By Timothy Neal

The category managers of the Touring Car Masters have started to step up the review into the performance adjustment for the popular series heading into the 2023 season.

The TCM category management are working with Motorsport Australia’s technical advisor Scott McGrath and the competitors, to fine-tune the balance of the on-track product.

Rather than finding technical parity – which is not what the TCM is uniquely about – it’s more about the balance of performance while preserving an individual’s brand and own technical specifications, similar to what is seen in the TCR and GT series.

The performance specification register applies to engine RPM and weight adjustments to suit the various individual car makes. As an example, the five litre Holden Torana sits at around 1370kg, compared to the six litre 1500kg Ford Mustang, Falcon, and Chevrolet Camaro models; The differential weight is in turn balanced up by the horsepower, with the five litre engines running at 600hp, and the six litres at well over 700+hp.

The adjustments made throughout the season are based upon the place position of the car: so cars achieving outright 1st, such as Ryan Hansford’s #6 Torana at Townsville, receive a heavier weight adjustment, which would then be removed if the vehicle finishes fourth or worse .

Due to the differing individual specifications of the cars, this allows drivers to adjust for the relative strength and weaknesses of their vehicles; and as was seen in Townsville, the lighter Holdens have an advantage on the more corner driven street circuits, whilst lacking the horsepower on the more open circuits such as Mount Panorama.

A survey of the TCM since the 2018 season shows that of the 63 championship races, 39 have been won by the six liter cars, and 24 by the smaller-engined vehicles.

Liam Curkpatrick, the Category Manager for TCM, spoke about the aims for the review, and of protecting the characteristics that define TCM.

“The idea is to not reinvent the wheel but to go through everything with a fine-tooth comb, which is what we have been doing since ARG acquired the category prior to the curtailed 2020 season,” Curkpatrick said.

“The on-track product has always been a hallmark of TCM and we don’t want to change it. But there could be opportunities to improve it further and this process is centered around that.

“We want the category to continue to remain appealing to competitors with all sorts of different cars. This process will engage with all the competitors to get their thoughts while taking a very methodical, numbers-based approach to the ‘Balance of Performance’ in the category.

“This is not about turning TCM into a complete ‘Parity’ class: that’s not what the category is about. The current regulations are several years old and we want to make sure what has been down on paper for some time suits where the category is at today.

“It’s been part of our ongoing process to grow the category and this was the next topic we have been keen to tackle and review.”

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