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15 September 2021 | General

Bathurst news a ‘Dream come true’ for McLeod

FEW drivers are more enthusiastic about the return of the Gulf Western Oil Touring Car Masters Series to the iconic Mount Panorama circuit than Gerard McLeod.

It was announced this morning that TCM will join a host of other top-flight national categories at a massive six-day Bathurst 1000 event this November 30 – December 5.

The event will mark the Bathurst racing debut of the Holden Commodore in TCM specification, appropriately steered by a driver with longstanding Bathurst 1000 connections.

As well as being the son of 1987 Great Race winner Peter, Gerard McLeod’s Motorsport Parts Australia Commodore sports the same livery as a similar example raced by his father in the 1986 race.

With 34 victories, Holden’s have won more Bathurst enduros than any other brand with the Commodore accounting for 27 of their 34 victories.

Appropriately, the first Commodore to take the flag at Bathurst was the same 1980 VC model McLeod races in TCM.

“It’s hard to think of a more iconic car in Bathurst history than a Commodore, it’s a fan favourite and a motorsport die-hard favourite,” McLeod said.

“It’s got a history and heritage at Bathurst unchallenged by any other brand or model. To be the only one out there in a Commodore at the Bathurst 1000 event will be pretty special.

“I think it’s going to be quite fulfilling for me and for my families heritage in the sport.”

The white, blue and red livery on McLeod’s still fresh Commodore replicates the scheme Peter McLeod utilised on his car as a privateer in the 1986 season – including at Bathurst.

“I picked that livery because it was my favourite as a child,” Gerard explained.

“Unfortunately, that car ended up in the fence at McPhillamy Park – the crash was that big Dad can’t remember the two days after it.

“I won’t be doing that any time soon! But they were trucking along in sixth place really well early in the race that year.

“To be driving a car in my favourite livery and charging around the Mountain.. for a nostalgic racer like me, it’s a dream come true.”

McLeod was the first to debut a Commodore in Touring Car Masters specifications when he rolled the car out at the 2020 Adelaide 500.

Despite limited track time since, the car has shown potential to be a front runner in TCM competition, including twice finishing on the podium in TCM Trophy Races contested this year at Symmons Plains and Sydney Motorsport Park.

McLeod missed the Bathurst round held in February this year but strong form across the entire Sydney weekend proved the cars potential.

“The car, for its short racing life, has come on leaps and bounds since we debut in 2020 Adelaide,” he said.

“For what are really only two test days and I would like to say 2.5 race meetings, the weekend at Sydney Motorsport Park showed it can run at the top of the field.

“We have made a few adjustments and modifications in the break, that should close the gap.”