A SIX HOUR endurance race for Production Cars is set to be the highlight of the 2016 Bathurst Motor Festival.
To be promoted and organised by Yeehah Events, the promoters of the annual Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour, the race will be staged for cars built to CAMS 3E Production Car regulations.
Organisers will also consult the similar Australian Manufacturers Championship rulebook prior to finalising the unique eligibility and technical regulations for the race with CAMS later this year.
The race will be open to entries featuring two or three drivers, while the mandatory fitment of dry-break refuelling is likely to be phased in over several years to allow for cars presently operating without it to enter in the short-term.
Organisers have targeted a grid of 40 cars for the inaugural Event next Easter.
55 cars entered the pair of one-hour NSW Production Touring Car races this year, won by Dylan Thomas in his Mitsubishi Lancer EVO X.
“Long distance races for production-based cars form the bulk of the history of racing at Mount Panorama,” said Bathurst Motor Festival Event Director, James O’Brien.
“The competitor demand for a stand-alone Production Car race is high and the strong grid numbers for the NSW Production Touring Car races the last few years at the Bathurst Motor Festival are an encouraging sign.
“We are working closely with key stakeholders, including the Production Touring Car Series organisers and CAMS, to make this new race a success from year one.”
Early plans have the race commencing at midday on Easter Sunday, running for six hours until a 6pm conclusion.
At least five additional categories will continue to ensure the Bathurst Motor Festival Event remains packed with on-track action and one of the best value race meetings of the year.
“The Bathurst Motor Festival will continue in its current format while accommodating the six-hour race on Sunday afternoon,” O’Brien said.
“We expect to run five other categories and continue the Event’s purpose of giving opportunities to compete at Mount Panorama for those who otherwise wouldn’t have the chance.
“The addition of the six-hour will only add to the weekend and give competitors another chance to compete in a major long-distance race on the Mountain.”
NSW Production Touring Cars category manager Gerry Murphy expects the Bathurst Six-Hour to become the ‘highlight of the season’ for the state-based series.
“To be involved in an event such as the 6 hour at the most challenging track in the country, run to 3E rules, with strong representation from NSW Production Touring Cars, is a watershed moment for this category.
“We had a meeting at the recent Easter event where I canvassed opinion from the driving group and after some very astute input, the support was unanimous.
"James (O’Brien) has been very receptive to our ideas and we are looking forward to working with him to firmly implant this event in the Australian Motorsport calendar. We appreciate the opportunity he has provided for us.”
CAMS Manager for Motor Sport, Michael Smith, said the governing body of the sport was keen to embrace the addition of another major endurance race to the annual calendar, as well as promoting state-level competition.
“Production Car racing has a terrific history at Bathurst and we are pleased to see it return to the Mountain as a standalone endurance race in what we hope will ultimately become one of the iconic races on the annual motor sport calendar.”
Further details and preliminary regulations will be available from www.bathurstmotorfestival.com.au in due course.