WHEN there's a chance to bank more laps around Mount Panorama, there are very few drivers who would turn down the offer.
After a few quiet weeks following the Bathurst 1000, the Mount is again buzzing with the sounds of fast cars and excitement.
More than 400 competitors will visit the circuit during the four days of Challenge Bathurst, which started on Thursday.
While almost anyone and any car can participate, there are some more experienced drivers and teams who hope Challenge Bathurst can give them an advantage going into other events.
Driver Dean Grant is one of them, looking to get some more laps under his belt ahead of the 2020 Bathurst 6 Hour.
Although no stranger to this circuit, having attended around 30 race meetings since the early 2000s, he was eager for more track time.
"Any laps around Bathurst are pretty precious, so any time you can get a chance to drive here, it's pretty important to get out," he said.
"And this car, the BMW M6, is really suited to this track. In the past, at the 12 Hour, it's got I think three poles, so it is a very fast car around here and is very suited to this track, so it's quite enjoyable to drive."
On Thursday, Grant was achieving some good lap times, at one point doing a low two minutes 10 seconds on old tyres.
He said he was hoping to get the time down to a 2:05 on Friday.
"We're just working up to it," he said.
Grant is participating in Challenge Bathurst this week with the support of experienced driver Steven Richards, who himself is a five-time Bathurst 1000 winner, and his team.
"Our team used to run BMWs in the Australian GT Championship and Dean Grant, who owned the car, he's been up here for the Bathurst motor festival this year and you can never get enough laps around Bathurst," Richards said.
"With the format of the sprint part of Challenge Bathurst, Dean's come up to drive his car and our team are running it for him."
Both Richards and Grant agree that the atmosphere of Challenge Bathurst is much more relaxed than what is usually the case with events at Mount Panorama.
"This event is targeted for people who've got cars they'd love to drive on track. It's very hard to get on Mount Panorama and it's a good opportunity to get a lot of laps for other events people may eventually become apart of," Richards said.
Challenge Bathurst will run through to Sunday.
It is a spectator-friendly event and anyone who would like to experience the action can attend and watch from any point around the circuit for free.