Think Fast, Move Quickly, Stay Ahead of the Game
4X4 MU-X LS-T
Driving, towing, commuting
When Ross Stone talks about his achievements in motorsport, he does it with an incredible sense of humility. He’s hesitant to discuss his own success as a driver, he puts the team effort first, and is remarkably respectful of the drivers of today and the challenges they face.
Further evidence of his modesty is (ironically) his trophies. A Bathurst win and three Supercar championship trophies are stored in a cupboard somewhere around the workshop, but he’s not sure where. Even his Hall of Fame trophy is tucked away out of sight.
His unassuming character was shaped in the early days when Ross and his brother spent their days flying around the Hampton Downs racetrack just south of Auckland. In those days, things were pretty simple: you just bought a car and started racing. No training, no sponsors, no technology – just you, the rubber and the road.
Fast forward to today, and Ross is busy sinking his teeth into a new challenge. His team, Ross Stone Racing is running an Isuzu D-MAX in the exciting and quickly expanding SuperUtes category of SuperCars, and just quietly, they’re nailing it.
With promising driver Tom Alexander at the wheel and speed-whisperer mechanic Ben Syron on the tools, Ross Stone Racing is doing things with the D-MAX that would excite any racing fan! In their first season together in this configuration, they’re currently leading the Championship and spending plenty of time up on the podium. That’s a huge achievement and it’s a testament to their skill, experience and tenacity.
Ross says the challenge of racing utes was something he couldn’t resist.
“I was invited to help in the setting up of the category of SuperUtes, just providing ideas and advice and getting the whole thing off the ground. It’s exciting, because it’s the most market relevant category in the country,” explains Ross.
“What I like best is figuring out how to get the most out of the diesels. In this category we all race with factory engines, and the Isuzu three litre turbo diesel engine is incredible. My drivers really rate them and we think it’s a huge advantage for us.”
The team is constantly making improvements and Ross says that these days the pace of change in motorsport is far more rapid than ever before.
“If you’re doing the same thing this week as you did last month, you’re not keeping up,” quips Ross. “Between the electronics, the data and the information we have on hand, we have to think fast, move quickly and stay ahead of the game at all times.”
Despite the fast-paced nature of the game, Ross says he is more patient now than ever. He takes a strategic view on everything they do and works out what’s going to be the best long-term decision.
He’s not all on his own though, as Ross Stone Racing is truly a family affair. His wife and daughter both work in the team, helping to keep the show running. In most rounds of the competition they are trackside, offering support and ideas. His brother Matt of Matt Stone Racing fame is never too far away either. Plus, an old colleague or two from New Zealand also play a tactical part in the operations.
“Racing can be an all-consuming affair and it can take it out of you, but I’m lucky having my family on the team, supporting each other,” says Ross. “We all believe in just getting the job done and we race because we love the competitive nature of it.”
Based on what’s been achieved to date, there’s little doubt Ross and the team will be picking up more SuperUte trophies soon. Hopefully, he doesn’t hide these ones away!
Non-genuine aftermarket accessories and modifications featured are not recommended or endorsed by Isuzu UTE Australia, as the modification or accessories may impact the New Vehicle Warranty. For detailed information on ‘what is’ and ‘what is not’ covered by the Manufacturer’s Warranty please refer to the Warranty and Service Booklet.