The eyes of world motorsport will be fixed on Bathurst next December after a spectacular launch of the newest motorsport event at Mount Panorama today.
To be known as the Bathurst International, the event will feature the best collection of global motor racing categories including TCR Series touring cars, modern Trans Am muscle cars, heritage muscle cars, LMP3 sports cars and the locally-manufactured open wheel class S5000.
The inaugural Bathurst International event is planned to be held late November/early December, 2020 (subject to confirmation of international racing category calendars).
The new global event is a joint venture between the Australian Racing Group, Motorsport Australia (CAMS) and the Bathurst Regional Council.
The TCR event will feature Australian and New Zealand teams, drivers and cars taking on the best that the world has to offer in a 500km, two driver feature race.
TCR teams from around the globe will be invited to compete at the one-off, non-point race, with a capacity field of 55 two-litre touring cars racing for the ultimate prize.
The S5000s hit the Australian motorsport scene in spectacular style at Sandown recently. The V8-powered open wheelers proved a huge hit for fans and will offer a rare opportunity for drivers to compete at the famous mountain circuit in a pure race car.
A number of high-profile drivers from around the world will be invited to take part in the S5000 event at Bathurst, pitching international stars against the best of Australasia.
For the first time, Trans Am 2 cars from Australia and abroad will have their own race at Mount Panorama, featuring Mustangs, Camaros and Dodge Challengers.
The Trans Am 2 cars currently compete with big fields in Australia, the United States and Asia and will offer teams and drivers from anywhere in the world the opportunity to race their cost-effective modern muscle cars at one of the revered race tracks in the world.
Adding to the muscle theme will be a mix of heritage muscle cars from around the globe, led by Australia’s homegrown Touring Car Masters category. In a throwback to the greats of the past, race cars that fit the criteria will have the chance to relive their glory days.
The locally-run Touring Car Masters scene will be joined by similar entries from New Zealand and the United States, making for a truly global, retro category.
The awesome LMP3 sports cars will bring modern machinery to the fore. It will be the first time that the closed cockpit prototype racers will compete at Mount Panorama, offering LMP3 entries from all across the world the chance to be the first to drive the sports cars on the 6.213km track.
All of the categories competing at Bathurst will be non-championship or series races, meaning that each competitor can compete flat out, aiming to be the International King of the Mountain.
More information on the event will be available at http://www.bathurst.international
Inaugural TCR Australia champion and S5000 driver
“Bathurst is an iconic race track, so to have the opportunity to compete against some of the world’s best touring car drivers and teams is something that I’m really excited about,” said Will Brown.
“The TCR cars will suit the Bathurst circuit, especially across the top of the mountain. It will be a wild ride, and I reckon that that their speed will surprise a a lot of people.
“In TCR Australia, we’ve had the chance to see a few international drivers come and compete, and we’ve seen how fast and how good they are. Most of the locals will have the advantage of knowing the track, but I suspect that our advantage will be gone after the first couple of practice sessions. We’ll all need to be on our best game.
“I was also fortunate to drive the S5000 car at Sandown, and that was really cool. They are going to be unbelievable at Bathurst and I really hope that I can be a part of that as well.”
Australian touring car legend
“Bathurst is one of those tracks that get the hairs standing up on your arms, your neck and your back. It is like nothing else,” said John Bowe.
“I’ve been fortunate to have raced a lot of different cars around a lot of different tracks around the world, and I’m proud that the best track is actually in our own backyard.
“I’ll definitely be punting my Touring Car Masters car around, and I can only assume that we’ll be racing against a lot of varied heritage muscle cars from around the world. The paddock is going to be full of some really exotic machines. It’s a mouth watering prospect.
“While I’ll have my own racing focus, I feel that the S5000s are going to produce some unbelievable racing and lap times. Those cars will be very fast and there’s no doubt that their power and handling will see the lap record be broken.
“The S5000s is a true drivers class. Bathurst is a circuit that is not for the faint hearted on the best of days, so the addition of S5000 will make for a true racing spectacle.”
Leading WTCR driver
“Bathurst is one of the best race tracks in the world – it’s a kind of mix between Spa and Macau,” said Andy Priaulx.
“It will be fantastic to drive there in a TCR car that will perform really well over the top. I have very fond memories of my previous experiences on the circuit and I am sure that the TCR race will provide a very exciting show. I’m looking forward to hear all about it.”
Director, Australian Racing Group
“The Australian Racing Group is pleased to announce our Bathurst International event at Mount Panorama,” said Matt Braid.
“This event was presented as a true opportunity to bring a new International focus to Bathurst. Up to now there has been limited opportunities for international drivers to compete at Australia’s best race track in cars they are used to racing in their home series’.
“With the variety of categories on offer at the event, and a date that comes after most global series have concluded means the Bathurst International will see international drivers, teams and their cars compete head to head with Australia best drivers across multiple races over the event weekend.”
Cr Bobby Bourke
“We are excited to partner with ARG to bring this exciting new event featuring a range of cars and drivers from all over the world to Mount Panorama,” said Cr Bobby Bourke.
“An event of this calibre will bring an international focus to the racing circuit not seen before.
“Mount Panorama has a reputation as one of the best racing circuits in the world. The international exposure of this event will elevate Mount Panorama’s prestige and showcase the racing circuit and Bathurst to a global audience.”