FACT FILE: THE 2023 HI-TEC OILS BATHURST 6 HOUR
The Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour has quickly established itself as one of Australia’s largest motorsport events.
First run in 2016, it has become a modern-day classic where Australian motorsport’s weekend warriors get the opportunity to go head-to-head with some of Australia’s best drivers.
Last year saw Cameron Hill and Tom Sargent put on an incredible display that saw them go from 63rd to 1st in one of the greatest performances ever seen at Mt Panorama, sealed with a stunning move from Hill on Tim Slade at Skyline with 20 minutes to go.
They joined a list of winners that includes several names familiar to Supercars fans.
Chaz Mostert won the first 6 Hour in 2016, Paul Morris won in 2017, and Shane van Gisbergen won in 2021, all driving BMW’s.
The Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour is run for 3E Production cars that are split among eight classes as follows:
CLASS X – “Ultimate Performance” – The fastest cars in the field, categorized by price and performance potential. Primarily the domain of BMW’s ‘M’ Cars, the M3 and M4. Cost cap is $150K.
CLASS A1 – “Extreme Performance, Forced Induction” – The next-fastest cars in the field powered by engines that are either turbocharged or supercharged. Think Mitsubishi Lancer Evo, Mercedes AMG A45, Turbo BMWs and Audi TT’s.
CLASS A2 – “Extreme Performance, Normally Aspirated” – As with A1, but these things run without additional Boost. The domain of Ford Mustangs / Falcons and HSV Commodores.
CLASS B1 / B2 – “High Performance Forced Induction / Normally Aspirated” – as per Class A1 and A2, but for cars of a lower performance level. Instead of HSV GTS, Think SS Commodore.
CLASS C – “Performance” – Performance Sports Cars, Hot Hatches and similar, this is where the Renault Megane RS, Mazda RX8, Astra Turbos and similar reside.
CLASS D – “Production” – A broad range of sporty road cars priced when new around the $30-$50k mark, including the ultra-popular Toyota 86, Mini Cooper S and similar.
CLASS E – “Compact” – Little Hot Hatchbacks make up the ‘baby’ car class in the race.
Teams are only allowed to use two or three drivers per car.
Drivers have a maximum allowance of three hour’s continuous driving time, and no more than three and a half hours’ total driving time across the whole race, and must also be out of the car for more than an hour before they can jump back in.
Each car must undertake a specific number of compulsory pit stops (CPS) depending on what class they are entered in as follows:
Class X: 6 CPS
Class A1/A2/B1: 4 CPS
Class B2/C/D/E: 3 CPS
The CPS window opens 30 minutes after the start and closes 30 minutes before the finish of the race.
The race starts at 11:45am and finishes one lap after 5:43pm.
This year’s Bathurst 6 Hour field features no shortage of star power from Australian motorsport.
Arguably the biggest name in the field is 2-time Supercars champion and NASCAR Cup Series race winner Marcos Ambrose, who makes a celebrated return to Bathurst in a Class A2 Ford Mustang
Class X features three Supercars stars in separate BMW’s, with Will Davison, Anton De Pasquale and Thomas Randle all contenders for outright victory.
Reigning TCR Australia champion Tony D’Alberto is also in Class X, driving a HSV GTS.
Names like Seton, Miedecke, Bargwanna, and Quinn all appear on the grid through second and third generation drivers.
Motorsport legend John Bowe also makes an appearance in his final full-time season driving a Ford Falcon GT-F in Class A1.