The classic Bathurst 1000 is set to survive another year of Covid-19 as the centrepiece of the biggest motorsport event yet seen at Mount Panorama.
A six-day festival of speed is being finalised that will combine all the best cars and drivers of Australian motorsport thanks to a collaboration between Supercars and the Australian Racing Group.
The Repco Bathurst 1000 will be the centrepiece and will wrap the 2021 season on Sunday, December 5.
But the meeting will also include races for the Supercheap Auto TCR Australia series, S5000 single-seaters, GT cars, Touring Car Masters, V8 SuperUtes, TransAm, Super2, Carrera Cup and the Toyota 86 series.
Full details are still being finalised between the partners at Bathurst Regional Council, Repco, Supercars and ARG.
But the basics are clear, with an all-in approach that will unify all of the professional and semi-professional categories of Australian racing for the first time. Many drivers could potentially be doing double duty – like Supercars ace and TCR championship leader Chaz Mostert – but nothing is certain beyond the very basics.
Track action will begin on Tuesday, November 30 and run through to the chequered flag at the end of The Great Race on Sunday.
As yet, there is no news from Supercars – the umbrella organisation for the event – about spectators numbers or the timetable for the event.
Television coverage of the extraordinary meeting, which will run for far longer than any previous broadcast, is also in the planning stage.
Fitting all the crews and cars into the Bathurst paddock complex will be a complex logistical challenge.
Even the name of the event is yet to be confirmed, as ARG had intended to run its grand finale as the Bathurst International with a 400-kilometre contest for TCR cars as its headline act. That event, originally scheduled for November 26-28, has been cancelled.
“Discussions are ongoing with various stakeholders on the four other events that are due to feature on the calendar prior to the Repco Bathurst 1000,” says a statement from Supercars.
More details are expected within days, but the Bathurst partners are also working around the various Covid restrictions and the potential spectator attendance.
“Supercars and ARG will be working closely with NSW health authorities around COVID-safe measures and Public Health Order requirements to ensure the safety of all staff and patrons attending the event,” says the statement.
While Supercars is working with ARG and the Council on Bathurst, it is also trying to satisfy its commitment to five race meetings before the end of 2021. That will potentially mean double-headers at Queensland Raceway and Sydney Motorsport park, but there is no comment yet from Supercars.
“Full broadcast details for the remaining events of the Repco Supercars Championship will be announced in coming weeks,” is all it says.
ARG has thrown its full support behind the event, says its CEO Matt Braid.
“This major event at Bathurst is going to be one of the biggest spectacles ever seen in Australian motorsport, and it is a credit to all parties for putting the sport first,” he says.
“There’s no doubt these are difficult times we live in, so to have this come together with the cooperation of Supercars to benefit all our competitors, commercial partners and most importantly, the fans, it’s a huge win for all.
“And there’s no better place to hold the grandest of finales to the 2021 motorsport season than at Mount Panorama.”