

The Great Aussie Ute Race in fact will be three races, with each driver completing a 15-minute leg and then the pair sharing duties in a 20-minute final.

All will be run on Sunday morning and feature in a six-hour live telecast of the Sandown 500 meeting to be hosted by the SBS network.

The V8 BRute Series championship has been set aside for Sandown and with nothing to aim for but victory on the day - and a $4000 first prize - the clash of egos may ring louder than the thump of body panels as the 44 regular and guest drivers do battle on the 3.1 km track.

The opportunity to compete in Australia's most entertaining and popular new motorsport category has attracted a host of notable co-drivers.

Apart from Jones and Beattie, the line-up includes country singer Adam Brand with regular Falcon teammate Ian McAlister, touring car stalwart Andrew Miedecke with Graham Hunt (Falcon), V8 Supercar regular Brad Jones with TV reporter Grant Denyer (Falcon), Lamborghini driver Paul Stokell with Gary Young (Commodore) and Konica series driver Dale Brede with Charlie Kovacs (Commodore).

Alan Jones said he was looking forward to the Great Aussie Ute Race.

"Gricey is a golfing mate of mine on the Gold Coast and when he asked if I'd like to have a drive I jumped at the chance," Jones said.

"The V8 BRutes certainly look like a bit of fun and I'm going to enjoy dicing with a field of drivers with very diverse talents and experience.

"I think the fans are going to get maximum entertainment while for me it will be a chance to blow out some cobwebs before I line up for the Queensland 500 the following weekend in one of Dick Johnson's V8 Supercars.

-procar.au-

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Series General
Drivers Alan Jones , Ian McAlister , Brad Jones , Dale Brede , Grant Denyer , Paul Stokell , Graham Hunt , Charlie Kovacs , James Brock , Gary Young , Dick Johnson , Jack Elsegood , Andrew Miedecke
Tags AUSUTE