Milestone moments for TCM title leaders at Sandown
THE two drivers currently locked together at the top of the Gulf Western Oil Touring Car Masters standings will each bring up major milestones this weekend at Sandown.
Should both drivers take the green flag in the Trophy Race on Saturday, that first championship race of the weekend to be held later that afternoon will represent John Bowe’s 300th Touring Car Masters race start.
It will also be Ryan Hansford’s 100th TCM race since he joined the category in 2017.
That race will be broadcast live on the Nine Network as well as ad-break free and on-demand on Stan Sport.
Bowe becomes the first driver to reach the 300 race milestone in TCM, while Hansford is just the 24th to reach the century.
Bowe has contested at least one TCM round each year since 2008, first racing a Chevrolet Camaro SS before his well-known stint aboard his Ford Mustang Trans-Am nicknamed ‘Sally’.
He shifted to the Bendigo Retro Muscle Cars Torana in 2015 with nearly half (144) of his race starts coming aboard the Holden product.
Hansford has only ever raced four-door Holden Torana SL/R 5000s since he joined TCM, though his current steed is the second evolution of the Multispares Racing car he’s always raced.
The pair are locked together at the top of the TCM standings heading to Sandown, Bowe leading Hansford by just two points.
Sandown represents the beginning of the second half of the TCM season with three different drivers having won the three rounds so far – George Miedecke winning the Sydney season opener, Bowe Round 2 and Hansford taking Townsville.
2022 represents the 13th time that the Touring Car Masters Series will have visited Sandown Raceway, and marks the first Victorian round for the championship since the season finale in 2019.
Jim Richards is unsurprisingly the most successful driver in Sandown’s TCM history, winning nine races and four rounds at the venue in his storied career.
The circuit – known as the ‘home or Horsepower’ has been a happy hunting ground for the big capacity cars with Ford’s Mustang the most successful vehicle at the circuit with 12 race wins. Holden Toranas have only won four times at Sandown – though Bowe’s consistency saw him grab overall victories in 2016, 17 and 19 aboard his SL/R 5000.
Steven Johnson holds the qualifying record at Sandown (1m13.5688s) while Bowe holds the race lap record, his 1m15.1481s best set back in 2016.