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Supercars wants 'premium' Bathurst GT event in 2022

Supercars plans to reinstate a "premium GT event" at Mount Panorama next year in lieu of the Bathurst 12 Hour if Australia's international borders are still closed.

#1 Earl Bamber Motorsport Porsche GT3 R: Earl Bamber, Laurens Vanthoor, Craig Lowndes, #999 Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing Mercedes AMG GT3: Felipe Fraga, Maximilian Buhk, Raffaele Marciello

Supercars, which owns the Bathurst 12 Hour, was forced to cancel what is usually the Intercontinental GT Challenge opener this February due to Australia's tightly controlled international border.

It instead held a single-driver Supercars event at the famous circuit in what would usually be the 12 Hour slot, with two 250-kilometre races to open the 2021 season.

It was the first time Mount Panorama had hosted a single-driver Supercars event in a quarter of a century, and is also likely to be the last for a while, Supercars CEO Sean Seamer saying at the time that it was a one-off.

That stance appears unchanged despite little indication Australia's borders will be open by next February, Seamer confirming that talks around reinstating a GT event at Mount Panorama are already underway.

"We're having a look at what some of the different options are that we could deploy for that event to keep it a premium GT event, but reduce some of the reliance on the ability for international travellers," said Seamer.

"We're working through some ideas and thoughts on that at the moment."

That means the event could revert back to its origins as a standalone GT endurance race catering mostly to local crews, or perhaps fall somewhere in between depending on what travel bubble arrangements Australia may have in place at the time.

"We're looking at a range of different options – trans-Tasman, APAC, if not global," added Seamer.

"Like everybody we've got to put down an event plan and make something work that's, at a minimum, a viable product.

"And if we can have more people from around the world, then that only adds to it. That's what we're working on at the moment."

GT cars were first allowed to enter the Bathurst 12 Hour in 2011, the first two editions won by European teams, but mostly contested by local crews.

The overseas contingent steadily grew over the years that followed until the race was named as part of the inaugural IGTC calendar in 2016.

The 2020 running of the Bathurst 12 Hour was one of the last international events to happen in Australia before the pandemic took hold and the border was closed.

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