Ryan Hansford, son of the late motorcycle champion Gregg Hansford, will make his V8 Ute Mount Panorama debut next weekend at Round five of the 2011 Auto One V8 Ute Racing Series - protected by Armor All, 6 - 9 October and will be looking to follow the same path as his father and claim a Bathurst win.
His father Gregg won the Tooheys 1000 in 1993 with Larry Perkins driving a Holden VP Commodore, was 2nd in the James Hardie Bathurst 12 Hour in the same year partnered with V8 Ute driver Charlie O'Brien, and came back the following year to claim victory in the same event with Neil Crompton in a Mazda RX-7. He also won the Sandown 500 in 1988 with Allan Moffat in a Mazda RX7.
"It would be great to make it on to podium. Bathurst is a really sentimental place for me and I would like nothing better than to show Dad that I can achieve a similar goal," said Hansford.
Although the Rookie currently holds a top ten position on the ENZED Drivers Championship, he will have his work cut out when he joins another15 Ford and 16 Holden V8 Ute drivers for the Blue Oval and Red Lion battle of the year at Mount Panorama.
Defending Bathurst champion David Sieders will be one of his main rivals in his Australian Industrial Supplies backed Ford, and is feeling confident about another Bathurst win.
"Last year we went there with aspirations to do well and what we did was awesome. We thought we might do alright as we'd done well there in a few other categories before. We look to build on that this year and have a great result. It won't be easy though, it's been a tight championship all year and Bathurst will also be tight," Sieders said.
Ice Break Racing's Chris Pither leads the series charge only 4 points ahead of reigning Champion Grant Johnson, VIP Petfoods backed Ryal Harris is in third on 468 points and Sieders in fourth on 460 points. Johnson, Sieders and Harris all have the advantage of placing in the top three at Bathurst in 2010. Johnson also claimed the Armor All Pole Award last year and is looking forward to a great weekend on track.
"I always enjoy racing at Bathurst. We will be looking to make the most of the weekend and put some points on the board, a podium would also be nice," said Johnson.
David Sieders however was the quickest around the track last year only four tenths of a second off the lap record held by NASCAR development driver George Miedecke, which he set in 2009.
Hansford's not too worried and is really looking forward to the experience.
"I'm hoping to be competitive, we have a really good car and if we keep going like we've done so far this year I think we'll be in for a really good shot," said Hansford.
The Truckline Racing's backed driver, Hansford will be joined by Rookie rival Jake McNally who will also make his Bathurst debut next weekend in his NRW backed Holden.
Driving utes at Bathurst for the first time include former MINI Challenge driver Brendon Cook, former Saloon car driver Garry Hills who will drive Charlie Kovacs' Holden, Nathan Tinkler in Jeremy Gray's Ford will also be juggling a drive in the Australian GT Championship, Nathan Pretty will drive his Monster Energy V8 Ute for the first time at Bathurst, along with Cameron McConville who will debut his Bundaberg Holden Ute, both will drive in the Bathurst 1000 Endurance Race.
Pretty will team up with former V8 Ute driver Warren Luff in the Gulf Western Oil backed Holden and McConville with James Courtney for the Toll Holden Racing team. McConville was on the podium last year when he drove with Garth Tander. Another driver also doing double duty is Auto One Wildcard driver Marcus Zukanovic who will be driving in the Fujitsu Series as well.
Yanis Derums will also make a return to the V8 Ute field, and has just bought Kosi Kailatzidis' Ford with Gary MacDonald.
Allan Letcher will be returning to the V8 Ute field for Bathurst, after a drive at Perth earlier in the year. Letcher rolled his WA Lifting Holden six times at the event in 2009 and has adopted the nickname "Rollover." Letcher is an experienced driver having raced at Mt Panorama 13 times before in V8 Utes, Bathurst 12 Hour and 24 hour events.
The V8 Utes will hit the track for practice 1 on Thursday, 6th October followed by practice 2 and Qualifying on Friday.
See below full race schedule:
Thursday, 6th October 1:55pm Practice 1Friday, 7th October 8:00am Practice 2Friday, 7th October 2:10pm QualifyingSaturday, 8th October 11:30am Race 1Saturday, 8th October 3:05pm Race 2Sunday, 9th October 8:20am Race 3
Race 1 will be televised LIVE on Network Seven on Saturday, 8th October and Race 3 will also be televised LIVE right before the "Big Race" (Bathurst 1000 Endurance Race) also on Network Seven on Sunday, 9th October.
See below Top Ten Standings for the ENZED drivers Championship.
1 #42 Chris Pither Ice Break Racing 497 2 #1 Grant Johnson Hi-Tech Motorsport 493 3 #58 Ryal Harris VIP Petfoods 468 4 #8 David Sieders Australia Industrial Supplies Racing 460 5 #56 Nathan Pretty Monster Energy 430 6 #27 Kim Jane Bob Jane T-Mart 405 7 #11 Jack Elsegood Coopers Clear Racing 403 8 #22 Craig Dontas Thirsty Camel Racing 398 9 #61Cameron McConville Bundaberg Racing 371 10 #6 Ryan Hansford Truckline Racing 368