Experienced V8 Supercars driver Dean Fiore is set to join Nissan Motorsport for this year’s Pirtek Enduro Cup.
The Sandown, Bathurst and Gold Coast races will mark a return to the championship for Fiore after his five-year stint as a full-timer came to an end ahead of the 2014 season.
Having also handed back his Racing Entitlements Contract at the end of last year, Fiore has spent recent months concentrating on business interests in his native Perth.
Fiore declined to comment on the enduro deal when contacted by Speedcafe.com, with Nissan set to be one of the last to officially confirm its co-driver line-up.
The 30-year-old was in action at the Bathurst 12 Hour earlier this year and has also completed recent test miles in other cars, including his older brother Paul’s ex-Triple Eight Falcon BF V8 Supercar.
Currently working on a drive with MW Motorsport for the Barbagallo and Townsville Dunlop Series rounds to prepare for the Enduro Cup, Fiore admits that he’s enjoyed not having a full-time ride this year.
Following stints with Team Kiwi Racing, his own Triple F Racing and then Dick Johnson Racing, last year’s single-season with Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport proved tough going for the amiable West Australian.
“It’s actually been good for me,” he told Speedcafe.com of stepping out of V8 Supercars full-time.
“I’ve been doing a bit here and there in motor racing with the 12 Hour and things like that but, to be honest, last year left such a sour taste in my mouth that it was really, really good for me to not embark on a full championship this year.
“I’m working on some business interests back in Perth which I enjoy and my lifestyle and balance have been really good.
“The Supercar world doesn’t offer you that much you can sink your teeth into business wise unless you’re a team owner, and it’s bloody tough in that world at the moment.
“The future is bright (for V8 Supercars commercially) but it’s going to be tough for a little while to put a car on the grid.”
Despite the current commercial realities of the sport, Fiore isn’t ruling out finding his way back onto the grid full-time next season.
His REC, as well as those handed in by LDM and Tony D’Alberto Racing, remain in the hands of V8 Supercars, leaving open the possibility that Fiore could, through a tender process, buy it back and in turn receive the majority of the proceeds.
“There are things bubbling away in the background for next year,” he said.
“If everything comes off (to enable a full-time return) I’ll definitely think long and hard about it, but if it doesn’t, I’ll be fine.
“It’ll need to be the right thing,” he added.
“It won’t be a half-arsed show. That’s the only way I’ll embark on a full championship again.
“You’ve got to have good quality equipment with good people around you.”
Fiore’s Pirtek Enduro Cup home Nissan has enjoyed a mixed start to its 2014 campaign, but is expected to be boosted by an engine upgrade package prior to the big events.