FOR the first time since 1996, Bathurst's Mount Panorama is set to host two Supercars events in one season - that's according to a leaked copy of the provisional 2021 schedule.
Leading Australian motor sport magazine Auto Action obtained a copy of the provisional schedule - one which is expected to be made official later this week - and as had been widely anticipated, Bathurst has been given two rounds.
For the first time a Supercars season is set to open at Mount Panorama, with the Bathurst 500 pencilled in for February 26-28.
The exact format of that event is yet to be confirmed, but is expected to feature twin 250 kilometre sprint races.
Supercars Supercars chief executive officer Sean Seamer had hinted that the Mount would host the 2021 season opener after this year's Bathurst 1000.
"I wish everybody a good time, get home, get home safely, and enjoy some down time with your families and we'll get back here to Bathurst in February," he said.
Mount Panorama will also host the Bathurst 1000 in 2021 and the leaked schedule has it remaining in its traditional timeslot - it will run October 7-10.
As was the case this season, it is expected the Bathurst 1000 will again act as the standalone Supercars endurance round.
Though South Australia's Tailem Bend circuit had initially been tipped to hold a 500km Enduro Cup round, last week it was confirmed it will instead host a SuperSprint event from May 7-9.
Instead the Perth SuperNight at Wanneroo Raceway and a round in Auckland are expected to bookend the 161-lap epic at Mount Panorama.
The 12-round season is set to finish with the Gold Coast 600 - a two 300km race format - from December 3-5.
While the dates on the leaked calendar are provisional and may be altered, the twin Bathurst events appear to be a lock.
It would mark the first time twin rounds have been staged at the track - not including 1997-98 when there was both a V8 Supercars and Super Tourers version of the 1000 - in 25 years.
In 1996 the third round of the then Australian Touring Cars series was held at the Mount, with a three 10-lap race format.
John Bowe made a clean sweep of all three races in his Dick Johnson Racing Ford Falcon EF.
The Bathurst 1000 that year was held as a standalone, non-championship round, and it marked Craig Lowndes' first success in the endurance epic.
He and Greg Murphy narrowly beat out the Shell Racing entry of Dick Johnson and Bowe, while third that year belonged to Tony Longhurst and Steven Ellery.
"We had a great lead in to the Sunday and the actual race started when I started the race, I was having a great battle with Alan Jones," Lowndes recalled.
"He actually passed me, went up through turn two and the engine caught fire. I radioed to the guys that AJ was on fire.
"We put Murph on slicks on our first rotation, the track wasn't quite dry, but he complained for the first couple of laps but we got to the chequered flag.
"It was the first time we'd won the race both for Greg and I and also the team, so it was amazing.
"We actually returned back to the circuit the next morning because the team thought it would be great to have a media call, but both Greg and I weren't in a shape to be able to do that."
PROVISONAL 2021 SUPERCARS CHAMPIONSHIP
- February 26-28 Bathurst 500
- March 18-21 AGP
- April 10-11 Symmons Plains
- May 8-9 Tailem Bend
- May 29-30 Winton
- June 19-20 Darwin
- July 9-11 Townsville
- August 20-22 Sydney Motorsport Park
- September 11-12 Wanneroo
- October 7-10 Bathurst 1000
- November 6-7 Auckland
- December 3-5 Gold Coast