The Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour has been moved to May, officials from Supercars and SRO Motorsports Group have confirmed, amid the current surge of COVID-19 Omicron cases in Australia.
As previously reported, the date of the 2022 Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli season-opener, which was announced for Feb. 25-27, had been in jeopardy.
Event promoters Supercars announced on Thursday that the race will now run on May 13-15.
It marks the third different date change for the event, which was originally placed on ‘Super Sebring’ weekend but later moved to late February to avoid a clash with the FIA World Endurance Championship and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship double-header.
“Supercars, Destination NSW, Bathurst Regional Council, ARG, Motorsport Australia and SRO Motorsports Group have all agreed the new date is better suited given current concerns with COVID and quarantine regulations for international competitors,” a statement read.
The 2021 event was canceled due to travel restrictions amid the pandemic.
“This is the best outcome for the event under the current circumstances,” said Supercars Chief Operating Officer Shane Howard.
“This new date alleviates pressure on international competitors and freight operators as well as marshals, officials and volunteers who play a critical role in the success of the event every year.
“We have worked closely with Destination NSW, SRO Motorsports Group, Bathurst Regional Council, Motorsport Australia, ARG and our broadcasters to ensure this date will ensure the best outcomes for all involved and the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour.
“As we’ve seen, a number of high-profile teams have already committed to attending and we look forward to seeing more international competitors announce their inclusion leading into May’s new date.
“This is a win for fans who have been keen to see this event return to the Australian motorsport calendar for the last two years.”
The date currently clashes with the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Sprint Cup race at Magny-Cours as well as the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship event at Mid-Ohio.
So far, GruppeM Racing has been the only international team to formally announce plans to contest the race, although Sportscar365 understands there are at least several others have been in the planning stages prior to the latest date change.
“It was imperative that Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli returned to Bathurst this year, and the new May date ensures the race can go ahead without any lingering Omicron restrictions,” said SRO founder and CEO Stephane Ratel.
“I applaud Supercars’ commitment to finding an alternative weekend during their busy domestic schedule and their efforts in general to stage the race.
“The Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia Powered by AWS calendar will also be rejigged to accommodate Bathurst’s change, which helps us to maintain a strong national presence.
“I am sure that some of these local entries will also receive IGTC nominations – a cornerstone of the championship’s original philosophy.”