Utes: Grant Johnson ready to return

Johnson cops a ribbing after Turn 8 accident at Clipsal 500 2009 Yokohama V8 Ute Racing Series competitor, Grant "Grunta" Johnson is looking to make a come-back in Round Two at Winton Raceway after an accident on Turn 8 at Clipsal 500, ...

Johnson cops a ribbing after Turn 8 accident at Clipsal 500

2009 Yokohama V8 Ute Racing Series competitor, Grant "Grunta" Johnson is looking to make a come-back in Round Two at Winton Raceway after an accident on Turn 8 at Clipsal 500, Adelaide.

Johnson went into the turn at 180km an hour pushing the concrete wall back a metre.

After spending a night in Adelaide Royal Hospital he was released the next day, only to find out on returning home that he has a broken rib.

"I'm still not back to work but now operating at about 75%. I've had numerous ongoing tests after returning to WA, the results of which have found a cracked rib (10th) equalling a world of hurt," said Johnson.

After the incident, Johnsons, Team Manager, John Pachos, knew the car would be hard to repair in time so they decided to build a new one to have ready in time for Winton.

"We are hoping to have the car ready in time. It was quicker and easier for us to buy a new shell and put in a new roll cage."

"We will try and use the engine and gearbox from the old car," said the Hi Tech Motorsport Manager.

Turn 8 has seen a number of incidents over the years and the Clipsal Management team has worked tirelessly to rectify the problem for 2009.

Although the turn had seen improvements for 2009, Clipsal Management decided to seek feedback from V8 Ute drivers to assist in enhancing modifications and safety to the troublesome turn.

Johnson believes that the corner could still do with some improvement and explains the problems with it.

"Most drivers I've spoken to mention the sun being a factor in the morning due to the glare and the low Armco railing. These problems are only issues because of the high speed sweeping nature of the corner. If it was a regular 90 degree 80km/hr corner we wouldn't even notice," said Johnson.

"I think the removal of the Armco on the inside and bring the corner back to the concrete would help. The higher concrete wall is a lot more visible. I hope the feedback helps as this is one of my favourite tracks," stated Johnson.

2009 Clipsal winner, Gary "Chuckie" Baxter, who has been racing on the track since the 80's, agrees with Johnson and is glad to see there is interest in the driver's opinion of the Turn 8 change.

"The Armco needs to go from the apex. If you leave it empty cars will just cut the corner, we all know that but safety must come first," he said.

"Most of the serious accidents have been when cars have clipped the armco on inside of the corner, as a result being deflected directly across the track and into the concrete on the other side, at very high speed. Removing the Armco on the inside of the corner will lessen the chances."

You can relive all the V8 Ute action from Clipsal on Network Seven this Saturday, 11th April at 1:30pm EST.

After that the 32 Utes will be back on the track for more bump and grind at Round Two at Winton Raceway, 1 - 3 May.

-credit: utes

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Series Supercars
Drivers Grant Johnson