January 30, 2015 | General


(Image thanks to Darin Mandy – Digital Realism)

THE ENZED Touring Car Masters will be represented ‘across the ditch’ for the first time at the 2015 Highlands Festival of Speed in a resumption of rivalries with fellow muscle-car competitors across the Tasman.

Australia’s TCM cars and stars have competed twice against the best and brightest from the New Zealand Central Muscle Cars series – however both times have been on aussie soil at the Muscle Car Masters event in Sydney.

This time eight TCM regulars will head across the Tasman for the first time to take on the Kiwi’s at the stunning Highlands Motorsport Park on New Zealand’s South Island.

TCM was formed in 2007 as an evolution from Group N Historic Touring Cars in Australia. The demand for a national-level championship comprised of the historic cars created cost and reliability issues so the TCM regulations were created to allow a more competitive cost-effective and reliable way to go racing.

The series allows limited modifications to safety performance and reliability whilst ensuring the cars retain their iconic looks and spectator appeal first and foremost.

The resulting series has flourished in Australia with grids regularly in excess of 30 cars representing a wide arrange of marques including Ford Holden Chevrolet Chrysler AMC and Porsche all represented.

Though not joining the TCM New Zealand visit the series includes the likes of John Bowe Jim Richards Greg Crick and Andrew Miedecke as ‘marquee drivers’.

The Aussie attack at the Highlands Festival of Speed will be spearheaded by double Australian Touring Car Champion Glenn Seton.

One of Australia’s most successful racers of the last thirty years Seton has raced a bit of everything since his retirement from full-time racing but specialises in suspension and car development in his current work.

His expertise can be found in the setups of several leading TCM cars including the 1964 Ford Mustang regularly driven by Will Vining in TCM’s ProSports class that he will race at Highlands.

The Blue Oval will be well represented in the Aussie attack with four of the eight cars making the trip made up of either US or Australian-built Ford products.

2007 TCM Champion Steve Mason (’66 Ford Mustang Fastback) Wayne Mercer (XB GT Falcon) Tony Karanfilovski (’69 Mustang) and Keith Kassulke (’74 Falcon Coupe) are also representing the blue side of the ledger and each has front-running success in the TCM series in the past.

Karanfilovski and Kassulke both won races outright in 2014 regularly racing with and beating the likes of Jim Richards and John Bowe.

Holden fans will be well served too – with noted historic racer Carey McMahon to bring his thundering SL/R 5000 Holden Torana to highlands for the first time. Garry Treloar will compete in a ’72 HQ Monaro to ensure a strong representation of one of Holden’s finest eras.

Veteran New South Wales driver Bill Pye meanwhile will fly the bowtie flag with his orange 1969 Chevy Camaro.

Pye’s beast is a replica of the iconic Bob Jane Chevy Camaro that dominated Australian Touring Car Racing in the early 70s.

Though the NZ Central Muscle Cars are more highly modified than their Touring Car Masters rivals recent match-ups have proven that there is little between the two interpretations of classic muscle car racing.

So like all good Trans-Tasman contests it should prove to be another thriller!


Steve Mason (NSW) – 1966 Ford Mustang Shelby Fastback

Mason from the Lake Macquarie region in New South Wales’ Central Coast is one of the most successful drivers in the history of the ENZED Touring Car Masters Series winning the 2007 championship and finishing runner-up in the following two series in 2008 and ’09. Though Mason has recently handed a majority of the driving duties over to his son Cameron he remains as quick and tenacious as ever – especially now his Shelby Mustang has several years of development under its red paintwork. In 2014 the car was a regular podium contender in Cameron’s hands and there is no reason to expect the ‘old man’ won’t be able to do the same when he gets back behind the wheel.

Wayne Mercer (VIC) – 1972 Ford Falcon XY GT

A long-time TCM regular Mercer hails from the seaside town of Blairgowrie in Victoria’s stunning Mornington peninsular area – not too far from Phillip Island. A builder by trade Mercer has been competing in TCM since 2010 and is a regular top-10 contender. Mercer finished 5th in the ProAM class of the 2014 ENZED TCM series after a consistent season.

Keith Kassulke (QLD) – 1974 Ford Falcon XB Hardtop

If there’s one consistent thing in the TCM Series it’s that Keith Kassulke and his stunning silver Falcon XB Coupe will be somewhere in contention every time it hits the circuit. A Queenslander who spends a lot of his time working on business interests abroad in Port Moresby (PNG) Kassulke has come a long way as a driver since his 2010 TCM debut. In recent years he has been a regular pole position winner race winner and even championship contender thanks to a string of top-five series finishes in recent years.

Glenn Seton (QLD) – 1964 Ford Mustang Coupe

A Touring Car legend who needs little introduction Seton is a two-time Australian Touring Car / V8 Supercar Champion and one of the most successful drivers of a generation. Now only racing part-time whilst supporting the early career of his 16-year-old son Aaron Seton remains as quick and competitive as ever. He’s also no stranger to historic Touring Car racing either. Soon after retiring from full-time competition he raced a Ford Capri with regular success prior to spending a competitive season in TCM racing an XB Falcon – the car Keith Kassulke now owns and drives. That season included winning a race at Bathurst on a Sunday in a Blue Ford with No. 30 on the side – something that had eluded him in the past!

This weekend he steps into a ’64 Mustang for the Highlands Festival of Speed having tested the car at Winton in Victoria in late 2014.

Bill Pye (NSW) – 1969 Chevrolet Camaro

EXPERICNED racer Bill Pye hails from Coonamble in regional New South Wales and is one of the most experienced guys on the TCM grid. With years of competition in state-level racing in Porsche’s and success in the iconic Targa Tasmania rally he has translated his form into TCM competition. Racing a ’69 Camaro Pye attracts plenty of attention thanks to the way his car is presented – it’s a tribute to the iconic Bob Jane Camaro ZL-1 that won the 1971 and 72 Australian Touring Car Championships. 

Carey McMahon (VIC) – 1976 Holden Torana SL/R 5000

McMahon is a long-term supporter and competitor of historic touring car racing that he enjoys alongside his extensive business interests in Australia and abroad. McMahon started racing in the early 1970s and has enjoyed success since primarily in Sports Sedan competition. Driving those high-powered custom built cars prepared him well for his current beasts: as well as racing his five-litre SL/R Torana in TCM he owns and currently races an ex-Mark Skaife Gibson Motorsport Group A Nissan Skyline HR31 amongst other historic cars.

Tony Karanfilovski (NSW) – 1969 Ford Mustang Fastback

NEW SOUTH WELSHMAN Tony Karanfilovski has competed in TCM since 2009 and is a former class champion in the category initially racing an Alfa Romeo GTA-M in the ‘baby’ car class before stepping up into the V8 muscle at the pointy end. Since taking delivery of his current ’69 Mustang fastback he has been a regular podium contender starring at the Clipsal 500 in March last year when he won his first race – going on to win more last year and finish second in the ProAM class title. By the way to people in the TCM paddock he’s commonly known as Tony ‘Alphabet’ – thanks to his substantial surname that includes most of the letters in it!

Garry Treloar (VIC) – 1972 Holden HQ Monaro Coupe

One of Australia’s more versatile drivers Garry Treloar spends his time outside of racing tending to the finer things in life – roses in particular. His Treloar Roses business has been going for 40 years and succeeding. Meanwhile Treloar has been doing the same on track and has been competing in TCM since the series’ very first round in 2007. He’s also had time in the V8 Utes and plenty of historic touring car racing as well.