UPDATED: Australian GT to race as part of 2020 Bathurst 12 Hour
By Mat Coch
Wednesday 9th October, 2019 - 4:35pm
The Australian Endurance Championship has released a three event 2020 calendar featuring the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour.
Set to begin as part of the 12 Hour weekend at Mount Panorama, the series will then move to Phillip Island in March and culminate with an event at Sandown in August.
The AEC event will take in the entirety of the event, having taken in only the opening hour during Australian GT’s last appearance with the 12 Hour in 2013.
Both the Phillip Island and Sandown events will be four hour races, the series reverting back to the traditional format after experimenting with a three-part race at Sandown last month.
In that instance, it was hoped dividing the race into effectively three sprint events would attract more entrants, and open it up to cars that would otherwise be unable to compete due to the refuelling requirement and associated costs.
However, it resulted in a field of just four GT3 cars, three GT4 cars, and the balance of the 12 car field made up by Invitational entries.
For 2020, the AEC will revert to endurance style racing, bringing it back in line with feedback received from a competitor survey conducted earlier this year.
Phillip Island will host an ‘Australian GT Festival’ event in March before the championship concludes at Sandown.
Shannons Nationals this year held its Sandown event in September, having previously hosted a round in April, with the date not expected to change for 2020.
Attempts by Speedcafe.com to contact Australian GT to clarify which platform the event would be run on were unsuccessful, however it’s been confirmed that Sandown currently has no motorsport bookings during August.
It’s understood the Shannons Nationals had planned an event on the August 21-22 weekend, but that tentative date has changed in the last week.
“We’re excited by what the coming season has to offer, off the back of a championship which very much followed the traditional path set over recent years,” said category manager David Vervaart.
“The motorsport landscape around the world though is changing, requiring a new approach, whilst we’re also well aware of the current economic climate, so to address much of that, we have condensed the endurance program and included the 12 Hour to allow Australian GT teams an opportunity to gain additional value and important points towards the overall Australian Endurance Championship title.
“As has been the case across the modern history of the CAMS Australian Endurance Championship, the title will be contested by the outright GT3 class, with awards too for Trophy Class, Invited Cars and the emerging GT4 category, however the GT4 category will only be contested over the Bathurst 12 Hour weekend, and the Sandown event in August.”
The category has not released details of the Australian GT Championship, which has traditionally included the Australian Endurance Championship within it.
It was proposed to teams at a meeting in Phillip Island that the season begin with an event at The Bend in support of the Asian LMP3 Cup event, a proposal rejected by teams who felt it interfered with their preparations for the Bathurst 12 Hour.
It’s also understood Australian GT will not feature at the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix, with S5000, TCR Australia, Porsche Carrera Cup, and Supercars already confirmed on the support bill.
Australian GT has featured at the Grand Prix for the last four seasons and was targeted by organisers again for 2020.
2020 CAMS Australian Endurance Championship
30 Jan.-2 Feb. Bathurst 12 Hour, NSW
20-22 March, Phillip Island, Victoria (4-Hour)
21-22 August, Sandown, Victoria (4-Hour)
Based on information provided to Speedcafe.com, an earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the Australian Endurance Championship event would only contest part of the Bathurst 12 Hour, which has now been corrected.