1 October 2021 | General

Class changes coming to encourage TCM growth in 2022

GULF Western Oil Touring Car Masters organisers have unveiled the first steps into a revitalization of the category rulebook ahead of the 2022 racing season.

An in-depth internal review of both the sporting and technical regulations, coupled with open and positive consultation with the current competitor group, has delivered a series of planned changes that are designed to grow the category moving forward.

“We haven’t been sitting on our hands despite the fact there has been no racing since May this year,” TCM Category Manager Liam Curkpatrick said.

“The category has implemented several team forums where we can seek the feedback from the competitor group and also workshop ideas we have about how to improve things moving forward.

“It’s been a very worthwhile process and has resulted in what we think are going to be positive changes heading into next year.”

Central to the plans are a revision of the existing class structure which will streamline criteria for drivers in each class, while also working towards encouraging older-specification TCM cars to return to the grid.

The ProMaster, ProAm and ProSports class structure will remain as is, however a more definitive, performance-based driver seeding system like those employed by other categories will ensure a clearer definition of who is eligible for each class.

This could include ProAm drivers moving up to the ProMaster class mid-season should they achieve significant race results that warrant a reclassification.

The ProSports class will subsequently become separate from the existing structure and will instead become a home for existing TCM machinery that has not raced for some time.

The ProSports class would run in the same grid as the main TCM field, however would likely start behind the full pack to ensure both their race, and that of the main TCM classes, are contested independently.

TCM is working closely with Motorsport Australia on refining the series technical regulations to fit the revised ProSport class.

“The feedback we’ve received is that the advancement of the cars currently competing at the front of the TCM pack has seen several existing car owners elect to park their cars for fears of being uncompetitive, which is understandable” Curkpatrick explained.

“The revised ProSports structure will be designed to allow those cars to compete for their own class honours within the broader TCM field.

“While it is tagged an ‘invitational’ class, ProSports would be first designed to bring existing TCM machinery back to the track rather than, for example, attracting Group N competitors and vehicles. That is not our goal and this exercise has not been about filling the grid for the sake of it.

“It’s about making a serious effort to cater to the people who have existing cars sitting in garages, and then looking at people who are interested in joining the category and have appropriate machinery to do so.

“We have also had several inquiries from people with cars that are close to TCM specification already.

“The cars invited competing in ProSport will be approved by the category before competing and will run as close to our rules as possible, including running the control Hoosier tyre.

“It’s not designed to be a free-for-all, rather a cost-effective and common sense way of getting people back on track yet still being able to compete for a trophy.”

TCM organisers have also confirmed that the once popular ‘baby car’ class will return at three events next year.

While dates and specific rounds are to be confirmed, the small car ‘two-litre TCM’ category will be open to two-litre machinery at selected events.

Previous cars in the class included Tony Karanfilovski’s Alfa Romeo GTA-M, Phil Showers’ Ford Escort RS and the Datsun 510 raced by Cam Mason, prior to stepping up into the V8 Mustangs.

The class will run if three or more cars are entered for one of the nominated rounds.

The Porsche IROC class will also return at nominated rounds next year, with several of the popular Porsche 911RS models set to tackle Mount Panorama, Bathurst this December.

Work is ongoing on the 2022 TCM series regulations with the final versions expected to be approved by Motorsport Australia later this year.