Organizers of the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour have announced rules changes for next year’s race, which includes a revised class structure, adoption of the FIA driver classification system, as well as the appointment of Claude Surmont as the event’s technical director.
The event, scheduled for Feb. 5-7, 2016, will see a reduction to four categories, including Class A (GT3, split into Pro-Am and Am), Class B (GT3 Cup Cars), Class C (GT4) and Class I (Invitational).
Cars previously entered in the production car classes will remain eligible to compete in the new combined Invitational category, with a benchmark lap time of 2 minutes and 10 seconds in place.
Additionally, vehicles homologated up to 2015, along with having competed in the Blancpain Endurance Series, will be eligible for next year’s race, ruling out any new GT3 cars that would be homologated for 2016.
The event will continue to use a two-tier driver classification model, although now embracing the FIA’s medallion-based driver rating system.
Platinum and Gold-rated drivers will be considered ‘Seeded’, while drivers of Silver and Bronze status will be ‘Unseeded’.
Entrants in GT3 (Pro-Am) will be allowed a maximum of two seeded, or professional drivers, with the Am subclass only allowing one seeded pilot.
There will be no restrictions on drivers in other classes, with up to four drivers now allowed in all classes.
Adjustments to the minimum and maximum driver times have also been made, with three-driver combinations allowed a maximum driving time of 280 minutes per driver, and four-driver squads 240 minutes per driver.
“Recent changes within the FIA have enabled us to get any driver categorized under the FIA system,” event director James O’Brien said.
“This change now puts the onus on the driver to get classified by the FIA and reduces the burden on the Organizing Committee. We hope this initiative will result in a more transparent, robust and fairer system all round.”
SRO’s Surmont, meanwhile, has been brought on to serve as technical director for the event, which will continue to utilize the Balance of Performance produced for the Blancpain Endurance Series.
“Continuing our collaboration with SRO Motorsports Group, we are pleased to appoint Claude as our technical director for 2016,” O’Brien added.
“His international experience with GT3 machinery should ensure our technical processes are run to the same high standard that all SRO series’ operate at.
“The event has secured its place on the international GT endurance calendar. However, we aim to continue the event’s growth such that it becomes a ‘blue riband race’ attracting the very best teams and drivers from around the world.”
Entries for the race, which will again be broadcast live on the Seven Network in Australia and streamed around the world online, opens on July 1.