The second Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships event for 2022 has arrived with the Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour officially underway.
Over the next three days, more than 250 cars spread across six categories will battle it out at the famous Mount Panorama and celebrate the Easter holiday period in style.
Of course, while there is an impressive collection of national categories on show, including the Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series and the Turtlewax TransAm Series – all eyes will be on the popular six hour race on Sunday.
A record field of up to 70 cars will line up on Sunday morning at 11am AEST with six hours and around 120 laps separating teams from glory in the biggest production car race on the Australian calendar.
The race has grown significantly over the past few years and the proof of its rise in popularity and notoriety isn’t just in the amount of entries it welcomes, but in the talent taking part.
A huge list of 160 drivers will have the responsibility of steering those 70 cars during the feature race and amongst them are names familiar to all motorsport fans.
Headlining that list are a handful of Repco Supercars Championship stars, including Tim Slade, Anton De Pasquale, Will Davison, Will Brown and the most recent addition in Nick Percat, who was a late replacement for Shane van Gisbergen.
In addition to drivers from Australia’s premier championship is a collection of notable individuals from other national categories.
Aaron Cameron, Tony Quinn, Garth Walden, Dylan O’Keeffe, Ben Bargwanna, Tony D’Alberto, Tim Brook, Cameron Crick, Thomas Sargent, Jayden Ojeda and Grant Denyer are just some of the names who are entered.
Then there are the individuals who have made a name for themselves in Production Car racing and this race alone, including Iain and Grant Sherrin, Beric Lynton and Tim Leahey, Adam Soole and of course the reigning champions in Shane Smollen and Rob Rubis.
While the big race is occurring on Sunday, it won’t be the only time the cars will take centre stage with two practice sessions to be held on Friday.
A third practice on Saturday morning sets up a double qualifying run with the top half and bottom half split for the session, before the cars get one last dress rehearsal on Sunday morning ahead of the main event.
Crews in the 6 Hour will no longer just be battling it out for bragging rights either with winners now to be immortalised through a newly-constructed display area.
Located in front of the iconic Peter Brock statue, located adjacent to Murray’s Corner, the Bathurst 6 Hour winners for each year will now have plaques laid in their honour at the display.
Last year’s victors were the first to be formally presented with their plaques as part of the launch for a new ‘legends walk’ in front of the National Motor Racing Museum.
With Bathurst Mayor, Cr Robert Taylor presenting the duo with their plaque and teammate Shane van Gisbergen sent his, Smollen was thrilled to have been included.
“It was a pleasant surprise, we thought we were yesterday’s heroes.” Smollen said.
“It’s been a great honour with the Mayor, it’s nice to sit back and reminisce about last year and look forward to this weekend.
“This is grassroots racing but it’s an important race with such a big field, it’s what the people want to see; real cars, great range of drivers and it’s going to be a great experience.”
The Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour takes place at Mount Panorama on 15-17 April with the main event to run from 11am on Sunday.