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Bathurst 12 Hour pole shootout format facing test

THE Bathurst 12 Hour’s new Top 10 Shootout format will remain part of the event in years to come, pending its performance today.

Supercars dropped the traditional ‘one lap’ Top 10 Shootout format midway through the 2022 event due to concerns over tyre temperatures in the colder mid-May weather.

Instead of the 10 fastest cars facing the clock one after the other, the field was split in half with the faster and slower groups each given a 15-minute session to set their fastest time in pursuit of the Allan Simonsen Pole Position Trophy.

ENTRY LIST: Every car and driver in the 2023 Bathurst 12 Hour

SCHEDULE: Bathurst 12 Hour track schedule for every category

SPOTTER GUIDE: A picture of every car in the Bathurst 12 Hour

The format has been retained for 2023 despite the event’s return to its traditional, warmer early February date.

“It’s been a discussion raised for a long time about that and what keeps coming back is that the Pirelli tyre takes a long time to warm up,” Bathurst 12 Hour event director Shane Rudzis told media at Mount Panorama.

“We want to make sure we get the fastest times possible … with the one-lap (format) the tyres aren’t up to optimal temperature.

“(The new format) was pretty effective last year, it worked well.

“We’ll see how it goes this year (to) see how it goes in a normal kind of event; if it’s as effective as last year, we’ll keep doing it, but we’re open to change as we go through.”

The qualifying lap record stands at 2m01.286s, set by Shane van Gisbergen in 2016 when a traditional 20-minute qualifying session set the grid positions for the first 10 rows.

A Bathurst 1000-style Top 10 Shootout was adopted for 2017 and used in every subsequent running of the event prior to last year.

“Running this new format gives us a little bit of difference to the 1000,” Rudzis added.

“The Top 10 Shootout for Bathurst (1000) is great, it is iconic, where the pressure on that one driver not to make a mistake or you could be in the fence or you stuff your lap time up.

“There’s equally as much pressure for this, but the good thing about this (format) is those tyres get up to speed and we can hopefully see a time like Gizzy’s from a few years back.”

The two-phase Top 10 Shootout for the Bathurst 12 Hour gets underway at 4:10pm AEDT on Saturday.

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