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V8 Supercars, Bathurst 12 Hour: The 'Unavoidable' Calendar Clash Photo:
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Trevor Collett | Sep, 14 2014 | 12 Comments

The V8 Supercars (V8SC) series this week scheduled its season-opening test session at Sydney Motorsport Park for the weekend of February 6-8 2015; the same weekend as the Bathurst 12-Hour.

The announcement, which came months after the 12 Hour dates were confirmed in February, saw angry fans of both codes declaring the move a deliberate stunt to damage the endurance event's success.

The Bathurst 12 Hour is now at risk of losing a significant portion of its audience, along with a number of key drivers that compete in both series.

Attendance at the V8SC test session for full-time V8SC drivers is ‘compulsory’, meaning those who choose to follow the rules will be ineligible to enter the 12-Hour.

Current V8SC drivers Shane Van Gisbergen and Will Davison finished in the top-four at the 2014 12-Hour, while fellow V8 pilot Craig Lowndes was part of the race-winning Ferrari team.

If the pre-season test or Bathurst 12-Hour date is not revised, all three (and potentially others) may be absent from the 2015 12-Hour grid.

The clash may also create a ‘two places at once’ headache for the likes of Erebus Motorsport, who have already entered two cars in the 12-Hour and have another two competing in V8SC.

Drivers have been understandably cautious when commenting on the situation, and it remains unclear if any will ‘seek leave’ or boycott the test session in favour of the 12-Hour - risking potential ramifications from the V8SC governing body or their V8SC sponsors.

The Bathurst 12-Hour and the V8SC pre-season test have both formed part of the summer motorsport calendar in Australia for several years, but this is the first time the two events will clash.

In a twist, however, V8SC issued a secondary statement following the announcement of its 2015 schedule - pointing the finger at 12-Hour organisers and claiming the date-clash was "unavoidable".

V8SC claims to have recently approached 12-Hour organisers with the offer of a ‘mega’ weekend of motorsport at Mount Panorama, where the pre-season test and the 12-Hour would be run on the same track over the same weekend.

While this would surely whet the appetite of an Australian racing fan, clashes over track times, pit facilities and more importantly - the three television networks involved with each sport - seem inevitable.

Coverage of the V8SC series in 2015 will shift from the 7 Network to a joint deal between Network Ten and Fox Sports.

7, however, announced in June that it would fill some of the void from its missing motorsport by providing full coverage of the 2015 12-Hour; split between 7 and 7-Mate.

With both Fox and Ten also planning to cover the pre-season V8SC test session, a television ‘truce’ between all parties that could break the date-deadlock seems unlikely.

So why is the February 6-8 weekend so valuable? Summer 2015 in Australia will be a busy one sport-wise, with finals for both the Australian Open tennis and Asian Cup soccer scheduled for the weekend before (January 31 - February 1).

The weekend after February 6-8 sees the start of the 2015 Cricket World Cup, with matches to be shared between Australia and New Zealand.

Therefore both V8SC and the Bathurst 12-Hour are keen to make the most of the otherwise ‘quiet’ weekend nestled between these international sporting tournaments, and neither is likely to agree to a new date.

Watch this space…

MORE: Bathurst 12-Hour News | V8 Supercar News
MORE: Racing News

 
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