Coming off a Round win at Sandown Raceway, two-time V8 Ute Champion Ryal “The Pest” Harris, will take on double duty at the next Round of the 2014 Australian V8 Ute Racing Series - fuelled by Hogs Breath Café, driving both a V8 Ute and V8 Supercar at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 at Mount Panorama, 9 -12 September.
As well as his regular All Purpose Pest Control V8 Ute, Harris will also steer Matt Stone Racing’s V8 Supercar in the Development Series 41 lap Endurance Race. Harris last drove a V8 Supercar in a test with Ford Performance Racing last year, a prize for taking out the 2012 V8 Ute Championship, however 41 laps will be the longest the 29year old has ever raced, going the race alone.
“This will be the longest I have ever raced and I’ve been training really hard for it. It will definitely help having time in both the Ute and the Supercar and I couldn’t think of a better place to make my debut than my favourite track Bathurst,” said Harris.
The Gold Coaster made a move to Matt Stone Racing a few months ago, looking for a window of opportunity into the V8 Supercar Series and will steer the former Stone Brothers Racing Ford FG driven by Tim Slade in the V8 Supercar Championship in 2012 (Slade posted 5th overall for the Championship that year).The car was also driven this year by Steve Johnson at the Townsville and QLD Raceway Development Series Rounds and Harris is feeling confident with the car.
“It’s a great car; I will be doing a half test day in one of Matt’s cars the week before Bathurst. I’m feeling really confident with Matt Stone Racing, they’ve given me a great Ute, which was proof of my performance at Sandown over the weekend and I know the Supercar will be just as great,” said Harris.
The livery of the Matt Stone Racing V8 Supercar will be launched by the team on the Gold Coast on 26th September.
Harris follows in the footsteps of former V8 Ute Champions Chris Pither, Marcus Zukanovic Damien White and Warren Luff, who all moved onto V8 Supercars and it has been a long held ambition for the Ute stalwart.
“I’ve always wanted to race a V8 Supercar and to do it at Bathurst is a dream come true. I’m so grateful to the guys from All Purpose Pest Control for giving me this opportunity and hopefully I’ll do a great job for them,” said Harris.
The former Go Karting Champion has had a lot of assistance on his road to drive a V8 Supercar with help from All Purpose Pest Control, Bold Group of Companies, K-Spec Building Consultants, Fairfulls Financial Services, All About Cabinets, Variety Group, Emis Electrical and Kleen Group who already feature in a two car outfit in the V8 Ute Series on Andrew Nicholls Holden.
Harris has an exceptional track record racing a V8 Ute around Mount Panorama, scoring his first Podium in 2010 in a Holden placing 3rd, and taking out the round in a Ford in both 2011 and 2012.
He has two Pole wins under his belt (2011/ 2012) and four race wins. Harris was leading the Championship heading into the Bathurst round last year and after taking out Round 5 at Sandown last weekend has moved into 5th in the 2014 ARMOR ALL Drivers Championship, and is still confident he could take a three-peat.
“We had a slow start to the year but if we keep this up anything can happen. All you need is for someone up the front to have one bad round and you’re in with a chance, we didn’t have the best round here last year but I’m really confident at this track, I absolutely love it and I know I can go fast over the top where most people don’t, I’m looking forward to a great weekend and putting more points on the board,” explained Harris.
V8 Ute Regulars Kim “The Assassin” Jane and Andrew “Fishtail” Fisher will also be driving double duty at the event, both in the Touring Car Masters Series.