Queenslander Geoff Taunton has been part of the MARC Cars Australia family for the last 12 months, running his #95 “Catalunya” Focus V8 in both the Kerrick National Sports Sedan Series and the Australian GT Trophy Series.
But for his debut as a privateer at the Bathurst 12 Hour this weekend, he’s brought in young gun Bryce Fullwood from the Supercars Dunlop Series (where he finished 14th outright in last year’s championship) to join he and Jason Busk – a speedway racer who is also making his enduro debut. Before tomorrow’s 2017 Bathurst 12 Hour, we caught up Geoff and Bryce about their story and goals for the weekend.
Geoff, tell us about your history with MARC Cars and this Catalunya Focus V8?
GT: Well I bought the car just after the Bathurst 12 Hour last year. These are a engineered brilliantly, superbly built car and I’ve spent a lot of time in it in my own Queensland Sport Sedan Series, Classic Sports Sedans and the Aus GT Trophy Series and I’ve enjoyed driving it immensely. Leading up to this race the car has been fabulous.
We do a lot of racing on our own but for big events like this we always are part of the MARC Cars stable and Ryan [McLeod]’s team. We’ve done about 30,000km in the car in the past year but we just absolutely love the car.
How did you end up having Bryce to join your driver line-up?
GT: I needed a third driver badly after circumstances changed recently and through our history racing the Cobras, mainly up Morgan Park Raceway, I got a hold of Bryce through his poppy who I race with all the time. So it’s actually great that I can get someone through a familiar connection and he’s an excellent driver. Bryce has a great motorsport background and I was absolutely stoked when he and his dad said yes to coming here.
So Bryce, what sort of prep have you had considering this was a last-minute deal?
BF: The first time I drove Geoff’s car was only this weekend, but I did the 12 Hour last year and got a lot of seat time but having not driven a MARC Car since, I suppose I’m lucky that we have quite a lot of practice. Remembering from last year, the cars were quite easy to drive straight away compared to the Supercar I’m used to.
Was the Bathurst 12 Hour ever on your radar this year, Bryce?
BF: Yes it was but everything comes down to dollars and I didn’t have the funds I needed to do something. So I was hoping for an opportunity to come up but every day I was getting less and less hopeful, until my pop said Geoff was in trouble and keen to find another driver, so here we are. I’ve known Geoff for quite a while but we haven’t had too much to do with each other, other than my pop racing the Cobra too, but I’m excited to be part of the EFS MARC team.
Along with Jason Busk, there’s a varied mix of racing experience and categories that you’ve all competed in, from speedway to sports sedans to supercars. What are some of Bryce’s best attributes that he brings to the team, Geoff?
GT: He’s a magnificent driver, I’ve followed him a lot in his Commodore actually. He’s got a great personality, which we need because we’re a very friendly family team, and just I’m loving having him on board. Jason then completes the trio, he’s so courteous and great guy too so we’ve got a good bunch of guys here this weekend.
And overall, what’s the goal for tomorrow’s race?
BF: The first nine or 10 hours of the race is to just keep the wheels rolling and then if we’re in a good position for a podium we’ll push on.
GT: We will finish the race, no doubt about it, the car can handle it no problem at all, so let’s utilise that. But at the same time first or second would be good.
The 2017 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour will start tomorrow morning Sunday February 5 at Mount Panorama at 5.45am local time.