THE holy grail of endurance races and the season finale - Bathurst's Mount Panorama is set to host twin Supercars events as part of a revised 2020-21 championship calendar.
(min cost $8)
Login or signup to continue reading
On Sunday morning Supercars unveiled a draft calendar which included the Bathurst 1000 on October 8-11 and a season finale at Mount Panorama next year on February 5-7.
Though this calendar is only provisional and is dependant on the status of the coronavirus, Supercars chief executive Sean Seamer is still excited about seeing his series return to the grid.
Only one round - the Superloop Adelaide 500 in February - was conducted before the virus forced racing to be suspended. The planned resumption of racing will be at Sydney Motorsport Park on June 27-28.
"To be in a position to release a calendar is great news for our sport," Seamer said.
"This plan allows us to deliver a world-class championship while remaining agile and responsive to changing conditions.
"Event formats, inclusion of crowds and support categories for each event will be determined closer to their proposed dates due to the changing nature of COVID-19 restrictions."
While the plan this stage is run most Supercars events over two days, the rounds that will be staged at Mount Panorama are different.
The Bathurst 1000 will remain as a four-day event, culminating in the 161-lap endurance epic.
As for the season finale, Seamer said it will not be run as another 1000 kilometre endurance. He wants October's Great Race to remain unique.
It will be run over three days, with the exact format to be confirmed.
"The 1000 is a very special event and as Brad Jones says, you can't have Christmas twice, so we'll have look to innovate and keep that event fresh and make sure we don't have too much of a good thing and I'm confident we can do that," Seamer said.
"There's a tremendous opportunity going to Bathurst a second time, but tremendous risk as well. So we're going to have to be innovative and make sure it's different."
At this stage the Bathurst 12 Hour has not been cancelled and Supercars plans to run it in conjunction with the season finale at Mount Panorama.
However, there is still some doubt surrounding that GT endurance race given the international travel restrictions currently in place due to the coronavirus.
"The Bathurst 12 Hour is a key marquee for us and we love going there every year and holding that event," Seamer said.
"The reality is it's reliant on a lot of international competitors. So our number one focus is putting a stake in the ground to get Supercars there and as we start to build a competitor base and we've got a better line of sight with the GT category and we work through some more planning with the SRO in Europe, we'll be able to give people a more complete picture about how that event may shape up.
"Restrictions will be eased over time, we'll be compliant with those restrictions. Ultimately international visitation is something for the federal government to decide."
As for camping and spectators being permitted at the Bathurst rounds, it is again dependant on state regulations at the time.
The safety of all involved is the paramount concern, but Seamer is hopeful.
"We are all excited to see camp grounds open again as part of stage two in the restrictions and that introduces some interesting possibilities for Bathurst," he said.
"The stringent guidelines we have developed are based on expert medical advice and the advice of our government partners and Motorsport Australia and prioritise the safety and well being of our people, teams, drivers and officials.
"We will continually assess the possibility of admitting fans to events based on the direction of government restrictions, including how we might be able to accommodate camping and park and view."
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.