BATHURST PIT STRAIGHT ICON REMOVED AFTER 37 YEARS

The Bathurst pit lane following the removal of the tower. Pic: Network R

THIS year’s Repco Bathurst 1000 will run without a familiar part of the landscape at Mount Panorama, the pit straight scoring tower.

Having held an omnipotent presence at the top of pit straight for over 35 years, the tower was recently removed by the Bathurst Regional Council and has been placed in storage.

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A council spokesperson told V8 Sleuth that the tower had continually needed repairs and that the council is looking to replace it with a new version when funding becomes available.

The tower watches over the start of the 1987 Great Race. Pic: an1images.com / Graeme Neander

The tower had been erected as part of upgrade works at the circuit ahead of the 1984 Great Race and was funded by major sponsor James Hardie to the tune of a reported $100,000.

Designed to help spectators keep track of the top 10 runners in the race, its addition to Mount Panorama was likely inspired by a similar structure in place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway since 1959.

Bathurst’s scoring tower remained through two complete overhauls of the pit facilities in 1987 and 2004 and features in many race start and celebration photos from over the years.

Garth Tander and Nick Percat celebrate beneath the tower in 2011. Pic: Supplied

Council is yet to indicate what it will do with the tower now that it has been removed.

A logical option would be to re-install it as a fixed exhibit at the National Motor Racing Museum, located on the outside of Murray’s Corner.

The Mount Panorama Circuit will roar into life on Thursday as it hosts the four-day Challenge Bathurst, split into a two-day Super Sprint and two days of regularity running.

This ex-Glenn Seton Falcon is among the Challenge Bathurst entries. Pic: Network R

A handful of classic V8 Supercars are entered for the event, while GT runners preparing for next year’s Bathurst 12 Hour are likely to record the quickest times.

An extended six-day Repco Bathurst 1000 is then set to take place from November 30-December 5.

The final co-driving slot for the 2021 Great Race was confirmed earlier today. Click here for the full list.