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1 March 2016 | General

2016 TCM SEASON TO LAUNCH AT CLIPSAL 500

STEVEN JOHNSON is set to return to Touring Car Masters competition this weekend at the Clipsal 500 Adelaide as the 2016 season launches in style. 

Johnson’s return to the category comes as former V8 Supercar ace Greg Ritter joins full-time and a host of potential title contenders’ front for what is expected to be a highly competitive 2016 season.

Johnson returns to the category for the Clipsal 500 after a part-time campaign last season where he successfully drove John Bowe’s Ford Mustang Trans-Am to four round victories.

The Queenslander will remain blue-oval based this year however has switched to a Ford Falcon GTHO owned by Tony Karanfilovski and prepared by Steve Makarios’ Synergy Racing outfit.  

Meanwhile a trio of former V8 Supercars / Australian Touring Car Champions all return to the series in three different brands of muscle car to kick off the 2016 title fight.

Bowe (Holden Torana SL/R 5000) Jim Richards (AMC Javelin) and Glenn Seton (Ford Mustang Coupe) are expected to be amongst a host of outright contenders for this year’s TCM crown for classic muscle cars built between 1964 and 1976.

The three have a combined seven ATCC / V8 Supercar titles to their credit – not to mention the last six outright-class TCM titles being split between legends Bowe and Richards.

Bowe will continue to race the Payce Holden Torana SL/R 5000 in which he won last year’s series – though he’s yet to race the car at the Clipsal 500.

Richards will return in his remarkably popular Shannons Insurance-supported AMC Javelin while Seton will suit up for the blue oval in the Thunder Road Racing Team Australia Ford Mustang Coupe he raced last year.

Whiteline Racing’s Andrew Miedecke – a five-time Clipsal 500 TCM race winner – and Mark King who has won once on the Adelaide streets return in a pair of Adelaide-based Chevrolet Camaros with the popular local outfit looking to continue their strong home-town form.

King was the quiet achiever in 2015 consistently scoring strong results to end up third in the Pro Master championship behind only Bowe and Richards while Abelnica is second only to Bowe in race wins at the Adelaide Parklands circuit.

Another Aussie racing legend – Rusty French – will also be back on track in a re-built Skye Sands Ford Mustang following a hefty crash in the final round of 2015.

Former Ford Performance Racing and Garry Rogers Motorsport V8 Supercar ace Greg Ritter returns with the former V8 Supercars regular joining the championship full time this year driving a Chevrolet Monza coupe.

Ritter made his TCM debut at Phillip Island’s 2015 season finale and was instantly impressive: qualifying on pole before a race weekend hampered by niggling reliability issues saw him fail to finish the first two races of the event.

He stormed from last to fourth in the final race of the season to serve notice that the Monza would be a contender despite never having previously having troubled the outright scorers.

Last year’s ProAm title winner Cameron Tilley is also back in his incredibly popular Cannon Trailers Valliant Pacer Hemi.

Dubbed ‘The world’s fastest Pacer’ Sydneysider Tilley finished second outright on the Adelaide streets in the second race of last year’s Clipsal 500 TCM round and is famous for always driving the six-cylinder car as hard as it can be driven.  

TCM stalwarts Eddie Abelnica (Adelaide’s Cheapest Cars Ford Falcon XB Coupe) Tony Karanfilovski (Ford Mustang) and Jason Gomersall (iSeek Racing Holden Torana SL/R 5000) all return having each raced at the pointy end of the pack last year.

Gomersall finished third in the ProAm division – behind Cameron Tilley and Tony Karanfilovski – while Abelnica was fourth in the ProMaster division behind only Bowe Richards and Mark King.

The iSeek Racing Torana will again be prepared by V8 Supercars development Series outfit Matt Stone Racing.

Sydneysider Tony Karanfilovski will return to the scene of his maiden Touring Car Masters victory: the Ford Mustang driver nailing his first win in the category two years ago on the Adelaide streets only to fail to turn a single lap last year when an early engine drama ruled him out of competition.

Jesus Racing’s Andrew Fisher is also back in his popular Ford Falcon GTHO and ready for a big season after a learning 2015 as is 16-year-old Tasmanian teenager Adam Garwood (Holden Torana).

Adelaide-based husband and wife combo Greg Keene and Amanda Sparks will return to the series with their Porsche 911 RSs two of the five-strong local contingent that includes Rory O’Neill (Porsche) Graham Stewart (XA Falcon) and Nigel Benson (HQ Monaro).

Last year’s ProSports class winner Leo Tobin has a new Ford ‘Boss’ Mustang ready for his 2016 season switching from the HQ he raced last year.

Paul Freestone (Camaro) returns in his Chevrolet Camaro while Victorian Wayne Mercer’s Ford Falcon GHTO is expected to make the event in time after a lengthy rebuild in the off-season.

The Touring Car Masters field will tackle three races across the Clipsal 500 Adelaide weekend.

Every session from Practice two to the final race will be broadcast live on FOX Sports Motorsport (Channel 506). Coverage will also air on Network Ten across the weekend with final details to be confirmed.

The Shannons / Rare Spares Touring Car Masters paddock will be located in the centre of the circuit precinct with fans welcomed to check out the cars and meet the stars of the series across the four days.

RARE SPARES ADELAIDE TROPHY – ROUND 1 ENTRY LIST

No Sponsor Name Driver   State Year Make Model Cap Colour
2 Shannons Insurance Jim Richards VIC 1972 AMC Javelin 5890cc Grey/Green
4 Skye Sands Rusty French VIC 1970 Ford Mustang Fastback 5800cc Black
9 Jesus Racing Andrew Fisher NSW 1971 Ford Falcon XY GTHO 5800cc Grey/Red
10 Sunliner RV Greg Ritter VIC 1975 Chevrolet Monza 2+2 5800cc White
11 Leukemia Foundation / Climate Air Control Graham Stewart SA 1972 Ford Falcon XA GT 5800cc Violet
12 Giraffe Civil Contracting Adam Garwood TAS 1974 Holden  Torana SL/R 5000 5047cc White
13 Mark Poole Motorsport Rory O’Neill SA 1974 Porsche 911 IROC 3600cc Grey/Silver
17 TIFS – Warehousing & Distribution Steve Johnson QLD 1971 Ford Falcon XY GTHO 5800cc White
18 Wilson Security / PAYCE John Bowe VIC 1974 Holden  Torana SL/R 5000 5047cc Blue/Yellow
21 Giraffe Civil Contracting Greg Garwood TAS 1971 Ford Capri Perana 5000cc  
22 PRT Fabrication Nigel Benson SA 1972 Holden  Monaro GTS Coupe 5800cc Silver/Orange
25 Freestones Transport Paul Freestone VIC 1968 Chevrolet Camaro SS 5800cc Maroon
30 Thunder Road Racing Team Australia Glenn Seton QLD 1964 Ford Mustang Coupe 5000cc Black/Gold
32 SportsMed Amanda Sparks SA 1973 Porsche 911 RS 3600cc Silver/Black
33 SportsMed Greg Keene SA 1973 Porsche 911 RS 3600cc Yellow/Black
35 iseek Racing  Jason Gomersall QLD 1974 Holden  Torana SL/R 5000 5000cc White/Blue
46 THD Motorsport Leo Tobin VIC 1969 Ford Boss Mustang 5000cc Orange
48 Adelaides Cheapest Cars Eddie Abelnica VIC 1974 Ford Falcon XB Coupe 5800cc Red
60 Glennan Transport / Dulux Cameron Tilley NSW 1969 Valiant Pacer 4390cc Blue
74 Lyndways Builders Wayne Mercer VIC 1971 Ford Falcon XY GTHO 5800cc Light Blue
85 Whiteline Racing / King Springs Mark King QLD 1970 Chevrolet Camaro RS 5800cc Red/White
88 TIFS – Warehousing & Distribution Tony Karanfilovski NSW 1969 Ford Mustang Trans Am 5800cc Orange
95 Lubrimaxx Racing Andrew Miedecke NSW 1969 Chevrolet Camaro SS 5800cc Black