International travel restrictions caused by COVID-19 will prevent the 2021 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour from taking place as previously planned in February.
Australia’s International Enduro staged the very first Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli event in 2016 and has hosted each of the championship’s subsequent season openers ever since.
Originally a domestic event, the 12 Hour is now recognised as one of the world’s foremost GT3 races – a status built on international manufacturers, teams and star drivers heading Down Under at the start of each year.
Instead, the 12 Hour will make way for Australia’s biggest national championship, Supercars – whose organisation also manage the GT event – in early 2021 before the round-the-clock race returns to Mount Panorama for at least the following four years.
Sean Seamer, Supercars CEO: “This is a tough decision but ultimately one we had to make.
“Since Supercars began managing the event it has grown to become one of the largest endurance events globally, showcasing our spiritual home of racing to an international audience.
“With Australia’s international borders expected to remain closed, we feel it is in the best interest of competitors, fans, sponsors and broadcasters to make the decision now on next year’s event.
“We are absolutely committed to having the event return to Australia’s motorsport calendar in 2022.”
Stephane Ratel, SRO Motorsports Group Founder and CEO: “The Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour is one of the world’s great endurance races and an undoubted highlight of SRO Motorsports Group’s global calendar.
“But we also understand and respect Australia’s international travel restrictions, which make it impossible to stage Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli’s opening round there in February.
“Instead, 2021’s championship will now begin later in the year at the Total 24 Hours of Spa. Mount Panorama remains Intercontinental’s spiritual season opener, and I know I speak for everyone at SRO as well as our manufacturers when I say we cannot wait to return in 2022.”
Next year’s Intercontinental GT Challenge calendar will be revealed later this week at the Total 24 Hours of Spa.
Source. SRO Motorsports Group