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Special Event Guide: The iRacing Bathurst 12 hours

One of iRacing’s largest yearly GT3-only special events, here’s everything you need to know about the Bathurst 12 hours.

The Bathurst 12 Hours race is one of the premier endurance races held yearly on the iRacing simulator. This special event replicates the real-life event held at the legendary Mount Panorama Circuit in Bathurst, Australia, which is known for its challenging layout with steep elevation changes, narrow sections, and the iconic mountain section.

This guide covers everything you need about the GT3-car  specific Bathurst 12 Hours in iRacing, including the event schedule, race format, cars and strategy tips.

When is the Bathurst 12 hours held?

The Bathurst 12 Hours in 2024 is scheduled for the 23rd, 24th and 25th of February 2024. As usual, there are four starting times to accommodate drivers in all time zones:

  • The late Friday GMT fixture is ideal for drivers from North and South America as it will take place during the day
  • The early morning GMT splits are ideal for drivers in the Asian/Australasian regions
  • The 12 PM slot will be when the pro spilt race will take place, so if you are not participating and wish to spectate, this is the slot you’ll need to keep in mind. Less experienced drivers may want to give this time a swerve as it will be by far the most populated.
  • The later splits are also handy if you suffer a technical problem or crash out from an earlier race, giving you a second chance to complete the contest.  

What is the Mount Panorama Circuit?

The Mount Panorama Circuit, often referred to as Bathurst, is one of the world’s most challenging race tracks. The venue is 6.213 kilometres long and features significant elevation changes, with a difference of 174 meters between its highest and lowest points.

The most notable sections of the Mount Panorama Circuit are:

  • ‘The Dipper’ and ‘The Esses’: These sections are notorious for their steep drops and challenging turns. ‘The Dipper’ is a steep, twisting downhill section that demands precision and control, while ‘The Esses’ involves a sequence of fast left-right turns leading into ‘The Dipper.’
  • ‘McPhillamy Park’ and ‘Skyline’: This section at the highest point features a blind crest where cars go light as they come over the hill, adding to the challenge for drivers.

The Mount Panorama Circuit is known for hosting many motorsport events, including the Bathurst 1000 for V8 Supercars and the Bathurst 12 Hours for GT cars. Its challenging layout and unique features demand a high level of skill, concentration, and precision from drivers.

What license is needed to race?

You need a minimum C-level road racing license to participate in the Bathurst 12 Hours and register for this event as a team that includes at least two drivers. iRacing will assign your team a split according to the total road racing iRating of the team. Each split includes 50 cars.

The event features an eight-minute qualifying session to determine the starting grid for each split. The qualifying session allows drivers to record two fast laps. Only one driver from each team can qualify, but the driver who starts the race can be different from the qualifying driver.

The race begins with a rolling start procedure at 5:00 AM sim time. As in the real-life Bathurst 12 Hours, the start and approximately the first 30 minutes of the race is before sunrise.

The Cars

The Bathurst 12 Hours is the GT3 class-only event. The line-up includes all GT3 cars available in iRacing, with their performance adjusted by the custom balance of performance (BoP) rules.

Make sure to keep note of each car’s engine layout; car characteristics are typically more pronounced at Mount Panorama due to the track’s high level of risk and engine placement significantly affects this.

CarEngine
Ferrari 296 GT3Mid-engined
2.9-litre V6
Turbocharged
McLaren MP4-12C GT3Mid-engined
3.8-litre V8
Turbocharged
Mercedes-AMG GT3 2020Front-engined
6.3-litre V8
Naturally aspirated
BMW M4 GT3Front-engined
3.0-litre straight-six
Turbocharged
Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO IIMid-engined
5.2-litre V10
Naturally aspirated
Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EvoMid-engined
5.2-litre V10
Naturally aspirated
Ford GT GT3Mid-engined
5.0-litre V8
Turbocharged
Porsche 911 GT3 R (992)Rear-engined
4.2-litre flat-six
Naturally aspirated
  • If you need setups for this event, Coach Dave Academy has you covered regardless of the GT3 car you prefer. Check out Coach Dave Academy’s iRacing setup subscription that includes setups prepared for the Mount Panorama circuit for all popular GT3 cars.

Race strategy

Tyre strategy

Track conditions in this event change significantly during the 12 hours, affecting tyre wear. 

The race starts in the morning, with track temperatures between 20-30 degrees Celsius. The track is the fastest during this period and the tyre wear is the lowest in the first stint. After sunrise, the track temperature quickly increases to 50 degrees and peaks at roughly 15:00.

You should preserve your tyres more when the track is hotter because tyre wear is higher during the day. Although you should not double-stint the tyres in this race, some tyre saving improves consistency and race pace during one stint, especially if you have chosen to be more aggressive on your suspension geometry setup.

Fuel strategy

Fuel strategy depends on the car you drive and your race pace. As a general rule, manage your fuel consumption to achieve at least one hour per stint because you will not need to splash and dash at the end of the race, assuming no incidents and repairs.

The simple way to calculate target fuel consumption is to look at your average race pace. If your average lap times are 2:06, you must drive 29 laps every 1-hour stint. For the Ferrari 296 GT3 with a 104-litre fuel tank, the target fuel consumption for the race is 104/29 = 3.58 litres per lap.

Summary

The Bathurst 12 Hours race is a challenging event that tests sim racing drivers’ skill and concentration. Surviving the steep elevation changes and narrow sections of Mount Panorama Circuit during the endurance race takes a lot of setup work and practice.

If you need help to prepare for this event and gain an edge against the competition, explore Coach Dave Academy’s setups, video guides and coaching.

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