Green light for V8 Utes to support SuperTourers
The New Zealand V8 Utes will feature alongside the V8SuperTourer category from next season.
NZV8 Ute Racing have committed to the V8SuperTourer Series as a support category for three years starting with the first round of the 2013 sprint series at Hampton Downs in February.
The V8SuperTourer Series made its debut earlier this year and has grown rapidly with more than 20 cars expected for the first endurance round at Taupo in September.
Palmerston North businessman Ash Cairns, the NZ V8 Ute Series chairman, said they had always believed the Ute Series' best place was as the No 1 support category to the No 1 V8 sedan category.
"And all things considered, the decision is a no-brainer," he said.
Cairns said his category needed to seize the opportunity to raise its profile.
"We believe that the momentum for the rights to claim the position as New Zealand's No 1 V8 sedan category lies firmly with V8SuperTourers.
"These blokes have all the name drivers and all the professional, well-funded teams firmly in their camp - and they undeniably have 24 new race cars on their grid," said Cairns.
"NZV8 Ute Racing believes that the present situation with two competing entities trying to run a V8 Sedan Series is completely disruptive to motorsport in NZ.
"Clearly the folk who primarily fund motorsport in this country - the drivers and the team owners who actually pay for everything - have voted with their wallets and their feet and decamped to the new V8SuperTourer Series."
The UDC V8 Ute Championship was one of the strongest categories on last summer's Motorsport NZ Premier Race Series with good entries and racing throughout the season.
The category was introduced to New Zealand in 2008 with its V8 SS Commodore and Falcon XR8 Utes featuring marble draw and reverse grids.
The Utes would run at all six rounds of the V8SuperTourer Series. The V8 Ute drivers will also get the opportunity to compete for the annual V8ST scholarship, as well as having their own, dedicated TV segment on a delayed-broadcast basis.
They will also look for a suitable date next year when they can put together another round of the Trans-Tasman V8 Ute Challenge Series, Kiwis versus Aussies.
The sole Manawatu driver in the Utes series last season was Palmerston North's Geoff Spencer although Chris Pither and Matt Lockwood were previous series winners.