March 3, 2016 | General


 ROUND ONE of the 2016 Touring Car Masters series kicks off this weekend on the streets of Adelaide and the Clipsal 500.

Rare Spares presents the first of eight TCM rounds this year with a top quality field ready to tackle three races on the famous Adelaide circuit.

There’s plenty of great stories to follow this weekend so here’s some of the facts and stats you need to know ahead of the Clipsal 500 Adelaide.

Greg Ritter makes his Adelaide TCM debut

After making his debut in the category late last year Greg Ritter will contest the TCM title full-time this year driving a Chevrolet Monza.

He’s one of several drivers including John Bowe Jim Richards Steven Johnson and Glenn Seton with Clipsal 500 V8 Supercar experience on this year’s TCM grid.

Ritter started three Clipsal 500 events with a best finish of 13th in 2003 when driving for 00 Motorsport. He also raced in 2001 (Imrie Motorsport) and in 2005 with Ford Performance Racing. In 2006 he joined Garry Rogers Motorsport as a co-driver for the V8 enduros where he remained until last year.

His V8 Career included a victory in the 2004 Sandown 500 with Marcos Ambrose and Stone Brothers Racing.

Johnson’s ‘Super Falcon’

Steve Johnson returns to TCM this weekend racing a Ford Falcon GTHO. If the livery is familiar to those with an appreciation of Australian Touring Car racing heritage it’s because it’s a tribute to the famous XY Falcon raced by the legendary Ian ‘Pete’ Geoghegan. Conceived by the similarly legendary Al turner and built by Howard Marsden the cars were built for Geoghegan and Allan Moffat in the early 1970s however it was Geoghegan who used it to best effect – beating Moffat’s famed ‘Coke’ Mustang at Bathurst’s Easter Touring Car round in 1972 in a race still considered one of the best in the ATCCs long history.

The livery also features subtle ‘Greens Tuff’ branding as a nod to Johnson’s famous dad Dick. Dick Johnson and Pete Geoghegan shared a birthday – Pete being Dick’s senior by five years – and the pair would often chat on the phone on their birthday.

Johnson’s falcon is owned by fellow TCM racer Tony Karanfilovski who is racing this weekend in a Ford Mustang.

You can read more from Stevie J by clicking here.

Lap Time Progress:

Looking back through TCM races in Adelaide gives a clear outlook at how quickly the cars get developed.

TCM has raced at the ‘500 every year since 2007 bar one (2013) and the dramatic fall in lap times since the series’ first raced on the Adelaide streets shows how much the teams and drivers involved put into making their cars go quicker and quicker each year.

Following the re-profiling of turn eight to the famous turn it is now Gavin Bullas scored pole in 2008 with a then-record 1m33.49s lap in his Ford Boss Mustang. Last year John Bowe powered to his sixth straight TCM Clipsal 500 pole position with a time of 1m29.845s a gain of almost exactly four seconds.

Likewise the lap record has tumbled across the years and now stands at 1m29.90s – again held by John Bowe. That time is some six seconds faster than the 2008 benchmark.

Predictable? Not really.  

On two occasions has there been three different winners from the three Clipsal 500 TCM races (2014 and 2007).

There has also only ever been two ‘clean sweeps’ of all three races by the one driver: John Bowe ‘swept’ the 2008 round while Gavin Bullas did the job and took three from three the following year.

In 2015 six different drivers filled the nine available podium spots. The second race of the weekend was noted for an incredible 1-2 result for the Sydney Tilley Brothers – Brad and Cameron – who took advantage of a reverse-grid affair to storm to a controversial victory.

Sydney driver Cameron Mason actually too the flag first – however was later penalised for a false start and relegated down the order handing the Tilley boys their remarkable result.

Key Clipsal Stats to know:

  • Only two drivers John Bowe and Gavin Bullas have ever scored a TCM pole position on the streets of Adelaide. Bowe has scored pole six times – including every year since 2010 – while Bullas has locked in top spot twice.
  • John Bowe has started 20 TCM races in Adelaide and finished on the podium in 14 of them however last year was the first time that Bowe had NOT scored a race podium at all across the Clipsal weekend.
  • Qualifying second is not a bad thing in Adelaide. On FIVE (from 8) occasions has the driver starting race one second gone on to win!

    Brad Tilley converted 2nd on the grid to a race 1 win in 2007 and again in 2011 in his mighty GTHO Falcon.

    Gavin Bullas went from P2 to P1 in 2010 while Tony Karanfilovski used plenty of turn one chicane to take the race lead at the start of the 2014 season opener – going from P2 on the grid to his first TCM win in race one.Andrew Miedecke converted P2 on the grid to P1 at the flag in the first race last year. Predictably Bowe and Bullas are the two drivers to convert pole into race one success – Bowe twice and Bullas once.


  • A father-son team will feature on the TCM grid this weekend with Tasmanians Greg and Adam Garwood both racing.

    Teenager Adam who made his debut last year returns in a Holden Torana while his dad Greg will run in the invited class in a Ford Capri Perana. The Perana – the only V8-powered Capri officially sanctioned by Ford – was built in South Africa between 1970-73 and is powered by a Mustang-based Ford 302ci V8.

    Though Garwood’s car is not built strictly to TCM regs – and as such is running in the invitational class – the model is on the TCM eligibility list with Garwood’s debut potentially offering a look into TCM’s future. The pair have previously raced together in the Sports GT category.

  • Husband and wife combo Greg Keene and Amanda Sparks will continue their longstanding rivalry returning to their pair of Porsche 911 RSs for their home race. They’re also the most local of the five-strong SA contingent on the grid too – they live about 800m from the circuit on South Tce.

    For the record Amanda beat Greg in the recent state championship round at Mallala so Greg is keen to return serve this weekend!

    Fellow Adelaidian’s Rory O’Neill (Porsche 911) Graham Stewart (XA Ford Falcon GT) and Nigel Benson (HQ Holden Monaro GTS 350) make up the local legends.

  • Ford’s Revenge?

    In every year except two since TCM’s inception a Ford has won the drivers title in at least one class.

    In 2007 Steve Mason (Camaro) and Mick Wilson (Charger) won the two classes while last year John Bowe (Torana) Cameron Tilley (Pacer) and Leo Tobin (Monaro) split the victories.

    Can the blue oval bounce back this year?


Current lap record: John Bowe (2015 – Ford Mustang TransAm) 1m29.8340s
Current Pole Record: John Bowe 2014 – 1m29.4710s


John Bowe – 6
Gavin Bullas – 6
Andrew Miedecke – 5
Brad Tilley – 3
Tony Karanfilovski – 1
Mark King – 1
Alastair MacLean – 1


John Bowe – 6
Gavin Bullas – 2


FORD – 14            
CHEV – 9

CLOSEST QUALIFYIG MARGIN (1-2): 0.0553s (Bullas – Tilley 2007).
LARGEST QUALIFYING MARGIN (1-2): 1.3814s (Bowe – Karanfilovski 2014).