Ben Grice joins Sandown V8 Ute field
Ben Grice will follow in the footsteps of his famous father when he joins the V8 Ute Racing Series at Sandown this weekend.
The Saloon Car regular joins the class in a one-off deal, racing a Peters Motorsport Holden last seen in the hands of Michael Almond in Townsville.
Although Grice recently took his first Saloon Car race win, it was a stellar performance at a round of the Peters-run Hyundai Excel series at Ipswich that opened the door into Utes.
“It was a two-driver race and I managed to get in and stay in front,” Grice told Speedcafe.com, having been a last minute inclusion in the event.
“I had a cracking scrap with the category hero, which they (Peters Motorsport) were pretty stoked about.
“They then offered me a great deal with a V8 Ute for Sandown that I couldn’t resist.”
Grice tested the Ute at Queensland Raceway last week and, with the help of Les Small, will spanner the Ute himself at the event.
“It’s pretty similar to drive to the Saloon Car, which I’ve raced at Sandown before,” the 25-year-old said.
“The weekend for me is a matter of keeping the elbows up and not letting anyone push me around. It’s a great opportunity to run with the big dogs.”
Grice’s two-time Bathurst 1000 winning father Allan raced in the V8 Utes Series during the early 2000s, playing a key role in the category’s growth.
Although Ben has had to make his own way in the sport, his father is offering his experience in the role of a ‘driver coach’.
The 72-year-old believes the Queensland Raceway Excel race was a strong sign of his son’s development.
“What Ben got on top of in this Excel race, was that he had recognised through talks with me that there is a different mental approach to chasing someone and passing them, which he’s never had trouble with, and leading races,” he told Speedcafe.com.
“I feel that piece in the puzzle fell into place at the last meeting.”
Grice is one of two drivers making his V8 Ute debut at Sandown, with Dunlop Series front-runner Todd Hazelwood also joining the field.