News TRT Media Release July 1, 2024 (Comments off) (86)

B12HR Fact-Finding Mission

Image: Kevin Pecks / Chequered flag

AN International fact-finding mission to the world’s biggest GT3 race has Bathurst 12 Hour organisers excited about the continued growth of Australia’s International Enduro.

Bathurst 12 Hour Event Director Shane Rudzis and Supercars Head of Broadcast Nathan Prendergast attended the Centenary running of the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa Francorchamps at the weekend, both to fly the flag for Australia’s biggest GT enduro while also learning from an event now in its 100th year.

While Rudzis attended the event last year, 2024 marked Prendergast’s first visit to the iconic Spa Francorchamps circuit in the Belgian Ardennes.

Both spent time with both the event organisers SRO (Stephane Ratel Organisation) as well as manufacturers, teams and drivers throughout the 67-strong field – many of whom already count a Bathurst 12 Hour start to their credit.

Australia’s International Enduro was again confirmed as the opening round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge for 2025 as part of an expanded five-event calendar, announced at SRO’s annual ‘state of the nation’ press conference prior to the race.  

Bathurst will be joined by iconic races including Spa’s 24 Hour, the Nürburgring 24 Hour and Indianapolis 8-Hour, while the iconic 1000km of Suzuka will make a welcome return to the calendar next year.

Aston Martin team Comtoyou Racing won a dramatic race taking the lead in the final hour after a delay at pit entry hindered the then-leading Ferrari 296GT3.

Bathurst 12 Hour polesitters BMW Team WRT finished third with Sheldon van der Linde, Charles Weerts and Dries Vanthoor and also claimed Intercontinental GT Challenge honours for BMW.

Local teams and drivers had a typically up-and-down 24-Hour race, 12-Hour winner Matt Campbell best of the Aussies in eighth position in a quiet race for Porsche.

Triple Eight JMR were out early in the race following a heavy crash while Brad Schumacher’s Audi was a non-finisher with mechanical issues.

Several cars in action at Spa will become eligible for the 12-Hour for the first time in 2025, including the Ferrari 296 GT3, Ford Mustang GT3 and latest Aston Martin Vantage GT3.

The 2025 Bathurst 12 Hour will be held at the iconic Mount Panorama circuit between January 31-February 2 next year.

Tickets, camping and hospitality will go on sale later this year.

Shane Rudzis – Event Director, Bathurst 12 Hour

“It has been a very fruitful event with engagement from all vehicle brands to discuss current GT programs and the opportunities to come to Bathurst for 2025,” Rudzis said.

“Of course, there is lots to work through regarding schedules, logistics and budgets but the timing is perfect for these face-to-face discussions. There is no doubting that we are on the agendas of many key brands and teams who want to be part of Australia’s International Enduro.

“The affection from race team personal, drivers and fans of the Bathurst 12 Hour is mind-blowing. To have so many fans talk about getting up in the middle of the night from Europe or North America to tune into the 12 Hour race start to watch our sensational broadcast of the iconic sunrise is something we’re very proud of.

“We are currently working through our Sporting and Technical regulations, and it has been fantastic to get feedback from the teams and other parties to plan the 2025 event. Our goal is to have these finalised in July for race entries to open.

“There have also been many discussions of what other activities we can have at the event, from Support Categories to demonstrations to unique vehicles on display, the possibilities are very exciting.

“Having Nathan here to observe the biggest GT event on the planet, executed so wonderfully by Stephane and his SRO team, has been an extremely worthwhile exercise. While understanding that we do a lot of things from a Bathurst 12 Hour & Supercars perspective that are already world class, we have also taken on plenty of learnings to bring home with us that we can use to continue to grow and evolve what we do ‘down under’.

“It has been an excellent trip and showcases the fantastic relationship we have with the SRO team and the global GT community, as part of the Intercontinental GT Challenge.”

Nathan Prendergast – Head of Broadcast, Supercars

“It’s been my first time to Spa Francorchamps and it is everything you expect and more,” Prendergast said.

“There’s amazing elevation and it’s beautifully prepared and surrounded by stunning forest. It’s got similarities with Bathurst with a nearby small town and an epic track. It’s been a fantastic experience.

“We have been treated extremely well by SRO and have been really impressed by their professionalism and attention to detail in putting on the event as a whole and the race itself.  

“I’ve certainly been inspired with ideas for both Supercars and the 12 hour and I’d like to believe that we can adopt some of the learnings from this trip.”

You might also like!