Johnson XD drops seeded driver weight

The Team Johnson XD Falcon

Steven Johnson’s XD Falcon will not have to carry seeded driver weight in this weekend’s Gulf Western Oils Touring Car Masters round at Sydney Motorsport Park.

The Team Johnson entry is one of two which has been afforded a weight reduction for Round 3 of the season, the other being Whiteline Racing’s #85 Camaro RS, due to an engine change.

For the other 16 cars in the field, there are no changes relative to Round 2, if indeed they ran at the Mount Panorama 500 event.

Johnson had been made to race with an extra 30kg by virtue of his classification as a seeded driver, something which, according to the sporting regulations (S5.3, see excerpt below) is determined at the discretion of the Category Manager (‘CM’).

However, the ‘Seeded Driver Adjustment’ columns on the Weights and RPM Register for the Sydney round, which has been obtained by, read ‘0’ for Car #17, and likewise or blank for every other car.

It would stand to reason, therefore, that Johnson is no longer classified as a seeded driver, given regulations stipulate a ‘performance adjustment’ by way of the rev limit and/or racing weight for those who are.

The Supercars Championship race winner has taken out the TCM title in the last three complete seasons, from 2017 to 2019, but has not won a race in the three rounds held since.

The latter period has coincided with the debut of the Tru-Blu XD Falcon, which Johnson predicted in January he would be developing throughout this year.

There is no firm guidance in the sporting and technical regulations about how to determine whether or not a driver should be seeded, but they do state “The CM will determine the performance adjustment based on the Driver/Automobile/performance combination and will apply the adjustment at their discretion.”

TCM also operates with a ‘success adjustment’ system, whereby rev limits are reduced and/or weight added for each outright Series Race (ie not Trophy Race) win, and withdrawn with each finish of fourth or worse outright in a Series Race.

With no ‘success adjustment’ to be applied to Car #17, the Team Johnson Falcon will therefore race this weekend at a minimum weight of 1500kg and with a rev limit of 7500 RPM, the latter of which is unchanged relative to the February Bathurst round.

Whiteline Racing’s #85 Camaro. Picture: Touring Car Masters Facebook

Whiteline Racing’s #85 entry will also be allowed to race at a minimum weight of 1500kg in Sydney due to removal of a weight adjustment related to the bore and stroke of an engine.

The Camaro, in which Adam Bressington replaces Adam Garwood this weekend, had run with an extra 10kg at Bathurst in February due to an issue which category management had been aware of.

That entry suffered issues with both the primary and spare engine that weekend, meaning a new unit has been built, and the extra weight is no longer required.

A team spokesman explained to, “Car #85 has been running with an extra 10kg, as per the TCM rules, on the basis of having a bore diameter that was fractionally oversize. The engine never went over the 6.0 litre capacity requirement.

“TCM management were aware at the time, and there was and is provision in the rules for the car to continue to run in that specification – on the basis that car #85 would carry extra weight.

“After our engine issues at Bathurst during the last round, the damage to that engine was so severe that rather than repair it, we’ve built a new one from scratch and as a result we no longer need to run the additional weight.

“That engine has been checked and sealed by the TCM Technical people and is good to go for this weekend.

“The team is really looking forward to it and seeing how Bresso goes in Car #85.”

The aforementioned adjustment had been listed on the Round 2 Weights and RPM register under ‘Conditions applied by CM as per T9.1(b)’ and included the ‘Other Condition’ which read “Max. capacity must remain unchanged”.

T9.1(b) is part of the subsection of the technical regulations entitled ‘Recognition Document Engine’, and reads, in its entirety:

The cylinder bore and stroke must be as listed in the Recognition/VO documents for each Automobile except that the reconditioning (re-bore) of the Cylinder Block is permitted up to a maximum of 2.03 mm (0.080”). It is prohibited to overbore engines utilising “barrels”.

An existing engine (which must have been used in a TCM Series prior to 2021) may be permitted to exceed the maximum bore size (specified above) by the CM, and will be subject to any conditions specified by the CM.

Garwood won a race and only lost the round victory on a countback when the season opened at Symmons Plains, before putting Car #85 on pole at Bathurst.

Bressington also has favourable history with Whiteline, having picked up five race wins and a Pro-Am class title in his early stint with the team.

Round 3, which takes place with the Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships, starts tomorrow.

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Excerpt: 2021 Touring Car Masters Series Sporting and Technical Regulations – Version 1

S5.3 Driver Classification/Status

(a) A Driver will be classified as a Seeded Driver at the discretion of the CM.

(b) A Driver’s classification may be changed at any time and will be advised by the CM.

(c) Each Seeded Driver will be subject to a performance adjustment applied to their Automobile of up to 500 rpm reduction to the Maximum Revs and/or up to 50 kg addition to the minimum Racing Weight of their Automobile as listed on the 2021 TCM Weights and RPM Register (refer Article S16.1). The CM will determine the performance adjustment based on the Driver/Automobile/performance combination and will apply the adjustment at their discretion.

Note: Any Success Adjustment (refer Article S16.2) will be in addition to the performance adjustment.

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