A GREATER lure for international competitors and a win for fans - that is why Supercars chief operating officer Shane Howard sees shifting this year's Bathurst 12 Hour to May as "the best outcome" for the endurance event.
It had been speculated earlier this week that, in the wake of the mounting number of COVID-19 cases in Australia and the quarantine regulations for international competitors, a date change was likely for the Bathurst 12 Hour.
It was initially slated for February 25-27.
After holding discussions with Destination NSW, Bathurst Regional Council, ARG, Motorsport Australia and SRO Motorsports Group, Supercars has now confirmed a switch with May 13-15 the new date.
"This is the best outcome for the event under the current circumstances," Howard said.
"This new date alleviates pressure on international competitors and freight operators as well as marshals, officials and volunteers who play a critical role in the success of the event every year.
"As we've seen, a number of high-profile teams have already committed to attending and we look forward to seeing more international competitors announce their inclusion leading into May's new date.
"This is a win for fans who have been keen to see this event return to the Australian motor sport calendar for the last two years."
The presence of international teams and drivers has been a highlight of the Bathurst 12 Hour since it became part of the Intercontinental GT Challenge series in 2016.
Factory drivers from across the globe have made competing at, and winning on, the famous Mount Panorama circuit a bucket-list item and it has led to thrilling racing.
Having been cancelled in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, SRO Motorsports Group boss Stephane Ratel said it was "imperative" that the Bathurst 12 Hour returned this year.
"The new May date ensures the race can go ahead without any lingering Omicron restrictions," he said.
"I applaud Supercars' commitment to finding an alternative weekend during their busy domestic schedule and their efforts in general to stage the race.
"The Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia Powered by AWS calendar will also be rejigged to accommodate Bathurst's change, which helps us to maintain a strong national presence.
"I am sure that some of these local entries will also receive IGTC nominations - a cornerstone of the championship's original philosophy."
The 2020 Bathurst 12 Hour event was one of the final international events held in Australia prior to the onset of the pandemic.
Famous British brand Bentley took the biggest win in its GT racing history in that event.
Millions watched the 2020 race unfold on television, with millions more tuning in via the event's international stream.
Bathurst Regional Council Mayor Robert Taylor said the date change for the return edition of the iconic enduro was fantastic news and he was looking forward to welcoming the international teams to the Mount.
"The world-wide exposure of the race builds on Mount Panorama's excellent reputation as one of the world's finest motor racing circuits and puts Bathurst firmly in the international spotlight," he said.
Tickets for the 2022 Bathurst 12 Hour go on sale next Monday, January 17 at 11am AEST through Ticketek.
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