Herald Sun - Motoring - - Carsguide Confidential - Twit­ter: @PaulWardGover

CRAIG Lown­des, Rick Kelly and Shane van Gis­ber­gen should be at Bathurst this week­end.

The V8Su­per­car stars were red-hot to run against the world’s best GT teams and driv­ers in the Bathurst 12Hour and they are not alone.

The new­est long-dis­tance clas­sic on the global mo­tor­sport cal­en­dar is filled to ca­pac­ity and the cars are as tasty as it gets, in­clud­ing Bent­ley, McLaren, Fer­rari and Porsche.

But pol­i­tics has over­ruled com­mon­sense and, in­stead of head­ing the line-up for a race on Sun­day that prom­ises to be an ab­so­lute cracker, the V8 driv­ers have been forced to drive in a pre-sea­son test at Syd­ney Mo­tor­sport Park

The date clash is de­lib­er­ate and has as much to do with tele­vi­sion as rac­ing.

The 12-Hour is on Chan­nel 7 and the V8Su­per­car test is on TEN and Fox­tel.

No-one from V8­Su­per­cars wanted their mar­quee driv­ers to be strut­ting their stuff on a ri­val net­work, par­tic­u­larly at the start of a new sea­son with a fresh tele­vi­sion deal about to fire up in the new TENFox­tel part­ner­ship. And with Fox­tel try­ing to sign mo­tor­sport en­thu­si­asts to their new cut-price monthly sports pack­age.

The orig­i­nal clash be­tween the two events was a one-day over­lap and it would have been sim­ple for driv­ers to cover com­mit­ments at both. They could have qual­i­fied at Bathurst on Fri­day, tested at Eastern Creek on Satur­day, then raced at Mount Panorama on Sun­day.

Even when V8­Su­per­cars stretched their event to both days it would have been pos­si­ble, us­ing a he­li­copter, to race the first and last stints at the 12-hour. Lown­des and Kelly were both keen to do it that way. But V8­Su­per­cars stip­u­lated that all driv­ers had to be at their event, all week­end. Game over.

It’s a ridicu­lous sit­u­a­tion and the losers are the driv­ers and — far more im­por­tantly — the fans.

Bathurst ac­tion: Nis­san GT-R Nismo GT3 at Mount Panorama

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