Monday, January 20, 2014

Bathurst 12 Hour: Three ‘old stagers’ and a bloke who’s driven a V8.. - Equity-One Motorsport

Equity-One Motorsport Press Release

Three ‘old stagers’ and a bloke who’s driven a V8..
Equity-One Motorsport Audi R8 LMS GT3
2014 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12-Hour
Mount Panorama, Bathurst (7-9 February)

At least that’s the way Dean Koutsoumidis, Dean Grant and Michael Loccisano are looking at the forthcoming Bathurst 12-Hour, all three admitting they’re just going to circulate and keep out of trouble, and leave the podium assault to ‘new’ recruit, V8 Supercar regular  Dean Fiore..

“I don’t know about that,” Fiore admitted.. “All these guys are pretty handy in their own right, and all of them have done miles around Bathurst, so I don’t think I’ll be doing all the hard work, but that said, I think we can be super-competitive, not just in Class B, but potentially outright..!”

He has a point too, the #71 Equity-One Audi R8 LMS GT3 ran strongly during the 2013 Bathurst 12-Hour with car-owner Koutsoumidis and his regular Australian GT partner Andrew McInnes joined by dual Bathurst 12-Hour champion Darryl O’Young, and GT part-timer Simon Middleton.

Classified fifth after the first hour, the quartet finished the 12-Hour race inside the top ten, a position which could have been higher had they not been caught wrong-footed with the Safety Car and by the late race inclement weather.

“We know the car is good, so that’s a no brainer, but what we don’t know is just how competitive our opposition in Class B will be,” Koutsoumidis admitted. “There’s some good names entering the class, drivers with global GT experience, so it’s going to be a tough battle, perhaps just as tough as the fight for outright positions.”

For 2014 Koutsoumidis elected to stay with a local team, and with Grant left without a position in the Eddy/Cini/Mies Audi he campaigned in 2013, and Loccisano keen to take it to his long-time rival Marc Cini, the logical choice was for the trio to team up, but when it came time to fine a ‘hired gun’, Koutsoumidis’ new co-drivers had just one name in mind..

“I’d actually never had much to do with Dean Fiore before,” he admitted, “but when the boys suggested they’d like to bring him on board - knowing his credentials - I thought why not.

“We all tested at Winton and got along famously. Sadly Dean Fiore had a virus that day so got little time in the car, but a driver of his caliber won’t take long to get up to speed. The rest of us were within tenths of each other, so I think we’ll make a formidable team.”

“I’m rapt to have been invited to join the team,” Fiore admitted. “I’m a racing driver, so I like to race good cars on good circuits, and I can tell you after the brief session I did in the Audi at Winton, it’s a good car, and Bathurst, well, what can you say..?

“Obviously I love Mount Panorama, and it’s also a circuit I’ve enjoyed a fair bit of success at over the years in a GT-style car.. the last time I was there in Carrera Cup [2008] I won all three races over the weekend. Okay, so we may not have the pace to battle the outright cars, but this is an endurance race, and the important thing is to stay out of trouble and be there in the end.

“For one, I can’t wait!”

And whilst they haven’t raced together previously, Grant and Loccisano have locked horns with Koutsoumidis in the past, in either Australian GT, or in the various Porsche categories, so it was almost pre-determined that the three ‘veteran’ Victorians would line up alongside one-another for the 12-Hour.

“There’s plenty at stake,” Michael Loccisano admitted. “I’ve got a few bets to settle with Carrera Cup team-mate and rival Marc Cini..  They’re in the outright class, and are already grizzling about their performance disadvantages.. I think we have them worried..”

Dean Grant who formed a part of the same Melbourne Performance Centre run Cini/Eddy/Mies team in 2013 admitted too that he enjoyed his time in the Audi, but wasn’t finished with the Audi or with Bathurst. “I’m enjoying this whole arrive and drive thing,” he laughed referring to his long years as a car-owner and competitor in GT. “I had a great time last year, but the boys (Cini/Eddy) wanted to do more laps themselves this year, so only wanted the three drivers. I was busy with work so wasn’t sure if I could commit, but I’m good to go now, and happy to be back in a car I really enjoyed last year.

“We may not be outright performers, but we’ll be going after the Class B podium, and from there, we’ll just see where we are in the final hour. That might be when we send Dean Fiore out with a mission and just sit back and watch..!

“So it’s the Triple D’s and a bloke called Mike, that’s us for 2014, just a bunch of guys out to have a good time!”

2014 Bathurst Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12-Hour

Friday, February 7
Practice #1 (Class A-B): 8:55am (1-Hour)
Practice #2 (All Classes): 1:05pm (1-Hour)
Practice #3 (All Classes): 4:15pm (1-Hour)

Saturday, February 8
Qualifying #1 (All Classes): 9:00am (1-Hour)
Qualifying #2 (All Classes): 1:30pm (40-minutes)
Qualifying #3 (Class A): 2:20pm (15-minutes)

Sunday, February 9
Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12-Hour: 6:15am (12-Hours)

Event coverage;
Details of the live-streaming and event television coverage will be released once they come to hand, but will include;

• live webcast of the event (including commentary from Radio Le Mans)
• FM coverage at the event (87.8FM)
• post-produced coverage of the event on SBS with replays on SPEED TV (Foxtel)


Equity-One Motorsport is proudly supported by Equity-One Mortgage Fund, Hallmark, VodkoO and Melbourne Performance Centre.

Photo credit: Melbourne Performance Centre