Motorsport

Bathurst 1000 and Bathurst International set for joint event

Autosport understands a deal between Supercars and Australian Racing Group to combine their respective Bathurst events at the end of this season is on the table.

The proposed deal is a direct result of the COVID-19 outbreaks in Victoria and New South Wales that have brought professional and semi-professional motorsport to a standstill on the east coast for the past 10 weeks.

Supercars and ARG were both set to host their centrepiece Bathurst events in November, with the 1000 on the first weekend and the International on the last.

However, with Supercars already looking at a December date – and the first weekend all but locked in – it is now likely there will be a six-day event encompassing both the 2021 running of the Bathurst 1000 and feature a number of ARG categories such as TCR Australia and S5000.

There is one commercial hurdle to consider, with retail rivals Repco and Supercheap Auto each holding naming rights to the 1000 and International respectively.

But it’s expected a compromise between the two backers will be reached to ensure both events can go ahead against the challenging backdrop of the pandemic.

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New South Wales has been in lockdown since late June, but is expected to open back up at some point in October or November thanks to the fast-growing rate of vaccination coverage.

That should pave the way for a December Bathurst event to go ahead with a crowd, although closed borders elsewhere could still make it difficult for interstate fans to attend the event.

Teams based outside of NSW may also face self-isolation or quarantine orders upon returning from the event too, particularly those based in Queensland.

Supercars is currently set to resume its 2021 season at Winton in early October, however changes to the revised schedule are expected.

Those changes are likely to be made public by the end of this week.

TCR Australia, meanwhile, hasn’t raced since it Sydney Motorsport Park round way back in May. The season is scheduled to resume at The Bend next month, although South Australia’s tough border stance means racing may not resume until that combined Bathurst event.

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