V8 Ute Series to be decided over 25 Races in 2011
Thirty two drivers are preparing for battle at the first round of the 2011 Auto One V8 Ute Racing Series – protected by Armor All, kicking off on the streets of Adelaide 17 – 20 March.
I’ve won there twice and have been on pole four times, which probably makes me one of the most successful driver’s on that track.
Twenty five races in five different States across Australia will determine the 2011 series winner in what will be the most competitive season in the V8 Utes 10 year history.
Local drivers, Charlie “Handlebars” Kovacs, Sage Automation’s backed Gary “Chuckie” Baxter, Noel “Sledge” Edge and Thirsty Camel Racing’s Craig Dontas will be back with a vengeance to make their mark on the home track.
Veteran’s Kovacs and Baxter have both won on the Adelaide Parklands Street Circuit and “Chuckie” says he remembers the feeling well when he crossed over that line in front of a home crowd.
“I’ve won there twice and have been on pole four times, which probably makes me one of the most successful driver’s on that track.”
“It means so much for me to win there I would rather come last at every other race then come second at Clipsal.”
“It’s such an exciting track, there is only two places that have that sort of excitement -Adelaide and Townsville, to be on podium in those places is really exciting,” explained Baxter.
Two-time V8 Ute Champion Grant Johnson will return to the field along with former team rival and 2010 runner-up Jack Elsegood, who has made the move from Hi-Tech Motorsport to the Ben Kavich Workhorse Collision Repairs Racing Team.
Jesus Racing’s Andrew Fisher who claimed third overall in 2010 and took out the “Ten Years of Legends Race” with Rally Legend Rick Bates at last year’s Clipsal, will also be returning to try to repeat his efforts of the year before.
New South Welshman Jeremy Gray will return to the track where he claimed overall round honours at the “Ten Years of Legends Event” with co-driver George Miedecke, Gray enjoys support in 2011 from Patinak Farm Racing.
Also debuting at the Clipsal 500 last year was 2010 V8 Superschool Rookie of the Year David Sieders, the former Fujitsu V8 Supercar driver says he is feeling confident of starting the season off with a round win.
“You’re only as good as your last race and mine wasn’t that flash so hopefully I can show the form I had last year at Clipsal and win again.” he said.
“We want to win the title this year, so I have to make sure I am on the pace and competitive from round one.”
Along with Sieders, four other drivers new to the Series this year with V8 Supercar credentials include Cameron McConville, Nathan Pretty, Ryan Hansford and Stephen White.
This will bring the tally of drivers with V8 Supercar experience to 10 including; Ice Break Racing’s Chris Pither, local Gary Baxter, Andrew Fisher, Grant “Grunta” Johnson and Veteran Charlie O’Brien who claimed the final Round of the 2010 Series.
Young guns joining the V8 Ute series this year include 19 year old Jake McNally, little brother of Rhys McNally, who will be the youngest in the field behind 20 year old Sean Carter and Graham Edwards.
Edwards will make his second appearance in a V8 Ute, his first on his home track at the Sucrogen Townsville 400 in 2010. Also joining the field is Melbourne based former Proton and VW Factory driver, Kosi Kalaitzidis.
The V8 Utes will hit the track at 9am on Thursday, 17th March for practice 1 followed by practice 2 at 12:50pm and Qualifying at 3:10pm for the chance to with the Armor All Pole Award. The V8 Utes will end the first day with their first Race for the 2011 Season at 6:25pm.
On Friday at 3:05pm the V8 Utes will hit the track for Race 2 a reverse grid race to be determined by a ballot draw (drawn by the winner of Race 1). Saturday, 19th March they will start the day with Race 3 at 9:30am, which will be televised as live as on Network Seven at 12:30pm (AEDT) and will finish the weekend off on Sunday, 20th March with Race 4 at 1:10pm, which will also be televised live on Network Seven.
The 2011 Auto One V8 Ute Racing Series – protected by Armor All features 32 Ford and Holden production based V8 racing utes - covering 8 championship rounds, and 25 races through five states of Australia. The series is televised nationally on the SEVEN Network, through Fox Sports, TV3 New Zealand, Motors TV Europe and over 40 countries worldwide.
-source: aus v8 ute
AUS Utes: Rhys McNally shakedown summary
Lee Holdsworth grabs top three in Friday pratice at Queensland Raceway