Published on February 4th, 2018 | by Amirul Mukminin0
Trofeo Motorsport Looking to Return to Bathurst 12 Hour Podium
Melbourne’s Trofeo Motorsport return to the Liqui Moly Bathurst 12 Hour this year looking to add to their 2017 success, the Lamborghini team having claimed a podium finish in the hotly contested Pro-Am category. For 2018 they return with the very same car and the very same driver lineup that saw them classified an impressive tenth outright last year, but whilst they are reserved about making any early predictions, they are quietly confident of a strong result this year.
For Trofeo Motorsport team boss Jim Manolios, they come into the 2018 event better prepared than ever before, having spent much of the 2017 national championship focusing on developing the ideal package for the iconic once-around-the-clock classic, a recent test at Phillip Island only adding to their confidence for this year.
“Last year was fantastic, but for all of us the Huracan was a bit of an unknown package,” Manolios admitted. “By the end of the 12-Hour race, we’d claimed a podium finish, and a top ten result, so we were overjoyed, and decided that we’d spend much of the remainder of the year focusing on this year’s event.
“We’ve also been blessed with a bigger inlet restrictor, a taller and wider front tyre – which helps the understeer which plagued us a bit last year – and we have a lot of testing laps to draw on, so we’re pretty confident we can take another step forward this year.”
Joining Manolios behind the wheel of the gorgeous black #29 Trofeo Motorsport Huracan are 2018 team-mates Dean Canto, Ivan Capelli and Ryan Millier, three drivers with impressive credentials, forming one of the most competitive Pro-Am outfits in the field.
For Supercar part-timer Canto, a return to the Trofeo team provides a luxury that many ‘hired guns’ rarely face – consistency.
“It’s great to be back in the team, in a car that we know well, on a circuit I love, and with a full year of experience under our belts. We’ve done a lot of testing, with Challenge Bathurst last November, and a three-day test at Phillip Island a few weeks back, so we come into this year well ahead of the game, so now it’s just down to what the race delivers!”
Whilst Canto provides a great focal point for the fans, Trofeo is also blessed with a driver lineup that includes a former Formula One great in Italy’s Ivan Capelli. Now an integral part of Italian television’s annual Formula One coverage as an expert commentator, he still likes to spend time behind the wheel, although he admits that his TV commitments affected a lot of that competitive time last year.
“A drive in a GT3 car at Monza last year was about all I could fit into my schedule with the heavy F1 program last year,” he lamented. “But when Jim rang and said we’d be back in the Lamborghini for Bathurst this year, what could I say!” he laughed.
“It’s nice too, to be coming back in a car that I know. Four years ago I did my first race at Bathurst in the Trofeo Corvette. The following year it was the 458 Ferrari, and last year the Huracan, so to be back with the same team, the same car and at a circuit I love, I couldn’t be happier!”
For Friday’s four practice sessions at Bathurst, all four drivers spent time dialing themselves in, with Canto charged with going after a benchmark time late in the final session of the day, a session which was ultimately plagued by a session-ending red flag intervention.
Despite that, all four drivers pronounced themselves happy with the day’s performance, with a solid baseline setup from which to attack Saturday’s final practice and qualifying sessions.