THE date for the 2022 running of the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour has been shifted a third time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year’s race will now take place on May 13-15, a date that event stakeholders believe is better suited given the rising cases of the Omicron variant in Australia and quarantine regulations for international competitors.
“This is the best outcome for the event under the current circumstances,” Supercars chief operating officer Shane Howard said.
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“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 2022 event was originally scheduled to take place on March 18-20, however that was also the same date as the Sebring 12 Hours, resulting in a clash that would have precluded a host of top international GT drivers from heading to Bathurst.
In November, Supercars and the SRO Motorsports Group (promoters of the Intercontinental GT Challenge, of which the 12 Hour is a round) moved the event to February 25-27, moving it closer to the event’s traditional early-February date and moving it clear of clashing events overseas and in Australia.
“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,” Stephane Ratel, founder and CEO of the SRO Motorsports Group, said.
“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.”
However, the new date could sideline former winner Matt Campbell and pose logistical issues for a host of European-based racers.
The Mid-Ohio round of the IMSA SportsCar Championship, in which Campbell will race a factory-backed Porsche in the GT Daytona Pro class, is also slated for the May 13-15 weekend.
The new date also falls during the extended Nurburgring 24 Hours build-up, falling one week after the qualifying events and two weeks prior to the race itself.
The 2022 event will be the first time the Bathurst 12 Hour has been held since 2020, when it was one of the final international events held in Australia prior to the onset of the COVID pandemic.
Tickets for the 2022 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour go on sale next Monday, 17th January at 11am AEST through Ticketek.