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6 October 2015 | General

FACT FILE: TCM AT BATHURST

 

TCM MOUNTAIN MASTERS / PRESENTED BY ENZED RARE SPARES AND SHANNONS

2015 marks the eighth time that the ENZED Touring Car Masters series will have visited Mount Panorama Bathurst in its current format.

The series’ first visited in 2007 and has visited every year since except for 2008.

HOLDEN TORANA AIMING FOR ANOTHER BATHURST LAP RECORD

MORE THAN 36 years after Peter Brock famously set the Bathurst lap record on the final lap of the 1979 great race Holden’s iconic V8 Torana has another opportunity to create Bathurst history this weekend.

Brock – then co-driving with current ENZED Touring Car Masters championship leader Jim Richards – set a stunning 2m21.1s lap on the 163rd and final lap of the race on September 30 1979 in his Holden Dealer Team Torana A9X Hatchback. It was an appropriate swansong for the iconic car that would be replaced the following year by the Commodore.  

The current Touring Car Masters lap record is currently held by John Bowe at 2m21.1035s – essentially identical to Brock’s ’79 effort. Bowe set the benchmark in his Ford Mustang TransAm during last year’s Bathurst TCM round.

However with Bowe now driving a Holden Torana SL/R 5000 and having won the most recent round of the series at Sydney Motorsport Park a real possibility exists that a Holden Torana could again set a Bathurst lap record 36 years and 9 10 or 11 days after Brock’s epic last-lap dash. For the record that’s 13158 days ago this Friday.

Bowe smashed the Sydney Motorsport Park TCM lap record last time out and holds a majority of the fastest laps set by TCM cars around Australia.

Ironically the one driver who may pose the biggest challenge to Bowe’s record chase this weekend could be the driver steering his own car! Steven Johnson will return to the seat of Bowe’s famous Mustang ‘Sally’ this weekend having won three rounds from three starts this season.

This weekend marks the first time in 22 years that Johnson won’t be starting the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.  

The ENZED Touring Car Masters will tackle three races across the weekend as they contest the penultimate round of the 2015 championship.

Some more TCM fast facts about this weekend’s racing appear below!

The Touring Car Masters are in the midst of their most competitive championship battle yet.

Jim Richards leads the standings with 811 points just 10 in front of Andrew Miedecke (801). Richards assumed the lead at the most recent round at Sydney’s Muscle Car Masters and it represented the fifth lead change in the point standings this season.

Jim assumed the lead of the standings one week prior to his son Steve losing the lead in the Porsche Carrera Cup championship to Nick Foster. That one week period is believed to be the first time in their careers that Jim and Steve had both topped national championship titles at the same time.

Ominously looming is John Bowe who at 774 points sits less than a single race win’s worth of points away from the series lead with two rounds and six races left on the schedule.

With 360 points still up for grabs mathematically even 8th placed Steve Johnson remains in championship contention!

Consistency really is key in winning an ENZED TCM title.

Jim Richards is unsurprisingly the only driver to have started all six rounds contested this year to have finished every race. He’s started and finished all 18 races so far and even though he’s only finished on the podium twice (he finished third in race one at the Clipsal 500 and third in Darwin’s third race) his consistent finishes have clearly helped his championship position.

Of the other drivers to have contested all six rounds Andrew Miedecke Mark King and Monaro driver Leo Tobin have finished all bar one race while Cameron Tilley has two DNFs or DNSs to his name.

Tony Karanfilovski was entered at Clipsal but didn’t turn a racing lap and has only had the one DNF since.

Along with Richards Ian Palmer (5 rounds) and Steve Johnson (3) are the only other two drivers to have finished every race they’ve started this year.

John Bowe’s stats keep rolling.

At Muscle Car Masters he notched up his 999th 1000th and 1001st national race starts. He also won his 200th race in the MCM opener taking his tally to 202 by the end of the weekend.

He’s now won 75 of those races in TCM competition.

TCM at Mount Panorama traditionally produces the most unpredictable racing of the year.

10 different drivers have won the 21 races held across seven rounds since 2007.

John Bowe (4) has won the most with Gavin Bullas and Jim Richards each having scored three Bathurst TCM race victories.

Steve Mason Brad Tilley Andrew Miedecke and Eddie Abelnica all having won twice whilst legends Leanne Tander Glenn Seton and Greg Crick are the big names to have added to that list with a single race win each – in each case the Sunday morning ‘finale’ of the 2010 2011 and 2014 rounds respectively.

On six occasions there has been three winners from three races – and no one has ever ‘swept’ a Bathurst round by winning all three races. The closest was two wins to Steve Mason en-route to his 2007 round win. 

Richards is the only driver to win multiple TCM rounds at Bathurst (2009 and 2010) despite not having won the most Bathurst TCM races. His strength comes from consistency having finished on the podium a remarkable 16 times from 21 starts on the Mountain.

Three drivers have been able to convert pole position to victory in race one on the Mountain.

Qualifying has always been the ‘less important’ bit of the weekend in TCM competition and Bathurst is proof of this.

Only on three (of 7) occasions have drivers converted pole position to a win in the opening race; Gavin Bullas too his Mustang from pole to a win in 2007 and John Bowe did the same in 2012 and last year (2014).

On only two occasions (2007 and 2014) have the same three drivers who qualified first second and third all finished together on the race one podium – in order or not!

John Bowe and Jim Richards are the only two drivers to score multiple TCM pole positions on the Mountain.

Bathurst is Ford Country in TCM.

Holdens may have the track record in the 1000 but if you’ve got a Ford you’re a fair chance to win in Touring Car Masters on the Mountain.

Fords have won 16 of the 21 Bathurst TCM Races with Chevrolet (4) and Chrysler (1) the only others to greet the flag first; thanks to Andrew Miedecke and Steve Mason for the Bowtie and Greg Crick for the Valliant Brigade.

BATHURST 1000

There are two former Bathurst 1000 champions on the TCM Grid this weekend;

Jim Richards scored 7 wins in 1978 79 80 (with Peter Brock) 1991 92 (with Mark Skaife) 1998 (with Rikard Rydell) and 2002 (with Mark Skaife). Richards also finished second in 1993 and 1997 (V8) third in 1989 and 1998 fourth in 1985 87 and 97 (2L) fifth in 2003 and sixth in 1986.

John Bowe scored 2 wins in 1989 1994 with Dick Johnson. Bowe also finished second in 1988 1992 and 1996 and third in 2004. 

Several other key TCM regulars have Bathurst 1000 credits on their CV:

Glenn Seton scored two pole positions (’94 and ’96) and started the great race 26 times. His first ever race win at Bathurst however came driving a No. 30 Ford Falcon in TCM in 2011..

Steven Johnson made 22 uninterrupted starts in the ‘great race’ as a primary or co-driver with this year being his first out of a seat in the main game since 1992!

Andrew Miedecke made 15 Bathurst 1000 starts and made his debut in 1986 driving a Mercedes Benz 190E (a car he now owns again) followed by a succession of runs in Ford Sierra’s including a stint with the Brock / Mobil 1 team). In 15 starts Miedecke finished in the top-10 five times and scored one podium.

Rusty French (Made his Bathurst debut in 1968 driving a Hillman Gazelle / 6th outright in 1984 with Geoff Russell)
Tony Hunter (7th in 1988 with Steve Harrington in a VK SS Group A Commodore)
Brett Youlden (21st in the 1993 Great Race in a VL SS Group A with John English)
Ian Palmer (multiple privateer starts in the late 1990s / early 2000s).

TCM BATHURST ROUND WINNERS;

2007 – STEVE MASON (CAMARO)
2009 – JIM RICHARDS (FALCON SPRINT)
2010 – JIM RICHARDS (FALCON SPRINT)
2011 – GLENN SETON (XB FALCON COUPE)
2012 – BRAD TILLEY (FALCON GTHO)
2013 – JOHN BOWE (MUSTANG TRANS-AM)
2014 – GREG CRICK (CHRYSLER CHARGER)

QUALIFYING RECORD: John Bowe – Ford Mustang TransAm 2m19.1430 (average 161km/hr / 100mph)
LAP RECORD: John Bowe – Ford Mustang TransAm 2m21.1035

RACE WINNERS

4 – John Bowe
3 – Gavin Bullas Jim Richards
2 – Steven Mason Brad Tilley Andrew Miedecke Eddie Abelnica
1 – Leanne Tander Glenn Seton Greg Crick.

POLE POSITIONS

2 – Jim Richards John Bowe
1 – Gavin Bullas Andrew Miedecke Glenn Seton