A full-bore Bathurst with a packed grid of more than 40 cars is one of the proposals to put more punch into the return to Supercars racing in 2020.
The seven-time winner of The Great Race, Triple Eight team boss Roland Dane, believes maximum action is essential for a race that could yet be run without spectators.
Filling the grip with as many Supercars as possible, including Super2 and Super3 cars and crews, is the key to his proposal.
“The race needs to be a celebration of motorsport,” Dane tells Race News.
He admits there will need to be concessions and incentives, but is adamant that 2020 is the year for more than just a 24-car field at Mount Panorama.
“We need to have drama at Bathurst for reasons other than controversy,” Dane says, taking a swipe at DJR Team Penske.
“I’d like to see as many cars as possible and an old-fashioned ’show’. Like Bathurst used to be. And we should try to open it up to as many people as possible to bring their Supercars.”
His bold belief is not backed by other team owners, as squads battle against financial pressures, although they admit they have not drilled into the detail.
Hurdles include the cost of competing, a system to equalise cars or bring a class structure, and the potential impact on the main game runners.
But Mount Panorama has always had a unique appeal, back to the days when Mount Panorama would have a full grid of 55 cars with 10 reserves in the paddock hoping for a start. In the 1970s the grid would stretch back around Murrays Corner and onto Conrod Straight.
A lack of racing in 2020, with no confirmation yet of any Super2 or Super3 racing, would also gives teams – and sponsors – a special incentive for 2020.
“Personally, I’be trying to have 40-plus cars on the grid, old-style,” says Dane.
“I know there would be lots of safety cars and hassles, but …”
He knows funding could be a problem, but believes Supercars could ease the pain.
“It depends if there are sensible rules put in to help. Someone should be able to rock up and it would be be nice to think that to do it properly, but obviously not to win it, would be under $100,000.
“That’s what they should be able to do. If you’ve got a couple of drivers who want to do it, and find some money, Bathurst is special enough for people to go and find the money.”
Dane says there is a huge carpark of Supercars and his point is proved by the nine cars at Brad Jones Racing that compete across the three levels of racing.
“If you’re talking pre-Car of the Future cars, there would be more than 100 cars. We’ve built 50-odd since 2003 ourselves.”
Jones is not willing to talk about Dane’s proposal but former Supercars team owner Garry Rogers is not a supporter and says it has zero chance of bringing him back to Bathurst, even though he still has cars.
“We’ve got enough going on. Why would you do it?,” Rogers tells Race News.
“How many good cars and good drivers would be available? I don’t think there is enough depth.
“And what about the value of the RECs (Racing Entitlements Contract). If Billy from the bush could roll his car out and race at Bathurst, what would that do? At this stage the RECs are not worth much at all, but they would go negative.
“It sounds very nice, with a big grid, but it wouldn’t be so great if the cars have done 10 laps and there are five in the pits. And after another 10 laps there are five wrapped around the fence.”