Team 18 details pre-Bathurst 1000 co-driver travel plans

Team 18

Team 18 has detailed its travel plans for co-drivers James Golding and Dean Fiore ahead of this year’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.

Golding, who hails from Melbourne, flew to Darwin on Monday this week where he has begun a 14-day hotel quarantine.

Perth-based Fiore, meanwhile, will fly to the Gold Coast once Golding has completed his quarantine period.

With the border between Queensland and Western Australia open, Fiore will not be required to complete a 14-day quarantine like Golding.

Golding and Fiore will reconvene with the team on its return to the Ross Stone Racing workshop following this weekend’s OTR SuperSprint at The Bend Motorsport Park.

The team will then begin preparations on the Gold Coast for this year’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.

Golding and Fiore will spend the week leading up to the Bathurst 1000 with their team-mates Mark Winterbottom and Scott Pye as well as the team.

Golding, who will join Winterbottom in the Irwin Racing #18 Holden ZB Commodore, will make his fifth Bathurst 1000 start this year.

He comes to the team off the back of two seasons in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship with Garry Rogers Motorsport.

It will be a reunion of sorts for Golding, who will be engineered by Manuel Sanchez who joined Team 18 from Garry Rogers Motorsport earlier this year.

“I’ve had a pretty good relationship with Frosty’s (Mark Winterbottom’s) race engineer Manuel Sanchez when he was my engineer at GRM,” said Golding.

“I’ve also been chatting often to Frosty, Charlie (Schwerkolt), and the team manager Steve Henderson to keep updated with everything that’s going on so I’m on the same page as them when I join them in a couple of weeks.”

With his VHT S5000 Australian Drivers’ Championship campaign stifled due to COVID-19, the 24-year-old has kept race fit driving his kart and simulator.

“I’ve been training flat out and doing plenty of laps on my simulator to stay focussed,” said Golding.

“I completed a few laps in an S5000 at Phillip Island for a driver evaluation day, and I took my go-kart out a couple of times when the COVID rules were first lifted.

“You don’t want to go into such a big race and have one little mistake wreck the day because something wasn’t known.

“So it’s important to have everything ticked off so all I need to do is get in the car and do a solid job then have anything happen that could have been avoided.”

This year marks the 12th start in the Bathurst 1000 for Fiore, who joins Pye in the #20 DeWalt Racing entry.

The 2020 edition of the race marks the first time in six years that Fiore hasn’t competed for Kelly Racing.

Fiore said he’s looking forward to being part of the team’s campaign this year.

“I’m looking forward to landing on the Gold Coast the week before Bathurst and spending some good time with everyone in the team to get our preparation underway for our biggest race of the year,” said Fiore.

“For me, it’s been business as usual in Perth and I’ve been keeping busy with work, training and spending time with my family.

“I did some laps a couple of weeks ago in a mates Porsche (Carrera) Cup car at Barbagallo which I was very grateful for.

“The week on the Gold Coast will be critical to get everything sorted from an ergonomic point of view and practicing driver changes and all the one-percenters that need to be done before Bathurst.”

This year’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 takes place on October 15-18 and will double as the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship season finale.

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