As Round One of the NZV8 Utes championship blasts its way onto Taupo International Motorsport Park over the weekend of 17-19th November, it will open the throttles on some exciting changes for the season ahead. The big news is that the NZV8 Utes will be joining the Super V8 series, resulting in bigger fields and more-intense on-track action.
As Gary Lathrope of GR8 Events, promoter of the Super V8 Series explained, “A big part of the success of the Super V8 Series last season was combining the TA2, Tranzam and NZTC V8 Open categories into the one race. After discussing with our current teams and drivers, there was a clear desire to have the V8 Utes join our Super V8 Series.”
The V8 Utes will line up on the grid behind the other Super V8 categories. Bigger grid numbers mean a more engaging racing spectacle, with each of the V8 categories engaged in their own battles in the one arena. The V8 Utes will be in familiar company as they’ll be following in the slipstream of former V8 Utes champion Peter Ward along with Brett Rudd, both racing TA2s..
Reigning champion Brad Kroef in his Heron Construction-backed Ford FG will be out to defend his title against some stiff competition - none fiercer than his father Greg Kroef- also racing a Ford FG. Yet that won’t be the only father and son rivalry. Paul Fougere in the Napa-backed Holden VE will be under pressure to keep ahead of his hard-charging son Alex.
This season the V8 Utes field continues to grow with newcomer Kyan Davie having stepped across from the Toyota 86 series. Also new is Brett Rudd’s brother-in-law’s son – he’ll be sharing a pit bay with Brett, a former V8 Ute front-runner, giving him access to some valuable tips to accelerate his progress in the championship.
V8 Utes are known for their trademark elbow-to-elbow racing. With similarly-powered Holdens and Fords wearing identical Yokohama rubber, all that separates them is the skill – and bravery – of the drivers. It’s also the one category keeping alive the legendary Ford vs Holden rivalry that has been the centre-piece of motor racing on both sides of the Tasman for decades. Once again, Yokohama NZ will be throwing its weight behind the V8 Utes championship, along with long-time supporter PTS Logistics.
Typical Super V8 races will potentially see more than 25 vehicles on track at once, raising excitement levels for spectators trackside and TV audiences nationwide. All Sunday races in November, January and March will be broadcast live on Sky Sport New Zealand and Fox Sports Australia from 9.30am until the end of racing.
It all kicks into gear at the Taupo International Motorsport Park over the weekend of 17-19th November, with Qualifying at 11.58am on Saturday followed by Race One at 2.35pm. Then on Sunday, Race Two is scheduled for 10.02am with Race Three at 2.35pm.
Fast forward to 2024 and the championship heads to Manfeild 26-28th January, Hampton Downs 15-17h March building to the season decider at Hampton Downs 18-19th May.