V8 Utes return to Clipsal 500 for 2012 Series Opener

In 2012 the Auto One V8 Ute Racing Series - protected by Armor All will make a return to the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide for the 12th year in a row.

16 Fords and 16 Holden's will line the streets of Adelaide 1 - 4 March 2012 to take part in the event, which is where the series originally launched in 2001.

Ford raised their batting average this year when David Sieders took out the round for the second year in a row, bringing the Blue Oval to five Clipsal titles, compared to Holden who lead with seven. The last Holden driver to win the round at Clipsal was local driver Gary "Chuckie" Baxter who took out the round in 2010. 

The Clipsal 500 has been a historic round for the V8 Utes; in 2010 the series also celebrated the tenth year of Door-to-Door Racing with a celebrity event. A "Ten Years of Legends" feature race included: V8 Supercar drivers Cameron McConville, Paul Morris, Steve Owen, Tony Longhurst, world record setting stunt riding extraordinaire Robbie Madison and Steven Bradbury - Australia's first ever Winter Olympic Gold Medallist.

The event saw the likes of Cameron McConville return to the Series for a full-time drive this year with Bundaberg Racing. Other drivers include Touring Car Legend Charlie O'Brien, who went on to win the final round in Sydney in 2010, and New Zealand V8 Ute Legend Chris "Gypsy" Pither who stepped into the Ice Break Racing Holden VE and is currently leading the 2011 Series.

Nine of the 32  driver line-up have former V8 Supercar experience including:  Cameron McConville, Nathan Pretty, Gary Baxter, Grant Johnson, Andrew Fisher, Charlie O'Brien, Ryan Hansford, Chris Pither and David Sieders making this year one of the toughest line-ups to date.

SPHERIX'S Craig Denyer, the series Category Manager, believes that competition will just continue to improve as the V8 Utes further develop into a true feeder category to V8 Supercars.

"It's always great to return to where it all started - the Clipsal 500. This will be our 12th appearance at the event and looking back over the years you can see how the series has matured. We've seen drivers come and go into V8 Supercars, and now even NASCAR with young George Miedecke taking the plunge in 2010. The Utes have always been an entertaining category and we intend to have the fans screaming for more at the Clipsal 500 in 2012," said Denyer.

A new edition to the V8 Utes in 2012 will be the Ford FG fitted with the latest quad cam Coyote 5 litre V8. Currently the category is working on developing the Ute, and is looking to have at least a quarter of the Utes in FG's by the start of the year at the Clipsal 500.