June 28, 2023 | General

TCR – Mid Season Review

As we near the halfway point of the 2023 Supercheap Auto TCR Australia season, the popular category has provided a brilliant display of racing across three epic rounds of jam-packed action.

Whether the teams are testing, repairing or even relaxing in the two-month break between Hi-Tec Oils Race Winton and the visit to Queensland Raceway, there is no doubt that they will return with nothing to lose come August and beyond.

After taking out Rookie of the Year honours in 2022, Sweeny wasted no time in stamping his authority as a potential title contender by taking out the round win in February’s AWC Race Tasmania.

Sweeny took advantage of the two Audi RS3 LMS TCR Gen2’s of Will Brown and Zac Soutar not making the start, while HMO Customer Racing teammate Josh Buchan was also dropped to the rear of the grid after receiving a penalty for a turbo boost irregularity.

Nobody came close to touching Sweeny in race one – Aaron Cameron showed some fight at the start but was unable to get the move done and fell back down the order as a result.

But the Valvoline Team GRM driver would soon get his own chance to shine, where he picked up his first win of 2023 in race two.

Sweeny then made it two from three for the weekend in the final outing, fighting his way to the race win ahead of 2022 Champion Tony D’Alberto and Jordan Cox.

After an unfortunate round in Tasmania, Buchan was able to redeem himself early in round two at Phillip Island by claiming an emphatic pole position on Saturday, before converting it into a race win later on in the afternoon.

Hyundai’s dominant start to 2023 was temporarily put on hold when Michael Clemente picked up the race two win over Cox.

The pair endured an epic battle to the chequered flag, but it was Clemente coming out on top after an aggressive move for the lead in the dying stages – the action was later reviewed by the Motorsport Australia Race Stewards and Clemente was cleared of any wrongdoing.

2023 Speed Series, Round 2, Phillip Island.
World Copyright: Daniel Kalisz Photographer

In the end though, the weekend belonged to Buchan, who much like his teammate in the opening round made it two wins from three to close out the weekend.

The series then returned to the Winton Motor Raceway for the first time since 2019, where Clemente was able to make a statement in his brand-new Cupra Leon by taking pole position ahead of Sweeny.

The Victorian had no problems converting pole position into his second race win of the season in race one, before his luck started to turn after a clutch issue forced the Carl Cox Motorsport team to pull the pin on the second race.

British driver Tom Oliphant converted a reverse-grid pole position into his first Australian race win in his Alfa Romeo Giulietta – a temporary replacement after a successful debut for the Autoglym / Ashley Seward Motorsport new Lync & Co entry at Phillip Island.

Series leader Sweeny then made his way back onto the winners list after a remarkable performance in race three, where the 19-year-old crossed the line more than 20 seconds clear of Buchan in second place.

All the while, Buchan narrowly avoided disaster after a fierce battle with Soutar and Clemente in the dying stages of the race ended with the latter in the wall.

The win secured Sweeny’s second round victory of 2023, with the youngster now sitting comfortably on top of the standings ahead of teammate Buchan and the ever-consistent Cox.

The fourth round of the Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series will take place at the Queensland Raceway on 11-13 August.


Standings – top 10

Bailey Sweeny – 387 points

Josh Buchan – 351

Jordan Cox – 326

Aaron Cameron – 307

Lachlan Mineeff – 302

Ben Bargwanna – 288

Tony D’Alberto – 280

Michael Clemente – 274

Tom Oliphant – 268

Kody Garland – 264


Rounds so far

Round 1 – AWC Race Tasmania

Qualifying: Will Brown

Race 1: Bailey Sweeny

Race 2: Aaron Cameron

Race 3: Bailey Sweeny

Round winner: Bailey Sweeny


Round 2 – Phillip Island

Qualifying: Josh Buchan

Race 1: Josh Buchan

Race 2: Michael Clemente

Race 3: Josh Buchan

Round winner: Josh Buchan


Round 3 – Hi-Tec Oils Race Winton

Qualifying: Michael Clemente

Race 1: Michael Clemente

Race 2: Tom Oliphant

Race 3: Bailey Sweeny

Round winner: Bailey Sweeny


Upcoming rounds

Round 4 – Queensland Raceway 11-13 August

Round 5 – Sandown Raceway 8-10 September

Round 6 – Sydney Motorsport Park 3-5 November

Round 7 – Mount Panorama Motor Racing Circuit 10-12 November