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Bathurst 12H Opts for New Mid-February Date in 2024

Bathurst 12H moved two weeks later than usual, creating space with Daytona…

Photo: Bathurst 12H

Next year’s Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour will take place two weeks later than in 2023, creating a larger gap between the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the Australian enduro.

The 2024 date for the race at Mount Panorama, which usually opens the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli season, has been announced as Feb. 16-18.

Bathurst 12H organizer Supercars previously indicated that a later date was on the cards, in a move that would help to encourage more international teams to compete.

The Rolex 24 is already confirmed for Jan. 27-28.

“There has been extensive consultation into the revised date, all of which is aimed at further growing the race as one of the leading GT endurance races in the world,” said Bathurst 12H event director Shane Rudzis.

“It is only a two-week shift, however it creates several positives for our competitors from both Australia and overseas.

“Moving two weeks later allows for some separation from the start of the United States’ season at the Daytona 24 Hour and opens the potential for participation from those teams.

“The slightly later start will also allow for Australian teams to better prepare across the Christmas – New Year period, while also allowing European teams to better manage their freight and travel logistics at the end of the current season.

“The race will remain the start of the Australian racing calendar and launch the 2024 season with a bang in New South Wales.

“Our thanks go to our partners at Destination New South Wales, the Bathurst Regional Council, SRO Group and all our partners for their support as we continue to build Australia’s International Enduro into the future.”

After achieving a 39-car entry in 2020, the Bathurst 12H was canceled the following year due to the coronavirus pandemic and ran with a reduced grid of largely local teams in 2022 as travel restrictions continued to impact the representation from overseas teams.

More international entries returned this year, with the likes of Manthey, GruppeM Racing and Team WRT taking part, although the overall field of 26 cars was still smaller than in pre-pandemic editions.

“Racing in February is an intrinsic part of the 12 Hour’s identity but also allows manufacturers and international teams to travel Down Under each year without impacting their other programs,” said SRO Motorsports Group founder and CEO Stephane Ratel.

“Maintaining both elements has always been of paramount importance, but we are also mindful of the congestion that now exists within global GT and sportscar racing’s ‘pre-season’ schedule, as well as the clamor from outside of Europe – and especially in America – to race at the iconic Mount Panorama.

“Pushing Bathurst back two weeks therefore makes perfect sense if we’re to ensure that even more of the world’s very best drivers can test themselves in Australia’s International Enduro.”

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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