Expanded free TV coverage of Bathurst 1000

The free-to-air coverage of the expanded 2021 Bathurst 1000 weekend will be extended to four days.

Expanded free TV coverage of Bathurst 1000

Traditionally, at least during the Fox Sports era, the FTA broadcaster has carried coverage of Friday-Sunday of the Bathurst weekend, while Thursday has been exclusively on Fox.

However with this year's event expanded to six days to accomodate a number of Australian Racing Group categories, the Seven Network is set to begin its coverage on the Thursday rather than the Friday.

The Great Race itself is also set to start later than ever, with an early afternoon start time likely to help create a prime time finish.

Supercars CEO Sean Seamer confirmed both the expanded FTA coverage, and the prime time finish, which Seven has moved its 6pm news bulletin for, in an interview on the Supercars Facebook page today.

He also suggested the Fox coverage will be five days which, if accurate, means Tuesday's running may not be on screens at all.

"Five days will be broadcast live and completely ad-free on Fox, and then we'll be picking up Channel Seven on Thursday and Friday for the lead-in to the weekend," said Seamer.

"The Supercars schedule over the weekend hasn't changed significantly, other than finishing the race a little bit later one the Sunday so that we can run into prime time. A big thank you to Channel Seven for agreeing to move the news to incorporate that.

"All of the other categories in the lead-up to the weekend will be getting their practice and qualifying out of the way, so by the time we get into Thursday it's going to be action-packed all the way through to 7pm on Sunday night."

Expanding on the later start, which is likely to be 12pm, Seamer said potential issues with time certainty and fading light had been discussed by series officials.

The Bathurst 1000 has traditionally not been subject to a time certain finish like other races are.

“We’ve worked through all of that,” he said.

“All we’ve done is shift the schedule back, so it’s no different to what it would have been anyway.

“And, like I say, Channel Seven have done a really good job to move the news.

“It’s all about daylight and safety. Given it’s December – now that I’ve said it, it’s probably going to rain – but given it’s December, we should be pretty comfortable about the weather.”

Hot weather could also be an issue thanks to the December date for this year's Great Race, however that's an issue Seamer says the later start will help with.

“It’s something that we we’ve discussed as we went through,” he said.

“Actually, the later start time of the race that we’ll have on the Sunday puts the drivers… if you look at the average temperature over a six-hour period, it’s actually better for them to start a little bit later and finish a little bit later.

“There’s a lot of work going on behind the scenes – different teams been testing different coolsuit systems over the course of this year – and the feedback that I’ve had from all the teams is that they’re certainly comfortable with it.

“It’s something that we also discussed with Jamie Whincup, who’s on the Commission, so I think the latest start helps, and I think we’re ready to get going.”

The Bathurst 1000 event will run from November 30 to December 5.

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