top of page

HISTORY

FROM 'CLOWN SHOW' TO THE BIG STAGE

The V8 Utes was originally conceived as  "the clown show before the main circus." when promoter Craig Denyer and a QLD Ford dealer conceived a supporting series to the V8 Supercars races in the early 2000's.

Yet this supporting act soon grew to become one of the main features of the motor racing show, satisfying the tribal Ford vs Holden rivalry that has fueled motorsport on both sides of the Tasman for decades.

They've been called the 'V8 Utes Muster', the 'V8 BRutes" and now the 'V8 Utes' - but no one's ever  called them boring.

Long before categories like the Carrera Cup and Touring Car Masters had fired up, the V8 Utes hit the street circuit at Adelaide's 'Clipsal 500' sparking more than two decades of doorhandle to doorhandle racing.

​Rewind back to the 90's, as specialty manufacturers HSV and FPV had been taking utes over to the wild side. HSV began with the Maloo; Ford's FPV division had developed the Falcon BA Pursuit, injecting big horsepower into traditional workhorses. The seed for the V8 Utes was sown.

Peter Ward one of NZ's most successful ute racers

V8 Utes regulars have included names like TV celebrity and DJR driver Grant Denyer, future V8 Supercars regulars Warren Luff, country music star Adam brand and Manly NRL player Jack Elsegood. We've also had sons of guns like James Brock. The V8 Utes have put many stars under a different spotlight and allowed them the shine.

 

A solid platform

Look closely at a Holden or Ford  V8 ute and you realise they're an ideal vehicle for the racetrack. With a full chassis designed to carry big loads to worksites, the utes have structural integrity. This is topped off with a rigid roll cage.

 

Step hard on the Race Brakes and you may feel like your eye balls could pop out of their sockets.

 

Mirroring the low stance of recent V8 Supercars, V8 Utes sit low to the track, making for predictable handling and close racing. Despite three different engine iterations, performance is electronically limited to ensure performance parity, providing a level playing field for stars to shine.

 

So as the Australian utes racing has adopted the Japanese and Korean 4WD utes and wedged V8 power under their bonnets, in New Zealand we've stuck with the 'meat and potatoes' Holden and Ford utes that fans love.

Early V8 Utes racing in Australia

Growth on both sides of the Tasman

It wasn't long before the Kiwis got in on the act. The V8 Utes series kicked off round 2007, led by a group of dedicated racers including 2022 champion Peter Ward. The V8 Utes surged in popularity in New Zealand as race fans showed their affection for the 'tradie's sports car'.

The V8 Utes have supported the Supercars events at Pukekohe, while kiwi drivers returned serve as drivers like Peter Ward headed off to compete against their counterparts at Bathurst.

Big names, big performances

The V8 utes have been driven by the superstars of supercars. Peter Brock, Alan Jones, Garry Rogers, Kevin Bartlett, Neil Crompton, Brad Jones and Paul Morris have all made guest appearances.The category served as the breeding ground for Palmerston North's Chris Pither, a former NZV8 Ute champion who later crossed the ditch to become a V8 Supercars regular.

 

Ford FG ute
Holden VF S

WATCH HISTORY UNFOLD AT OUR NEXT ROUND HERE

bottom of page