Reigning V8 Ute Champion Chris Pither, along with Ice Break Racing, will offer a scholarship to up and coming drivers for the 2012 season. Young-gun Jesse "The Jedi" Dixon is the first driver to snatch up the opportunity for Round 2 of the Auto One V8 Ute Racing Series - protected by Armor All 30 March - 1 April in Tasmania.
Pither made the decision after achieving his aim within the category (taking out both the New Zealand and V8 Ute titles) and is excited to offer the opportunity to scholarship holders.
"I've wanted to race a V8 Supercar ever since I was 6 years old, and I was very fortunate when Ash Cairns offered me a drive in the New Zealand V8 Ute Series. In 2010, I had the chance to do the Winton Round with Ice Break Racing as a test. They were prepared to take a punt and give me a crack, and to have won the championship in my first full season racing Utes in Australia was special, and has now created bigger opportunities for me."
"With that in mind, we have now offered the opportunity to other young up and coming drivers, that don't have the resources to take the next step but have demonstrated exceptional ability," explained Pither.
Chris and the Ice Break team have selected two drivers in Australia to drive in at least one round this year, including Dixon and Tom Williamson. Another drive will be offered to the winner of the New Zealand V8 Ute Championship, Auckland's Andrew Waite.
Dixon is ecstatic about the opportunity and has already established an impressive CV including Go Karts, and winning a scholarship to race in Asia in the 2010 Formula BMW Pacific Championship. In 2011, he drove in a few rounds under the Ice Break banner in the Suzuki Swift Series. Dixon worked full-time last year assisting the Ice Break team at drive days and race meetings, including driving the Ice Break lead-out car.
"I'm so excited. I've been with the guys for a while now and it's nice to see that my time has paid off. I'm so thankful to Ice Break and Chris for the opportunity and I can't wait to race the Ice Break Ute in Tasmania.
"I've had a bit of experience in the ute doing drive days and I hope that it all pays off when I hit the track," said Dixon.
Pither who knows the feeling of catching a break is thrilled for Dixon and wishes him well in his first major national racing Series.
"Jesse has been with Ice Break for a while now and assisted in bringing us the championship last year. I believe he will do a great job and I really wish him all the best," said Pither
Dixon will get his first crack on the track on Friday 30 March for Practice 1. See below full schedule for Symmons Plains: Friday, 29th March Practice 1 9:40amFriday, 29th March Practice 2 11:20amFriday, 29th March Qualifying 3:10pmSaturday, 30th March Race 1 11:30amSaturday, 30th March Race 2 2:35pmSunday, 1 April Race 3 11:00amSunday, 1 April Race 4 2:05pm
The 2012 Series consists of 26 races over eight rounds raced throughout Australia covering six states and one territory and is televised nationally through-out Australia on Network Seven and 7 Mate and internationally through Motors TV Europe, TV3 New Zealand and SPEED online in the USA.
To get up to date with the 2012 V8 Ute Season tune in to Network Seven Saturday, 24th March at 12:30pm to catch all of the action from Round 1.