A huge threat has emerged to the hopes of those competitors chasing the honours in the 2011/2012 V8 Ute Championship
Auckland driver Andrew Waite has purchased the Ford Falcon Ute taken to the series title in the last two years by Chris Pither. The combination of the talented Waite behind the wheel of a championship proven machine will pose a formidable threat to all those seeking the title next season.
Waite 'DJ48' made his V8 Ute debut in the recently completed season, deputising for the injured Chris Hanley at two rounds of the series. He was instantly competitive, almost winning his first ever V8 Ute race and taking a podium at just the second round he contested.
Now Waite is primed for his first full season in the category and he must be considered a top contender for the title. "I'm really looking forward to it," said Waite recently. "We will test the car shortly. There is a bit of pressure getting into the championship winning car but I have to say that I won't be happy unless I win the title. I did a few rounds last season so I have an idea what I am up for. My first ute race last year was my first ever 'tin top' race."
Prior to his appearance in last years V8 Ute series Waite had experienced plenty of success in single seater racing including Formula Ford and Toyota Racing Series cars. However despite the fact that the V8 Utes are a totally different proposition Waite made a seamless transition to the category. While his previous outings have been in a Holden, he now finds himself with a new challenge - getting the best out of a Ford. "The Holden has the advantage in some places and the Ford has it in others." The reason behind his change from Holden to Ford is simple. "The Ford was the only ute available to buy at the time," says Waite.
What is clear however is the fact that Waite has enjoyed his initial experience of V8 Utes. "It is a really good series to be involved in. The people are friendly and everyone is happy to help out."
Support for Waite's campaign comes at this stage from Valvoline and Glasurit Paints while the Falcon will be run by the same personnel that assisted Pither to his V8 Ute titles.
After its first appearance as part of the Tier One programme last season the 2011/2012 series will see the category accepted as a full New Zealand motor racing championship for the first time.
The 2011/2012 V8 Ute Championship will get underway at Pukekohe Park Raceway over the weekend of 4-6 November and will then travel the length and breadth of the country over the summer months.
CALENDAR 2011/2012 V8 UTE CHAMPIONSHIP
Round 1 - 4-6 November 2011: Pukekohe Park Raceway, Auckland
Round 2 - 9-11 December 2011: Powerbuilt Tools International Raceway, Ruapuna, Christchurch
Round 3 - 13-15 January 2012: Teretonga Park, Invercargill
Round 4 - 20-22 January 2012: Timaru International Motor Raceway, Timaru
Round 5 - 10-12 February 2012: Manfeild Park, Feilding
Round 6 - 9-11 March 2012: Taupo Motorsport Park, Taupo