MILESTONE 250th SET FOR SUNDAY
Nov 22, 2017
THE TOURING CAR MASTERS will celebrate a milestone this weekend at the Coates Hire Newcastle 500, with the series to contest its 250th race on Sunday morning.
Now close to concluding its 10th year as a national category, TCM has become one of the favourite support categories on the Supercars championship calendar thanks to its mix of classic Muscle Cars and an array of stars behind the wheel.
TCM evolved from what was the Biante Historic Touring Car series, allowing competitors to add safety, performance, commercial and reliability enhancements to the cars that could not otherwise be done under existing Group N regulations.
The first race was held in early March 2007 at the Adelaide 500 event and was won by Brad Tilley.
The second race was won by Alistair MacLean and the third by Gavin Bullas, with Steve Mason second.
Both Tilley - still driving his iconic green Falcon GTHO - and Bullas in his original Mustang will be on the grid this weekend in Newcastle, in a nod to the series foundations 10 years ago.
Mason, meanwhile, has transitioned to team owner as son Cameron takes the wheel of his team’s Ford Mustang coupe’.
The Newcastle street circuit will be the 14th different venue to host a TCM round.
Much of the categories statistical history has been dominated by one driver – John Bowe.
In his post Australian Touring Car Championship / Supercars career, the Tasmanian legend has made his home in Touring Car Masters and remains a passionate advocate for the category and its way of going motor racing.
Bowe is a five-time champion of TCM and has won a remarkable 90 of the 249 races contested to date.
He also holds records or most round wins (34), most pole positions (48), most front-row starts (64) plus benchmarks for most wins in a row, poles in a row and both records for most wins and poles in a single season.
Other successful drivers include two-time champions Bullas (29 wins) and Jim Richards (24), while inaugural outright champion Steve Mason has 10 race wins to his credit.
Andrew Miedecke (21), Steve Johnson (19) and Brad Tilley (11) are the other drivers to have scored more than 10 outright race wins. 26 different drivers have won a TCM race while 13 have won TCM rounds overall.
Mick Wilson, Rory O’Neill, Trevor Talbot, Bernie Stack, Tony Karanfilovski, Gary O’Brien, Amanda Sparks, Chris Stillwell, Steve Mason, Chris Stillwell / Sven Burchartz, Mark King, Leo Tobin, Cameron Tilley, Adam Garwood and Jason Gomersall have each added to the outright champions with class or category title wins over the 10 seasons.
Blue Oval fans have seen their cars win more than 60 per cent of all TCM races, Ford victories accounting for 158 races in the series’ history with various iterations of the Ford Mustang taking 112 of those.
Chevrolet (53) and Holden (30) are next but trailing Ford’s success rate by a long way.
Fords have also won 50 of the 83 rounds contested, with the various Ford Mustang models accounting for 38 of them.
However, the introduction of the Holden Torana has helped swing things in the General’s favour – and the way of Aussie built Muscle Cars too.
To the finish of the series’ seventh season in 2014, US Muscle Cars had accounted for 163 of the first 183 races contested – with just 20 going the way of Aussie-built cars like the Falcon GTHO and XB Falcon Coupe’.
Since then Australian cars have won 36 of the last 66 races and 13 of the last 23 rounds: a statistic notably tied to the fact John Bowe switched to Holden in the 2015 season.
The Torana has quickly become the third-most successful car in TCM history, its 27 race and 11 round wins sitting behind the Camaro and Mustang at the top of the leaderboard.
On four occasions have rounds been decided without the winner winning a race, while only three times has a round been tied and decided on a countback.
While John Bowe has dominated qualifying, scoring 48 pole positions, he and Jim Richards have shared the front row 20 times in Touring Car Masters history; more than any other combination.
Race 1 of 2 this weekend will be the milestone race, and will be shown live on FOX Sports 506.Return