The Bathurst 12 Hour is quickly gaining popularity around the world. Here are some quick facts about the race, and tips for watching.
- The Bathurst 12 Hour takes place in Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia. The circuit's official name is Mount Panorama, though it is colloquially known as Bathurst, and those who are really in the know simply call it "The Mountain".
- Bathurst is actually a street circuit, and rivals La Sarthe in character. It is actually fairly narrow, and any mistake will be costly. Its unique character as a non-urban street course is what creates the comparison to La Sarthe, and contributes to its acceptance as one of the best street circuits in the world.
- Speaking of getting it wrong: it's not unheard of for a kangaroo to take a car out of the race. Welcome to Australia.
- The 12 hour has been around since the early 90s, but took a long hiatus before coming back in 2007. Since its comeback, interest in the race has grown year after year, and it now regularly fields 50+ car entries. International touring car stars now regularly take part on the grid alongside the usual crop of V8 Supercar regulars. Your favorite driver wants to race at Bathurst.
- The #b12hr is a full race weekend, and features great support races before the main event. The support races really show Australia's dedication to continuing to race vintage machinery, even in major competition. You'll see cars like late-model Ford Falcons, BMW 2002s, and Toyota Corolla AE86s scoot up and down the mountain in heats that are sure to be just as dramatic as the full 12 hour race. The live stream should include some of these supporting races. See below for scheduling info.
- Because the sequence over the mountain is so demanding on brakes, it is not unheard of for cars to take new pads in the 6-8 hour mark, a full 3-4 hours before brakes would be needed in an endurance race at most other circuits.
- The 12-hour race entries are headed by top-of-the-line GT3 machinery. The cup class features various Porsche 911 cup cars. The invitational class has treats that only Australia would get, like V8-powered Ford Focus and Mazda 3 race cars.
- You can watch the live stream of the race right on the Bathurst 12 Hour website. Qualifying streaming starts on Saturday, February 6th at 12:30pm local time, which is Friday the 5th, 8:30pm Eastern time, race start is at 5:45am local time on Sunday morning, 1:45pm Saturday afternoon Eastern.