BATHURST has been fortunate to pick up the opening round of the 2024 Supercars season, but is it an honour the city should have every year?
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If you ask councillor Warren Aubin, it's something that should be considered.
The Newcastle 500 was slated to be the opening round for the motor sport category, but after negotiations between Supercars and the Newcastle council fell apart, the event was moved to Mount Panorama.
Supercars owns the Bathurst 12 Hour, which will be held from February 16 to 18, 2024, so it was a logical move to put the opening round, to be called the Bathurst 500, on the following weekend.
It will mean a 10-day motor sport festival at Australia's premier track, leading to enormous economic opportunities for Bathurst.
And, if it can be done right, Cr Aubin thinks the organisers should consider making it a permanent fixture on the calendar, while still retaining the Bathurst 1000 in October each year.
"If it runs well and is a great event, it can only benefit us and Supercars, and to say that it could stay as a permanent part of our race meetings at the mount, I think it would be fantastic," he said.
"Obviously, we're only allowed to run five full-course meetings a year and that's how we got this one, in that Supercars are the owners of both those events, so they can run one event.
"In that way, it should be able to run, but every year would be great."
Looking at 2024, he said having the two events back-to-back would be fantastic for Bathurst, and won't detract from the Bathurst 1000 given they are months apart.
"It will put Bathurst in the spotlight for 10 days, and that's nationally and internationally," he said.
"The cost-benefits to the businesses and Bathurst economy is huge and I just reckon it is a great fit."
Council and Supercars are working together to develop off-track entertainment to bring people down from the mountain and be active in the city.
Cr Aubin said this will be essential to the success of the event, and he hopes some great things will be locked in.
Major race meetings in Bathurst typically have driver signings, parades or markets to generate activity in the central business district, but there is talk of other initiatives, such as concerts, to draw more people in.
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