Well the 2021 Bathurst 6 Hour is here and its been a bit of a shaky lead up with COVID-19 cases in Queensland reinstating a lock down and some infected people entering New South Wales.
More than 275 competitors have descended on the spiritual home of Australian Motorsport as the 2021 Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 hour bursts into life on Mount Panorama in Bathurst this weekend.
Continuing the long tradition of racing in Bathurst on the Easter long weekend – the first major event at the iconic circuit was held on Easter in 1938 – the 2021 event represents the start of a new era for the event.
“It’s going to be a great weekend and what more could you ask for, all of the restrictions are nearly off, you’ve got a full grid of cars, the sun is shining, no rain coming over this weekend — you couldn’t ask for better racing,” Cr. Bobby Bourke Mayor of Bathurst said.
“Fans can be anywhere on the Mountain; camping is allowed again and you’ve got that local content too. That will bring the crowds out, they want to see people that they do know locally around here. The international or other drivers that come here, they will have a great time and blend in with the whole lot.
“This race is very important to Bathurst, it’s the second event we’re having this year and we’ve all been through COVID-19, we need a boost. I tell you what this race this weekend will boost not just the Bathurst economy but racing right across Australia.”
As well as a 60-plus strong field contesting the annual ‘Showroom Showdown’ for Production Cars on Easter Sunday, the weekend will mark the first time that the turbocharged Touring Cars from the Supercheap Auto TCR Australia series will have tackled the Mountain.
The Bathurst 6 Hour field includes representation from 15 different brands and more than 30 different models of cars.
High profile drivers like Shane van Gisbergen, Tim Slade and Paul Morris will join a broad group of competitors from all walks of life in a bid to chase Bathurst success.
Defending champions Beric Lynton and Tim Leahey return to defend their crown against five of the brand-new Ford Mustang GTs, which make their highly anticipated Production Car debut this weekend.
The TCR field will see the likes of Lee Holdsworth, Tony D’Alberto and returnee Garth Tander chasing title leader Chaz Mostert in the Bathurst debut of the category, which doubles as the third round of the 2021 championship battle.
The second round of the Fanatec GT World Challenge powered by AWS returns top-flight GT racing to the Mountain for the first time since early 2020, with the field including 2020 Bathurst 1000 winners Garth Tander and Shane van Gisbergen going head-to-head in opposing cars.
After racing within other categories in previous years, the National Trans Am series cars will race on their own in Bathurst for the first time this year, a big field of 25 Chevrolet, Ford and Dodge muscle cars ready to do battle over three races.
The Radical Australia Cup, MRF Excel Challenge and NSW Historic Touring Cars complete a bumper program that will see more than 275 cars and their associated teams and supporters descend on Mount Panorama.
While adhering to all current New South Wales COVID-19 guidelines, the event looks set to welcome a strong crowd with pre-event ticket and campground sales significantly improved on previous years.
With no cap on the number of patrons attending, fans attending the event get great access to Mount Panorama with all areas – the paddock, pit roof and at the top and the bottom of the Mountain – open to all ticketholders.
The weekend will be broadcast live and free on the Seven Network around Australia with more than 17 hours of coverage being produced across Saturday and Sunday, split between 7mate and 7plus.
The Bathurst region and New South Wales will also gain international exposure thanks to coverage aired on Sky Sports New Zealand, and international streaming via motorsport.tv.
The packed program includes 30 hours of on-track action across the three days at Mount Panorama.