The Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour will introduce a wave-by rule as part of an overall of its sporting regulations aimed to attract more Pro-Am and Am teams to this year’s event.
It comes after organizers made the opening round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli a predomotmetely Pro-Am class event, with the temporary elimination of all-pro lineups.
Speedcafe.com reports that the wave-by rule, known in NASCAR and Australian terms as the ‘Lucky Dog’, will be employed, along with other initiatives including the requirement that Am drivers will be required to complete one stint in the morning and one in the afternoon during the race.
Craig Baird, who is working as an advisor for event promoter Supercars, said the wave-by will keep Am competitors in contention for overall honors.
“When we form the train at a certain point across the top, on the restart lap those cars will come onto 19.5 [between Turns 19 and 20] on the straight, the lights will go out on the Safety Car, all cars stop accelerating and weaving, and then at 19.5 all cars a lap down take off,” Baird told Speedcafe.
“They go. And then once they’re on their way, they may gain their lap back by maybe half realistically.
“If they go at the Elbow by the time the Safety Car gets through The Chase and peels into pit lane, the race starts and they’re on the lead lap. They will have gained a lap back but won’t be on the back of the train. They would be well on their way.
“So it’s a big change for that race to introduce that. There’s been a pretty serious think tank of people trying to entice people to bring their cars out of the shed and go racing with a realistic chance of taking gold.”
It’s understood the change has been made in effort to attract additional entries from Australia, New Zealand and the Asian continent amid an expected depleted field of European teams taking part in the rescheduled Australian enduro.
Sportscar365 understands that less than 20 cars were entered prior to the latest date change to May 13-15.
In addition to the changes during the race, two practice sessions will be dedicated to FIA Bronze-rated drivers, with a minimum pit stop time also under evaluation.
“Especially in the COVID environment, it’s very hard to fly cars all around the world. We had to have a bit of a rethink,” Baird added.
“The best way forward at the moment for this in this environment is to have a Pro-Am style race.
“Obviously, it’s open arms for any international competitor, but what’s the core part of the business in Australia? It’s the Am that owns a GT3 or a Carrera Cup-style car.
“These guys, a lot of them work in an office all week and then go racing.
“They need to feel comfortable and that is one of the key components of this whole 12-hour race, the way we’re putting it together.
“It’s about the Bronze driver. It’s about the car owner. It’s about them being comfortable. It’s about not using them and abusing them and then sending them to the back of the paddock.”
SpeedCafe contributed to this report