Falcon pair, Johnson headline Sandown TCM field
THE RETURN of three-time Gulf Western Oil Touring Car Masters Champion Steven Johnson highlights a the best TCM field of the season to date, as the series heads to Sandown this weekend.
The series bursts back into life at the Victorian circuit for Round 4 of the championship, 21 cars entered amidst a grid that includes the return of several familiar faces and highly popular cars.
It is, however, Johnson’s return that is likely to attract the most interest as one of the series’ most successful drivers injects himself back into an intense title fight – dominated recently by the Holden Torana’s of John Bowe and Ryan Hansford.
In one of the worst-kept secrets in the sport, Johnson will make a TCM return this weekend when he takes over the #33 Russell Hancock-owned Ford Mustang Trans Am, raced previously by Cameron Mason, for the first time this weekend.
With Mason stepping aside to spend time on his family life, and Jonson’s own Team Johnson program focussing their budget on son Jett’s Turtle Wax Trans Am Series campaign, the pair joined forces to ensure the Mustang remained on the grid.
It reunites Johnson with a similar car to the iconic #17 1969 Mustang named ‘Sally’ in which he won his three titles between 2017-2019.
Johnson isn’t the only familiar face returning this weekend, however.
Adam Bressington will make a welcome return, taking over the #95 Whiteline Racing Chevrolet Camaro SS in which he is a multiple race and round winner.
Bressington will sub for Michael Almond, who drove the car in Townsville but it still recovering from a shoulder injury and will sit this round out.
The Camaro has been completely rebuilt following the Townsville accident and will see Bressington line up alongside George Miedecke in the two-car Whiteline squad.
A pair of the hugely popular Ford Falcon XB Hardtops will race this weekend; Keith Kassulke already having confirmed his plans to return to the series for the first time in five years.
A surprising addition to the field is Victorian competitor Gary Finemore, who now owns the ex-Eddie Abelnica Falcon hardtop that was a regular winner in TCM competition.
Since purchasing the car from Abelnica, Finemore has contested a host of Victorian State Championship rounds in the ‘Vic V8’ category.
It will be the first time both cars will be on the track, together, since the 2015 season.
Meanwhile, Victorian racers Damien Gambold and Dave Hender will race in the Pro Sports class aboard their pair of XD Ford Falcons.
The class was re-categorised last year to better serve as an entry level point to TCM for both new drivers and cars where appropriate.
Hender has not raced before however he does have experience in TransAm competition, while Gambold has raced his Falcon on three prior occasions in TCM – twice at Sandown, including the series’ last visit to the circuit in 2019, and once at Winton.
Cameron Tilley’s Valiant Pacer is entered, however the Sydney team are expected to make a late decision to compete pending the completion of repairs to the iconic Aussie sedan following the Townsville accident.
The Gulf Western Oil Touring Car Masters field will tackle four races across the course of the Sandown weekend, running with the Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships and SpeedSeries event at the famous venue.
All four races will be shown live, ad-break free and on demand via Stan Sports, while the first championship race of the weekend, to be held on Saturday afternoon, will also be broadcast live on the Nine Network around Australia.
Action commences on Friday with practice and Qualifying.
ENTRY LIST – Round 4, 2022 Gulf Western Oils Touring Car Masters Series
|3||Pro Am||Western General Body works||Danny||Buzadzic||VIC||Holden||Torana A9X||White|
|6||Pro Master||Multispares Racing||Ryan||Hansford||QLD||Holden||Torana A9X||Yellow/Blue|
|7||Pro Master||MoCOMM Motorsport Comms||Jim||Pollicina||NSW||Holden||Torana A9X||White/Black/Red|
|12||Pro Sport||Dupulo Wheels Gold Coast||Peter||Burnitt||QLD||Holden||Torana A9X||White|
|15||Pro Am||Jesus Racing||Andrew||Fisher||NSW||Holden||Torana SL/R 5000||White/Red|
|18||Pro Master||Rare Spares /PAYNTER DIXON||John||Bowe||VIC||Holden||Torana SL/R 5000||Black/White|
|29||Pro Am||G&V Earthmoving/ Bedrug||Jamie||Tilley||NSW||Ford||Mustang Coupe||Black|
|33||Pro Master||Hancock Racing||Steven||Johnson||NSW||Ford||Mustang Trans Am||Silver/Green|
|37||Pro Sport||Gambold Mechanical||Damien||Gambold||0||Ford||XD Falcon||Red|
|46||Pro Am||Hillier Brothers / JT Electrical||Leo||Tobin||VIC||Ford||Mustang||Orange|
|48||Pro Sport||Mentone Pre Mix Concrete||Gary||Finemore||VIC||Ford||Falcon XB Coupe||Red|
|52||Pro Am||Wheels Ltd, PNG||Keith||Kassulke||PNG||Ford||Falcon XB Coupe||Silver|
|53||Pro Sport||Pearcedale Plant Hire/Move myLoad||Dave||Hender||0||Ford||Falcon XY GT HO||Blue|
|55||Pro Sport||Bullet Trailers Racing Team||John||Adams||VIC||Ford||Falcon XY GT HO||White|
|60||Pro Am||Anglomoil Superior Lubricants||Cameron||Tilley||NSW||Valiant||Pacer||Blue|
|69||Pro Masters||ACM Auto Parts||Cameron||McConville||VIC||Chevrolet||Camaro SS||Gold|
|77||Pro Sport||SNB Berryman Racing||Warren||Trewin||VIC||Holden||HQ Monaro||Blue|
|85||Pro Am||Daimler Trucks Adelaide/Ausblue/NTI Insurance||George||Miedecke||QLD||Chevrolet||Camaro RS||Yellow|
|88||Pro Am||TIFS Third Party Logistics||Tony||Karanfilovski||NSW||Ford||Mustang Trans Am||Orange|
|95||Pro Master||Daimler Trucks Adelaide/Ausblue/NTI Insurance||Adam||Bressington||0||Chevrolet||Camaro SS||Yellow|
|99||Pro Am||Fast Meals / Bespoke Financial Advisory||Ben||Dunn||NSW||Chevrolet||Monza||White|