Huge boost to V8 Utes field as new season approaches
With the 2023 championship about to kick off, the RYCO 24•7 V8 Utes are poised for a big season. Up to 15 utes ready to line up on the grid for the February 11-12th weekend at Taupo International Motorsport Park – a big increase from last season. Several race winners from previous seasons are back from hibernation while some exciting new talent has joined the championship promising to push the pace. Increased TV coverage will capture the action live, ensuring that more viewers on both sides of the Tasman will get a front-row seat to the action.
Standout talent Glen Collinson (two race wins and two 2nd placings in the 2019/20 season alone) is back for more. Perpetual front-runner Brett Rudd will be alternating drives with son Josh, having bought Peter Ward’s spare Holden ute during the off-season. D1NZ drift series campaigner Blair Gribble-Bowring steps up from turning wrenches for Daniel Ludlam to spinning some wheels of his own, after snapping up Roger Nees’ immaculately presented Ford BF ute. The rumour mill also suggests that another driver is waiting in the wings having bought a race-prepped Ford BF – more details to come shortly.
Speaking of Fords, former RYCO 24•7 business owner David ‘Shaggy’ Lowe together with Brent Main & Simon McLeod will all be wearing RYCO 24•7 livery and all racing Ford BFs. We may see team tactics play out in a bid to keep the Fords at the front. There’s also strong possibility that previous race winner and seasoned NZV8 Touring Cars racer, Nick Ross, will be driving the Holden ute that Shaggy ran so successfully last season.
As an added incentive , the Yokohama Scholarship is back with a set of tyres going to one lucky driver each round. All RYCO 24•7 V8 Utes run the same Advan AO48 control tyre, so this gesture from Yokohama NZ is a great boost to the series.
It’s not just the field that has increased – TV exposure has also been ramped up, giving competitors and their loyal sponsors many hours of valuable air time throughout the season. Every RYCO 24•7 V8 Utes championship race will be broadcast live on Sky Sport, while Sunday afternoon races will be simulcast live on TV3’s CRC Motorsport. Across the ditch, our V8 Utes will feature on the popular Speedweek series which screens nationwide on Australia’s SBS network.
Some last-minute thrashing may see numbers grow even further, but right now it’s looking to be around a 50% increase on last year’s field – a season when barely 2 seconds separated first from last in qualifying, times. It’s not only the field utes that has grown – new additions to the families of several drivers could see the V8 utes pits resembling something of a creche, giving a new generation of motorsport enthusiasts some early insights into the sport.
Excitement isn’t restricted to the drivers – RYCO 24•7 Managing Director Azim Aslam is particularly amped-up about the upcoming season. Azim and his team are regular attendees at each round, as race meetings bring RYCO 24•7 personnel and their clients together from around the country. With most race weekends featuring two practice sessions, qualifying, then three races, there’ll be plenty to hold their attention.