Motorsport News - Misc
V8 Utes Farewell a Champion Driver
6th August 2012
Two-time V8 Ute Champion Grant Johnson will retire from the 2012 Auto One V8 Ute Racing Series protected by Armor All, after selling his Holden VE V8 Ute and racing franchise to fellow West Aussie, Todd Zani.
Johnson, whos been in the Series since 2006 and claimed two titles (2007 and 2010,) along with 3rd overall in 2008, 2nd overall in 2009 and 4th in 2011, will walk away with 7 years worth of V8 Ute Racing memories.
Im a little bit sad. Its an awesome series, the guys that drive in the series have really stepped up the last few years and there are a lot of quality drivers. Ive got a lot of good memories, and some not so pleasant, he said with a grin.
I havent closed the door on the whole the thing, it will be a shame to miss the 50 years of Bathurst, however it will be awesome to watch anyway, continued Johnson.
Although the Perth based driver is sad about the news, he also finds the decision a bit of a reprieve.
Weve struggled with support over the last few years, so at least the pressure is off. Im going to focus on Endurance races for the time being. I have a drive in Malaysia with Gavin Bullas in the 12 Hour, but anything I can do driving wise is great, Im not putting my eggs in one basket, said Johnson.
Its a shame to hang it all up but I have to be a realist. If things change in the future then at least I have the option to come back, I might put my hand up for the Auto One Wildcard drive and give them their first podium.
Zani is a former Targa racer, claiming wins in Tasmania and New Zealand, and has already raced in two rounds in the Series (Perth and Darwin,) debuting on his home track Barbagallo with Williams Race Tech.
Ive had an interest in the V8 Ute Series for a while and its a great opportunity to introduce my company Eze Atm to the East Coast. It will be a shame to see someone of Grants talent step out of the series, but Im sure hell stay involved through all the West Aussie drivers. Hes already given me a few tips and Im really looking forward to racing at Bathurst. Its a great Series and Im happy to be involved and more excited to be racing, said Zani.
Team Manager Wayne Williams is happy with the new addition to his Williams Race Tech Team.
Im looking forward to adding another West Aussie to the category, he brings a wealth of experience from his Targa days and hell be a great asset to the team, said Williams.
Zani will hit the track for Round 5 of the Auto One V8 Ute Racing Series protected by Armor All at Mount Panorama, 4 7 October.
The 2012 Series consists of 32 V8 Utes 16 Fords and 16 Holdens who battle it out through 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
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