With five drivers gearing up to race in front of a home-crowd for the opening round of the 2015 V8 Ute Racing Series, some are also setting their sights on a podium finish in what will be the 15th appearance and the final Ford versus Holden Crusade at the Clipsal 500, Thursday, 26th February – Sunday, 1st March.
Clipsal 500 Business Development Manager Craig Dontas will be looking to better his result of second at last year’s event, whilst battling for the third time against identical twin brother Troy.
“We had such a great result at Clipsal last year, to stand on the podium in front of family, friends and work colleagues was really a dream come true, I’d still like to go one better though and win a race and stand on that top step. We have a new team with Erebus Motorsport, new number (#45) and new partners with Just Car Insurance, so far it’s been a great start to the season, let’s just keep it going with a good result,” said Dontas.
Inaugural V8 Ute Racer Charlie “Handlebars” Kovacs claimed the Round win in 2004 and after a year off he is looking forward to his lucky 13th spin in front of his home-crowd.
“It’s always great racing in front of a home crowd; we’ve always had a lot of fun at the event and have posted some good results as well. The whole family will be here as always and I’m hoping I can give them a good result with this being my 13th Clipsal,” said Kovacs.
Noel Edge will return for his sixth outing at his home-track and will once again have his wife Keryn by his side to assist him in running the Ute.
Jordan Skinner will head-up the tough Rookie line-up this year, racing against Victorian Leigh Nicolaou and 17year old Mason Barbera. Barbera was the youngest driver to ever compete in the V8 Ute Racing Series, when he debuted at the Sydney round in December last year.
24year old Nicolaou debuted at the Bathurst 1000 last year with Murphy Motorsport and this will be the former go Karter’s first outing at the Clipsal 500, whilst Jordan Skinner will return for his second outing at the event. Last year, he failed to make Race 1 after a run-in with Cam Wilson during qualifying ended both their races.
“Getting to the first race would be a good start, anything would be better compared to last year, and any finish would be a step up! The ute feels great though, we tested yesterday at Eastern Creek and things are pretty positive, I like the Ford a lot better to drive than the Holden I totalled last year, so we’ll see how it goes,” said Skinner.
The locals will have plenty of competition with three time Clipsal champion David Sieders back, (this time in a Holden,) along with reigning Champion Kris Walton and two-time champion Ryal Harris. George Miedecke will join his 2010 Ten years of legends race winning partner Jeremy Gray also in the Blue Oval, 2013 Clipsal Podium winner Rhys McNally will also represent The General.
Also in the mix is the return of V8 Ute stalwart Nandi “Mr Damage” Kiss returning to the V8 Ute field after a 3 year sabbatical racing in the V8 Supercar Development Series.
New to the field this year is Adam Beechey and Geoff Fane who will join Andrew Nickolls in Team Kleen Racing. Richard Mork will debut in the Series, a former 1980’s Laser driver whose main claim to fame was turning around a young first time rookie called Mark Skaife, whilst going up the hill at Amaroo Park in Sydney.
See below full racing schedule for the first Round of the 2015 Australian V8 Ute Racing Series:Thursday, 26th February Practice 1 9:15amThursday, 26th February Practice 2 11:45amThursday, 26th February Qualifying 2:05pmFriday, 27th February Race 1 2:20pmSaturday, 28th February Race 2 10:45amSunday, 1st March Race 3 9:00am
In 2015, all V8 Ute practice, qualifying sessions and races will be broadcast live across a combination of the Fox Sports and TEN platforms, with digital coverage through Foxtel Go. International coverage has been extended to include over 40 countries. The series will feature 24 races over 8 rounds, all on the V8 Supercar calendar.