IN just 12 months, Challenge Bathurst has grown to be a popular event on the national motor sport calendar.
Challenge Bathurst is an exclusive opportunity to drive street cars or track racing cars on the Mount Panorama racing circuit.
The four-day event will get underway from Thursday, likely to bring over 1000 people to the city.
There have been 425 entries accepted out of a possible total capacity of 435, a 32 per cent increase on the 2016 entries.
Event director James O’Brien attributed the increase to the “reasonably priced” opportunity to drive on the iconic mountain.
He said the event would be fantastic for Bathurst.
“It’s great to have 400 plus competitors in town with small entourages staying, it’s a great economic boost for the town and the region as well,” Mr O’Brien said.
“You’ve got 160 coming in the first two days then 265 for the next two, so realistically each lot are there for three nights I’d say and some of the GT3 teams will have an entourage too, some of the car club guys might have one mate.
“The numbers add up and I can tell you there’s only about 20 of them camping, so there are a lot staying in hotels in town.”
Bathurst Business Chamber president Stacey Whittaker agreed that Challenge Bathurst would be a great boost to the city’s economy.
She said that accommodation places would benefit most, along with cafe and eatery owners and other business houses.
“I’d like to think [the participants] will spend some time in the CBD and maybe take a walk through the shops,” Ms Whittaker said.
She also said that the growth of the event in 12 months was a good sign for the future.
“It is just great to see something that has come to town be so successful and will hopefully continue to be successful,” she said.
Challenge Bathurst will kick off with familiarisation sessions from 8.20am on Thursday.
Spectators can attend the entire event free of charge.