A bit over twenty years ago the management of Australia’s premier touring car category banned cars like the Nissan GT-R. In fact, they banned anything that wasn’t a Ford Falcon or Holden Commodore. It now appears that current V8SC management wants to welcome the likes of the GT-R back with open arms and the first step to doing that is to buy the promotional rights for February’s Bathurst 12 Hour race.
A report on Speedcafe suggests James Warburton, V8SC CEO, is willing to buy the rights from current promoters for as much as $4 million. Currently the promotional rights are shared between James O’Brien (Yeehah Events) and the Bathurst Regional Council.
With the fast approaching demise of local manufacturing V8SC needs to broaden its horizons, and fast. It’s been suggested that V8SC is seeking to accept GT-style racecars as part of its Gen2 rules to be adopted in 2017.
Tensions between V8SC and the Bathurst 12 Hour were heightened this year when a new V8SC broadcast agreement with Foxtel effectively banned its drivers from competing at the 12 Hour, thanks to a compulsory V8SC test session that had been organised for the same weekend.
This arrangement upset a lot of 12 Hour fans, including AUSmotive.
V8SC claims it offered to buy the broadcast rights for the 2015 Bathurst 12 Hour in a deal which would have cleared the date clash by combining the pre-season test and the 12 Hour race into a weekend-long event and seen the race telecast live on Foxtel.
Although there’s no quotes attributed to either side, it’s reported that James O’Brien denies this offer was ever made.
As it stands the 2016 Bathurst 12 Hour will be held over the weekend of 5–7 February with television coverage on Channel 7.
The increasing success of the Bathurst 12 Hour is a double-edged sword for fans who have followed the race since the introduction of GT3 cars. The bigger the race gets the more it loses its boutique and casual appeal.
Whatever happens in the future and whoever promotes the event, we hope the current charm and appeal of the 12 Hour race is not lost forever.
[Source: Speedcafe | Thanks to Stu for the tip]