Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli’s season opener – the Bathurst 12 Hour – will take place on February 16-18 next year.
The revised date is two weeks later than its traditional but now erstwhile first weekend in February, with the change coming following extensive consultation with teams, fans, key stakeholders, manufacturers and international partners to ensure the growth of the event.
Pro crews will continue to fight for overall victory, and positive discussions are already underway with potential teams and manufacturers from Australia and overseas.
Australia’s International Enduro attracted a record attendance of 53,466 fans across the three days this year when SunEnergy1, Mercedes-AMG, Kenny Habul, Luca Stolz and Jules Gounon scored their second consecutive victories together. It was also the latter’s third win in a row.
The race, which saw the top three cars split by just 1.6s at the finish, was Bathurst’s fastest-ever enduro with the field covering more than 2,000km in 12 hours.
2024 is set to be a thrilling year with a host of new cars, including new models from Ferrari, Porsche and Lamborghini, all eligible for the first time.
Tickets, grandstand seating and camping for the 2024 event will go on sale soon, with 2023 Bathurst 12 Hour campsite purchasers having exclusive access to a pre-sale window prior to general sales commencing.
“There has been extensive consultation into the revised date, all of which is aimed at further growing the race as one of the leading GT endurance races in the world,” said event director Shane Rudzis. “It is only a two-week shift, however it creates several positives for our competitors from both Australia and overseas.
“Moving two weeks later allows for some separation from the start of the United States’ season at the Daytona 24 Hour and opens the potential for participation from those teams.
“The slightly later start will also allow for Australian teams to better prepare across the Christmas – New Year period, while also allowing European teams to better manage their freight and travel logistics at the end of the current season.
“The race will remain the start of the Australian racing calendar and launch the 2024 season with a bang in New South Wales.
“Our thanks go to our partners at Destination New South Wales, the Bathurst Regional Council, SRO Motorsports Group and all our partners for their support as we continue to build Australia’s International Enduro into the future.”
SRO Motorsports Group Founder and CEO, Stephane Ratel, added: “Racing in February is an intrinsic part of the 12 Hour’s identity but also allows manufacturers and international teams to travel Down Under each year without impacting their other programmes.
"Maintaining both elements has always been of paramount importance, but we are also mindful of the congestion that now exists within global GT and sportscar racing’s ‘pre-season’ schedule, as well as the clamour from outside of Europe – and especially in America – to race at the iconic Mount Panorama.
“Pushing Bathurst back two weeks therefore makes perfect sense if we’re to ensure that even more of the world’s very best drivers can test themselves in Australia’s International Enduro.”
The Bathurst 12 Hour is proudly supported by the NSW Government via its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW.