French star Premat withdraws from Bathurst

Former winner Alex Premat has withdrawn from his year's Bathurst 1000 due to travel restrictions.
Former winner Alex Premat has withdrawn from his year's Bathurst 1000 due to travel restrictions.

French driver Alex Premat has been forced to pull out of December's Bathurst 1000 due to COVID-19 related travel restrictions.

The 38-year-old, who won the 2019 Great Race alongside Scott McLaughlin for DJR Team Penske, has been a regular co-driver at Mount Panorama over the past decade.

Premat was slated to drive with Tickford Racing at Bathurst after missing out on his debut with the ex-Ford factory team last year due to the pandemic.

Despite the looming prospect of international travel to NSW resuming, Premat said the logistics around a trip to Australia from his US base were just too challenging to overcome.

"Unfortunately between commitments I have in the US and difficulties with travelling into Australia we couldn't put things together and make it work, which is a shame," Premat said.

"Hopefully next year I can finally come back to Bathurst."

Premat's withdrawal means development series driver Zak Best will make his Supercars debut in the 1000km endurance classic.

Best will race alongside Jack Le Brock, who recently announced the season finale will be his final race for Tickford, with Jake Kostecki to replace him in 2022.

Previously announced co-drivers James Moffat and Thomas Randle will race with Cam Waters and James Courtney respectively.

Moffat, the son of four-time Bathurst champion Allan, is excited about partnering Waters who claimed pole position before finishing second in last year's race.

"He's certainly been one of the in-form drivers this year and seems to really have the car working well, which is great to see," Moffat said.

"We've shared the car a couple of times this year at test days and have worked things out, so we're feeling comfortable and confident heading to Bathurst."

Randle will warm-up for his debut full-time season in Supercars next year with what will be his third Bathurst 1000.

This year's race, delayed due to NSW's coronavirus outbreak, will be staged on December 5.

Australian Associated Press