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MEDIA RELEASE/Tigani Motorsport – Photos: supplied

Tigani Motorsport will contest the 2023 LIQUI MOLY Bathurst 12 Hour under the Valmont Racing banner.

A quartet of drivers will get behind the wheel in the Silver Class entry, led by Aaron Cameron and Duvashen Padayachee who join car owners Marcel Zalloua and Sergio Pires.

Cameron’s list of achievements is already sizeable, most notably being his 2021 S5000 Tasman Series Title and numerous race wins in TCR Australia. Recently, Cameron represented Australia in the TCR Category at the FIA Motorsport Games before returning home for the Adelaide 500 where he claimed victory in S5000.

Padayachee is another silver ranked bolster for the team, with back-to-back GT3 Am class victories in the 2017 and 2018 editions of Australia’s International endurance race. Padayachee has recently raced in Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup, alongside various GT racing starts which include the 2022 12 Hour alongside Zalloua and Pires.Mercedes AMG GT3

The trio partnered up for the previous edition of the race aboard an outdated spec Mercedes AMG GT3, earning pole position in AAM class. It is the same car that the team will compete with in 2023, after the fitment of the Mercedes Evo Kit which brings the #44 Valmont Racing machine into an outright specification.

Zalloua and Pires have raced together for many years and partnered up through the back half of 2022 in Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia powered by AWS.

The duo claimed Trophy Class victories at Tailem Bend and Bathurst. Pires was involved in an accident at the Adelaide 500, which left him with a broken collarbone, but all indications are that he will be fit in time for the big race thanks to a faster than expected recovery.

In tandem with the aerodynamic upgrades, the Valmont Racing Mercedes has received a colourful new livery ahead of the 2023 season. In addition to backing from Valmont, the team is further supported by Est Lighting, Vittoria Coffee, Rentcorp Hyundai Forklifts and Pacific Road Capital.

Aaron Cameron:

“It’s pretty cool to be getting ready for the Bathurst 12 Hour and my first ever race in a GT3 car. I’ve been working towards this for a few years now, with two 12 hour starts in a MARC car, but this will be a whole new level.

“I couldn’t think of a better car to slip into the GT3 scene with, everyone I’ve talked to has said the Mercedes is quite a driver friendly car. There isn’t a better team to do it with either, the operation that’s started up at Tigani Motorsport recently is progressing really well and importantly it’s a good bunch of people that just enjoy their racing.

“It’s funny how it came about actually, I hadn’t really talked much with anyone on the team, but Duvashen has the same Personal Trainer as I do. I was halfway through a session with my PT, and he mentioned that Duvashen was doing the 12 Hour and they were looking for another driver, and now here we are.”

Marcel Zalloua:

“I’m really looking forward to it and I’m excited by what Aaron brings to the table. We’ve known and raced with Duvashen for a while and his consistency and performance is always phenomenal so to add in the young talent of Aaron as well is very exciting.

“More personally, I want to go out there and make amends for last time where it didn’t quite go to plan over the course of the race. Over the course of 2022 we really set ourselves up for this next attempt at it. We’ve gained a lot of confidence from this year and I’ve been preparing really hard as we get in to the lead up to the event, so I’m excited to see what the big race holds for us.”

Duvashen Padayachee:

“As the experienced drivers part of our job is to help coach Marcel and Sergio, to push them further in their racing development, but we’re also going out there to put together a strong performance.

“The 2022 event was pretty cool, jumping in the Mercedes and for the team to get a first experience with what the 12 Hour is really like. This year we’re up to the same spec as the big-name outright cars, so there’s a great benchmark for us to work off.

“I’ve done a few of these races in a few different teams and I’ve got a lot of confidence in what this team can do when the green flag drops. I’ve never worked with Aaron before but his reputation is rapid and we know he’ll be quick, just like every other car he’s driven.

“Working with Mercedes is very cool as they have big databanks available and you can actually overlay your data with what the other teams are doing. While we’re not in the same class as those big Pro entries, I think if we can mimic their strategies it will put us in a good position once it all shakes out.”

Sergio Pires:

“It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster of emotion since Adelaide. When I thought initially that I wasn’t going to be able to do the 12 hour I was pretty upset, and it put into perspective how much I actually loved to go racing.

“A lot of people have been asking me if the incident put me off at all, but if anything it’s made me even hungrier to get back behind the wheel. These sorts of things are part of the sport and up to this point I’d had a pretty good run.

“I have one last scan on the 16th of January which will hopefully give me the all clear to go racing. All the signs are that I’m healing up a bit quicker than expected so I’m feeling confident.

“Our line-up for the race is very exciting and I think we all compliment each other really well. Marcel and I have got a fair bit of Bathurst experience over the last 12 months and then Aaron and Duvashen don’t really need any introduction, they’ll be ultra-competitive. We should be in with a real shot in Silver Class.”


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