Since its inception in 2007, the Touring Car Masters has rapidly grown to become one of Australia's premier racing categories, and one of the most popular and spectacular V8 Supercar support classes.
Evolving from Historic Group N racing through to Biante Historic Touring Cars, the series emerged as the Touring Car Masters for its inaugural season in 2007.
Setting itself apart from traditional Historic racing, the Touring Car Masters pioneered a new class of racing by introducing innovative technical regulations aiming to improve safety, reliability, cut running costs and provide an exciting and entertaining race package while maintaining the visual appeal of its period race cars.
The Touring Car Masters immediately struck a winning formula, with its mix of classic hero cars and modern improvements, such as disc brakes, dry-sumped engines and radial tyres, producing intense, dynamic racing right from the outset.
Since then, the popular Historic-based series has continued to go from strength-to-strength, lifting the class to become a successful, highly-competitive, affordable and commercially-viable category.
Showcasing a selection of immaculately prepared touring cars of the pre-1977 era, the Touring Car Masters boasts some of the sport's most iconic muscle cars from Falcon GT's, BOSS Mustangs, Chevrolet Camaros, Chrysler Chargers and Holden Monaros to the giant-toppling Holden Toranas and nimble Porsche 911 RS's.
Evoking the glory days of Australian Touring Car racing, the Touring Car Masters has incredibly vast appeal with a fan base that bridges all walks of life and spans generations, inspiring the passion of motoring enthusiasts, race fans and drivers.
Attracting many heroes of the sport including former V8 Supercar drivers into the fold, the series features such greats as seven-time Bathurst winner and four-time Australian Touring Car Champion, Jim Richards; two-time Bathurst winner and former Australian Touring Car Champion, John Bowe; two-time Australian Touring Car and V8 Supercar Champion, Glenn Seton; four-time Australian Truck Racing Champion, Bob Middleton; Australian racing royalty in Andrew Miedecke, as well as guests drives through the years from well-known stars including Charlie O'Brien, Phil Brock and Kim Jane.
The series is a performance-based category and consists of a two class classification structure to compliment the series' era, seeing the field split across classes A 'Outright' and B 'Pro-Sportsman'.
Class A: for all vehicles with an engine capacity over 5101cc
Class B: for all vehicles with an engine capacity up to 5100cc
This updated classification structure ensures all vehicles are comparable to the classes of the historic era, but certainly does not limit the challenges that will face the field.
In 2007, crowning its inaugural champions, Steve Mason (Group 1 - Chevrolet Camaro) and Mick Wilson (Group 2 - Chrysler Charger), the series wrapped up a triumphant debut season, offering signs of the success and popularity that was set to follow.
Delivering another crackerjack season of race action in 2008, the Touring Car Masters awarded two new champions, Gavin Bullas (Group 1 - Ford Boss Mustang) and Greg East (Group 2 - HQ Holden), as the series continued gaining momentum, growing in stature and popularity.
With a host of new drivers entering its ranks for its third season, Gavin Bullas mounted an impressive title defence to once again take the title in Group 1 (Ford Boss Mustang), while Trevor Talbot scored his first Touring Car Masters crown (Group 2 - Holden XU-1 Torana).
In 2010, the series entered an exciting new phase, joining forces with new presenting sponsor, Autobarn. With record entry numbers offering a hotly-contested title fight, the Touring Car Masters presented by Autobarn added three more champions to the Australian motor racing history books in Jim Richards (Group 1 - Falcon Sprint), Bernie Stack (Group 2 - Porsche 911) and Tony Karanfilovski (Group 3 - Alfa GT AM).
Season 2011 was a celebration of the first 5 years of the series, now one of Australia's favrouite racing categories on the national circuit. Welcoming 'old' faces including dual ATCC/V8SC champion Glenn Seton, and 'new' faces including young gun Elliot Barbour, the series contiuned to grow to epic proportions as it travelled the country to entertain fans and fellow racers. The toughest title challenge yet saw each class go down to the wire, the final round crowning the latest champions in John Bowe (Class C - Ford Mustang), Gary O'Brien (Class B - Holden HQ GTS) and Amanda Sparks (Class A - Porsche 911).
2013 is set to kick off the next 5 years of this moving showcase of prestige and passion with an absolute cracker season as the Touring Car Masters keeps getting bigger and better with age!
Touring Car Masters Board of Directors:
Chris Stillwell - Chairman
“All four of the Touring Car Masters founders have a background in Historic motor racing. Drew and I have been racing together for over 15 yrs and by 2000 we, along with a small national group of Historic racers, started appearing on event bills around the country. Over the next six years it developed into a core group of Historic Touring Car drivers providing a support category on V8 programs around Australia. The racing was fantastic and competitors were having great fun, but behind the scenes the concept was pretty broken. The four Directors saw the potential and took it to the next level - introducing a completely new category.
“Our primary goal when we began the series was to create great entertainment and have fun; I would have to say we have succeeded. The category delivers keen, clean racing, and with a field of beautiful, very individual cars going flat out and sideways, it’s certainly entertaining.
“We’ve struck a winning formula and we’re pleased to see the series go from strength to strength.”
“The past few years have been extremely exciting for us, as a board and as competitors, to see the growth in the series and the high level of competition that has evolved. The closeness of the racing and the camaraderie between competitors has been fantastic to see and be a part of.
“We race hard on the track then come in and have a laugh and a beer at the end of the day, so to see it doing so well is a credit to everyone involved. It is a far better class of racing to be a part of than any that I have raced with previously and you would be hard pressed to find another category that has as much fun with their racing as we do.
“As with each of the Directors and all of the competitors, I have invested a great deal of time and energy in this series, and I’m extremely proud of my on-track achievements and even more proud of what we’ve achieved with the series itself.”
“I joined the TCM management team with a goal and when everyone in authority and everyone around said ‘you will never get such a race series approved’ it was a red rag waved at a bull. I’m very proud of what we have achieved, so far. With 30 plus drivers at each event, it is now a massive undertaking, commercially and logistically.
“This is a very exciting time for the Touring Car Masters and we aren’t done growing yet. As a group, we have a strong vision for the future of the series.
“My advice to all in sport - follow and live your dream.”
“We’re very happy with technical side of series - although it has taken a while to get there.
“It has been lot more challenging than we expected mainly due the inventiveness of competitors and rules being open to interpretation. We need to be extremely definitive in the rules in order to maintain the spirit in which they are intended, which is a difficult task given the number of cars we cover.
“Looking at the reliability of the cars, the evenness of the competition, and the enjoyment of both drivers and spectators is a good gauge of the success of the technical aspects of the series.
“Developing the series has been a hugely rewarding process. We’ve created a fantastic alternative to mainstream commercial motorsport - an opportunity to come and compete at major national events with a high level of competition, and also with tremendous camaraderie and enjoyment.”