Fog plan in place for Bathurst 12 Hour

The clock is likely to start ticking on the Bathurst 12 Hour at the scheduled start time regardless of weather conditions as the late autumn date prompts fears over fog.

Fog plan in place for Bathurst 12 Hour
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The round-the-clock enduro strays into unknown territory this weekend, the mid-May date a significant departure from the traditional summer slot.

That's forced some scheduling changes, including the earliest start ever and a dedicated night time practice to help crews prepare for more dark running than usual due to the shorter pre-winter days.

It has also prompted concerns over fog delays, particularly after there were issues on race day at the Bathurst 6 Hour last month.

The Sunday schedule was pushed back half an hour due to foggy conditions in the morning that made it unsafe to have cars on track due to a lack of visibility between flag points.

The fog issue was brought up by Triple Eight driver Shane van Gisbergen last week when he was asked about the 12 Hour.

"The middle of the year will be interesting," he said. "The 6 Hour was pretty fogged out until 9am, so we'll pray that there's no fog for the 12 Hour."

The threat isn't lost on organisers with a plan in place to deal with potential issues from wintery weather.

According to the regulations the clock will start ticking on the race at the commencement of the formation lap behind the Safety Car at 5:15am.

The intention of Race Control, led by Supercars race director James Taylor and driving standards advisor Craig Baird, will be for that to be the case regardless of the weather.

A decision will then be taken regarding the race going green and the conditions, with options to delay the start or even suspend the race, with the clock ticking, if required.

The same goes for worsening conditions during the race, for example any onset of fog around dawn.

"The intention is for the race to officially start at the commencement of the formation lap, behind the Safety Car, at 5:15am, as per usual procedure," said a Bathurst 12 Hour spokesperson.

"Conditions at the commencement of the formation lap will be assessed by Motorsport Australia Race Control, with a decision taken to proceed with the rolling start, continue behind the Safety Car or suspend the race taken from that point.

"Should the race commence without delay, but fog become present during the race itself, Race Control will monitor conditions and should it be needed, the Safety Car will be deployed.

"Should conditions become worse the race will be suspended under the regulations in place.

"Should any driving time be lost during a race suspension, the Motorsport Australia stewards of the event will determine how key factors (including minimum and maximum driving time) in the event sporting regulations will be applied to the remainder of the race."

The Bathurst 12 Hour will shift back to a February date next year, when it is also expected to return to full Pro regulations.

Despite being downgraded to Pro-Am this year it is still the opening round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge.

Track action kicks off at Mount Panorama this Friday.

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