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Adrian Deitz wasn’t born into a racing family, but his passion for cars was evident from a very young age. Indeed, sport and competition surrounded him from birth so perhaps it’s no surprise that he took his long-held love for motorised vehicles to the highest-level, competing on one of the world’s most iconic tracks.
This weekend, Deitz will contest his fifth Bathurst 12 Hours at the wheel of a Wall Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO2, alongside team-mates Tony D’Alberto, David Wall and Grant Denyer.
A long-term customer of Lamborghini Squadra Corse, Deitz – who, over the past 30 years has plied his trade as a financial lawyer – has been a frequent visitor to the 23-turn 6.213km Mount Panorama circuit and revels in the unique challenge of pushing a GT3 car to its limits in one of the most demanding environments in motorsport.
“It’s such a privilege to drive at Bathurst and I love the race a lot too.
“The track has got such an incredible flow about it, and when the car is hooked up and when you’re hooked up and driving across the top, there’s really no better feeling than skimming the wing mirrors on the wall.
“The first time you get up to the top of Skyline, you need to give it a lot of respect, because it’s a street track, public roads that have a 60kph speed limit most of the year and frankly driving at 60kph is a scary experience anyway.”
Deitz enjoyed a stereotypical outdoors Australian childhood, playing a variety of sports competitively, but only held a passing interested in motor racing.
“It’s funny because neither of my parents were particularly interested in cars or racing and I didn’t come from a racing family, they were golfers and tennis players,” Deitz explains. “They actually met on the golf course, so I grew up playing ball sports and it was only until later that I discovered cars.
“Until then, I had played tennis, golf, cricket; I’d gone to university and got into windsurfing and actually competed in world championships, with the last one taking place in Sardinia.
“But that all stopped after I left university in Australia and moved to New York, where I started my career as a lawyer there. So, that sort of curtailed my sporting ambitions.”
Always on the move and look-out for a different challenge, Deitz’s work took him to the UK, where he spent a decade living in London. With the famous Goodwood Circuit and estate, a stone’s throw from the capital, it was here that Deitz finally got the car bug.
“That sort of rekindled the interest in motorsport, I started doing trackdays at Goodwood, became a member of the racing club and met a great bunch of people there,” says Deitz.
“Trackdays were great fun and I started doing them all around England and in Europe, and it wasn’t until I moved back to Australia about 15 years ago, that I took up karting while still doing trackdays. I bought a race car to do trackdays with and then took a dive in the deep end by going racing for real.
“It was an unconventional path that I took; I certainly wouldn’t recommend going straight from karting to GT3 cars but that’s the way it worked out.
“I was doing a lot of trackdays and obviously the driving is the thing that you like doing, but I liked driving the race car on trackdays, working with the engineers and team, really enjoyed working on the setup and the engineering of the car. And once you get to that point, where I was working with some professional drivers in Australia, it was the next logical step.
“Motor racing is quite a unique sport where you can test yourself against the best in the business. You know, an amateur tennis player can’t just turn up and play Novak Djoković or a club golfer can’t just play against Rory McIlroy. But in motorsport, particularly in GTs, you can benchmark yourself against the top professional drivers at the best circuits in the world.”
That Deitz is able to race as an amateur against the very best at a track like Bathurst for the 12 Hours is like playing the Super Bowl and World Cup final all in one. It’s a mammoth event, not just in Australia but around the globe.
And it’s a race he, unsurprisingly, revels in each February.
Part of what makes a successful race weekend is having the right people around you, and Deitz has some of the best Australian motorsport has to offer.
Not only does he remain alongside trusted team-mates Grant Denyer, David Wall and Tony D’Alberto, but a key figure within the Wall Racing team adding an extra layer of expertise is esteemed engineer Paul Forgie. Between them, they have achieved promising results, including a podium finish in the 2019 Suzuka 10 Hours.
“We’ve got a really strong team, I’ve known Tony for a while and he’s been a co-driver with Dick Johnson Racing in the endurance races for the Supercars championship for many years now,” says Deitz.
“David is a former Porsche champion and Supercars driver, and Grant is probably more known as a media personality in Australia, but he funded his driving career through his media duties, so I really enjoy working with these guys.
“And it’s great to be able to overlap your data with theirs, and we look at everything and incrementally improve against what they do. We’d do the track walk together and it was an invaluable experience because, without Tony’s insights on car positioning and how to deal with pro drivers in faster cars especially at the top of the mountain, I would have had no idea. There’s no doubt I would have ended up in the fence!
“We’ve also got the experience of Paul Forgie in the engineering team, which is a huge help for us. Paul used to be the engineer for Marcos Ambrose in Supercars in Australia and then when he went to NASCAR too.”
As the sole Lamborghini representative in the Bathurst 12 Hours, Deitz and his team-mates are benefitting from a bespoke support package from Squadra Corse engineers and technicians throughout the race weekend.
This level of factory support is even more important given the relative lack of time Deitz and the Wall Racing team have had with the new Huracán GT3 EVO2.
Nevertheless, Deitz says that the feeling with the updated car – which remains in its iconic red and white target-inspired livery, making it one of the most popular on the grid – has already left him optimistic ahead of the race this weekend.
“One of the attractions for making the switch to Lamborghini in 2017 was the direct link with the factory in Italy,” says Deitz. “We look at some of the support other manufacturers give the teams, and it’s fairly non-existent. Often times, it’s just distributors, and so there’s always sort of a filter between the factory and the customer.
“But I have a direct relationship with Squadra Corse, whether that is with Jon Flinn in Asia or Giorgio Sanna in Italy. The support we get from Lamborghini is like a family and we look out for each other and that is the way we view it. We’re loyal as a team and Lamborghini has been very loyal to us; despite the time difference, they are always happy to take the time to analyse the data with us, advise us on how to set up the car.
“We have Giovanni Rizzo with us again this year for Bathurst; he gives us a lot of time which we appreciate a lot. We’re a small, one-car team and being able to tap into the factory and for them to tell us where to go, is really important for us.”