Having locked away an Audi drive in next month’s Bathurst 12 Hour, V8 Supercars refugee Dean Fiore is still working on landing a full-time Carrera Cup seat.
Fiore will this year be missing from the V8 Supercars Championship grid for the first time since 2008 after proving unable to strike deals to keep himself or his Racing Entitlements Contract in the category.
Not wishing to dwell on being forced to return his REC to V8 Supercars, Fiore will be at the Carrera Cup Australia’s pre-season Sydney Motorsport Park test this week scouting for a drive.
The now 30-year-old previously spent three seasons in the all-Porsche category from 2006, recording a best result of second in the 2008 standings.
“I’ve got a couple of really good things on the table that I’m looking at at the moment,” Fiore told Speedcafe.com of the Carrera Cup.
“It’ll all come down to dollars and cents and we’re still working through that.
“I really want to do it because I want to race and the cars are really impressive on paper, (but) if I don’t end up there it’s not the end of the world.
“I don’t want to take any risk funding wise, so I have to make it all stack up before pressing the button on Clipsal.”
Naturally, Fiore expects to be in the V8 Supercars field as a Pirtek Enduro Cup co-driver later in the year, and says he’s currently talking to “three or four” teams about a drive.
While several, such as last year’s Bathurst winner Steven Richards, have used the Carrera Cup to stay ‘race fit’ for the endurance events, Fiore believes that running the one-make series is far from essential in his situation.
“There are a lot of guys that have done it well (doing the Carrera Cup and Endurance Cup), but you are hopping out of something that you drive from the other side of the car,” he said.
“For me, having just come out of five years of main game, in some ways it’d probably be better that I don’t do Carrera Cup and I just focus on the test days and official practice days for the endurance drive.”
Further decreasing the incentive, this season will see all three Enduro Cup events supported by Carrera Cup rounds.
Meanwhile, Fiore has confirmed that he will link with gentleman racers Dean Koutsoumidis, Dean Grant and Michael Loccisano for February 9’s Bathurst 12 Hour.
The quartet will share Koutsoumidis’ Class B Audi R8, which Fiore sampled at a test day late last year.
Despite enjoying limited running due to a virus, Fiore says he was blown away by the experience.
“I’m glad I did it because it was just incredible,” he said of the test.
“It was so hot out there and on old tyres, but it was hard to imagine something that has so much grip and handles so well compared to what I’m used to driving.
“The guys I’m doing it with are out there having fun and trying to get to the end,” he added of his expectations for the race.
“The goal for all four of us will be to get to the start of the 12th hour and then to think about whether we can attack, whether that be for a class result or a strong outright finish.”
While also looking forward to the Pirtek Enduro Cup later in the year, Fiore is realistic when asked of the prospect of a future full-time return to V8 Supercars.
“I’ll definitely consider something if it comes up, but to be honest I’m going to be embarking on a new phase and getting stuck into the business world,” he said.
“That’s what I’ll be doing this year and it’s very hard to look beyond that.
“I love it (driving) and it’s my passion, but it would have to be worthwhile in order to go back.”