V8 Utes at Hidden Valley Raceway, Darwin

About the Circuit: Length: 2.87km longTurns: 14Fastest Average Speed: 122 kphHidden Valley Raceway has one of the fastest straights at 1.1km long. V8 Ute Races at Darwin: The V8 Ute Series has completed a total of 279 laps and 879.43km around Hidden Valley Raceway over the past 7 years.

The Darwin weather is yet to disappoint, the V8 Utes haven’t had one wet race at the top end over the past 7 years.

1)    The V8 Utes have raced at Hidden Valley seven times including; 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. Only the Adelaide Parklands track rivals it in V8 Ute appearances.

2)    Gary Baxter set the first ever lap record in 2005 in Race 1 in a time of 1:24.08 and held onto it until Race 1, 2006 when it was broken by Kerry Wade in a time of; 1:23.57 Grant Johnson beat it two races later and held onto the record until 2009, when Baxter reclaimed the record.

The current lap record is held by David Sieders, Sieders set the record in Race 1 last year in a time of 1:22.3675. Sieders broke Grant Johnson’s record set in Race 1 2010 in a time of 1:22.88. Although Johnson still broke his lap record last year by almost two hundredths of a second, he was out-qualified by both Sieders and 2011 champion Chris Pither.

3)    Race 3 in 2007 was the closest ever V8 Ute race with Jack Elsegood taking out Grant Johnson in a photo finish by one one-hundredth of a second to claim the round, putting Elsegood into the Series lead. He held onto until the final round at Eastern Creek where he had mechanical failure and Johnson took the Series title.

4)    2011 Series frontrunners Chris Pither, Grant Johnson and David Sieders all had a coming together at turn 5 Race 2 last year, Cameron McConville was also caught up in the incident breaking his front strut forcing him into the pits. Pither was lucky to get the Ice Break Holden over the line, ending the race without his front bar and finished in 22nd overall.

5)    Five of the 32 V8 Ute drivers competing in the 2009 Season have raced at Hidden Valley all seven times including: Gary Baxter, Jack Elsegood, Kim Jane, Grant Johnson, and Yanis Derums. 

Although this is only Cameron McConville’s second year driving a V8 Ute at Darwin, this will be his 12th appearance at the event. He drove a V8 Supercar around Hidden Valley every year since 2000 excluding 2010. 6)    Derums is stepping into a car for the first time this year. He stepped out of a full-time drive last year and his car is currently leased out to Williams Race Tech and is driven by Colin Bradley who will make his debut this round.

Jeremy Gray will also return to the V8 Ute field for the second time this year in Brad Patton’s Big Gun Racing backed Ford FG. Todd Zani and Rick Gill will also be returning to the Series for the second time this year, Gill and Zani both drove on their home-track in Perth last month.

Eight drivers will be driving a V8 Ute around Hidden Valley Raceway for the first time including; Phonsy Mullan , Todd Zani, Colin Bradley, Hayley Swanson, Gerard McLeod, Kris Walton, Danny Buzadzic and Andrew Waite.

7)    Andrew Waite will also make his debut in the Australian V8 Ute Series this round. After claiming the 2011/12 New Zealand V8 Ute title, Waite became the recipient of the Chris Pither Scholarship – powered by Ice Break. The Chris Pither scholarship was set up to give young drivers a chance to race for a professional team, and Waite will be the second driver to benefit from the programme.

8)    Tim “The Toolman” Blanchard will return to the Auto One Wildcard Ute for the second time at Hidden Valley.

This will be Blanchard’s third time behind the wheel of a V8 Ute, after he debuted in 2010 at the Armor All Gold Coast 600.

9)    Grant “Grunta” Johnson has the best track record at Hidden Valley posting five out of six possible podiums including three wins (2006, 2009, 2010), one second (2007) and one third (2005).

10)    Nathan Pretty currently leads the ENZED leader-board by 13 points ahead of Rookie Kris Walton on 378 points and Ryal Harris 41 points behind on 356 points. After a stellar round in Perth, Darwin Veteran Kim Jane is on the hunt for the title, currently sitting in fourth in the Series 45 points behind Pretty.

There is a total of 140 points up for grabs on the weekend.

The V8 Utes point system: has been modified for 2012. The new system will award the top three place getters with bonus points. First place will receive 35 points, second place 33 points, third place 31 points and fourth place 29 points; it then reduces one point for every position to 32nd place.

The determination of the Grids will be the same as 2011. Race 1 Grid is determined by Qualifying. Race 2 grid is determined by a random ballot drawn by the Race 1 winner.  The number that is drawn is the number of Utes that will be reversed on the grid for that race. The Grid for Race 3 will not include the points achieved in Qualifying but will be determined by the combined points earned in Race 1 and Race 2 only.

Television: Race 2 will be televised as Live as on Network Seven (Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne) and 7Mate (Adelaide, Perth and Darwin) at 3pm (AEST) Saturday, 16th June and Race 4 will be televised Live As also on Network Seven (Sydney, Brisbane, Tasmania and Melbourne) and 7Mate (Adelaide, Perth, Darwin) at 2:45pm (AEST) Sunday, 17th June.

Event Schedule:Friday, 15th June        Practice 1     8:40amFriday, 15th June        Practice 2    12:40pmSaturday, 16th June    Qualifying      8:40amSaturday, 16th June    Race 1        11:30amSaturday, 16th June    Race 2         2:20pmSunday, 17th June      Race 3        10:30amSunday, 17th June      Race 4         1:25pm

Previous Race and Round Winners:20111) Kim Jane2) David Sieders3) Ryan Hansford

Qualifying - David SiedersRace 1 – David SiedersRace 2 – Charlie O’BrienRace 3 – Ryan HansfordRace 4 – Ryal Harris

20101) Grant Johnson2) Kim Jane3) Jack Elsegood

Qualifying  - Grant JohnsonRace 1 – Grant JohnsonRace 2 – Kim JaneRace 3 Grant Johnson20091) Grant Johnson2) Layton Crambrook3) Glenn McNally

Qualifying – Grant JohnsonRace 1 – Grant JohnsonRace 2 – Layton CrambrookRace 3 – Gary Baxter

20081) Layton Crambrook    2) Kim Jane3) George Miedecke

Qualifying – Layton CrambrookRace 1 – Layton CrambrookRace 2 – George MiedeckeRace 3 – Layton Crambrook 20071) Jack Elsegood2) Grant Johnson 3) Gary Baxter

Qualifying – Matt KingsleyRace 1 –  Gary BaxterRace 2 – Ray SidebottomRace 3 – Jack Elsegood

20061) Grant Johnson2) Marcus Zukanovic3) Kim Jane|

Qualifying - Marcus ZukanovicRace 1 – Grant JohnsonRace 2 – Kim JaneRace 3 – Grant Johnson

20051) Jack Elsegood2) Rod Wilson 3) Grant Johnson

Qualifying – Allan SimonsenRace 1 – Allan SimonsenRace 2 – Jack ElsegoodRace 3 – Jack Elsegood

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