THE Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship will return to the Bathurst Motor Festival in 2013, having featured as an undoubted highlight of the 2012 Event.

This year’s Bathurst Motor Festival marked the first time that ‘wings and slicks’ open wheelers had raced on the iconic Mount Panorama circuit since the late 1970s, and the first ever for the international F3 cars that race for Australia’s CAMS Gold Star award.

A dramatic weekend saw British driver James Winslow take the weekend, whilst Queenslander Chris Gilmour famously set the new outright lap record of the 6.213km circuit at a stunning 2m04.6187s.

The Mountain proved no issue for the two-litre, 540kg racers; the class featuring competitive racing across the weekend.

“It is great news that Formula 3 will be heading back to Bathurst,” 2012 winner and newly crowned two-time Aussie F3 champion James Winslow said.

“It was a highlight of my season to be able to win at Bathurst in one of the best racing cars in the world. It was an incredible weekend that showcased how good these cars are and how suited the track is for our kind of racing.

“I don’t know what I will be racing – or where in the world I will be doing it – next year, but I’m going to make sure I can get back in a car at the Bathurst Motor Festival so I can defend my Bathurst crown.”

After a ‘toe in the water’ exercise in 2012 – following a lengthy process working to enable the category to compete there in the first place - Formula 3s Management will work to grow their Bathurst round into the marquee race of the season.

The series is working to attract a bigger grid, as well as instigating a race format that mirrors major international F3 ‘marquee’ Events like the Macau Grand Prix.

“2012 was the first step for the category at Bathurst – in 2013 we will grow the round and turn it into one of the key Formula 3 rounds in Australia,” Formula 3 chairman and R-Tek Team Owner Ian Richards said.

“Now we have shown what the category is capable of, we are working to make it bigger and better than ever. The interest created by our role at the Bathurst Motor Festival this year was superb and we hope to grow that in the future.

“The Motor Festival is a great fit for the category and we enjoyed being part of the Easter long weekend festivities. I know I speak for all our teams when I say we can’t wait to come back.”

The 2013 Bathurst Motor Festival will be held across three days on the Easter long weekend, March 29-31.

Formula 3 will be joined by NSW Production Touring Cars, Formula Vee, Production Sports Cars, NSW Road Racing Club and Porsche Club NSW regularities.

A seventh category will be confirmed soon to complete an action-packed program.