For 2013 Lucas Dumbrell took the ambitious step of expanding his young team from one to two cars.
Just about everything else changed as well, with two new drivers and a significant turn-over and expansion of staff. Not to forget that like everyone else, LDM was starting off with a couple of brand new Car of the Future racers – in this case Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden Commodore VFs.
One half of this expansion has been the Dodo Insurance Commodore driven by Dean Fiore, looked after by a dedicated pit crew drawn together from as far away as the UK.
Without further ado, meet the crew behind #88.
David Cauchi, engineer
Dave’s smiling face would be familiar to anyone who has been anywhere near the Triple Eight Race Engineering pit facilities in recent years.
While still based out of the T8 shop in Banyo, Queensland, he joins LDM for all rounds to engineer Dean Fiore’s Dodo Insurance-backed T8-built Holden commodore VF.
Sydney-born of Maltese parents, Dave gained his degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Technology Sydney, graduating into a position with Bishop Steering Technology.
But by then the motorsport bug had long since bitten. In Year 10 at high school he undertook work experience at the Lansvale Smash V8 team under the tutelage of Wally Storey (now at BJR). From that grew a friendship with Wally’s son Rob and Dave helped him out racing Formula Fords, winning the NSW state championship.
Dave joined Triple Eight in November 2007 as a design engineer. In 2008 he became Craig Lowndes’ data engineer and then took on that role for Jamie Whincup’s car as well because of race crew rule changes.
Cauchi stayed in that role right through to the end of the 2012 season, through all those Bathurst and Championship triumphs – and the rare defeat – and designing parts as T8 developed the FG Falcon, then the switch to Holden VE and the Car of the Future VF project.
He worked as part of an engineering team led by Frenchman Ludo Lacroix with Mark Dutton engineering Whincup and Jeromy ‘JJ’ Moore pairing with Lowndes.
With no sign of a chance to move up to engineer either T8 driver, Dave elected to grab the engineering role at LDM because of the customer connection.
“It’s been a challenge,” Dave says. “I’ve been watching ‘JJ’ and Dutto do it for five years they make it look easy. I can promise you it’s not.”
Sam Scaffidi, data engineer
From in Shepparton, Victoria, the 23-year old’s interest in motor racing blossomed when he got involved in the Formula SAE program while studying mechanical engineering at university.
In his last year at uni in 2012 he was chief engineer of the team, which finished fourth overall.
Scaffidi did some work experience with Kelly Racing in 2011 and that gave him the taste for V8s. His supervisor then was an engineer by the name of Brendan Hogan.
Hogan now works at LDM as Scott Pye’s engineer and it was on his recommendation that Scaffidi was signed up as Fiore’s Data Engineer.
“It’s good because we get to apply the stuff we tinkered with at university,” says Scaffidi. “It’s challenging every day.”
Nickname: “Montoya, apparently it’s because I look like him (race driver Juan Pablo Montoya – Ed).”
Sean Matthews, number one mechanic
From Northamptonshire in the UK, Sean has been involved in motor racing since he left school at 17.
The 26-year old worked for eight years at leading motorsport outfit Ray Mallock Limited (or RML Group) spannering in both the British and World Touring Car Championships, as well as dabbling in sports cars and GT cars.
Sean had been pondering the shift to Australia for some time as the racing scene in the UK tightened up. He got his opportunity when former RML colleague Derek Wilson, already at LDM, recommended him for a job.
By January Sean and his partner were in Melbourne and he was beavering away on Fiore’s racer.
“I love it, it’s going very well,” he said. “It’s been tough but it’s worth it. The category is fantastic, the racing is awesome, there is plenty happening.”
Josh Williams, number two mechanic
The tall and thin 22-year from Shepparton – no, he never met Scaffidi before joining LDM – did the first three years of his mechanic’s apprenticeship at a local garage.
Always interested in motor racing, he got into V8 Supercars by the Trading Post Racing Recruit program with Ford Performance Racing, completing the final year of his apprenticeship with the factory team.
FPR helped him find his current position at LDM when his apprenticeship concluded at the end of 2012.
“It’s a very rewarding position, a lot of hard work in a small team. I am enjoying it.”
Nickname: “Pull-through, because of my imposing figure.”
Vinny Borgia, truck driver and tyre technician
Originally from Colac in the western districts of Victoria, Vinny was an interstate trucky by trade. He got into V8 Supercars because he was sharing a house with the niece of Tony Cochrane when the category was looking for a driver for its own transporter.
Vinny started in 2000 with V8 Supercars, then after nearly a decade went briefly to Crawford Catering and then sponsor Telstra before joining LDM three years ago. He then spent about seven months with D’Alberto Racing in 2012 before rejoining LDM in 2013.
Vinny double duties to include the role of tyre technician – as many truckies do – when he joined LDM.