Bathurst 12 Hour unlikely to revert to one-lap shootout

The Bathurst 12 Hour

The Bathurst 12 Hour

The Liqui Moly Bathurst 12 Hour is unlikely to revert to a traditional Top 10 Shootout following this, the second year of the two by 15-minute format.

Organisers made a late change to the programme last year with the one-lap dash, a shootout as Australian motorsport had come to know it, replaced by a pair of 15-minute sessions for the bottom and top 50 percent of the top 10 qualifiers.

Then, the event took place in May, making for an unseasonably cold Bathurst 12 Hour, and the pre-heating of tyres had been banned.

While the latter remains the case, the 2023 edition of the Mount Panorama GT3 enduro is back in its customary early-February date, and hence ambient is materially higher.

However, while organisers are open to the idea of restoring the traditional Top 10 Shootout format, there is enthusiasm for the current system.

When asked about the matter by, Event Director Shane Rudzis cited the fact that the event’s Pirelli tyres take multiple laps to bring up to optimum temperature, unlike the Dunlops which Supercars use, and hence the probability of faster times by giving drivers more than one lap to warm up to their ultimate qualifying lap.

“There’s been discussion raised for a long time about that and what keeps coming back is, the Pirelli tyre is not going to warm up [in one lap],” he explained.

“We want to make sure we get the fastest times possible. With the one-lap warm-up and out you go, the tyres aren’t up to optimal temperature, is what they’re saying.

“It was pretty effective last year; it worked well. I think we’ll run it again this year, see how it goes in a normal kind of event, and then we’re open to change as we go through.

“The likes of SRO [organiser of the Intercontinental GT Challenge, of which Bathurst is Round 1] think it’s fantastic that we’re doing new ideas and doing new things, so they’re open for us to do it.

“I think we’ll see how it goes this year and if it’s as effective as last year, we’ll keep doing it.”

Rudzis is hopeful that the weather conditions seen so far this weekend will translate to some very fast qualifying times this afternoon.

“I just think the top 10 For Bathurst 1000 is definitely great, it’s iconic, with the pressure of one driver when you don’t make a mistake,” he continued.

“There’s equally as much pressure with this but the good thing about this is those tyres get up to speed, we can hopefully see a time like Gizzy’s [Shane van Gisbergen] from a few years back.

“What everyone’s said this weekend, the temperatures we’re at, we could be seeing a really good time this year.”

The two-part ‘shootout’ means that the grid for tomorrow’s once-around-the-clock race will be set in four steps.

In Qualifying – Part 1 (Q1), all but the Pro class cars take part, although only the official ‘Drivers 3 and 4’ in the Pro-Am cars and below (those being the lower-ranked drivers in the respective entry) may take part.

In Qualifying – Part 2 (Q2), the Pro class cars also join. Pro class entries must have at least two of their drivers set a time in the session, while Pro-Am and below are permitted only to use the official ‘Drivers 1 and 2’ (the higher-ranked drivers in their respective entries).

From there, lap times are added up to determine an aggregate for each car in order to set a provisional starting grid.

For a Pro class car, the fastest two times of each driver’s fastest time are added; for a Pro-Am class car and below, its fastest time from Q1 is added to its fastest time from Q2.

Once that list is drawn up, the top 10 progress to the ‘shootout’, the results of which are determined by fastest lap time for each car, noting that a car in the bottom 50 percent part of the shootout may still qualifying on pole.

Before then, Practice 5 takes place from 08:35 local time/AEDT.

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