V8 Utes Fast Facts: Wilson Security Sandown 500

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 11/09/2013
  • By V8 Utes

About the Track
Length: 3.104km
Turns: 13
Direction: Anti-clockwise
Fastest average speed in a V8 Racing Ute: 132kph 

1. This will be the V8 Ute Racing Series' eighth appearance at Sandown. The V8 Utes first appeared at Sandown Raceway in their inaugural year in 2001, then again in 2002, 2005, 2009 and 2011. 

2. Race Two in 2009 was declared a race, however no points were issued. It was deemed a race because more than two laps were completed, but because 75 percent of the race distance wasn’t achieved, no points were issued. The race was shortened due to an incident when Stephen Robinson rolled his car in spectacular fashion at turn one. 

3. The current Lap Record is held by Glenn McNally, which was set in Race One in 2009 with a time of 1min24.55. Brother Rhys is still racing in the Series and will race at Sandown for the second time this year in his Holden #26.  

Mick Donaher was the first V8 Racing Ute driver to hold the record at Sandown Raceway in a Ford AU. This was the only time that Ford held the lap record at Sandown. Damien White broke Paul Stokell’s 2002 record in 2004 in Race Two, with a time of 1min27.136 in a Holden. In 2005 the lap record was broken in every race, firstly by Allan Simonsen in Race One, followed by Marcus Zukanovic in Race Two and then the next day by Ryal Harris who held it in a time of 1min26.0552. 

4. Current Series leader Ryal Harris stood on the podium back in 2009 when he raced a Holden, however he is yet to win in a Ford. Ford has only ever secured one Round win in its eight years at Sandown. Mick Donahue had a clean-sweep of the field in 2001 claiming qualifying and all three races, James Moffat was the only other Ford driver to stand on the podium when he placed third outright in 2005.

Holden has dominated Sandown races having won 12 out of the 18 races. 

5. 2002 was the “Great Aussie Ute Race” which was a two driver format with each driver paired with a legend, some of which included: three-time Australian Gold Star Champion Paul Stokell, Touring Car legend Andrew Miedecke, Country Singer Adam Brand, V8 Supercar star Brad Jones, and Formula One World Champion (1980) Allan Jones. 

6. Thirteen of the 32 V8 Ute Racing drivers will drive a V8 Racing Ute around Sandown Raceway for the first time including Adam Marjoram, Elliot Barbour, Wayne Wakefield, Stephen White, Phonsy Mullan, Matthew Nolan, Cam Wilson, Todd Zani, John Wood, Michael Almond, Gerard McLeod and Jesse Dixon. 

It’s been 10 years since Wayne Wakefield was called up to be a super-sub in the Sandown 500 for Danish ex-formula one driver Jan Magnussen. Wakefield drove alongside Frenchman Nicolas Minassian for the Adelaide-based Team Dynamik, the pair finished 28th overall. 

7. V8 Ute Racing Stalwart Warren Millet will return to the field after a six month absence. Young-gun Jesse Dixon stepped into Millets #88 Holden this year and Millet will drive Richard Bloomfield’s Holden, re-numbered #18, Bloomfield has decided to hang-up his V8 Ute Racing Boots for personal reasons.

Danny Buzadzic Western General Body Works Ford #72 will also make a return to the field after his car was also written off (requiring a complete rebuild) in Darwin. He will be joined by other local drivers Gerard McLeod, Phonsy Mullan, Nathan Pretty, Kim Jane, Stephen White and Yokohama Rookie of the Year leader Elliot Barbour.

8. Tony Longhurst, Kris Walton and Danny Buzadzic all debuted in the V8 Ute Series at Sandown Raceway in 2011. Walton and Buzadzic went on to drive full-time in the Series in 2012, however this is Longhurst’s first full year in the Series. 

Longhurst has a long history at Sandown Raceway placing fourth in the Sandown 500, three years in a row (1994 with Charlie O’Brien, 1995 with Wayne Park and in 1996 with Steve Ellery).

Kim Jane has a long history at Sandown Raceway having had his first race there at the age of 17 in an EH Holden. He celebrated his 200th V8 Ute Race there in 2011. 

Nathan Pretty holds the lap record at Sandown Raceway in a Holden Monaro 427C that he set back in 2004 racing in the Nations Cup Series. 

9. Local drivers include, Kim Jane, Nathan Pretty, Stephen White, Elliot Barbour, Phonsy Mullan, Danny Buzadzic and neighbour Gerard McLeod (who lives walking distance to the track). 

Rod Wilson, Kim Jane and Gary Baxter are the only three drivers to stand on podium more than once. Inaugural V8 Ute Racing Champion Wilson is the most successful driver 3 times (2001, 2002 with Gary MacDonald in the Great Aussie Race and 2003), Baxter (2004 and 2005) and Jane in 2009 and 2011. 

10. The V8 Ute Racing Series moves into the pointy end of the season with Sandown Round Five of the Series. There are still a total of 560 points up for grabs over the final four rounds. 

How the point system works: 
First place in each race will receive 35 points, second place 33 points, third place 31 points and fourth place 29 points; it then reduces one point for every position to 32nd place.

Race One grid is determined by Qualifying. Race Two grid is determined by a random ballot drawn by the Race One winner. The number that is drawn is the number of Utes that will be reversed on the grid for that race. The Grid for Race Three will not include the points achieved in Qualifying but will be determined by the combined points earned in Race One and Race Two only.

11. In the ENZED Drivers Championhsip two Fords lead three Holdens, with Ryal Harris (Tapout Energy Racing ) first on 514 points, followed by David Sieders (Mine Site Fencing Australia) on 468, Nathan Pretty (Milwaukee Racing) on 467, Rhys McNally (Stratco Racing) on 445 and Gary Baxter (Sage Automation/Roof Seal) on 433. 

12. This will be the final round in 2013 that will use the new qualifying format.

The new format, similar to the qualifying system used in Formula One, features a 30-minute session broken up into three individual segments. Qualifying One includes all 32 V8 Utes and after 10 minutes, the top 20 fastest drivers will continue into Qualifying Two, for a shorter seven minute session. The top 10 drivers from this session will then start Qualifying Three, a short five minute session allowing for a one or 2 lap shootout. The fastest lap times will then determine the top ten grid for the start of Race One, with the balance of the grid filled as they drop off in lap time from each segment.

The V8 Utes are just one of the support categories featuring alongside the V8 Supercars at the Wilson Security Sandown 500, with Formula 5000 and the Touring Car Masters also on the schedule. Tickets are still available for the event.

Stay In The Know
Sign up to the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship Newsletter