V8 Utes at the Sydney Telstra 500

 (Grand Finale')

About the TrackLength: 3.4kmCircuit Direction: Anti-clockwiseV8 Ute Top Average Speed: 114km/hV8 Ute Lap Record: 1:47.91 set by George Miedecke in a Ford BF in Race 1 (2009) Fastest point: Turn 1, end of pit straight Slowest Point: Mid-corner, last 2 turns (12/13)

Brief description of the circuit: Winding its way around the Sydney Olympic Park complex which hosted the 2000 Olympic Games, the newest V8 Supercar circuit is a real mixture. Track designers, including five-time Series Champion Mark Skaife, have focused on creating a real challenge for the drivers, with a variety of bumps, camber changes and fast and slow corners making it difficult to complete the perfect lap.

1) The Sydney Telstra 500 marks the final Round of the 2011 Auto One V8 Ute Racing Series - protected by Armor All.

2) Five drivers are still in contention for the Series title including; Chris Pither (838), Ryal Harris (792), David Sieders (783) and Grant Johnson (776) and Nathan Pretty (730). There are only 108 points separating the top five drivers.

Points up for Grabs:Qualifying 1st= 32 points descending 1 point per position down to 32nd.Race 1  1st   As AboveRace 2  1st   As AboveRace 3  1st   As AboveTotal of: 128 points for the weekend.

3) Finals history:

Grant Johnson and Jack Elsegood have the strongest rivalry in V8 Ute finals history. In 2007, Coopers Clear Racing's Elsegood was leading the Series heading into the final round and had the title in the bag until he had issues with the car in the final race, giving Johnson the title. Elsegood however was able to redeem himself in 2009 claiming the title after the Sydney Street Race.

In 2010 Grant Johnson was leading the Series by 86 points heading into the round, which was almost guaranteeing him the title over then reigning champion Jack Elsegood. However the weekend was given a shake-up after Johnson was excluded from Qualifying and Race 1 over that weekend due to a front brake line infringement, which put Elsegood within 20 points of the leader heading into the final two races. Johnson was forced to start from the rear of the grid for Race 2 and he fearlessly drove to an amazing fifth place finish, salvaging some valuable points and assuring that he would start a little further up the order for Race Three.

Elsegood started on the front row of the final race alongside Charlie O'Brien but he was unable to best the veteran and had to settle for second in the race and in the Championship.Johnson cautiously moved to 15th position, a result that saw him clinch the overall Championship win.

4) Ryan Hansford has claimed the 2011 Australian V8 Ute Racing Series Rookie of the Year Award as his points tally cannot be matched by rival NRW Holding's Jake McNally.

5) 23 out of 32 drivers have competed on the Sydney Olympic Park circuit before.

6) There will be three new additions to the 2011 Series at Sydney including: Former V8 Ute driver Gary MacDonald will make his first appearance in the 2011 Series along with Auto One Wildcard driver Adam Macrow.

Debuting at Sandown was Kris Walton and Danny Buzadzic who will make a return to the Series for the final round. Buzadzic is a cousin to 2006 V8 Ute Champion Marcus Zukanovic and finished 18th overall for his first round in a Ute. Queenslander Kris Walton was the big surprise of the weekend claiming sixth overall for the round and taking out Race 2 ahead of V8 Supercar steerer Cameron McConville.

7) Ten drivers out of the 32 are from Sydney including; Wake-up Racing's Warren Millet, Jack Elsegood, David Sieders, Jesus Racing's Andrew Fisher, GO! Channel driver Gary Carson, Nandi Kiss, Ben Dunn, George Elliot, Ben Kavich and Gary MacDonald.

8) Former V8 Supercar driver and 2008 development Series champion, Adam Macrow will steer the Auto One Wildcard Ute at the final round of the Series. Macrow will join Charlie O'Brien, Marcus Marshall, Tim Blanchard, Dean Canto, David Besnard and Tony Longhurst in the seat.

About the top four Series contenders:

Driver    2011 Podiums 2011      Race wins 2011  Pole Awards     Best Past Series Result       Chris Pither      4      3        0      4th 2010 (1st NZ Series '09,'10 and '11)      Ryal Harris       3      9       3       7th 2008      David Sieders     3      4       3       2010 Rookie  (5th 2010)       Grant Johnson     3      2       0       1st 2007/2010

Former driving History:

#42 Chris "The Gypsy" Pither - Ice Break Racing - Holden- raced in the V8 Ute Series in 2007- drove in the V8 Supercar Series for team New Zealand in 2008- drove in the New Zealand V8 Ute Series in 09/10 Season and 10/11 Season and won both times - is the current New Zealand champion.- drove in the 2010 Aussie V8 Utes "Ten Years of Legends Race" with Peter Burnitt and was picked up by Ice Break Racing to compete in the remainder of the 2010 Series where he claimed fourth overall after no points were awarded for the first round due to his legend status.

#58 Ryal "The Kid" Harris - V.I.P. Petfoods - Ford- Former state (QLD) and national Go Kart champion- selected as junior development saloon driver for Dick Johnson Racing in 2000.- Joined the V8 Ute Racing Series in 2004, however has only completed two full seasons '04 and '05 before this year.- tested a V8 Supercar with Paul Morris Motorsport in 2009.

#8 David "Sideways" Sieders - Australian Industrial Supplies Racing - Ford- debuted in motorsport in 2002 in Super Trucks- 2006 Ford Performance Test and development driver- 2009 V8 Supercar debut finishing his first race inside the top 15- 2010 joined the V8 Ute Series and won the round and the Armor All Pole Award on debut. Sieders went on to claim the 2010 V8 Ute Rookie of the year title.

#1 Grant "Grunta" Johnson - Car Hart - Holden- Started racing at the age of 21 in a V8 Holden Commodore.- Raced on and off in the years after, with appearances at Bathurst in 98, 99 and 03.- Won a season drive in the Konica series in 2002- Competed in the Malaysian 12hr with 5 podiums out of 7 starts including 2 wins.- Began racing in the V8 Ute Series in 2006.- Won both the V8 Ute Series and the state Saloon Car Championship in 2007- competed in the 2009 and 2010 Bathurst 12 Hour in a V8 Ute- Also won the V8 Ute Series in 2010 and was inducted into the V8 Ute Hall of Fame.

#56 Nathan "Nitro" Pretty - Monster Energy - Holden- Ran in the V8 Utes in 2001 for a few rounds.-  This is Pretty's first full season in the V8 Utes he raced as his alter-ago Randy Corners in    Sydney last year.- 2002 Bathurst 24hr winner- 2006 V8 Development series when he drove the Smith's Trucks sponsored Commodore to   a fifth place series finish.- competed at Bathurst 13 times in the Bathurst 1000 placing in the top ten six times.- Fourth in a Holden Young Lions Commodore in 2002 with Rick Kelly and eighth with  Jack     Perkins in 2008- Has two world Jet Boat titles under his belt.

Past Sydney Podium winners:20101st Charlie O'Brien2nd Jack Elsegood3rd Chris Pither

20091st George Miedecke2nd Grant Johnson3rd Andrew FisherPast V8 Ute Championship Winners:

2010 - Grant Johnson, Sydney Olympic Park, NSW2009 - Jack Elsegood - Sydney Olympic Park, NSW2008 - Layton Crambrook - Oran Park Raceway, NSW2007 - Grant Johnson - Phillip Island, VIC2006 - Marcus Zukanovic - Gold Coast Street Circuit, QLD2005 - Damien White - Symmons Plains, TAS2004 - Damien White -Mallala Raceway, SA2003 - Warren Luff - Gold Coast Street Circuit, QLD2002 - Warren Luff - Gold Coast Street Circuit, QLD2001 - Rod Wilson - Sandown Raceway, VIC