The Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour will remain Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli’s opening round until at least 2021.
An extension to the existing partnership between Bathurst’s organisers and promoter of the world’s only global GT3 championship, SRO Motorsports Group, was agreed internally prior to this season’s event.
2020’s edition has also retained its traditional slot on the first weekend of February (January 31 – February 2) after reverting to a three-day format. Practice takes place on Friday and is followed by Saturday’s qualifying and support races before the Bathurst 12 Hour again starts early on Sunday morning.
The extended partnership also ensures Bathurst will once again benefit from SRO’s Balance of Performance expertise and technical regulations.
Elsewhere, an expanded version of the inaugural ‘Town to Track’ parade, which proved immensely popular in 2019, is set to return next year when GT3 cars drive from the circuit into Bathurst on Thursday 30 January as part of the event’s build-up.
Australia’s biggest endurance race has hosted Intercontinental GT Challenge’s opening round every year since the championship’s launch in 2016. A record 20 #IntGTC entries registered for February’s event, which was won in thrilling fashion by Porsche and Earl Bamber Motorsport.
Bathurst is joined on 2019’s schedule by the California 8 Hours, Total 24 Hours of Spa, Suzuka 10 Hours and revived Kyalami 9 Hour.
SRO Motorsports Group Founder and CEO Stephane Ratel: “Not only is the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour a fantastic event in its own right but it’s also part of the Intercontinental GT Challenge’s DNA. The championship aims to unite the world’s very best GT3 races, and Bathurst is undoubtedly one of those. A calendar without it is almost unthinkable.
“What’s more, Mount Panorama still provides one of the toughest challenges in world motorsport. Ask any driver about Bathurst and their eyes light up! It also has a habit of producing action-packed races, and none more so than the one we witnessed in 2019. The event’s organisation is second to none and, commercially, Australia is an important market for our manufacturers. Bathurst ticks every box.”
Bathurst 12 Hour Event Director Kurt Sakzewski: “Plans are already well underway for the 2020 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour and we are pleased to once again lock in the event’s position at the beginning of the Australian motorsport calendar.
“There will be three days of on-track activity which will be preceded by the return of ‘Town to Track’ which proved hugely popular this year. We are already working with the Bathurst Regional Council to expand on the concept for next year and make it bigger and better than ever.
“Our relationship with the SRO Motorsports Group has been ongoing for some time and it was natural to extend and grow that partnership.
“The growth of the Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli has been exciting and Bathurst has been part of it since the beginning. Manufacturers see the value in participating in such a global series and continue to do so.
“Next year we are expecting to see new or upgraded models from McLaren, Porsche, Lamborghini and Aston Martin at Bathurst for the first time, plus the potential of other brands yet to tackle Australia’s International endurance race making their debut.”
Mayor of Bathurst Cr Graeme Hanger OAM: “The reputation of this event continues to grow and the Liqui-Moly 12 Hour has established itself as a must-do event for many of the world’s major motorsport brands. We are ready to welcome them to both the Mount as they take on the iconic circuit and into the heart of the city with the return of the Town to Track event.”
Existing ticketholders will be able to renew their seats and campgrounds from mid-June, with sales expected to be open to the public at early bird prices from July 1. Regular ticket sales will commence on August 1.
2019’s Intercontinental GT Challenge campaign continues at the Total 24 Hours of Spa on July 25-28.
Source. SRO Motorsports Group/Photo. BMW