David "Sideways" Sieders may be the first driver to claim the Clipsal 500 three times in a row, when he takes to the track next week for Round 1 of the Auto One V8 Ute Racing Series - protected by Armor All in Adelaide.
Sieders first won on debut in 2010, claiming both the round and the Armor All Pole Award, he backed up last year taking out the double again.
Local Gary Baxter and Grant Johnson are both sitting on two titles at the Clipsal 500, and if Sieders takes out another first round win, he won't top the Red Lion tally, however will move Ford a step closer in the overall Clipsal count, which is currently sitting on seven Clipsal wins for Holden and four for the Blue Oval.
"I definitely want Ford to win, and would prefer it to be me. I was surprised last year when Gary told me I might catch him, I would love to mirror my results from the past two years and that will definitely be our aim," said Sieders.
The only thing Sieders hasn't been able to grab is the lap record, which is held by 2011 Champion Chris Pither, who will be back in the Ice Break Holden for the opening round. Pither claimed third at the round last year, which set him up for his championship win. The Adelaide opener will also see the return of Ryal Harris, who claimed second at Clipsal last year, and third overall for the series."I'm only doing four rounds this year so I won't be playing it safe, I'll be out to win races and really have nothing to lose, so I might even pay a few guys back from last year," said Pither.
There are a few newcomers to this year's field, including Melbourne's Gerard McLeod, whose motor racing DNA stretches back to 1987, when his father Peter won Bathurst with Peter Brock and David Parsons.Gerard is fresh out of the Commodore Cup Series and eager to try his hand at V8 Ute racing.
"I always thought the V8 Utes series was one of the healthiest categories in Australian motorsport, outside of V8 Supercars, and the format is sensational. It has close racing and the utes are even. It was also the logical step with my production car background, it seemed the easiest category to adapt to and I'm looking forward to my first race," explained McLeod.
Youngster Steve Charman will also be debuting at Clipsal. The West Aussie will join fellow statesman, Rhys and Jake McNally as one of the youngest drivers in the Series at 21 years of age.
Troy Dontas will join twin brother Craig in the Series and another local driver, Charlie Kovacs Jnr, son of the infamous "Handlebars," will drive a Ute for the second time having teamed with his father in the "Ten Years of Legends Race" in 2010.
Another driver making a return from the tenth anniversary race is Grant Bromley who will steer Jason Gomersall's Ford BF, making this his second appearance in a V8 Ute.
Phonsy Mullan, owner of Series partner Ripshift, will also debut in the Series, and has just returned from the 2012 World Series Jet Sprint Championship along with Nathan Pretty, both finishing second in their divisions, Pretty in International Group A and Mullan in the Superboat division.
Jeremy Gray will be driving Greg Willis' former Ford, and will make a return to the Series after pulling out mid last year to race Carrera Cup for Nathan Tinkler.Gray will be juggling double duties, along with Auto One Wildcard driver Warren Luff, who will both be driving in the Australian GT Series. Cameron McConville will be balancing the Utes and his Development V8 Supercar drive.
The V8 Utes will celebrate their 300th Race on Saturday 3 March for Race 2, which will be televised live as on Network Seven along with Race 3 on Sunday, 4 March.Round 1 V8 Ute schedule:Thursday, 1 March Practice 1 8:30amThursday, 1 March Practice 2 1:05pmThursday, 1 March Qualifying 5:30pmFriday, 2 March Race 1 5:25pmSaturday, 3 March Race 2 12:10pmSunday, 4 March Race 3 11:50am