Australian race promotor PROCAR Australia has already begun work on the 2004 Bathurst 24 Hour fresh from the outstanding success of last weekend's 2nd annual event at Mount Panorama. Down under touring car legend Peter Brock clinched an amazing...
Australian race promotor PROCAR Australia has already begun work on the 2004 Bathurst 24 Hour fresh from the outstanding success of last weekend's 2nd annual event at Mount Panorama.
Down under touring car legend Peter Brock clinched an amazing 10th victory on Sunday aboard the Holden Monaro he shared with local V8 Supercar drivers Greg Murphy, Jason Bright and Todd Kelly.
PROCAR announced a three-day attendance of 41,234 people, a 20,000 increase on the inaugural race.
Competitor numbers also increased dramatically with 46 cars greeting the green flag, compared with 35 cars for the inaugural event in 2002.
"We are actually over the moon, when PROCAR decided to do this event we knew it would be three to four years before we could break even," PROCAR Chairman and event founder, Ross Palmer said.
"However, the entire event has exceeded my expectations and my team's expectations.
"When I first went to the Nurburgring in 1997, they had about 40,000 spectators but this year I think they had about five times that.
"This event is still in its infancy, but the reaction we have received from the international teams and media has been extremely positive.
"We have some big plans ahead for this event. From a team and driver's perspective, this is the last great motorsport adventure."
This year's Bathurst 24 Hour also marked the world-wide debut of the new Formula Green environmental impact measuring system.
The brainchild of Ross Palmer; Formula Green is a concept which analyses motor sport with the aim of making it more environmentally friendly.
The concept is based on an indexing system which analyses carbon dioxide emissions, fuel consumption and outright performance to reward the manufacturer obtaining the best performance but causing the least amount of impact to the environment.
The Porsche 911 GT3 of John Teulan, Peter Fitzgerald, Paul Morris and Scott Shearman earned the inaugural Formula Green Gold Medal for the German manufacturer.
The Garry Rogers Motorsport combination of car #05 and #427 earned the silver and bronze awards for Holden.
The Formula Green Foundation is a non-profit organisation created to encourage organisations of all types to plan for an environmentally sustainable future.
Formula Green Research Limited (a research and design company), has been formed to aid in the development of environmentally efficient products.
For teams returning in 2004, the Bathurst pit and paddock area will be completely revamped with a $25 million development program scheduled by the Bathurst City Council.
The new pit complex will enable a field of up to 80 cars to contest the 24 hour event.
Australian Deputy Prime Minister, John Anderson, also turned the first sod in the development of a 130 room 5-star hotel scheduled to be built at the end of Conrod Straight adjacent to the Chase.
The construction of the hotel will link Bathurst with the Nurburgring in German in having an on-side hotel overlooking the circuit.
Race fans visiting Mount Panorama will also be able to enjoy a spectacular new "Festival of Speed" currently being planned by Palmer's Procar organisation in conjunction with the Bathurst City Council.
"The idea will be to run a double-header event with races for club level motorsport the previous weekend and a complete food, wine and beer festival during the week leading up to the 24 hour," Palmer said.
"Our dream for the Bathurst 24 Hour is more than just the race itself, we want this to be a spectacular week of entertainment for the fans and the competitors."
First time visitors to Bathurst have raved about the spectacular Mount Panorama circuit and are already making plans to return for 2004.
"I had seen the circuit on television before, but I had no idea it would be this good," ex-Formula One and CART driver, Andrea Montermini said.
"This is certainly one of the most beautiful circuits I have ever been to and I can't wait to come back.
"Unfortunately our race ended early with an engine problem, but we will definitely be back next year.
"I can't wait to tell everybody back home in Italy about this place."
Montermini's assault on the mountain came to an end in the early morning when an engine failure struck the Ferrari he was driving with Australian David Brabham and Austrians Philipp Peter and Klaus Engelhorn.