Bathurst Is Go!
While reporting on one great 24 hour race, the marvellous news arrives that another is secure for November: the third annual Bathurst 24-Hour motor race will go ahead at Mount Panorama on 19-21 November, following an agreement between event founder PROCAR Australia and the Bathurst Regional Council.

The race is again expected to attract a big field of GT sports cars and touring cars from Australia and overseas.

Organisers are due to invite entries in the next few weeks, once the 2004 event regulations have been finalised.

Meanwhile, PROCAR representatives will be in Germany this weekend to contact potential entrants at the Nurburgring 24-hour race, on which the Australian endurance event is modelled.

Bathurst 24-Hour competitors will be among the first to take advantage of a new pit and paddock area, currently being built as stage one of a $24 million redevelopment of the historic Mount Panorama public road circuit.

The agreement to stage the Bathurst 24-Hour, confirmed yesterday, could see the newly-created Regional Council step up its role from controlling the circuit hire to becoming the event coordinator.

The Council, an amalgamation of the former Bathurst City and Evans Shire Councils, currently is preparing budgets for the event including a determination on the most viable television broadcast option.

Bathurst Regional Council Administrator Kath Knowles said the Council and PROCAR “have come together to sort out a list of priorities to ensure the event has every opportunity of success.

High on the list is working out a beneficial broadcasting arrangement and that will be crucial to the outcome of a successful event,” Ms Knowles said.

PROCAR Chairman Ross Palmer, whose idea it was to create Australia’s version of the famous 24-hour races at Le Mans, Daytona and the Nurburgring, said he was delighted the event would continue under the guidance of the Bathurst Regional Council.

“The Bathurst 24-Hour has enormous potential not only as a motor race, but also as a significant boost to tourism and economic growth in the New South Wales central west,” Palmer said.

“It’s appropriate with these benefits in store and major infrastructure investment under way that the Council should take a greater role.

“I have every confidence the third Bathurst 24-Hour will be the best yet.”

The Mount Panorama pit and paddock area was levelled immediately after last year’s 24-Hour and contractors now are making good progress on the new building.

Over the next week, construction up to the first floor above all 36 pit garages will be completed.

“The interesting part of this construction is that while it may look far from complete on the outside, an incredible amount of work has now been done on major electrical and telecommunication systems,” Ms Knowles said.

“So far over $1.3 million in underground electrical and over $1 million in hydraulic and fire systems have been installed, bringing the new complex up to current international safety standards."

This was the scene three weeks ago.


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