TCM reaches performance stage of in depth review

The ongoing review into the Gulf Western Oil Touring Car Masters Series has reached its next stage with TCM Category Management now looking at its ‘Performance Adjustment’ system ahead of the 2023 season.

Working closely with competitors and Motorsport Australia technical advisor Scott McGrath, organisers are looking into the technical specifications of the category to ensure close competition between the varied makes and models remains.

While the category doesn’t have a technical parity system, it employs a Performance Specification register instead, which is similar to the ‘Balance of Performance’ system used in TCR and GT racing and applies engine RPM/weight adjustments to suit the various cars.

The system allows for close competition and for individual brands to keep their own technical specifications, with engine RPM/weight adjustments added to a race winning vehicle before being removed if that vehicle finishes fourth or lower.

Touring Car Masters Category Manager, Liam Curkpatrick believes the review will help maintain the series as entertaining for teams, drivers and spectators alike.

“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 centred 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.

“There are many variables to take into account, including the number of competitive cars from each make or model in the field, and who is driving them at the time. The TCM grid includes a host of ‘Pro’ drivers ranging to newcomers or less-experienced ‘Pro-Am’ competitors doing it for fun. There’s a lot to account for when it comes to making sure the performance between the cars is close, without turning it into a spec formula.

“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.”

Motorsport Australia will continue to work with the Gulf Western Oil Touring Car Masters Series in developing the regulations ahead of the 2023 season.

Photo: Jack Martin