Bathurst International debut postponed until 2021
The Australian Racing Group and Bathurst Regional Council have made the difficult decision to postpone the November debut of the new Bathurst International event at Mount Panorama until 2021.
The decision was based on a number of COVID related operational impacts on what was to have been the largest Bathurst event for the year with the Bathurst 6 Hour supported by sprint races featuring TCR Australia, S5000, Touring Car Masters, Trans Am, Porsche Sprint Challenge, Radical, Heritage Touring Cars, Excel Challenge and the Holden Bathurst Revival. This would have resulted in over 350 race cars and drivers coupled with over 2000 support crew and volunteers in attendance at the event. COVID safe operating plans and other risk mitigation protocols had been developed to ensure that the event could occur.
Due to that fact that the majority of the competing teams are located outside NSW and the nature of these teams is such that the majority of them have other commercial businesses or interests that preclude them from being able to enter a mandatory quarantine period of 14 days either prior to or post the event (depending on their state of origin) the event could only operate successfully with the lifting of border restrictions and mandatory quarantine periods.
Unfortunately, the current COVID situation in Australia and the timeline for border closures remains fluid with no definitive criteria known for the critical NSW/Vic border and only proposed indicative dates which are very conditional on significant milestones and criteria for some other states as to when border controls and quarantine requirements may change.
The lead time required on transport, accommodation, local suppliers, broadcast teams, support services and infrastructure is now at a critical phase and this has resulted in there now being no other option other than to delay the debut of this new event until 2021.
ARG and the BRC have now turned their attention to the 2021 Bathurst 6 Hour event, to be held on its traditional Easter long weekend date (April 2-4).
The event will once again be headlined with the famous Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour race for production cars which will feature a number of new innovations to increase the broadcast and profile of the production car race.
The date for the 2021 Bathurst International will be confirmed in due course and, like this year’s planned event, is expected to be held towards the end of the calendar year, offering the chance for the world’s best cars and stars to compete at the famous Mount Panorama circuit.
Refunds will be provided to anyone who purchased tickets to the event. Refunds will be automatically processed by Ticketmaster within 5-7 business days.
Refunds will be provided to anyone who purchased a campsite to the event. Refunds will be processed within 12-14 business days. If after 14 business days campers have not received a refund, please contact the Bathurst Regional Council on (02) 6333 6111.
CEO, Australian Racing Group
“It is obviously very disappointing to postpone the inaugural running of the Bathurst International,” said Braid.
“No stone was left unturned in the attempt to hold a viable and top class motorsport event, however, the border restrictions that our competitors faced made it an impossible situation.
“We have waited as long as practical to make this decision but we needed to consider local businesses, competitors and their families, our volunteers and other service providers and provide a timely decision so as not adversely impact their families, their plans or incur unnecessary costs.
“This event was not based around a singular product but a wide and varied motorsport entertainment package which involved over 2000 people attending before the inclusion of fans, families, friends, sponsors, service providers, event staff and broadcast personnel. To deliver an event of this magnitude required it to be delivered in the right way and in the current environment that is just not possible.”
“ARG and its team has now turned its full attention to the 2021 Bathurst 6 Hour, and we can’t wait to showcase a great production car race along with other exciting categories, live and free with our broadcast partner Seven, in April next year.”
Cr Bobby Bourke
Mayor of Bathurst
“While it is disappointing this year’s Bathurst International will not proceed, the current COVID-19 restrictions made it difficult to bring a full field of competitors together for the inaugural event,” said Cr Bourke.
“We look forward to 2021 and Mount Panorama hosting the first Bathurst International and bringing the excitement of this planned new event to Bathurst.
“Council went through an extensive process to select a new fifth event for Mount Panorama and we can’t wait to see the event come to life next year.”