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3 September 2019

Why Touring Car Masters is the best Aussie racing series

By Mitchell TulkMitchell Tulk
Such a glorious view!

Australia is littered with awesome motorsport such as the Aussie Racing Cars, Hyundai X3 Excel Racing, Sports Sedans and of course Supercars.

But, there’s one category that  - in our eyes - stands out above the rest and it’s the Touring Car Masters (TCM).

Celebrating its 300th race on the weekend at the Sydney MasterBlast (originally called Muscle Car Masters), TCM has been growing in popularity since its introduction in 2007 and for good reason.

Here is why we think the Touring Car Masters is the best racing series in the country.

1. Old school racers

  • Holden Torana SL/R 5000. Holden Torana SL/R 5000.
  • Chrysler VF Valiant Pacer. Chrysler VF Valiant Pacer.
  • Gone is the screaming in-line six of Cameron Tilley's Pacer, replaced with a 5.9-litre V8. Gone is the screaming in-line six of Cameron Tilley's Pacer, replaced with a 5.9-litre V8.
  • Ford Mustang Boss. Ford Mustang Boss.
  • Ford Mustang Boss. Ford Mustang Boss.
  • Holden Torana A9X. Holden Torana A9X.
  • Ford XD Falcon Ford XD Falcon
  • The 351 Cleveland V8 in this XD Falcon is said to make over 522kW. The 351 Cleveland V8 in this XD Falcon is said to make over 522kW.
  • Ford XW Falcon GT. Ford XW Falcon GT.
  • Holden Torana A9X. Holden Torana A9X.
  • Chevy Camaro SS. Chevy Camaro SS.
  • Ford Mustang. Ford Mustang.
  • Mercury Comet. Mercury Comet.
  • Ford XY Falcon GT-HO Phase III. Ford XY Falcon GT-HO Phase III.
  • Pontiac Trans Am. Pontiac Trans Am.
  • Ford XY Falcon GT-HO Phase III. Ford XY Falcon GT-HO Phase III.
  • Mercury Comet. Mercury Comet.
  • Chevy Camaro Z/28. Chevy Camaro Z/28.

Without a doubt the stars of TCM are the brawny muscle cars. Just like the drivers, the cars are some of the biggest names to ever race on local soil.

The category is made up of Ford Mustangs, Chevy Camaros, Ford Falcons, Holden Toranas, along with the odd Chrysler Valiant, Pontiac Trans Am and Mercury Comet. So, unlike some other motorsports, *cough* Supercars *cough*, there’s no shortage of variety.

All cars run a four-speed manual gearbox, while engine capacity must be below 6.0-litres and some front runners are even making over 522kW (700hp).

2. Iconic drivers

John Bowe has won five TCM championships. John Bowe has won five TCM championships.

Behind the wheel, you’ll find notable names of the Aussie racing car scene, such as John Bowe, Steve Johnson, Cameron Tilley and a whole lot more.

Jim Richards also raced in TCM for many years and Glen Seton dabbled before stepping aside for his son, Aaron.

With the series continuing to grow, it’s safe to assume more famous names will join the sport.

3. Reverse grid races

  • Cameron Tilley leading the pack in the reverse grid race. Cameron Tilley leading the pack in the reverse grid race.
  • Sadly, the 300th race finished under a safety car. Sadly, the 300th race finished under a safety car.
  • Watching TCM is bit like stepping back in time. Watching TCM is bit like stepping back in time.
  • If you have a keen motorsport eye, you'll noticed the second Mustang pays homage to Allan Moffat's Brut 33 Mustang. If you have a keen motorsport eye, you'll noticed the second Mustang pays homage to Allan Moffat's Brut 33 Mustang.

If the racing wasn’t already exciting enough, TCM still believes in reverse grid races, which sees the fastest drivers placed at the back of the field.

This usually results in a few accidents as the top dogs charge through the pack while the others fight to maintain position.

Points are awarded for starting and finishing the race, imagine the chaos if there was more on the line?

4. Penalties for winning

Just like in Supercars, the Mustang is a dominate force. Just like in Supercars, the Mustang is a dominate force.

Parity is an ugly word, especially if you’re a Supercars fan, but TCM has been doing it right for years, inflicting changes to whoever is continuously winning races and leaving the competition behind.

However, this isn’t a bad thing, because adding weight or decreasing the rev limiter has proven to stop one person from dominating.

An example of this is Steve Johnson, who after claiming the last two championships and a handful of races this year, has lost a few 100rpm in "Mustang Sally". Allowing for the rest of the field to catch up.

5. Multiple classes

  • It was far from an ideal weekend for Andrew Fisher. It was far from an ideal weekend for Andrew Fisher.
  • The Comet must handle like a boat. The Comet must handle like a boat.
  • During the night race, TCM ran on a shorter track layout at Sydney Motorsport Park. During the night race, TCM ran on a shorter track layout at Sydney Motorsport Park.
  • The lone Trans Am attacking the apex. The lone Trans Am attacking the apex.
  • Speed blur! Speed blur!

There’s always more than one battle happening at a time in TCM, with the category made up of three classes, Pro-Masters, Pro-Am and Pro-Sports.

Pro-Masters is for the professional drivers, while Pro-Am is for part-time drivers and Pro-Sports allows for entrants to cross-enter in the same car, enabling more than one person to score points for a single car.

The only class missing is one for smaller cars, bring back the Porsche 911s!

Next stop for the Touring Car Masters is Bathurst on the 10th-13th of October, which we'll be watching for sure.