TOWNSVILLE PRE EVENT NOTEBOOK
Jul 4, 2018
THE PAYNTER Dixon Touring Car Masters series heads to North Queensland for the first time this weekend, competing at the Watpac Townsville 400 round of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship.
It’s the first time that TCM will have raced in North Queensland after a four-year campaign by local fans of the series to bring the category to Townsville.
THE 2.8km Reid Park circuit will be the 14th visited by the Paynter Dixon Touring Car Masters since the series was founded almost a decade ago.
If history is a guide, there’s a decent chance that the category will be back, too, because of those 13 circuits visited the series has made return visits to all except one of them – the Gold Coast street circuit at Surfers Paradise.
TOWNSVILLE will mark the fifth different street circuit the series has visited over the years, joining the Adelaide Parklands Circuit, Sydney Olympic Park circuit, Surfers Paradise street circuit and Newcastle street circuit on the calendar.
The series has visited Adelaide on eleven occasions, Sydney three times and both Surfers and Newcastle once each – though the 2018 Grand Final will again be held in front of Novocastrian fans.
2018 marks just the second time that TCM has visited three street circuits in the same year, too – in 2011 Adelaide, Gold Coast and Sydney were on the calendar while this year it’s Adelaide, Townsville and Newcastle. Obviously we don’t count Bathurst as a street circuit – that has its own categorisation!
IN that time there have been 16 rounds and 48 races held on street circuits.
A look through the form guide on the demanding circuits offers up some interesting reading.
As he does in the overall series record book, John Bowe dominates proceedings.
He’s won 13 times on street circuits, taken pole on 9 occasions and won the round 7 times.
6 different drivers have scored poles on street courses, the same number of different round winners while 13 different drivers have won races.
THREE different drivers have scored pole in the last three street track events. Bowe was on pole in Adelaide in 2017, while Ryan Hansford grabbed the top spot in Newcastle at the end of the season. Steven Johnson, of course, was on top in qualifying in Adelaide last time out this year.
Johnson and Bowe have won eight of the last 10 street circuit races, while Adam Bressington (Adelaide) and Brad Tilley (Adelaide, 2017) have also scored on the streets.
The last driver other than Johnson and Bowe to win on a street circuit was Greg Ritter – he powered the Chevy Monza to the top spot in Adelaide in 2016.
TCM ticked off a lot of Aussie circuits in recent years so they don’t often add to the ‘new track’ list.
Before visiting Newcastle’s streets last year, the last time Touring Car Masters racers had to learn a new circuit was their first – and so far only – visit to the Gold Coast in 2011.
STEVEN JOHNSON has won the last three straight TCM rounds and should he win a fourth will set a new TCM record.
Just three drivers have won three rounds in a row in the series’ history.
Gavin Bullas won Adelaide, Winton and Darwin in 2009 to anchor his title campaign that year, while John Bowe has done it on three occasions.
He won Darwin, Ipswich and Sydney Motorsport Park consecutively in both 2012 and 2013, while he then won Sydney Motorsport Park, Bathurst and Phillip Island in 2015 to win the title then, too.
Johnson powered to his third-straight win in Darwin having earlier triumphed at Winton and Symmons Plains.
FOUR different drivers have finished second overall in the first four rounds this year.
Cameron Tilley was second overall in Adelaide, John Bowe in Tasmania, Ryan Hansford at Winton and Adam Bressington last time out in the Top End.