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“I Don’t Hoon Around Anymore” – Mike Pero

Media Release for immediate use: Wednesday 19 November 2008

“I Don’t Hoon Around Anymore” – Mike Pero


Mike Pero standing beside his V8 ute – No stranger to racing, Mike Pero is one of 20 drivers taking part in the NZ V8 Ute Series which starts this weekend at Manfeild, near Palmerston North


His famous last words in a Yellow Pages TV commercial sum up where Mike Pero thought he left his lifestyle two to three decades ago, but the self confessed “petrol head” was one of the first to put his hand up for the new V8 Ute series. As he says, “the Utes are a real fun class on the racetrack and yes I guess they are good for bringing ‘the boy’ out in me.

“When there was a chance to become a driver in the new V8 Ute Series which debuted last year I thought I just had to be in. I immediately purchased a franchise for a place on the grid and renewed my licence. Unfortunately, I was too busy last season to squeeze car racing into my business schedule but this year it’s all go!” says Mike Pero. “My first race in the Ute class will be Manfeild, in Feilding (near Palmerston North) next weekend (21-23 November).”

Pero, a six times national motorcycle road racing champion from the eighties, built a reputation as a sponsor of the Motorsport Series and also a competitor in the V8 Touring Car Series. Pero, a businessman and entrepreneur, claims that Mike Pero Mortgages quickly found the association and brand building through motorsport played a major part in the company’s success over the years.

“Motorsport is high impact, it’s colourful and close to the heart of many Kiwis. The fact that I grew up as a motor mechanic and raced motorcycles has added to my interest in the wider sport. In a very short time I’ve managed to adapt to these V8 utes – they are not built to be raced – that’s what makes them fun to drive. If you go too fast into a corner then they just drift out wide and you lose all your speed on the exit. They wallow and slide and provide a challenge for any driver. That said, we’re still clicking over 200km/hr at most circuits – slower than the V8 Touring Cars, but more fun I reckon.”

The New Zealand V8 Ute Series concept was brought over from Australia where the same series with almost identical rules has been a real hit with Aussie motorsport fans and there’s serious talk about trans-Tasman challenges at some future meetings.

The utes are very standard looking road-going Holden and Ford V8s, with a few enhancements. They have different wheels, tyres, exhaust and brakes, an enhanced engine computer and a roll cage. The 6 speed 5.7L V8 engines are sealed on arrival and the rules do not permit any changes under the bonnet.

Pero explains that the other major attraction for the class is the lower operating costs.

“These cars are well within their stress limits and you’re not forever replacing engine parts. One engine will last the whole season. They do chew through the tyres and brakes – typically a set of each during a weekend which is largely to do with the 1800 kilograms that they carry.”

The utes will feature four times during the course of each weekend meeting. Grid positions will be allocated by a random draw in the first race with a reverse of the same for the next race. The other two races will be a combination of qualifying and results. Twenty two Utes are expected to line up on the start grid during the season. The focus will be on entertainment as much as hard out racing with a number of celebrity drivers that have already put their hand up.

2008/09 NZ V8 Ute Series

Manfeild 21-23 November near Palmerston North

Pukekohe 5-7 December

Taupo 23-25 January

Ruapuna 6-8 March Christchurch

Levels 15-18 March near Timaru

Teretonga 22-25 March Invercargill

Hampton Downs 1-3 May near Hamilton


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