Two changes to the V8 Ute Management Team for 2011 were announced this week with V8 Supercar Enduro driver Andrew Jones joining the series as the Driver Standards Advisor, and Rupert Rodrigues from CAMS (Confederation of Australian Motorsport) will step in as the Technical Commissioner (appointed by CAMS) for the 2011 Yokohama V8 Ute Racing Series protected by Armor All.
Jones, son of V8 Supercar team owner Kim and nephew of owner/driver Brad, will take over the DSA role from Warren Luff, who will move into a full-time V8 Supercar drive with the Gulf Western Oil Team and is looking forward to fulfilling the position.
"When I saw this opportunity I thought it was a great way to be involved in the sport behind the scenes rather than driving. I feel I have enough experience in the industry to pass on some relevant advice, and the position still allows me seat time for the endurance races."
"The V8 Utes have really improved in the last few years and it's a great time to be involved in the Series. A lot of great drivers are coming through and I'm looking forward to my first round," said Jones.
Jones has vast experience in motorsport beginning in the Australian Formula Ford Championship in 2001 before moving into the V8 Supercar development Series debuting at Winton in 2002.
He then went on to win the 2004 Konica V8 Supercar Series, made the move into the main-game V8 Supercar Series with an enduro drive with Cameron McConville in 2005 where they came fourth overall at Bathurst. Coincidently Jones will now be the DSA for his former teammate, after McConville signed on to drive with Bundaberg Racing in this year's Series. Jones is looking forward to the opportunity and promises not to be too harsh on his former teammate.
"I don't think it will be a problem. We are friends but he is also a well credentialed driver and I doubt I will really see a lot of him over the race weekends unless we are in line to get a coffee.
I spoke to Warren Luff before taking the role and he said that he really didn't see a lot of the drivers last year, that they all drove very well. If they do the wrong thing I just want to be able to have a chat to them and let them know the right way to go about it, and help with the consistency in the judicial rulings for the series." Jones explained.
The New South Welshman drove both a Ford and a Holden whilst he was in the V8 Supercar Series and Bill West of SPHERIX, Category Managers of Australian V8 Ute Racing, thinks Jones will be a great asset to the team.
"Andrew has an extensive driving background and we are honoured to have someone of his talents fill the shoes of DSA, which has seen the likes of Warren Luff and touring car legend Andrew Miedecke in the role. We have no doubt that Andrew will do a fantastic job," said West.
Jones will join Data Analyst Peta Thomas, James Taylor - CAMS appointed Race Director and IPO and new recruit Rupert Rodrigues who will oversee vehicle eligibility requirements.
Rodrigues has a background in Mechanical Engineering and has been involved in motorsport for around 25 years at various levels, from club motorsport to National level competition, both as a competitor and crew member.
He competed successfully in Under 2 litre Sports Sedans for many years and still competes on occasion in Sports Sedans, Formula Vees and Sprint Karts.
Rodrigues is currently employed at CAMS as a Motorsport Co-ordinator (Technical) and has worked at the Australian Grand Prix with track safety and Officials Safety Programs.
He will replace long time Technical Commission John Torr who is planning a mid year sabbatical to Charlotte Carolina to feed his long time addiction to NASCAR.
The V8 Ute Racing Series is televised nationally on the SEVEN Network is contested over 25 races and eight rounds including the following:
-source: aus v8 utes