Interest from BMW a sign of race future

MOUNT Panorama recently hosted Challenge Bathurst, a motorsport event that provided prospective Bathurst 12 Hour and amateur drives with the chance to clock up laps on the iconic track.

The four-day event ended on Sunday, but BMW organised an additional two days for a private event.

Three hours on the first of those days saw three of the BMW M6 GT3s that will contest the 2017 12 Hour undergo testing.

In addition to the test, BMW flew in a team of GT3 engineers from Germany and star driver Marco Wittmann.

If BMW’s eagerness to drive Mount Panorama is any indication, the 12 Hour could one day be a huge event on the international motorsport calendar. 

Mayor Gary Rush said the event resulted in a full circuit closure, which Bathurst Regional Council is limited to just five of a year.

“Under the Mount Panorama legislation, council has up to five full track closures permissible in a year, and currently has four events on the calendar that require full track closures,” he said.

“Requests to use the circuit are considered on their merits and within the constraints of the legislation.”

The presence of BMW and those who participated in Challenge Bathurst, which has been confirmed to return in 2017, means good things for the city.

Cr Rush has long said council is aiming to make Bathurst the most prosperous regional city “economically, socially and culturally”, which the growth of the 12 Hour would support.

“Use of the Mount Panorama circuit for events attracts visitors to the city which result in considerable economic benefits and a boost to the visitor economy for Bathurst and the region,” he said.

“The Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour, is a rapidly growing international event in February. 

“As it continues to expand it too will have the capacity to generate a similar economic benefit as the SuperCheap Auto Bathurst 1000, which injects $25 million into the Bathurst economy.”

Use of Mount Panorama for events attracts visitors to the city which result in considerable economic benefits.

Mayor Gary Rush