Nissan confirms Norton endurance pairings
Nissan Motorsport has confirmed Michael Caruso/Dean Fiore and James Moffat/Taz Douglas pairings for its Norton-backed entries at this year’s Pirtek Enduro Cup.
As previously reported, Fiore joins the team following the end of his five-year stint as a full-time driver. He replaces Daniel Gaunt in the #36 Altima.
Douglas meanwhile returns with long-time friend Moffat for a second endurance campaign following a strong showing last year.
The 29-year-old Douglas currently races full-time in the Dunlop Series for Image Racing, sitting 14th in the standings after two rounds.
Fiore is meanwhile currently working on a deal to join the second-tier field for two events in the lead-up to September’s Sandown 500.
“This is my first drive for a factory V8 Supercars team,” said Fiore of his signing to Nissan.
“While I’m not driving full-time, that was one of my big goals, and I managed to get it with what I feel is the best factory team out there.
“The team is definitely on the up, and anything can happen in the endurance races. We’re not going in to come last. We’re going to be fighting for podium finishes.
“With the progress the team has made in the off-season season and some of the results we’ve seen in the first few events, I reckon we’ll be very competitive later in the season.”
Douglas is also optimistic of fighting for podium spots in the endurance events, despite the four-car Altima effort not having seen the rostrum outside of its one-two finish at Winton last year.
“Over the off-season, the team has done a lot of work and development, so this year we’re expecting to move further up the grid,” said Douglas.
”It’s also Moffat’s second year in the team, and he’s driving better than he has.
“I don’t like to put expectations on things. There’s an idea of where you’d like to finish, but all three tracks are quite different layouts.
“Gold Coast was our strongest, and if things had gone different for us, we could have had a couple of top fives, maybe even a podium.
“While I don’t have any expectations, our aim is to be in the hunt for a podium every time.”
The Norton confirmations leave just four seats in question ahead of September’s Pirtek Enduro Cup.
Two of the those exist on the Jack Daniel’s side of the Nissan garage, which could feature Brit Alex Buncombe following his test with the team at Sydney Motorsport Park in February.
Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport and Brad Jones Racing are meanwhile yet to lock away deals with co-drivers for their Russell Ingall and Dale Wood driven entries respectively.
See below for a look at how the endurance field is shaping up
|1||Red Bull Racing Australia||Jamie Whincup||Paul Dumbrell||Holden|
|2||Holden Racing Team||Garth Tander||Warren Luff||Holden|
|4||Erebus Motorsport V8||Lee Holdsworth||Craig Baird**||Mercedes|
|5||Ford Pepsi Max Crew||Mark Winterbottom||Steve Owen*||Ford|
|6||Ford Pepsi Max Crew||Chaz Mostert||Paul Morris||Ford|
|7||Jack Daniel’s Racing||Todd Kelly||Nissan|
|8||Team BOC||Jason Bright||Andrew Jones||Holden|
|9||Erebus Motorsport V8||Will Davison||Alex Davison**||Mercedes|
|14||Lockwood Racing||Fabian Coulthard||Luke Youlden||Holden|
|15||Jack Daniel’s Racing||Rick Kelly||Nissan|
|16||Wilson Security Racing||Scott Pye||Ashley Walsh||Ford|
|17||Wilson Security Racing||David Wall||Steven Johnson||Ford|
|18||Team JELD-WEN||Jack Perkins||Cameron Waters||Ford|
|21||Advam Racing||Dale Wood||Holden|
|22||Holden Racing Team||James Courtney||Greg Murphy||Holden|
|23||Repair Management Australia Racing||Russell Ingall||Holden|
|33||Valvoline Racing GRM||Scott McLaughlin||Alexandre Premat*||Volvo|
|34||Valvoline Racing GRM||Robert Dahlgren||Greg Ritter*||Volvo|
|36||Norton Hornets||Michael Caruso||Dean Fiore||Nissan|
|47||Supercheap Auto Racing||Tim Slade||Tony D’Alberto||Holden|
|55||The Bottle-O Racing Team||David Reynolds||Dean Canto*||Ford|
|97||Team Tekno V.I.P. Petfoods||Shane van Gisbergen||Jonathon Webb||Holden|
|222||Walkinshaw Racing||Nick Percat||Oliver Gavin||Holden|
|360||Norton Hornets||James Moffat||Taz Douglas||Nissan|
|888||Red Bull Racing Australia||Craig Lowndes||Steven Richards||Holden|
**unconfirmed driver and pairing
See below for Nissan Motorsport’s announcement video with Fiore and Douglas