It’s time for the Masters to return to the office.
It’s the half-way point of season 2012 and it’s time for the Masters to return to Queensland Raceway, the ‘paper clip’ being a place they have only ventured once before and that was back in 2009. Over the last three years a lot has changed in the series, with new regulations, an extended vehicle production year window, drivers changing vehicles, retirements and new faces, and category development that has certainly stepped up more than one gear.
Round four signals the debut for yet another face sure to add to the colour of the Touring Car Masters, as we welcome Michael Wedge from the Queensland V8 Series where he had been sitting in fourth in the championship, piloting the Speed FX Racing HQ Monaro as the Jim Morton-led team rejoin the popular series.
Looking at the regular Masters, Westwood will be back on the track with his ironically named Falcon Fire Protection GTHO Falcon, that has been in repairs since a fiery exit at the year’s opening round. Mark King will be looking to follow up an impressive drive at Hidden Valley where he charged from rear of grid to top ten after early engine dramas, now on board his new ride, the Whiteline Transport Racing Camaro previously campaigned by team owner Bob Middleton. Les Walmsley has been seen in the paddock over the years, and will head for the Queensland circuit for his first drive of the Kassulke HQ Monaro now that Kassulke is in the full swing of his XB Coupe program.
Leading the way for the series and dominating the last round in Class A is reigning series title holder Bowe, with an 11 point buffer over 2010 series champion Richards, with Youlden, Miedecke and Kassulke rounding out the top five which is covered by 94 points. In Class B, Stillwell sits atop the points table, with Benson 26 points adrift in second, while Keene, Sparks and Hunter (who will drop off as Monaro now with new owner) close out the top five standings.
Fast Facts for TCM at Queensland Raceway:
• Queensland Raceway is 3.12km clockwise
• Since debuting in 2009, TCM have completed 34 race laps, being 106.08kms of racing
• 2012 is only TCM’s second year at Ipswich
• First and current lap record, 2009: John Bowe (Chevrolet Camaro SS) 1:19.0621
• 2009 entries: 25, 2012 entries: 24
• There have been two race winners at the Ipswich track
o Jim Richards (Ford Falcon Sprint) x 2
o John Bowe x 1
• Only 9 of the 24 entrants raced at Queensland Raceway in 2009, with 6 of these drivers now in different vehicles, meaning 17 drivers are making debuts, along with 6 models that are yet to race with TCM on the circuit
• 1 local driver will make this series debut (Michael Wedge)
• 7 of the TCM faces from 2009 are no longer racing with the series, but 2 did make cameo appearances last season (Drew Marget, Greg Waddington)
• Average race lap speed: 139kph
Queensland Raceway 2009 TCM pole and race winners:
Pole: Richards 1:18.7884 (Bowe, Bullas, Marget, Brad Tilley)
Race 1: Richards, Bullas (set first lap record 1:19.8711), Bowe, B Tilley, Marget
Race 2: Bowe (lap record 1:19.0621), Bullas, Richards, Marget, Tony Edwards
Race 3: Richards, Bowe, Bullas, B Tilley, Edwards
Round results: Group 1 – Richards, Bowe, Bullas; Group 2 – Graeme Cook, Rory O’Neill, Mark Forgie