BOWE: Double Duty? No Drama!
DOING Double Duty at this year’s Bathurst 1000 event doesn’t necessarily mean double the trouble for drivers – at least according to Motorsport hall-of-famer, John Bowe.
The current leader of the Gulf Western Oil Touring Car Masters series is a veteran of hopping between rides at Mount Panorama and as such understands the challenges that several drivers will face when key ARG categories join the Bathurst 1000 program later this year.
Up to six Supercheap Auto TCR Australia drivers are also locked in to Bathurst 1000 co-driving roles, while several stars of the Fanatec GT World Challenge powered by AWS are in the same boat.
Valvoline Garry Rogers Motorsport Alfa Romeo star Michael Caruso has been the first to officially commit to competing in both classes at the bumper six-day event.
Though he is long retired from Supercars competition, Bowe believes drivers shouldn’t have many issues ‘switching on’ their brain from one car to another should they tackle more than one category this December.
“I’ve done double duty numerous times. I don’t think it really matters: I think if you’re a capable driver you can do it and those guys are very capable. I don’t see it as any big deal,” said Bowe.
“At the end of the day, though, the person who is paying the bills makes the decision and I suspect some of the team owners wouldn’t like it too much.”
The Tasmanian legend doubled up his Bathurst commitments on more than one occasion, splitting his Bathurst 1000 duties with commitments in both Production Car and GT competition over several years.
Bowe made 23 Bathurst 1000 starts in total and won the race twice, in 1989 and 1994, as well as scoring five other podium finishes.
While this December will see him focussing purely on his Paynter Dixon-backed Holden Torana in the TCM battle, Bowe said his approach to swapping Bathurst rides was fairly straightforward..
“To be honest, I didn’t ask to do it, I just did it… I’d ask for forgiveness later!” Bowe laughed.
“I think when you’ve done a lot of laps there it doesn’t matter. I think switching from a TCR car to a Supercar would require a click of the brain, but If I can use myself as an example, I drove a Ferrari and a Supercar one year, and a Production Falcon and a Supercar the next and they are pretty different things to drive.
“I think if you are a Supercar driver, you are capable enough to switch your brain from one to the other.
“I honestly don’t see it as an issue, but it’s not my choice. If they were driving for me I wouldn’t mind, but I can’t speak for everyone.”
Bowe holds a narrow lead in the TCM standings following the first three rounds of the championship held earlier this year and will head to Bathurst looking for his sixth championship in the category.
The Tasmanian icon was named in the Queen’s Birthday honours earlier this year, and in January claimed his 100th TCM race victory; the first driver to do so.