Equity-One Motorsport team-mates Dean Koutsoumidis and James Winslow will reunite for the season-opening Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12-Hour in early February, however the recently crowned Australian GT Trophy class vice-Champions will not be behind the wheel of their usual #71 Audi R8 LMS GT3 ride, instead joining Australian GT rival Steve McLaughlan in his 2014-spec JAMEC-PEM Audi R8 GT3 ultra.
“I decided before the end of the season that I wanted to do things differently in 2015, and be a little more flexible with my schedule and not necessarily tied into one particular series.
“I’m pleased to announce that I’ll once again be supporting James Winslow in his efforts to make the Le Mans 24-Hour grid in a prototype, however from my side, I don’t think at this stage that I’ll complete the full Australian GT season, but I do expect to cherry-pick a few events that suit my timetable.
“Steve’s as passionate as I am about GT3 racing, and as it happened, he’d decided to make a change and run as a purely ‘local’ entry rather than adopt an international driver. He’d also been doing some driver training and testing with James, and when we discussed the opportunity of driving together, he jumped at the chance to have us alongside.”
Despite sitting out the 2014 Bathurst 12-Hour, Winslow is no stranger to Mount Panorama, having finished eighth in 2013 alongside car-owner Peter Conroy and World Touring Car Champion Rob Huff in Conroy’s Audi R8, whilst the dual Australian Formula 3 champion is also a race winner in the open-wheel category around the 6.213-kilometre circuit.
“James will be quick, no question,” McLaughlan admitted. “And Dean and I are pretty closely matched too. This might be my first 12-Hour, but I ran my R8 in LMS-spec at the Bathurst Motor Festival at Easter and loved the circuit.
“Honestly, I think if we can keep out of trouble, we’ll be right in the mix inside the top ten come the end of the race, but what that means outright, who knows. We’ll certainly be there somewhere.”
Whilst Koutsoumidis and Winslow are yet to reveal their full program for the forthcoming season, McLaughlan has confirmed that he will return to the wheel of his #75 JAMEC-PEM Racing Audi R8 for an assault on the outright championship, although whether he will do that alone or with a Pro driver alongside is yet to be determined.
“We have some exciting announcements scheduled for early in the New Year, but I can’t reveal anything right now,” the 2013 Australian GT Trophy class champion admitted.
For Koutsoumidis though, the 12-Hour will signal the start to what might well be a memorable season.
“I’m looking at driving overseas in a few events this year, and whilst I am passionate about my support of James in his efforts to race again at Le Mans, I myself have the prototype bug, and there’s no time like the present to consider getting behind the wheel myself. I’d rather act now and try to get into something like the Asian Le Mans Series or perhaps Europe, than look back in five years time and regret that I hadn’t at least ‘had a go’.
“I’m looking forward to the coming 12-months, it will be a fantastic year I’m sure!”