In an announcement no less sad for its inevitability, confirmation came overnight that the 2021 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour event will not go ahead.
The cancellation, caused by the ongoing international travel restrictions caused by COVID-19, sees the race, also the opening round of the 2021 Intercontinental GT Challenge off the calendar for the first time in the IGTC’s history.
The event has very rapidly become a favourite with fans, teams, drivers and manufacturers with the 2020 race welcoming a record 40-car field including 34 Class-A entries and 11 different models, an event-high since GT3 regulations were adopted a decade ago.
“This is a tough decision but ultimately one we had to make,” Supercars CEO Sean Seamer:
“Since Supercars began managing the event it has grown to become one of the largest endurance events globally, showcasing our spiritual home of racing to an international audience.
“With Australia’s international borders expected to remain closed, we feel it is in the best interest of competitors, fans, sponsors and broadcasters to make the decision now on next year’s event.
“We are absolutely committed to having the event return to Australia’s motorsport calendar in 2022.”
Stephane Ratel, SRO Motorsports Group Founder and CEO said: “The Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour is one of the world’s great endurance races and an undoubted highlight of SRO Motorsports Group’s global calendar.”
“But we also understand and respect Australia’s international travel restrictions, which make it impossible to stage Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli’s opening round there in February.
“Instead, 2021’s championship will now begin later in the year at the Total 24 Hours of Spa. Mount Panorama remains Intercontinental’s spiritual season opener, and I know I speak for everyone at SRO as well as our manufacturers when I say we cannot wait to return in 2022.”
Mayor of Bathurst Cr Bobby Bourke said: “While it was disappointing the 2021 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12-Hour won’t go ahead, it is good to see that the event has firmly established itself on the international GT circuit and the lure of the iconic Mount Panorama will see the event return in 2022.”