The 2nd round of the 2023 Touring Car Masters was held in Newcastle just two weeks after the cars were in Tasmania, which meant by the time the transporters got home there was just 8 days before they left for Newcastle.
The challenge for the team was to get the diff housing repaired. The housing was damaged when the diff exploded in practice in Tasmania. The crew kept the Multispares Torana going in Tasmania by cleaning and resealing the mounting face after each race but it was too much of a risk to race with it again. Fortunately Race Products, the company that build the housings are based in Brisbane and were able to find a gap in their busy production to do the repair, but it did mean a late night putting it back together before the transporter left for Newcastle.
The weekend got underway on Friday morning and the TCM cars were on track second, so it was super slippery with no rubber on the road and Ryan ended up 4th. He reported the car felt ok, but a bit sketchy. He and the crew put that down to the track and looked forward to qualifying when you can put on brand new Hoosier slicks.
In qualifying Ryan quickly reported over the team radio that the Torana was still unbalanced. He put together a couple of fast laps but with the lap times so close, he ended up 5th. It was a wild ride – check out the video link below. The pace just wasn’t there and the team were scratching their heads. Race 1 was no better and Ryan finished in 6th. The crew had some time before race 2 so they put the Torana on the tall jack stands and went searching. They had the settings from the last time they raced at Newcastle, along with all the various changes that had been made to the Torana over the past season. Qualifying lap – https://youtu.be/x_LyAOv-x2w
With a couple of tweaks made to the Torana before Race 2, Ryan lined up 6th and on the warm up lap was on the radio saying the car felt more stable in the rear with better power down and thanks to a shock absorber adjustment better over the bumps.
To say it transformed the car is an understatement – Ryan drove one of the best races seen around the streets of Newcastle, moving up to 2nd place. Steve Johnson had lead from the start and whilst Ryan started to catch him, putting in the fastest lap times, he ran out of time and laps and finished 2nd.
“That was fun.” said Ryan, clearly pumped about the race. “Newcastle is notoriously hard to pass but when you get the car perfect, I was able to pass cars in all sorts of different places. Huge thanks go to Jeremy and Aaron who are clever guys. They come away racing with us, but have their own businesses, so they are not full time, but having them with the team since early last year is really starting to make a difference when the car is not perfect straight out of the transporter. They will also bounce ideas past Rod who is back home working and get it in the sweet spot”
Watch the full race 2 from inside the Multispares Torana – https://youtu.be/Bwx5XGzdRjo
In race 3, Ryan started 2nd and got smoked in a straight line off the start but it wasn’t long before he was back into 2nd, where he finished as the race was cut short due to time constraints on races in the lead up to the Supercars.
Steve Johnson leads the series with Ryan 44 points adrift in 2nd followed by Marcus Zukanovic, 38 points behind Ryan.
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