As seen on:

SMH Logo News Logo

Call 1300 303 181

Australia’s Best New Car News, Reviews and Buying Advice

Just How Long Can 24 Hours Be?

The Bathurst 1000 is very popular and is the place to go to see the best of Ford (OK, FPV) and Holden (HSV) in action on the track–you don’t need me to tell you that. But for two years (2003 and 2004), Mt Panorama was the site of another tough auto race – the Bathurst 24 Hour. This was Australia’s attempt at joining the ranks of the most demanding type of endurance auto race.  You think it’s tough going around the Mt Panorama circuit for 1000 km (161 laps of tricky track)? Try going around it for 24 hours non-stop, which is four times, more or less, the time needed by the V8 Supercars to get around the 1000 km.

If you want to have a go at watching (or driving in!) a 24-hour auto race, you’ll have to head offshore to places where the tracks aren’t limited to the Fords and the Holdens.  A number of other places in the world have these 24-hour endurance tests, and they might be worth adding to the bucket list of a motoring enthusiast.

24 Hours of Le Mans: This was the original 24-hour race, and they’ve been taking place on this very famous track since 1923.  The original idea was bred in an era when other races were just trying to get faster and faster – as something new, the focus was on how long the car could keep going without breaking down.  Porsche has been the dominant marque in this one.

24 Hours Nürburgring: A biggie that’s been about since the 1970s, and this year’s race was held not that long ago (25th/26th June).  A Porsche 911 GT3 RSR scooped the big prize and set a new record for the number of laps completed.  The winner wasn’t the only Porsche of note in the race: a Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid generated a fair bit of media interest, especially as this car shows just how fast and powerful hybrid cars have become.  Some news outlets got a little disgruntled as to how this hybrid vehicle had a few restrictions placed on the design of its air intake, which reduced its performance somewhat – conspiracy theory, anybody?

Dubai 24 Hour: A newcomer to the scene that started up after the Bathurst 24 Hour collapsed.  This one has a number of classes, each of which allows different types of car to race. If you want to see a car just like your mum’s Honda Jazz compete on the international circuit, you watch the A1 Class. If you like watching something bigger and more powerful, then the A5 and A6 classes for you. Other quirky classes include D1 (diesel only with up to 2000 cc displacement) and SP4 (hybrid and electric cars only).  The most recent Dubai 24 Hour was won by a BMW Z4. The Dubai 24 Hour is one of the easier races to get into, as anyone can register and have a go, as long as they have a team and the dollars to do so, and the race organisers welcome amateurs, especially in the A1, A2, A3T and D1 classes (sound like you? – find out more at the official site).

2CV 24 Hour Race:  The quirkiest of all the endurance races, this one is only open to these classic Citroëns.  It’s held in Norfolk in England.  No prizes for guessing which type of car wins these ones.  The next one’s due in August 27/28, so if you’re likely to be in England at this time of the year, put it on your calendar (or at least some of it on your calendar).