FACT FILE: TCM AT PHILLIP ISLAND
THIS WEEKEND marks the sixth time that the ENZED Touring Car Masters series will have journeyed to the epic Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit in VictoriaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s scenic South East.
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s also the third straight year that the championship will have been decided at the high speed venue.
HereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s some of the key things to follow ahead of the big season finaleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ this weekend.
Qualifying: John Bowe 1m40.96 (2014)
Race: Andrew Miedecke 1m42.36 (2014)
PHILLIP ISLAND has been one of the most open race tracks TCM visits Ã¢â‚¬â€œ both in terms of speed and in diversity of results.
The circuit has thrown up 9 different race winners from 15 races over the years and no one has ever been able to get out the broom and Ã¢â‚¬ËœsweepÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ a weekend by winning all three of the races.
ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not to say that itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s impossible to win more than one race in any given weekend there: on four of the five visits someone has won two of the three races yet failed to complete the job by going on to win the finaleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢.
In 2007 Jim Richards won two of the three races and Steve Mason the other.
In 2008 it was Brad Tilley who swept to races one and two John Bowe winning the third.
In 2013 Keith Kassulke powered to his first round win with victories in races 1 and 3 Les Walmsley winning the second while last year Andrew Miedecke stormed to the round victory in the Lubrimaxx Chev by running races two and three after John Bowe had won the first.
2012 marks the only time that TCM has produced three winners from three starts there: Bowe Brett Youlden and Gavin Bullas sharing the victories.
John Bowe has three victories (the least of any TCM circuit we visit) while Jim Richards Brad Tilley Keith Kassulke and Andrew Miedecke have two each at the Island.
Steve Mason Brett Youlden Gavin Bullas and Les Walmsley each have one win each.
John Bowe has scored pole at Phillip Island in four of the five visits the series has made and every time heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s raced there in TCM.
GENERAL MOTORS has no problems with success in Touring Car Masters competition thanks mainly to the Chevrolet Camaro. In fact itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s only since John Bowe moved to the Holden Torana SL/R 5000 that the GeneralÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s local division has tasted sustained TCM success Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and there could be more at Phillip Island this weekend.
The Lion has always gone well at Phillip Island with both the Torana and HQ Monaro performing well there.
Jason Gomersall qualified on the front row there last year while Brett Youlden has had consistent success in his bright green HQ GTS Monaro: Qualifying third in 2013 and finishing on the podium that same year.
Even better Les Walmsley powered to an immensely popular victory at Phillip Island that same year in the Savy Motorsport prepared Keith Kassulke owned Outbound Racing entry in the same weekend Keith won two races and the round.
In fact before John Bowe won all three races at Winton in May that weekend was the last time Aussie cars had won every race in a round!
Tony Edwards also stormed to strong results at Phillip Island in 2012 during his time behind the wheel of an SLR Torana.
TRANS AM VISITORS RETURN
THE TCM GRID is added to once again this weekend by our friends from the TransAm Series.
TOWOOMBA driver Brett Curran will drive his 1967 Ford Mustang GT500 having finished second in the TCM TransAm round at QR earlier this year.
ROYSTON EVANS will debut his remarkable 1966 Pontiac GTO a car built by NASCAR legend Bobby Allison. A genuine NASCAR racer the car contested 34 of 50 Grand National races in Ã¢â‚¬â„¢66 before being sold to late model racer Herb Housten who with the assistance of the legendary Smokey Yunick converted the car to run on short tracks Ã¢â‚¬â€œ which it did through 1979. An importer brought the car to Australia several years ago expecting to find a road car Ã¢â‚¬â€œ but was disappointed when it turned out to be a fully blown racer.
The car runs a split livery: the left side in its 1966 Grand National livery and the right in the scheme Housten and Yunick ran.
ANGELO TARANTOÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 1967 Camaro makes its TCM debut this weekend. Angelo knows PI well Ã¢â‚¬â€œ he won the 2009 Phillip Island classic in an XU1 Torana at the venue and has won races there in his Camaro as well winning the trophy race at the Classic earlier this year.
ANDY CLEMPSON will race his Ã¢â‚¬â„¢69 Mustang and has been involved in Victorian state competition since 1998. Made the debut of this car at Island Magic last year and finished third.
Taranto and ClempsonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s cars run in Group Nc specification.
JESUS RACING READY
ANDREW FISHER will return to Phillip Island with eyes on a strong result thanks to the new engine in their XY GHTO.
The team made the debut of the new powerplant at Bathurst however the weekend was cut short thanks to teething issues in the new engine Ã¢â‚¬â€œ but Fisher expects that to change at the Island.
The Jesus Racing Falcon qualified fourth at Phillip Island twelve months ago and with the changes to car engine and team in place since last year heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s looking for an even better result this time around.
RACING FOR KEITH
THE TCM Family will race this weekend with our mate Keith Kassulke in our thoughts – he’s continuing his recovery from serious burns suffered at Phillip Island in his GT a month ago.
Keith remains in the Alfred Hospital but continues to show marked improvement and will no doubt be watching the racing this weekend.
The 2013 Phillip Island winner won two races at the venue that year and the big man will be sorely missed in 2015.
TCM continues to send our best wishes to Keith in his recovery!