September 6, 2018 | General


THE FIRST XD Falcon to be built to Paynter Dixon Touring Car Masters rules has been successfully shaken down ahead of a highly anticipated debut at the Sandown 500 next weekend.

After a lengthy build program former V8 Ute and Commodore Cup champion Marcus Zukanovic shook down the car at Winton on Wednesday and gave the car his stamp of approval.

The car is one of several being constructed with Team Johnson also well underway in the build process of their own car ahead of a potential debut early next year.

“What a car what a machine!†Zukanovic wrote in a Facebook post.

“These TCM cars are quite surprising actually are very decent race cars and super fun to drive. Anything with big HP’s (Horsepower) and small tyres is always going to be fun.

“Balance of the car was surprisingly stable. Car looks big and bulky but the XD is quite nimble. Drive off the corner was good. Braking stability needs a tough of work and just need to get the front of the car on the same page as the rear for balance improvement.

“The XD out performed our every expectation we are so happy with the car and how the day went.â€Â

Zukanovic heaped praise on the small family-oriented team that worked hard to piece the car together across the lengthy build program.

“It’s a huge testament to the small team from Melbourne’s west especially my old man! Mick is the heart soul and drive behind this incredible beast! 

“We could not have done it without the help of some super awesome peeps along the way. Leigh and Mandy Fullerton for all their help love and support. Dick and Jill Savy and the whole Savy crew for the knowledge and go fast bits. Micky and Stevie K for the tiresome hours put in. Andrew Maisey for his guru spannering and tiresome hours too.

“So many people to thank Big Al Contarino John and Charlie from North Carolina Rosco and all our guys from Action Motor Industries and AMI Collision Centre. The list is endless thank you everyone sorry if I’ve missed anyone but special thanks to the special ladies in my life! Mum and Lou Lou the pillars of strength through the whole build.â€Â

Despite being the first of a ‘new generation’ of Touring Cars to become eligible for the series the XD shares much of its underpinning with the XA-XC Falcons that are already eligible for the series.

The Falcon will be required to comply to the same Performance Adjustment system as existing cars based on engine capacity and weight as outlined by the series sporting and technical regulations.

Zukanovic’s debut will come at a venue where the Melbourne driver is vastly experienced having logged miles in Commodore Cup V8 Utes and Supercars at the 3.1km venue in Melbourne’s South Eastern suburbs.

The car will enter into something of a baptism of fire as the series enters a busy weekend as part of the Supercars annual ‘retro’ round.

The championship reverts to the usual round format of one practice qualifying and four races this weekend including the Dometic Trophy race and Races 16 17 and 18 of the 2018 championship.

John Bowe leads the outright standings by just 18 points heading into the Sandown weekend after a rare Steven Johnson non-finish in the final race at Townsville last time out.

Johnson’s non-finish in Townsville helped Ryan Hansford score his first race victory in the series after several near-misses.

Hansford was a podium finisher at Sandown last year while Bowe edged Johnson for the round by virtue of having scored pole position.

Action gets underway one week from now with practice and qualifying kicking off the action on Friday September 14.