Mount Panorama is Australia’s premiere International racetrack. It is (was) FIA sanctioned and has hosted just about every discipline of racing including Touring cars GT, club level GT3, Hillclimb, MotoGP and some entry level openwheeler classes. In the past it’s also hosted (essentially) LM class racing (Bathurst 24 winners were re-bodied Corvette C5 Le Mans cars). The outright lap record is held by a Formula One car, but you’ll never see F1 take place there as the track is far too undulating for Formula cars.
It’s also a public road. Because Australia.
The most well-known racing series that runs on Mount Panorama is the V8Supercars series. In the current calendar it’s a race weekend in the season – the Bathurst 1000, which is 161 laps, takes a whole day and is an annual pilgrimage for Australia’s Munters, Pissheads, Bogans and women named Shazza.
Although I do have a tendency towards beer and yobbo-ism I don’t identify as a Bogan myself, but the Supercars series is one of my favourites.
The cars themselves I never really liked – well, the cars they’re based off at least (domestic built Holden’s and Fords) but the racing is great. It’s not as clinical as Formula and not as calculated as LM. It’s just good, honest, blue-collar racing on a fun track.
“The V8’s” as they’re known colloquially used to be factory cars, straight off the showroom floor (run by works teams even). Around the mid 2000’s the series went to a format of silhouette racing (90% shared parts between all cars and teams). The long standing rivalry between the two marques continued, but much to the annoyance of many Internet Forum Keyboard Warrior, the arguments over who made the better car was always pointless because really It came down to who’s wing mirrors and boot lid was faster – that was about all that was carried over from a road car once the rules changed.
(As a last say in the aforementioned argument though it was Ford. Because they made the 2005 Ford GT and a Ford is a Ford. So shut the fuck up).
Cars aside the reason I enjoy Bathurst is because it’ pretty savage. It starts off as technical car racing and there’s energy and focus, but by the end of the day it’s devolved into bashing each other for pole and has gone from a section-by-section race to a brutal war of attrition.
It really embraces its own identity, like a lot of things Australian, it unashamedly knows what it is. A comparison is the Melbourne Cup horse race. The day starts off with hair and makeup done, sophistication and canapes, but quickly devolves into larrikinism and drunken fighting in cheap polyester suits. This Google Image search sums it up nicely.
You do you girls
Driving at Bathurst
Bathurst is also a public road, and this means you can drive your own car on it anytime there isn’t a race on. Don’t be fooled though, this isn’t a Nurburgring where you pay 20 Euro’s to drive as fast as you want. The track is two way traffic and strictly 60 kilometres an hour (it is free though).
I have driven it privately at speed for a couple of laps in the middle of the night. That was thanks to the generosity of Bathurstwines.com.au, so you should buy a bottle of their Port, it’s great.
(No it genuinely is, it’s a really smooth and the spirit doesn’t overpower the wine.)
You can go there anytime there isn’t a race on, but I’m told it’s a licence to print money by the police who hang out there on a daily basis to hand tickets to would be racers.
Next: Driving fast at Bathurst.