A NEW time of year and a global pandemic that has not quite run its course.
These challenges could have spelled disaster for the organisers of the Bathurst 12 Hour, but instead the event is on track to have one of the biggest crowds to date.
Drivers and teams have arrived in Bathurst and are settling in at Mount Panorama ahead of Sunday's race.
The field is smaller than usual, but there are still 20 cars poised to line up on the grid and a nice mix of Australian and international drivers and teams.
ALSO MAKING NEWS:Audis are on fire during Bathurst 12 Hour's opening sessions
Media manager Richard Craill, who fans will hear commentating across the weekend, said there has been a lot of spectator interest in the lead up to the event.
"It's been really positive. I think there's been a bit of pent up frustration for there not being a Bathurst 12 Hour since 2020, and it's always such an eagerly anticipated event that draws a really passionate and engaged audience," he said.
"There's been a lot of pent up frustration that there hasn't been a race for them since 2020 and certainly the numbers have been great."
Mr Craill said the crowd is anticipated to be similar to what was seen in 2020, that event drawing in 43,111 people over three days, making it the second biggest in history.
Fans are also eager to camp at the race, with the vast majority securing their spot in the first 24 hours that bookings were open.
"The camping has been pretty remarkable. I think 80 per cent of all the campgrounds went within the first day of them being on sale, so the camping side of the event in particular is one of the most impressive things to see," Mr Craill said.
"The paddock campground is completely full. Reid and Sulman and McPhillamy Park campgrounds are all completely full, so there's going to be a really amazing atmosphere there all weekend."
ALSO MAKING NEWS:Fans get to meet their favourite drivers at Track to Town
With attendance at other sporting events bouncing back well after COVID-19 restrictions eased, the biggest challenge for the upcoming 12 Hour was the date change.
The event is usually held in February and that was initially the plan for 2022, but six weeks out it was announced that the event would be pushed back to May to alleviate the pressure on international competitors and freight operators as well as marshals, officials and volunteers.
Mr Craill said that, as a result of the later date, fans were facing the prospect of very different experience.
"There's been challenges this year with the date and the fact it's the latest the race has even been held," he said.
"It's going to be a very different Bathurst 12 Hour because it's normally scorching hot. It's normally a summer camping event and it's going to very much be a winter camping event.
"It's a completely different style of race being at a different time of year and, of course, as you get later in the year people have work commitments, we're out of school holidays and things like that.
"There's been challenges around that, but overall I think the reaction has still been really, really positive and the desire just to see the race being back has overridden any date challenges there may have been."
There will be plenty of opportunities for the crowd to increase over the weekend as tickets can still be purchased at the gate upon arrival.
People can also watch the event on 7mate and Fox Sports in Australia, while international fans can stream it live online.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content: