The Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour will remain the opening round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli for at least another two years, it was confirmed on Thursday.
The existing partnership between the Australian race’s organizers and SRO Motorsports Group was agreed internally ahead of this year’s event.
It will see Bathurst again host the first round of the globe-trotting GT3 championship in 2020 and 2021, while the date for next year’s event has been confirmed as Jan. 31 – Feb. 2.
It means the event returns to a three-day format after expanding into the Thursday for this year’s race, which caused additional logistical difficulties for members of the paddock travelling from the Rolex 24 at Daytona the previous weekend.
The Bathurst 12H will, as usual, fall on the weekend after the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship opener at Daytona, but now also clash with an FIA World Endurance Championship round.
WEC is set to host its return to Sao Paolo on Feb. 1.
An expanded version of the ‘Town to Track’ parade has also been confirmed for Bathurst, with the GT3 cars driving into downtown Bathurst as part of the event’s build-up on Thursday, Jan. 30.
“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,” said SRO founder and CEO Stephane Ratel.
“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.”