Bathurst 12 Hour rejoins Intercontinental GT Challenge in 2022
The Bathurst 12 Hour Intercontinental GT Challenge round is set to go ahead next March after its COVID-19 enforced cancellation this year.
The Australian enduro has been given a March 20 date for 2022, six weeks later than its traditional calendar slot on the first weekend of February.
IGTC boss Stephane Ratel said on the announcement of the date during his eponymous organisation's annual press conference at the Barcelona GT World Challenge Europe round on Sunday: "It is later than usual, but it should give teams more time to prepare and, of course, the travel situation it is improving in Australia.
"We are very confident that it will be possible to travel to Australia by the end of March."
He added that he was "very pleased" to announce the return of an event that was one of the founding blocks of the IGTC along with the Spa 24 Hours back in 2016, describing the race as a "very important event on our calendar".
Ratel said that the Bathurst fixture's go-ahead remained "subject to travel restrictions being eased by the time of the event, as is widely expected".
A 14-day period of quarantine is currently required for arrivals into Australia from overseas.
A four-round schedule has been announced for the 2022 IGTC without a round in Asia, following the cancellation of the Suzuka 10 Hours in 2020 and '21.
"We won't go to Japan next year, because there are still quite a lot of uncertainties about Asia," he explained.
Ratel had previously outlined a desire to return to Suzuka, which joined the IGTC schedule in 2018.
"It is a fantastic event and we would love to go back," he told Motorsport.com last month.
Ratel had looked at replacing Suzuka after its cancellation this year, but he explained that his organisation had decided it "wanted to do the race at Suzuka or not at all".
For next year, he said on Sunday, "we will stay focussed on what we have rather than trying to replace it".
The Spa, Indianapolis and Kyalami rounds in their traditional calendar slots make up the rest of IGTC calendar in 2022.
2022 Intercontinental GT Challenge calendar
20 March Bathurst 12 Hour (AUS)
30/31 July Spa 24 Hours (B)
9 October Indianapolis 8 Hour (USA)
26 November Kyalami 9 Hour (SA)