SANDOWN: PRE-EVENT NOTEBOOK
Sep 12, 2018
THIS weekend the Paynter Dixon Touring Car Masters Series returns to the iconic Sandown Raceway in suburban Melbourne – a classic race track for some classic racing cars and drivers.
Its set to be a key round in the championship with competitive battles in every class and several stories worth following throughout the field.
Here’s some of the key facts to think about ahead of this weekend’s Sandown 500, Round 6 of the 2018 Paynter Dixon Touring Car Masters Championship.
John Bowe will celebrate his 1100th championship race start in the Trophy Race on Saturday morning.
Of course, they’re not all in TCM, though the class has contributed more than 230 of them to the ledger.
Across his remarkable career, the five-time TCM champion has also won the Australian Drivers Championship twice, won the Australian Sports Car Championship, Australian Touring Car Championship and the Bathurst 1000 on two occasions – as well as three Sandown 500 titles.
His TCM record is remarkable, delivering 94 race wins and 36 round victories.
He is also on the cusp of scoring his 50th pole position, having scored 49 so far.
Bowe also holds records for most wins in a season (14), most pole positions in a row (10), most front row starts (69) and most fastest laps.
This weekend marks the 11th time Sandown has hosted a round of the Touring Car Masters.
The circuit is popular with teams and divers – an old-school track for old-school cars.
John Bowe and Jim Richards are tied on four round victories apiece – 4 – at the venue while Andrew Miedecke and former series champion Gavin Bullas have one each.
Bowe has won the last two straight rounds at Sandown, however did so last year without winning a race.
In a strange weekend, Johnson won the two races held (the third was abandoned after a hefty crash at turn six) yet Bowe’s bonus points for pole positions saw him just take the round trophy.
It was just the fifth time in TCM history that had occurred – and the first time for Bowe.
Sandown has delivered several special race results, but perhaps moreso for TCM’s Chrysler fans than any other.
The Melbourne circuit was the location of the first ever win for a Chrysler Charger in the history of the category when Greg Crick powered to his maiden victory in 2014.
That, along with a follow-up victory at Mount Panorama later that year, remain the only two times a Chrysler product has scored a race win in the category.
Cameron Tilley remains the brand’s lone hope thanks to his giant-killing exploits aboard his Valliant Pacer – a Charger ‘cousin’ – though those efforts may be aided by the addition of a 358 Ci engine to the car for the first time this weekend.
Speaking of first times, Sandown was also the scene of the first win for Andrew Fisher since joining the category.
He won the 2016 trophy race in the Jesus Racing Falcon GTHO.
Speaking of upgrades, Fisher's Falcon has some new go-fast bits on it this weekend, starting with a new engine.
The striking Ferrari Rosso Corsa Red Falcon XY GTHO driven by experienced driver Andrew “Fishtail” Fisher has been on the engine dyno and Andrew said he will have more horsepower at his disposal than the previous block.
Abigail’s makeover extends throughout the rest of the car: the team has installed a limited slip differential, re-sized the brake master cylinders, and updated the look with a tweak of the livery and black wheels.
After the race weekend Andrew will stay on in Melbourne to present the Life Choices program at schools and gaols (he speaks to around 20,000 young people and thousands of inmates every year challenging them to make good choices in life…to date he has spoken to more than 300,000 young people).
Andrew’s presentation focuses on happiness, well being and helping young people to take control of their lives in what can be a complex world.. Driver safety is also a part of the message. Then, Andrew will head to the Bathurst region to speak to young people in the lead up to the Bathurst TCM round.
Only one driver has won all three races at Sandown in the same weekend.
Andrew Miedecke powered his Whiteline Racing Camaro to wins in each race of the 2013 round, something no driver had done before or has done since.
At 0.2789s, the average margin between the driver winning pole position and the driver qualifying second is smaller at Sandown than at any other venue TCM has raced.
Four different models of car have scored pole in the last four years at Sandown, Falcon XB Coupe, Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Monza and Holden Torana having scored top spot recently.
Bowe has just two pole positions at Sandown – the least of any venue on the TCM calendar to have held more than five rounds.
Bowe also holds the TCM qualifying (1m15.1481s) and race (1m15.2388s) records at Sandown.
Six different drivers have won races this season.
In order, Adam Bressington, Steven Johnson, John Bowe, Jason Gomersall, Mark King and Ryan Hansford have succeeded: Two of them – Gomersall and Hansford – for the first time in their TCM careers.
There’s no father-son rule in Motorsport, but often the youth follow in the footsteps of their racing Dad’s.
In the case of the Touring Car Masters, two sons of former Sandown winners will be on track: Jamie Tilley and Cameron Mason.Return