The inaugural running of the Bathurst International endurance event has been postponed to 2021, with the organisers citing COVID-related operational impacts for the delay.
The decision has been made by TCR Australia promoter Australian Racing Group and the Bathurst Regional Council.
The event had originally been planned for the weekend of 13 – 15 November and was to feature the Bathurst TCR 500 race, a 500 km race intended to become a ‘jewel in the crown’ of international TCR events.
Alongside TCR, the event was also set to feature sprint support races from TCR Australia, S5000, Touring Car Masters, Trans Am, Porsche Sprint Challenge, Radical, Heritage Touring Cars, Excel Challenge and the Holden Bathurst Revival.
A statement from ARG said that “due to that fact that the majority of the competing teams are located outside NSW and the nature of these teams is such that the majority of them have other commercial businesses or interests that preclude them from being able to enter a mandatory quarantine period of 14 days either prior to or post the event (depending on their state of origin) the event could only operate successfully with the lifting of border restrictions and mandatory quarantine periods.
“Unfortunately, the current COVID situation in Australia and the timeline for border closures remains fluid with no definitive criteria known for the critical NSW/Vic border and only proposed indicative dates which are very conditional on significant milestones and criteria for some other states as to when border controls and quarantine requirements may change.
“The lead time required on transport, accommodation, local suppliers, broadcast teams, support services and infrastructure is now at a critical phase and this has resulted in there now being no other option other than to delay the debut of this new event until 2021.”
The 2021 Bathurst 6 Hour event is set to be held on 2 – 4 April 2021 in its traditional Easter long weekend date.
The date for the 2021 Bathurst International will be confirmed in due course, likely to be towards the end of the calendar year.
“It is obviously very disappointing to postpone the inaugural running of the Bathurst International,” said Matt Braid, CEO of Australian Racing Group.
“No stone was left unturned in the attempt to hold a viable and top class motorsport event, however, the border restrictions that our competitors faced made it an impossible situation.
“We have waited as long as practical to make this decision but we needed to consider local businesses, competitors and their families, our volunteers and other service providers and provide a timely decision so as not adversely impact their families, their plans or incur unnecessary costs.
“This event was not based around a singular product but a wide and varied motorsport entertainment package which involved over 2000 people attending before the inclusion of fans, families, friends, sponsors, service providers, event staff and broadcast personnel.
“To deliver an event of this magnitude required it to be delivered in the right way and in the current environment that is just not possible.
“ARG and its team has now turned its full attention to the 2021 Bathurst 6 Hour, and we can’t wait to showcase a great production car race along with other exciting categories, live and free with our broadcast partner Seven, in April next year.”