RECORD AUDIENCES have watched a record-breaking Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour Event in 2014.
While the most competitive field yet assembled for a 12-hour race at Mount Panorama producing a stunning day-long dogfight and the closest ever race finish, an estimated audience of more than half-a-million people in 150 countries watched, interacted with or read about the race across the day.
Many more watched the dramatic qualifying battle for the inaugural Allan Simonsen Pole Trophy and the packed support race program on Saturday.
The Event will return on the same weekend next year, with February 06-08 confirmed as the dates of the 2015 Event today.
26,131 people - up nearly 4,000 on 2013 - attended the three-day Event this year, including a race-day attendance of more than 10,000. Sweltering conditions above 35 degrees (C) did not deter the strong crowds.
Live TV coverage on SBS ONE of the dramatic final three hours saw more than 220,000 people tune in - delivering a truly national audience. Replays scheduled for SBS and SPEED TV Australia will deliver further reach in coming weeks.
The live internet stream was viewed by more than 80,000 unique visitors on race day alone and was accessed in 150 countries with Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Germany and the United States the biggest markets.
Including the three days since the race concluded, the full race has now received more than 270,000 views on the live site.
Nearly 250,000 visits were recorded to the official Bathurst 12 Hour website with more than 650,000 pages accessed throughout the race - website traffic up more than 200% on the equivalent day during the race in 2013.
Event organisers have vowed to continue to deliver market-leading live and free internet coverage for the race in coming years having been one of the first Events of its type to embrace the technology several years ago.
The official race ‘hash tag’, #B12hr, trended in Australia for much of the race and also in the United States for the first time – during the exciting race finish.
More than 150,000 read or interacted with posts on the official Event Facebook page whilst ‘Craig Lowndes’ – the popular race winner – was still trending on Monday morning following his incredible maiden 12-hour victory the evening prior.
On track records were smashed as some of Australia’s best pilots went head to head with the top GT drivers from around the world.
The Maranello Motorsport Ferrari 458 driven by Craig Lowndes, John Bowe, Mika Salo and Peter Edwards edged out the German-entered HTP Motorsport Mercedes Benz SLS AMG driven by Maximilian Buhk, Thomas Jaeger and Harold Primat by just 0.4 seconds at the end of a thrilling race.
Ferrari, Mercedes Benz, McLaren, Audi and Porsche were all represented in the top 10 at the end of the day.
Race records included the most laps completed in a 12-hour race (296 / 1839km), Most cars on the lead lap at the finish (5), closest margin of victory, largest number of different leading cars throughout the race (8) and a new outright Mount Panorama lap record set by Shane van Gisbergen.
Event Director James O’Brien said the growing on-track competition was driving the off-track interest.
“Every year the field gets stronger and the public have made it clear that they want to see the best cars, drivers and teams going head to head on the Mountain. They certainly got that this year and we are very pleased with the early numbers coming through from all the different mediums where people can watch the race unfold.
“We have had several international teams tell us that they will be back, and we expect more to come.
“As an Event we are continuing to develop and grow year on year and we will continue to work on improving every aspect of the weekend.
“We have already put plans in place to improve access to spectators on Sunday morning after several missed the start while queuing to purchase tickets. We will improve the promotion of our excellent online ticket booking service to make sure people can get tickets early – but we’ve listened to feedback and will improve the product for those purchasing at the gate.
“We welcome that kind of feedback as we aim to be the most fan-friendly Event of its type in Australia.
“Our thoughts are already on 2015 and we are excited to retain date equity and return to the Mountain on February 06-08 next year.”
Event officials congratulate the race and class winners from this year and thank them for putting on a brilliant show – and also thank the incredible group of volunteer officials who supported the weekend.