Discussions underway for WTCR round at Bathurst
The WTCR could add Bathurst to its calendar in the future, with discussions between the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport and WSC about an Aussie round already underway.
CAMS, the local governing body, is in discussions with global TCR promoter WSC about bringing the World Touring Car Cup to Australia "in the near future".
It's understood that Bathurst is the preferred destination for the proposed Aussie round, which opens the door for WTCR to be part of a pitch from Australian Racing Group – which promotes the new TCR Australia series – to secure the new fifth slot at the Mount Panorama circuit.
CAMS CEO Eugene Arocca confirmed that there have already been discussions with WSC boss Marcello Lotti about bringing WTCR down under, and hinted at Bathurst being the target circuit.
"That's our ultimate objective, to get to a point where we can have an international round here in Australia," said Arocca. "And you probably know where we'd like to do it...
"I mean, you want to create that aspiration for the local drivers to be able to sort of see the way forward. The whole charm of TCR is you want to get into a car in the next country, in the next region, or go into Europe.
"At the moment we think that that international appeal is critical – for both Australia and for the category.
"We've got a great relationship with Marcello. And I was there at that very first meeting where we met with them and I've been in Milan and met with them again and they're very excited about what we're doing in Australia.
"And I would think that if we continue this trajectory, we've talked to him, we've already planted the seed, and he's already raised it with us.
"So for us we're just letting it build its momentum and letting it fall into place. I personally expect that that support is there."
ARG non-executive director James Warburton added that Bathurst would be a fitting addition to a global TCR schedule that already includes great circuits like Macau, Spa-Francorchamps and the Nürburgring Nordschleife.
He also says grouping with the four existing WTCR races in Asia – a region he desperately tried to penetrate while CEO at Supercars – would make sense.
"You could see Bathurst, in particular, being a global, landmark event, just as we have Spa and Macau as other great examples," said Warburton.
"We need to look at what makes sense in the calendar. I've always been passionate about Asia, and I think that's a really important step for us to think about how we can dovetail with Asia."
Hopes of a WTCR round in Australia aren't pinned entirely on the fifth Bathurst event tender, however, with Arocca also highlighting the new Tailem Bend circuit as an option.
"We can't talk about the [Bathurst events] contenders for obvious reasons, because we have to respect the process," he said.
"But, you know, we're very vocal about our ambitions to be a WTCR round somewhere along the way, and there's some great circuits in this country. Tailem Bend , that's one of the best circuits in the southern hemisphere, if not the world.
"So for us it's just about continuing that sort of overt discussion about wanting to have an international event.
"Whether it's Bathurst, Tailem Bend, Phillip Island... to be honest I don't care. The reality it is we want it to happen at some stage in the near future."
Other bidders for the fifth Bathurst event include Supercars, which is understood to be planning a Goodwood Festival of Speed-style event, and Creventic, which promotes 24-hour races around the world, as well as the TCR Spa 500.
Zandvoort WTCR: Bjork wins after late-race team order
Global TCR boss calls for standalone Bathurst race