Whiteline to miss first ever TCM round; confirm Newcastle return

For the first time in the Gulf Western Oil Touring Car Masters history, Whiteline Racing will miss a round of the championship this weekend at AWC Race Tasmania.

However the team has already confirmed their return for the second round of the championship two weeks later at the Newcastle 500.

The Chevrolet Camaro team, owned by Adelaide-based Bob and Sharon Middleton, has been forced to park plans to contest Symmons Plains’ season opener following a series of challenges in the offseason.

The most significant of which was figurehead Bob Middleton requiring back surgery in January, forcing him to the sidelines.

The former Supertruck champion is recovering well, however the timeframes involved ruled out a Tassie appearance.

That, coupled with logistical issues with crewing and drivers ensured the team was forced to park plans for their Apple Isle appearance.

“It’s not like Whiteline to miss a round so it’s pretty frustrating for us I can tell you,” Middleton explained.

“We pushed hard but me requiring back surgery was literally the straw that broke the camels back.

“I’m recovering really well but definitely still on limited duties. That and a few other things made it really challenging for us to get it together.

“We’re not going anywhere and we still have a great desire to compete and perform and we’ll be back at Newcastle where we have been competitive before.”

It brings to an end a 90-round consecutive streak of TCM appearances by the team who have been among the categories’ most loyal supporters.

The team has more than 550 TCM race starts to their credit across three different cars, including their pair of iconic Yellow Camaros.

Whiteline has won 34 races and 11 rounds in their history, most recently including a 1-2 result at Sandown last year for Adam Bressington and George Miedecke.

While Miedecke is on the sidelines this year due to his upcoming wedding clashing with the Newcastle event, Bressington will return to the seat for the second round in three weeks time.

While Whiteline Racing will be watching from home, the opening round of the Gulf Western Oil Touring Car Masters Series will be tightly battled this weekend at the third running of AWC Race Tasmania this February 24-26.

Coverage of the opening round of the Shannons SpeedSeries will be broadcast live on both days on Stan Sport, with live and free-to-air coverage on the Nine Network on Saturday afternoon.

Tickets for the event remain on sale via www.motorsporttickets.com.au