The Bathurst 12 Hour is riding the global boom in GT sports car racing, which has hit a sweet spot of affordability and appeal.
GT racing is affordable to manufacturers, which can sell racing versions of their premium road-going sports cars to wealthy "gentlemen" team owner-drivers and make – or, at least, not lose – money.
The appeal is the diversity of makes competing internationally in the GT3 class, which despite its nomenclature is the top level of production car-based sports car competition.
GT3 has attracted exotic marques – Ferrari, Lamborghini, Aston Martin, Jaguar, Bentley, Audi, McLaren and Porsche – and a prosaic car brand, Nissan.
Add equally ordinary makes Chevrolet and Ford in the closely related GTLM category – LM for Le Mans, competing in the GT class of the eponymous 24 Hours classic, the World Endurance Championship and major American sports car racing – and GT racing worldwide is in rude health.
In recent years, the Bathurst 12 Hour has grown from a local production car endurance race to a blue riband long-distance event on the international GT calendar.
Its overseas fame has been fuelled by the Mount Panorama circuit, one of the world's classic tracks.
The challenging nature of 6.2-kilometre track – rated alongside the full Nurburgring course in Germany and Spa-Franchorchamps in Belgium as one of the greatest – has drawn increasing international interest in the 12 Hour. "In Europe, everybody talks about it," said Germany's Florian Strauss, co-winner of last year's race at his first attempt with Nissan.
Next Sunday's race is the first leg of the new Intercontinental GT Challenge, linking it with the Spa 24 Hours and Sepang 12 Hours in Malaysia.