Supercheap Auto Bathurst International set to bring global appeal to Mount Panorama
The Supercheap Auto Bathurst International has been officially launched at Mount Panorama today, with drivers representing seven different nations and a variety of globally significant race cars gracing the famous Pit Straight.
Drivers with national origins including Australia, New Zealand, the United States of America, France, Malaysia, Italy and Germany draped in their national flags came to together to celebrate the start of the inaugural event.
National pride will be on the line as they represent their respective home countries, with friends, family and supporters set to tune in to support their heroes from home.
While the drivers from around the world have come together to celebrate, experience and enjoy motorsport at Australia’s greatest race track, the variety of global cars that they will race are even more diverse and represent the world of motorsport in one place.
A total of 29 different brands of race cars will hit the track, representing 11 different countries to have produced the motoring mecca that will roar around the 6.213km track this weekend.
Germany was represented by the Mercedes AMG GT3 of Triple Eight Race Engineering / Johor Motorsport and a Team Porsche New Zealand Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Car – two of the countries most iconic manufacturers.
That pair feature local operations working with international teams, Triple Eight in conjunction with Johor Motor Racing, and the Porsche squad headed up by the Kiwi-flagged Earl Bamber Motorsport and operating as the national team in one-make Porsche racing.
A Japanese built Honda Civic Type R flew the flag for the Asian nation, while the stunning Praga R1 Sports Car was also on show, hailing from the small racing car constructor based in the Czech Republic.
The US-built Chevrolet Camaro Trans-Am represented the powerful and iconic American Muscle Cars while a French-built Peugeot TCR car added to the European flavour.
Australia was represented by one of the most famous cars ever made locally, in the form of the iconic Ford Falcon XY GTHO driven by Touring Car Masters ace, Brad Tilley.
Track action starts tomorrow ahead of two days of flat-out racing, including the final round of the Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series where the likes of international brands Honda, Peugeot, Audi, Hyundai, Alfa Romeo and Renault will battle it out for honours in the turbo-charged touring car class.
Also on track is the Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia powered by AWS, featuring the might of Mercedes AMG, Audi and Lamborghini battling in a three-hour endurance race.
The Turtle Wax Trans Am Series returns to the mountain for a 100km feature race on Sunday, set to decide who is the king of the American V8s between Ford, Chevrolet and Dodge.
The Gulf Western Oils Touring Car Masters is a fest of old school muscle, including some of the machines straight from the pages of the Bathurst history book like the home-grown Holden Toranas and Ford Falcons, to the US ‘Pony Cars’ of the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Need more power? The Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge brings Stuttgart’s best to Mount Panorama, with a mix of emerging and experienced talent tackling Bathurst’s famous strip.
Also on the car is the Australian Production Cars and the Bathurst Sportscar Challenge, featuring wild prototype machines that embody everything that motorsport stands for.
Tickets for the Supercheap Auto Bathurst International are available at http://bathurst.international
If you can’t make it to Mount Panorama, broadcast can be seen live and ad-break free on Stan Sport on Saturday and Sunday. Sign up now for your free 7-day trial >> http://www.stan.com.au/motorsport
The Nine Network will also offer live free-to-air coverage on Saturday afternoon.
International viewers can watch on http://motorsport.tv
Australian TCR driver
“It’s always an awesome event at Bathurst anytime we come here, and the weather has absolutely turned it on today, so hopefully it like that for the weekend,” said Will Brown.
“It nice to finally to get the Bathurst International up and running. I was here in 2020, signed up and ready to race TCR for the year and really looking forward to race at this event but COVID stopped it.
“Finally, we will get to see the event take place and I think it’s going to be awesome.
“To win the TCR title is going to be a hard one. Obviously TD (Tony D’Alberto) is a fair way ahead in the series but you never know.
“I’ve had a lot of DNFs this year and crashes, so if he has one in qualifying or the first race, it is going to be on for the championship.
“I think there is four of us in the running for the title and that will make it exciting but I am not going to get too caught up on that just yet.
“It has been a massive year at Bathurst for me. I’ve done the 12 Hour, the Bathurst TCR races at Easter, and I also done the 1000 race, and now the Bathurst International.
“I’m not sure if I have done the most laps, I am sure SVG (Shane van Gisbergen) had done a few as well, but it has been awesome to race here at every event.”
Australian TCR driver
“It all comes down to this weekend at Mount Panorama. I’m really pumped for it, and hopefully wrap up the championship,” said D’Alberto.
“There’s lots of competition and some really good rivals, but we’ll be giving it our best.
“I don’t think we need to do anything different this weekend. We’ve been doing a great job all year, and that’s whey we are in this position. I’ll keep it simple, full attack, go for it and hopefully that’s enough.
“This is a great place. We love coming here. There’s no complaints from us drivers. The TCRs are amazing around here and as drivers we love driving around here, but especially these TCR cars. I can’t wait for it.”
French TCR driver
“It’s a great place. I’m enjoying being here. I love the atmosphere and I’m looking forward to the weekend,” said Teddy Clariet.
“It’s an impressive track. Lots of blind corner. It seems fast and really tricky. I have a lot of respect for this track and I will try and do the best for myself.
“The TCR World Tour is coming next year. It’s a great idea, and this is certainly a place that this championship has to go. This is a wonderful place. It will be important for the World Tour to come to this track. Everyone knows Bathurst, and if you are doing an international touring cars race, you have to do it here.”
Prince Jefri Ibrahim
Malaysian GT driver
“It is really awesome to be back here at Mt Panorama,” said Prince Jefri Ibrahim.
“The last time I raced here was in the 12 Hour and to be back in Bathurst is just a different feeling every time you are here. It is such an awesome track, full of history and cool cars running around, so I really can’t wait for the event.
“With the GT Endurance championship, first of all, I have to just try to win the race. If we do that, then it is a bonus. I am not too focused on the championship, I want just have a good race, try to be fast out there and hopefully do the best I can.
“Yes I think it is crucial to get as many laps as I can before the next 12 Hour. Bathurst especially as it is only available to us a few times of the year. So this weekend will be good prep for next year. I am trying to make the most out it and learn as much as I can … and hopefully improve.”
American Trans Am driver
“Mount Panorama is something else. It’s a type of track I have never experience in my life,” said Noaker.
“I’ve done two track walks, and the second time was just as shocking as the first. There’s no other track on the planet that is like this. The difficulty, the length of it, the turns, the walls. It one heck of a track.
“I’ve done a bunch of sim laps, but that isn’t going to equate to much once you get on track.
“There is just so much to it, so forget conquering it. It will take enough just to get around one lap. Every race will be about consistency and building up. I wasn’t to finish every single race, have I’m really looking forward to it.
“Compared to some American tracks, I can see some similarities to VIR (Virginia International Raceway) with the esses going up the hill, but that track has nothing on the elevation that this place has.
“I’d like to say that Bathurst is a combination of VIR and Laguna Seca, but with walls all around the place. And then you have the animals that can venture onto the track too!”