CLIPSAL 500 - EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW!
Feb 23, 2015
THE CLIPSAL 500 marks the opening round of the 2015 ENZED Touring Car Masters Series, presented by long-time series supporters Rare Spares and Shannons insurance.
The start of the new season is set to be a big occasion thanks to several key additions to the TCM field, and the largest grid the series’ has ever seen on the streets of Adelaide.
Several new cars making their debut add to the eclectic mix of classic muscle and sports cars from the 1960-1976 era.
Every session from the opening round of the 2015 TCM series will be broadcast LIVE on FOX Sports throughout the weekend.
Old Foe’s back together on the Adelaide Streets;
The return of Glenn Seton to the ENZED TCM field this year sets up something of a TCM reunion of some of the biggest names from the long history of the Australian Touring Car Championship.
1993 & ’97 champion Seton returns this year to race with former rivals Jim Richards, John Bowe and Andrew Miedecke. The four were regular frontrunners in the late 1980s and regularly competed head-to-head in ATCC races in that era.
However, it’s been nearly 25 years since the last time all four raced together on the Adelaide parklands circuit.
All four raced in the 1990 Ansett Air Freight Challenge, the key Touring Car supports to the Australian Grand Prix that year.
It would prove to be a successful weekend for much of the quartet, Jim Richards taking the Nissan Skyline R32 GTR to victory in race one ahead of the turbo Ford Sierras’ of Bowe and Seton.
The ‘baby faced assassin’ powered his Sierra to the front in an attrition-filled race two, as the others struggled.
Miedecke was at the time driving for Peter Brock’s Mobil 1 Racing outfit during the Holden legend’s brief time racing Fords at the top level.
Though he didn’t race them in Adelaide, Greg Crick – now driving a Chrysler Charger – also competed against the four in that year’s endurance series at Sandown and Bathurst.
This weekend marks the inauguration of the ‘Adelaide Tourist Trophy’ – the award for the opening round of the 2015 TCM series.
The Australian Tourist Trophy is a long-presented award currently presented to the top Australian GT driver across the endurance series portion of their championship, while the Adelaide Tourist Trophy is unique to TCM and is being held for the first time this year – and only at the Clipsal 500.
The ‘Tourist Trophy’ brand is well known around the world however, thanks in part to the famous Manx TT two-wheeled race on the Isle of Man.
Progress, Progress, Progress:
Looking back through TCM races in Adelaide gives a clear outlook at how quickly the cars get developed.
TCM has raced at the ‘500 every year since 2007 bar one (2013) and the dramatic fall in lap times since the series’ first raced on the Adelaide streets shows how much the teams and drivers involved put into making their cars go quicker and quicker each year.
Following the re-profiling of turn eight to the famous turn it is now, Gavin Bullas scored pole in 2008 with a then-record 1m33.49s lap in his Ford Boss Mustang. Last year, John Bowe powered to the first of his seven-straight pole positions of the season with a scorching 1m29.47s – a gain of almost exactly four seconds.
Likewise, the lap record has tumbled across the years and now stands at 1m29.90s – again held by John Bowe. That time is some six seconds faster than the 2008 benchmark.
Predictable? Not really.
TCM racing on the streets of Adelaide tends to be quite unpredictable, but last year’s racing was the least easy to pick out of any TCM appearance at the ‘500.
2014 marked just the second time from seven visits to the Clipsal 500 that the series witnessed three different winners from the three races.
Tony Karanfilovski (Ford Mustang), Mark King (Chevrolet Camaro) and Andrew Miedecke (Chevrolet Camaro) took the three races between them, while six different drivers filled the nine podium spots between them.
2007 – The series’ first visit to the Clipsal 500 – was the only other time three winners won the three races.
At the same time, there has only ever been two ‘clean sweeps’ of all three races by the one driver.
John Bowe swept the 2008 round, while Gavin Bullas did the job and took three from three the following year.
Key Clipsal Stats to know:
- Only two drivers, John Bowe and Gavin Bullas, have ever scored a TCM pole position on the streets of Adelaide. Bowe has scored pole five times – including every year since 2010 – while Bullas has locked in top spot twice. Both are on the grid this weekend to do the job again.
- Bowe and Bullas are also on top of the race wins tally – with six apiece. Andrew Miedecke (3) and Brad Tilley (2) are also on the charts, while Tony Karanfilovski, Mark King and Alastair MacLean each have one Clipsal 500 race win to their credit.
- John Bowe has started 17 TCM races in Adelaide, and finished on the podium in 14 of them!
- Qualifying second is not a bad thing in Adelaide. On FOUR (from 7) occasions has the driver starting race one second gone on to win!
Brad Tilley converted 2nd on the grid to a race 1 win in 2007 and again in 2011 in his mighty GTHO Falcon.
Gavin Bullas went from P2 to P1 in 2010, while Tony Karanfilovski used plenty of turn one chicane to take the race lead at the start of last year’s season opener – going from P2 on the grid to his first TCM win in race one.
Predictably, Bowe and Bullas are the two drivers to convert pole into race one success – Bowe twice and Bullas once.
RAW NUMBERS – TCM AT THE CLIPSAL 500
Current lap record: John Bowe (2014 – Ford Mustang TransAm) 1m29.9090s
Current Pole Record: John Bowe, 1m29.4710s.
John Bowe – 6
Gavin Bullas – 6
Andrew Miedecke – 3
Brad Tilley – 2
Tony Karanfilovski – 1
Mark King – 1
Alastair MacLean – 1
John Bowe – 5
Gavin Bullas – 2
RACE WINS – BRAND:
FORD – 13 (27 podium finishes)
CHEV – 7 (33 podium finishes)
AVERAGE QUALIFYING MARGIN (1-2): 0.5941s.
CLOSEST QUALIFYIG MARGIN (1-2): 0.0553s (Bullas – Tilley, 2007).
LARGEST QUALIFYING MARGIN (1-2): 1.3814s (Bowe – Karanfilovski, 2014).