Reigning New Zealand V8 Ute Champion, Andrew ‘DJ48” Waite, will be flying the flag for his home country during Round 4 of the Auto One V8 Ute Racing Series – protected by Armor all, at Hidden Valley Raceway, Darwin, 15-17 June.
23 year old Waite has an impressive track record, boasting a 220 point lead over nearest rival Chris Hanley at the end of the New Zealand V8 Ute Series earlier this year. The New Zealand driver will have his work cut out in Darwin, with less than 90 points separating the top 9 drivers after 3 rounds, but feels he is more than ready.
“Obviously there is going to be a lot more competition with 10 or 15 top class drivers. I’m just going to go into the race as hard as I can, and try to achieve the best possible result. I’ve raced Formula Ford in Darwin back in 2008, so I will just treat it like another race,” said Waite.
The drive was offered by fellow New Zealander Chris Pither, the reigning Australian V8 Ute Champion and twice winner of the NZ V8 Ute Series, through Ice Break Racing, the Chris Pither scholarship was set up to give young drivers a chance to race for a professional team, and Waite will be the second driver to benefit from the programe.
“I owe a lot to Chris and Ice Break Racing. I’ve been mates with Chris from the karting days and would like to thank him in any way possible, the best way will be to do it on the track,” said Waite.
Like Waite, Pither learnt his trade in his home country of New Zealand, before moving abroad and sees some similarities with the current New Zealand V8 Ute Champ.
“He’s a few years younger than I am, so we never raced against each other, but New Zealand is a small place. Obviously he has my seat as part of the Scholarship. He’s shown he has the ability, he knows the track from 2008, knows how to drive reverse grid races, and knows how to keep the Ute clean. The Aussie series is pretty much the same as the series back home, just with more Utes,” said Pither
Gold Coast youngster Jesse Dixon was the first recipient of the scholarship in Round 2 and Round 3 of the Australian series, and enjoyed every minute of it.
“It was such a great experience, I’m so thankful to Ice Break Racing and Chris for all of his mentoring. I learnt so much out there and it has definitely opened a few more doors for me,” said Dixon.
Since his debut race, Dixon has picked up an impressive 189 points from two Rounds and drove so well he is sitting in 14th in the overall standings.
Waite is the third driver to take the reins of the Ice Break backed Holden VE this year, with Pither kicking off the first round of the season. Other talented young drivers will also get a steer later in the season, as the Scholarship program progresses
Waite will get his first crack on the track on Friday 15th June for Practice 1.
See below full schedule;
Friday, 15th June Practice 1 8:40am
Friday, 15th June Practice 2 12:40pm
Saturday, 16th June Qualifying 8:40am
Saturday, 16th June Race 1 11:30am
Saturday, 16th June Race 2 2:40pm
Sunday, 17th June Race 3 10:30am
Sunday, 17th June Race 4 1:25pm
Two live races from Darwin will be telecast on the Seven Network, Saturday, 16th June at 2:00pm and Sunday 17th June at 2:00pm and to recap on the entire action tune into the Seven Network, Saturday 23rd June at 12:30pm.
The 2012 Series consists of 26 races over eight rounds raced throughout Australia covering six states and one territory and is televised nationally through-out Australia on Network Seven and 7 Mate and internationally through Motors TV Europe, TV3 New Zealand and SPEED online in the USA.