TCM READY TO CLIMB THE MOUNTAIN
Oct 3, 2017
AS IT does in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, a win at Bathurst represents the pinnacle of achievement in the Touring Car Masters series.
This weekend marks the 10th time that TCM has visited the venue in Country New South Wales, offering fans a look back to some retro racing that harks back to the history of the Mountain itself.
Twelve different drivers have won the 27 different races contested by TCM at the Mountain, a record for any circuit on the calendar.
With six race wins, Bowe tops the winners list though Glenn Seton and Jim Richards (3 each) aren’t far behind. Brad Tilley, Steve Mason, Andrew Miedecke and Eddie Abelnica are all twice prior race winners there.
22 drivers have scored top three finishes at the circuit, further showcasing the varied nature of the results there.
There’s also never been a sweep of all three races in the round – again, the only circuit in the calendar to have that as a statistic.
Steve Mason (2007), John Bowe (2015) and Glenn Seton (2016) have all scored a pair of wins in a single weekend however the third has eluded them – Bowe finishing second in race one in 2015 and Seton further down the field in the reverse-grid affair that was the second race last year. Mason finished third to Gavin Bullas and Jim Richards in the 2007 opener.
2017 will mark the 10th time Touring Car Masters have contested a round at Mount Panorama; and it’s the heavy hitters who have done most of the winning.
Jim Richards and John Bowe have each won two rounds, while Glenn Seton, Brad Tilley and Steve Mason have scored one each. The exhibition style weekend last year, that featured the NZ Central Muscle Cars, didn’t have an overall round winner.
Qualifying has been a Ford dominated affair, taking seven of the available nine pole positions at Bathurst over the years.
Bowe has three poles at the venue – though none back to back – and last year was the first to put a TCM Holden on the top spot in qualifying when he powered his Torana to pole.
Pole position has converted to a victory in race one on four occasions, though with race one now the TCM trophy race it’s unlikely to happen again in 2017.
Steve Johnson holds the qualifying lap record at Mount Panorama, at a 2m18.1606s lap, while Bowe holds the lap record in races at 2m18.5602s.
As always, there’s plenty of drivers with history in the Bathurst 1000 on track in TCM, too.
Jim Richards, of course, ranks as one of the all-time greats at the Mountain thanks to his seven wins – second only to the great Peter Brock on the all-time winners list.
John Bowe has two Bathurst wins to his credit – and in fact was in the car the last time a Dick Johnson Racing Ford won at the Mountain; a notable achievement given the modern-day DJR Team Penske cars enter the race amongst the key favourites.
Steven Johnson was on the podium at Bathurst ten years ago in 1997 with Will Davison – the last time a DJR car raced into the top three there.
He never won the race, but Rusty French was another regular in the Great Race through the 70s and 80s.
Bruce Williams will be racing at Bathurst for the first time since he last competed in the 1000km race – twenty years ago, when he shared his VS Commodore with motoring journo, Paul Gover.
Melinda Price raced in the 1000 in the ‘Castrol Cougars’ Commodore and still holds the record for the highest finishing position by an all-female crew.