After a two year wait, Australian Racing Group [ARG] finally got their chance over the weekend to showcase their management of the Bathurst 6 Hour since acquiring joint ownership in 2019.
After COVID-19 cancelled the 2020 event, beautiful weather and a relaxed spectator atmosphere helped Mount Panorama come alive over the Easter weekend, attracting a crowd of 15,000 over the three days.
The event, which constituted round two of the Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships, saw Shane Smollen, Robert Rubis and Shane Van Gisbergen emerge victorious in the #97 Prestige Connex BMW M4 entry.
ARG chief executive officer Matt Braid said the organisation acquired a share in the event with a plan to grow its profile, while maintaining the existing 6 Hour atmosphere to facilitate emerging drivers.
"The event's faired really well operationally, and we've received ample support from Bathurst Regional Council and local suppliers," Mr Braid said.
"For us, it's a fantastic opportunity to grow our identity at the home of Australian motor racing, and our broadcast partnership with Channel Seven has helped expand the event's coverage."
Mr Baird said ARG's ownership has allowed the introduction of further categories to the event, which will help the event continue to build in the coming years.
"We fell just short of a record grid for the 6 Hour [64 in 2017], but to have 60 entrants into the race is phenomenal," he said.
"In addition to the support categories, we have no doubt the 6 Hour will continue to prove attractive for fans both at Mount Panorama and at home."
Bathurst mayor Bobby Bourke said it's pleasing to see motor racing events return to Mount Panorama under more comfortable circumstances, after COVID-19 cancelled not only the 6 Hour, but the inaugural Bathurst International.
"The event attracts a lot of up-and-coming drivers who could end up becoming future starts of Australian motor racing," Cr Bourke said.
"Mount Panorama race events inject millions of dollars into the local economy each year, and we're happy to see these events going ahead again under relaxed restrictions."
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