BATHURST is firming as the future home of a new-age Australian motor show.
After two unsuccessful attempts to revive a show in Melbourne last year, and another planned for Sydney later this year, the organisers of the Bathurst 12-Hour race can see the potential for a show capitalising on the mountain’s attraction.
They are considering expanding their three-day race weekend into an event with track time, interactive events, car club displays and a manufacturer-backed car show.
The model for the show, tweaked for Australia, is the Goodwood Festival of Speed in Britain. In recent years it has expanded from a display of historic racing cars on the grounds of a stately home into a massive new-car event including a rolling motor show on the Goodwood course.
“I think the opportunity for us with the 12-Hour is to start to create something for people who love cars,” says 12-Hour event director John Casey. “Bathurst is an amazing, iconic place. It works so well. And we have a very strong partner in the Bathurst City Council.”
Casey says the track could be closed from Wednesday of the 12-Hour week to make time for the public to drive the track, either in their own cars or as a unique new-car test drive.
This year’s 12-Hour was spun off into drive time for brands including Audi and Subaru. Mercedes-Benz also has used Mount Panorama for an AMG customer drive event.
The new concept would put the shows on before the race weekend to build excitement.
“There is huge growth potential,” says V8 Supercars CEO James Warburton. The touring car organisation bought the 12-Hour rights and ran it for the first time last weekend. “It’s about the entire entertainment package.”
The next step is to assess the potential for visitors to Bathurst and see what can be lifted from Goodwood.
“Mount Panorama is an amazing place to bring cars, display cars, look at cars and watch cars racing,” says Casey. “Goodwood is an extraordinary event. I’d never be so conceited to say that we could do that but as a target I don’t think we could do any better.”
Touring car team boss Roland Dane has been to Goodwood many times and is also a Bathurst supporter.
“Next year we want even more. We can do a rolling motor show,” Dane says.