Ford searching for TCM Milestone at Mount Panorama
THE GULF Western Oil Touring Car Masters Series heads to Mount Panorama with both a key title battle and a major manufacturer milestone on the line.
The Supercheap Auto Bathurst International will host the fifth round of a 2022 series that features Holden Torana pilots Ryan Hansford and John Bowe split by just five points at the top of the championship standings.
Meanwhile, Blue Oval fans will be hoping a Ford product can win at least one race as the brand looks to crack the double century mark in Touring Car Masters race wins.
Ford has been stranded one race victory short of the 200-win milestone since early December last year, when Steven Johnson claimed the third of four races at Mount Panorama’s 2021 season finale’ aboard his Ford Falcon XD.
Of the 13 races completed this year, nine have been won by Holden Torana’s, three by Chevrolet Camaros and one by the Cameron Tilley Valiant Pacer.
Pickings have been slim for Ford fans this season, Jamie Tilley’s second place in the season opener at Sydney Motorsport Park the lone highlight.
The abbreviated single-event 2020 season aside, Ford has never gone winless in a TCM season prior to the current year.
The combination of Steven Johnson’s XD being forced to the side, Marcus Zukanovic parked up with injury and Andrew Fisher removing his Falcon GTHO from competition for development work have all conspired to hurt Ford chances this season.
However, Bathurst looks likely to be their best chance to finally notch up the 200th milestone with a host of Ford firepower on hand.
As well as Fisher returning in his Falcon GTHO, TCM legend Brad Tilley will also make a welcome return in his similar, bright green example of the classic XY, as will John Adams in his.
Tilley won the first ever TCM race, in 2007, driving his iconic Falcon.
His son Jamie has continually been a frontrunner aboard his Falcon Coupe’, while the best chance for a Ford win of all could come from Steven Johnson.
Now entering his second round steering the Russell Hancock-owned Mustang Trans-Am formally raced by Cameron Mason, Johnson has seven TCM wins on the Mountain: five of them aboard a similar Mustang.
Ford products have won 8 of the 13 championship rounds held at Mount Panorama in TCM history – and also won the non-championship Trans-Tasman trophy event in 2016 as well.
Johnson holds both the race and qualifying lap records at Mount Panorama, both driving a Ford Mustang Trans Am.
Should the category successfully complete the Trophy Race and first two championship races this weekend, the final race of the weekend will mark the 50th Touring Car Masters race to be contested at Mount Panorama.
While the 2022 calendar to date has suited the more nimble, lighter Torana’s, Bathurst could prove a different equation with the circuit proof of the old adage that ‘there’s no substitute for cubic inches’.
Of the 46 races held at the iconic circuit to date, just eight have been won by cars with a capacity of five-litres or less.
TCM cars hit the track for practice and qualifying this Friday at Mount Panorama, while Saturday will see a pair of races – kicked off by the Trophy Race at 1:55pm and followed by the first championship race at 5:00pm.
Two further races – at 8:45am and 2:05pm – will complete the action on Sunday.
All four races will be broadcast live, ad-break free and on demand on Stan Sport this weekend.
All of the action will be broadcast live, on-demand and ad-break free on Stan Sport in Australia. International viewers can watch via motorsport.tv.
You can sign up to a free 7-day trial with Stan Sport. Head to http://www.stan.com.au/motorsport and don’t miss any of the Supercheap Auto Bathurst International action.