THE PAYNTER DIXON Touring Car Masters returns to Mount Panorama this weekend for the 2019 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 – and with 15 visiting New Zealand entries, it’s set to be a thrilling weekend once again.
TCM has visited the October Bathurst event each year, save for one, since its foundation in 2007 – offering fans a look back at some of the sights and sounds, and sometimes surnames, of Bathurst’s past.
CLICK HERE for the round schedule and entry list.
Here’s a few fast facts about this weekend.
BY THE NUMBERS
Bathurst will be the 98th TCM round, the series set to end the year on 99 – not out!
The series recently celebrated their milestone 300th race in Sydney, with the first race at Bathurst to be No. 304.
Race 1 at Bathurst will mark the 50th TCM race for Bruce Williams and Jim Pollicina.
10 drivers make their debut this weekend. That’s the second most for any one round of TCM ever, following Bathurst 2016 – the last Trans-Tasman event – when 26 drivers made their debuts.
7 of the Kiwis are returning from 2016, while the remainder are making their Bathurst debuts.
Brett Youlden returns this weekend. It’s his first round start since Bathurst, last year. Brett has a record of starting at least one round per year, every year, since 2008 – only missing the inaugural 2007 TCM season.
Brett has contested 100 TCM races in his HQ Monaro (out of 104 starts in total). He was the 12th driver to have contested 100 TCM races in the same car.
JB’s DOUBLE CAR, DOUBLE TON
John Bowe is the only driver to have contested 100 TCM races in two cars – at Queensland he notched up his 100th start in the Torana, adding to the 115 he made in Mustang Sally. Assuming he starts each of the 8 races remaining this year, by the end of the year Bowe will have started one more race in the Torana than his old Mustang! Bowe has started every Bathurst TCM race, save for three – the first three in 2007.
This year is the first time that no one racing in the first ever Bathurst TCM round, in 2007, will be on the grid at Mount Panorama.
Bathurst is all about variety: it has the largest number of different race winners (12) than any other track and the largest number of different round winners (7). It is the only track on the calendar where Bowe has ‘only’ won the round twice.
QUALIFYING IS KEY
Steven Johnson has taken three of the last four poles at Bathurst; Johnson and Bowe 6 of the last 7. The other was a Seton..
Queensland Raceway was the first time that a father and son had ever scored pole at the same venue in TCM; Glenn and Aaron Seton. Glenn was on pole at Bathurst in 2013, meaning they could do the same this weekend.
The Bathurst pole position time has tumbled since TCM first raced at the Mountain. In 2007, Gavin Bullas was on pole with a 2m30.33s best. In 2017 Steven Johnson was on pole with a 2m16.61s flyer – nearly 15 seconds faster! Johnson was also on pole last year, though in a wet session he was considerably slower.
Bowe still holds the lap record – 2m17.44s – set in 2017.
IS BRESSO DUE?
Adam Bressington is due a round win, surely. He was on the podium two years ago and strong again last year in his Whiteline Racing ’69 Camaro. With 10 podium finishes – seven of those second – to his credit, Bresso is the most successful TCM driver without a round win to his credit. No better place than Bathurst to bring up his first…
Bresso has also qualified second at Bathurst for the last two years straight.
UNIQUE BATHURST FORMAT:
After a five-race weekend in Sydney, this weekend represents another unique format.
The first three races of the weekend will be the 17th, 18th and 19th championship races of the 2019 season.
The grids will be progressive, with race one determined by qualifying and the next two on the finishing positions of the one before it.
Then on Sunday morning, the Aussie and Kiwi cars will line up on each side of the grid in the second Trans-Tasman showdown.
The fastest car in qualifying will determine pole, with the remainder of his ‘nations’ cars lining up behind – so if it’s Aaron Seton P1 in qualifying, TCM cars will start on the left side of the grid and the Kiwi’s on the right.
The Trans-Tasman winner will be the nation who accrues the most points between their first 15 cars home.
Like the regular Dometic Trophy Race, the Trans-Tasman trophy will pay 10 points to start and 10 to finish for all TCM competitors.