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20 January 2022 | General

CAR HISTORY: Trewein’s ‘new’ HQ Monaro

THE ENTRY of SNB Berryman Racing into this year’s Gulf Western Oil Touring Car Masters Series returns one of the categories’ most loved cars to the grid. 

The Holden Monaro HQ GTS 350 that newcomer and Trans Am racer Warren Trewin will race this year is one of the most notable cars in TCM history, with a long track record of strong performances across its history.

The car was built by Victorian Tony Edwards and made its TCM debut in 2008 at the Adelaide 500.

Edwards tackled 11 rounds and 31 races in the car across the next three seasons, a stint that included a third-place finish in the first race at Sandown in the 2009 season.

Tony, having built the first Touring Car Masters Holden Torana which made its debut in early 2011, would later sell the car to Keith Kassulke,

He assumed the helm in 2010, making his TCM debut in the car at the Muscle Car Masters event at Sydney Motorsport Park that September.

The Papua New Guinea-based Queenslander was right at home in the Monaro, which still sported its iconic metallic blue and white livery.

Kassulke retained the car when he eventually made the debut of his popular XB Ford Falcon coupe’ – switching from one iconic Aussie two-door muscle car to another – however struck a deal with well-known Victorian Historic Touring Car pilot Les Walmsley to drive the car.

With Walmsley behind the wheel the Monaro entered it’s best and most successful TCM period and was a regular top five contender.

Walmsley qualified the car sixth on his debut at Queensland Raceway in 2012 and finished the three races in sixth, fourth and third, respectively, to grab second overall for the round – Kassulke just behind in third.

It was the first round podium for the big Monaro but not its last; Walmsley would finish third at the Muscle Car Masters event in Sydney the following year.

In Walmsley’s hands the car would finish in the top three on five occasions: one of them a famous victory at the Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit.

In an event that featured success for all of the Monaro’s drivers’ to that point, Walmsley won the second race of the weekend – and led home Tony Edwards’ Torana to do so.

The other two races were won by car owner Kassulke, in his Falcon Coupe’.

When Kassulke decided to sell the car, experienced racer Jim Pollicina was first in line to purchase it: the Sydneysider making his TCM debut in the Monaro in 2017.

He completed just one round in it before upgrading to a Torana, Pollicina’s regular co-pilot Dean Lillie racing the ‘Q on two further occasions.

The car was then sold to Queenslander Guy Gibbons, who contested four rounds and 15 races in the 2019 TCM Series – the last time the car raced.

In total, this Monaro has started 48 TCM rounds and 143 races, both 6th on the all-time lists when it comes to TCM metal.

It’s first race in new colours will come at the Newcastle 500 this March 4-6.