April 27, 2021 | General

PREVIEW: Contenders stack up as Touring Car Masters returns to Sydney

THE search for a clear favourite in this year’s Gulf Western Oil Touring Car Masters series will be firmly on competitors minds when the series reaches its half-way point in Sydney this weekend.

Six different winners from seven races contested have highlighted an ultra-competitive start to the 2021 season that heads to Sydney Motorsport Park this weekend for the third of six rounds set for this year.

Already John Bowe, Marcus Zukanovic, Adam Garwood, Ryan Hansford, Ryal Harris and Cameron Tilley have greeted the flag first – with multiple and defending champion Steven Johnson, Andrew Fisher, Cameron Mason, Tony Karanfilovski, Mark King and the returning Adam Bressington all proven winners yet to taste success this year.

Bowe leads the standings thanks to consistent performances across the opening two rounds, however the man to beat could be Ryal Harris.

After missing the first round in Tasmania, the EFS Chevrolet Camaro driver stormed to victory in two of the three championship races at Mount Panorama last time out to claim his second career round victory.

His first in the category came in 2019 – at Sydney Motorsport Park.

Despite missing the season opener, Harris’ Bathurst success rocketed him to seventh in the championship.

After scoring his maiden TCM win in Tasmania, Marcus Zukanovic backed that up with his first overall round podium at Bathurst; the XD Falcon driver finishing second overall on the Mountain and holding the same position in the championship following the first two rounds.

Cameron Tilley holds down third in the championship thanks to a series of consistent performances – and a maiden victory – aboard his Valliant Pacer, while Ryan Hansford sits fourth.

The Queenslander has qualified second at both rounds held so far this year, and was a race winner at Bathurst last time out.

Steven Johnson sits fifth in the standings and is the first driver on the list yet to win a race this year; though his Full Throttle Custom Garages-backed Falcon continues to improve with every round.

This weekend marks the 14th visit to Sydney Motorsport Park by the Touring Car Masters grid, the most of any circuit to have hosted a championship round.

TCM last visited the Sydney venue in 2019 for a unique event that saw five races held on two different circuit layouts – including one at night.

This weekend will feature a more regular four-race format; three championship points-paying races and the always entertaining TCM Trophy Race on Saturday.

Adam Bressington’s return adds even more firepower to the grid, the former Pro-Am class champion a five-time TCM race winner and perennial frontrunner for Whiteline Racing.

In a change of scenery for the New South Wales driver, ‘bresso’ will drive the #85 1970 Camaro RS for the Adelaide team this weekend, while teammate Mark King remains aboard Bressington’s old car, the team’s 1969 Camaro SS.

The Sydney grid welcomes back Holden Torana driver Allan Hughes, and welcomes for the first time Victorian John Adams, who will make his TCM debut aboard a Ford Falcon XY GT.

Eight drivers on the Sydney entry list call New South Wales home.

The Sydney event is also the home round for the major series sponsor, Gulf Western Oil, who will have a large trackside presence this weekend.

Tickets are available online for the Sydney Motorsport Park event and can be pre-purchased online by clicking this link.

All TCM races will be broadcast live and free on the screens of Seven this weekend, with coverage on 7mate and 7plus across May 1-2.

ENTRY LIST – Round 3, Gulf Western Oil Touring Car Masters

2 Northside Taxi Management Allan Hughes QLD PA Holden Torana 5000cc White/Black/Red
6 Multispares Racing Ryan Hansford QLD PA Holden Torana A9X 5000cc Yellow/Blue
7 MoCOMM Motorsport Comms Jim Pollicina NSW PM Holden Torana A9X 5000cc White/Black/Red
9 Jesus Racing Andrew Fisher NSW PA Ford Falcon XY GT HO 5800cc Red
12 The Lighthouse Hotel Peter Burnitt QLD PS Holden Torana A9X 6000cc Black
17 Full Throttle Custom Garages Steve Johnson QLD PM Ford XD Falcon 5800cc Tru Blue
18 PAYNTER DIXON / Payce John Bowe VIC PM Holden Torana SL/R 5000 5000cc Black/White
29 Gulf Oil Jamie Tilley NSW PA Ford Mustang Coupe 5000cc Black
33 Toronto Hotel Cameron Mason NSW PA Ford Mustang Trans Am 5800cc Silver/Green
50 Motorsport Parts Australia Gerard McLeod VIC PA Holden VB Commodore 6000cc White/Blue/Red
55 Bullet Trailers Racing Team John Adams VIC PA Ford Falcon XY GT 5800cc
58 EFS 4×4 accessories Ryal Harris QLD PM Chevrolet Camaro SS 5800cc Red
60 Tilley Racing Cameron Tilley NSW PA Valiant Pacer 4390cc Blue
67 Bilstein / JMG Racing Jeremy Gray NSW PA Ford Capri Perana 5000cc Blue/White’
71 Action Motor Industries Marcus Zukanovic VIC PM Ford Falcon XD 5800cc White/Blue
85 Whiteline Racing Adam Bressington NSW PM Chevrolet Camaro RS 5800cc Yellow
88 TIFS Third Party Logistics Tony Karanfilovski NSW PA Ford Mustang Trans Am 5800cc Orange
95 Whiteline Racing Mark King QLD PM Chevrolet Camaro SS 5800cc Yellow