Fan favourite to make its long awaited comeback

The Gulf Western Oil Touring Car Masters will welcome the return of a fan favourite to Sandown Raceway later this month as part of the Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships.

It’s been almost seven years since the Jim Morton-built Ford Falcon XB GT Hardtop has raced in the series, with long-time owner Keith Kassulke confirming he will bring it back.

Having made its debut at Sydney Motorsport Park in 2011, the car was driven to its first win later that year at Mount Panorama by Glenn Seton, before being sold to Kassulke ahead of the 2012 season.

Kassulke went on to enjoy plenty of success on his own over the next three years with highlights including podiums at Queensland Raceway and Bathurst in 2012, two race wins at Phillip Island in 2013 and a further three podiums over 2014 and early 2015.

Unfortunately, a heavy crash in 2015 at Queensland Raceway, the same location driver and car scored their first podium together, saw the car sustain significant damage and forced into the garage indefinitely.

Over the years, the car was slowly re-built with Bendigo Retro Muscle Cars eventually taking over in preparing the car for its long-awaited return.

While Kassulke gained more racing experience of his own during the rebuild, securing two class wins at the Bathurst 12 Hour and racing a HQ Monaro GTS 350 in selected TCM rounds, the Papua New Guinea-based driver was excited to bring the iconic Falcon back.

“It’s going to be great. I’m looking forward to being at Sandown again and am aware that it may well be the last time I get to race there – but I hope not,” Kassulke said.

“It’s a fantastic circuit and I’m sure the XB will be a popular addition to the category given they have been absent from the grid for some years. It was always fast at Sandown so we will see how it goes against the newly built TCM cars.”

The Gulf Western Oil Touring Cars Masters will have four races over the course of the weekend with each outing broadcast live and ad-break free on Stan Sport, while the third race for the weekend will be shown live on free-to-air TV on the Nine Network.

Those who can make the event can still be purchased tickets from motorsportickets.com.au.

The Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships next event takes place at Sandown Raceway on 16-18 September.