After two seasons as naming rights sponsor of the V8 utes racing series, RYCO 24•7 has announced it is keeping its pedal to the metal for 2021/22. This is a huge boost for a racing category that has come through the coughs and splutters of Covid lockdowns and emerged even stronger, as spectator support is growing and several new drivers are rising up the ranks. The one-hour feature on CRC Motorsport in July was a testament to the continued popularity of the RYCO 24•7 V8 Utes series.
For RYCO 24•7 NZ Manager Azim Aslam, it’s been a win-win situation. “The series has done our company really well. It’s raising our Brand exposure and helping us define RYCO 24•7 as a Hydraulic Hose & Fittings company distinct from the successful Ryco filters business,” he said. “Most of the drivers are highly-successful business owners, some are even our customers.”
V8 Ute racing events also allow RYCO 24•7 managers to meet up with customers in a high-octane environment. Since many of their customers are involved in industries which are based in the regions, the opportunity to meet at motor racing circuits in the Waikato, Taupo, Canterbury and Southland this season will be right up their street.
As another exciting development for the new season, the RYCO 24•7 V8 Utes series has the added support of the ‘Yokohama Scholarship’, an initiative which supports one rising star with a fresh set of race tyres for each round. In addition, two tyres will be offered as spot prizes, at each round, for the rest of the field.
During the winter, several V8 ute teams enjoyed considerable success in the North Island Endurance Series. As much as the 2-hour races sharpened their drivers’ skills, the series ignited inter-family rivalry as Brad Kroef partnered father Greg in their Heron Construction Ford ute, while Paul Fougere raced with son Alex in their Napa-backed Holden.
The opening round of the RYCO 24•7 V8 Utes series should help answer some questions from the off-season. Armed with a fresh set of Yokohamas for each round, will Shane Dias continue his charge to the front of the field? Will the engine in Shaggy Lowe’s RYCO 24•7-backed Ford make it through the season? Can Bruce McRae, the new owner of Paul Manuell’s ute, continue its winning ways? And after a year’s absence from the series, can Roger Nees in his re-powered Falcon from Christchurch mix it with the North Island boys?
The 2021/22 season takes in circuits across the North and South Island, extending the V8 ute category’s – and the company’s – nationwide exposure. The season opener will be preceded by a drive day on Wednesday 1st December allowing drivers to blow off some cobwebs, while sponsors and potential new drivers can experience the rush of a V8 ute from the passenger’s seat. The season kicks off at Pukekohe December 3-5th, before heading south on January 14-16th to Highlands Motorsport Park in Cromwell followed by Ruapuna Park a week later in Christchurch. Then it’s back to the North Island for Hampton Downs February 11-13th before the season wraps up at Taupo in late March.