BATHURST 12 HOUR RETURNS TO TRADITIONAL DATE IN 2023

The 2023 Bathurst 12 Hour will take place on the race's traditional February weekend Pic: an1image.com / Dirk Klynsmith

NEXT year’s edition of the Bathurst 12 Hour will return to its traditional date at the start of the year.

The 2023 edition will take place on February 3-5, just under nine months after this year’s race which, after being rescheduled twice, will take place on May 13-15.

“The Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour has traditionally been the launching point for the Australian motorsport season and brings the eyes of the world to Mount Panorama each February,” Shane Howard, CEO of event organisers Supercars, said.

“We have worked closely with our partners at the Bathurst Regional Council, Destination New South Wales and SRO to secure a return to the traditional February race date next year, giving competitors, supporters and partners long-term confidence moving forward.”

The announcement comes as organisers confirm a return to the event’s Pro-Am roots for this year due to the continuing complications for overseas-based drivers to come to Australia.

All outright GT3 cars will need at least one FIA bronze ranking driver among its crew for the first time since the 2016 event.

“The decision has been made due to quarantine requirements for competitors from key Asian markets and New Zealand along with the continued global freight challenges that make it difficult for international entrants to bring their full complement of equipment and personnel to this year’s event,” a statement read.

“This year’s event will feature extra practice for amateur drivers and a qualifying format where an aggregate lap time across multiple drivers in each entry will be recorded.

“The amateur driver in each car will be required to set a lap time in qualifying to help determine grid positions.

“The Pirelli Top-10 Shootout will remain as in previous years.”

The race will also mark the opening round of the 2022 Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia, as well as featuring on the Intercontinental GT Challenge calendar.

“Barring situations outside of our control I was determined that Bathurst would return to the Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli calendar in 2022, and this new class structure ensures it can do just that without diminishing the championship or event,” Stephane Ratel, SRO Motorsport Group founder and CEO, said.

“Factory teams and drivers usually make the headlines but the fact is amateurs and the Pro-Am class are the bedrock of global GT racing. There are also few, if any, races of Bathurst’s international stature where Pro-Am crews are the stars of the show.

“But that won’t be the case in May when some of the world’s best amateurs have a chance to win one of motorsport’s great endurance events.

“It feels like a genuine throwback to previous 12 Hours and GT racing generally of old.

“I’m also happy to see the race returning to its traditional early February date in 2023. Our only other option this year would have been to cancel the event, which neither SRO nor Supercars were willing to do.

“Equally, staging it in May isn’t compatible with European programmes. We’ve found a smart solution for this year but are also looking forward to seeing Bathurst fully living up to its status as Australia’s International Enduro next season.”

2022 BATHURST 12 HOUR CLASS STRUCTURE

Class A: GT3 Pro-Am

If 3 drivers, 2x are Platinum, Gold or Silver and 1x Bronze If 4 drivers, 2x are Platinum, Gold or Silver and 2x Bronze

Class A: GT3 Am

Maximum of 1x Silver driver, the remaining drivers are Bronze

Class B GT3 Trophy Pro-Am

Maximum of 1x Silver driver, the remaining drivers are Bronze

Class B – GT3 Trophy AM

All Bronze

Class C: Porsche GT3 Cup Car

Class D: GT4

Class I: Invitational Class Cars

‘GTC’ cars from one-make categories including Ferrari Challenge, Lamborghini Supercup and Audi R8 Cup.

Will Dale is V8 Sleuth's Head of Content - Digital. He began his media career as a breakfast radio newsreader before joining SPEED TV Australia and FOX SPORTS Australia in 2012 as its Digital Editorial Lead - Motorsport, covering all forms of motorsport both in Australia and internationally. He became part of the V8 Sleuth team in 2018.