THE Liqui Moly Bathurst 12 Hour will allow all-professional driver line-ups in 2023 in a return to the event’s standard format.
The 2022 edition ran with Pro-Am as the top class in a bid to bolster the field size given the continuing challenges presented by COVID-19.
However, it’s back to all-star rosters next February 3-5.
“I’m delighted to see the Pro class returning to IGTC’s season-opener in Australia next year,” said SRO Motorsports Group founder Stephane Ratel.
“It’s 100 percent the right decision for Bathurst.
“The event owes its success and standing as one of the world’s must-win GT races to manufacturer participation, which has become a key 12 Hour component over the past decade.
“That factory involvement invariably means the sport’s best teams and drivers get to test themselves at Mount Panorama.
“It’s the combination of those elements that makes for such an incredible spectacle.
“One of motorsport’s toughest challenges deserves to welcome the very best drivers and that’s exactly who we’ll have with us this coming February.”
Among other news is the continuation of the lucky dog rule and the Saturday afternoon split top 10 qualifying shootout.
“We’re 100 percent committed to make the 2023 Liqui Moly Bathurst 12 Hour an incredible show,” said Bathurst 12 Hour event director Shane Rudzis.
“We have worked closely with our partners to develop the formats for 2023 and their commitment, along with communication from manufacturers who want to be back on The Mountain, were enough to convince us that the time was right to return to the all-Pro format for the outright fight.
“At the same time, we have developed a new set of regulations around the driver standards to ensure that the Pro-Am teams and Am drivers are looked after as best as possible, along with many of the Am-centric regulations around driver time and stint length from 2022 remaining in place.
“The decision at the last minute to change qualifying formats in 2022 has proved to be a blessing in disguise in giving the 12 Hour its own unique Shootout format, while still maintaining the uniqueness of needing that one perfect lap to get pole on The Mountain.”
Jules Gounon, Luca Stolz, Martin Konrad and Kenny Habul won the 2022 race in a Triple Eight Race Engineering-run Mercedes AMG GT3 Evo.