Australian Racing Group won the rights to a fifth Bathurst event last year, its bid centred around an international TCR endurance race.
The first Bathurst International was then locked in for this November, the two-driver TCR race set to be supported by a first Mount Panorama appearance for the V8-powered S5000 series.
However the onset of the pandemic saw the face of the event change, the TCR enduro replaced by sprint races as it became clear international teams and drivers wouldn't be able to make the trip.
The ARG-run Bathurst 6 Hour, which was postponed from its usual Easter date, was also added to the Bathurst International schedule.
Even that plan has now been scuppered by ongoing border closures thanks to the recent Melbourne outbreak of COVID-19, ARG and the Bathurst Regional Council deciding to postpone the Bathurst International until late 2021, and focus on running the 2021 Bathurst 6 Hour next Easter.
“It is obviously very disappointing to postpone the inaugural running of the Bathurst International,” said ARG CEO Matt Braid.
“No stone was left unturned in the attempt to hold a viable and top class motorsport event, however the border restrictions that our competitors faced made it an impossible situation.
“We have waited as long as practical to make this decision but we needed to consider local businesses, competitors and their families, our volunteers and other service providers and provide a timely decision so as not adversely impact their families, their plans or incur unnecessary costs.
“This event was not based around a singular product but a wide and varied motorsport entertainment package which involved over 2000 people attending before the inclusion of fans, families, friends, sponsors, service providers, event staff and broadcast personnel. To deliver an event of this magnitude required it to be delivered in the right way and in the current environment that is just not possible.
“ARG and its team has now turned its full attention to the 2021 Bathurst 6 Hour, and we can’t wait to showcase a great production car race along with other exciting categories, live and free with our broadcast partner Seven, in April next year.”
Bathurst mayor Bobby Bourke added: “While it is disappointing this year’s Bathurst International will not proceed, the current COVID-19 restrictions made it difficult to bring a full field of competitors together for the inaugural event.
“We look forward to 2021 and Mount Panorama hosting the first Bathurst International and bringing the excitement of this planned new event to Bathurst.
“Council went through an extensive process to select a new fifth event for Mount Panorama and we can’t wait to see the event come to life next year.”
Refunds for tickets and campsite bookings will be processed within the next couple of weeks.
The postponement of the Bathurst International puts both TCR Australia and S5000 at risk of not racing at all this year, Motorsport Australia's December double-header at Sandown likely to be the final opportunity to get on track.