Anyone who gets a rush of blood around October in the lead to the Annual Great Race should be beside themselves with anticipation right now, you see, on Tuesday (March 22) Team Vodafone will be at the mountain for a few flying laps.
But this is not just Team Vodafone – This is Team Vodafone 888 Racing AND Team Vodafone McLaren.
That’s right, a V8 Supercar and a Formula 1 car both at the mountain.
If you’re within cooee of the Mountain (and by that, I mean if you live within let’s say 4 hours drive) this is a must see.
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A Gold Coin donation to the QLD and VIC Flood relief appeals on the day will get you into the circuit for what will be something very very special.
Sure, we’ve all seen V8’s darting around the track – but how on earth will an F1 car even make it around?
Remember Mark Webber driving his Williams across the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 2005? I do, I was there, and it was amazing, the sound and the sight were something to behold.
However one important thing on the day everyone noticed were the issues with the road surface on the bridge. This is one heck of a bumpy surface, with road joins and things all across.
On that day, the ride height was increased and a few dry runs were done before a couple of full bursts.
So, what can we expect on Tuesday. Well, firstly, the weather forecast is not looking good – and if it’s wet, can we really expect Jenson Button to have it flat to the floor – I doubt it. Could he still beat Craig Lowndes own 2010 fastest ever lap time of 2.06.8012 – but then we’ll be left wondering – what could he do on a dry track?
Regardless of the weather, and despite Mt Panorama’s 6.213km’s being a well laid race surface, the challenges presenting the Vodafone McLaren F1team are enormous.
The camber on some of the corners, in particular across Skyline, the Dipper and Forrest’s Elbow will present some serious issues, even if the ride height is at its absolute maximum. I dare say the barge board underneath will get a workout no matter what the case.
Bathurst Council have advised that both the top of the mountain and Pit Straight spectator areas will be open to the public.
I’d expect the Chase to be off limits for safety reasons though.
Action on Tuesday gets underway around 11 with Jenson Button in his F1 car on track for 5 laps at 11.21.
Following that, Craig Lowndes will take his V8 Supercar out for a shakedown and 3 lap demonstration at 11.44am.
Then the driver swap begins, with Jenson Button taking the wheel of the Vodafone 888 Car for 4 laps around the mountain at Midday, before Craig Lowndes has what will be one of the greatest experiences of his life, Driving the Vodafone McLaren F1 car around Mt Panorama for 5 laps at 12.22pm.
If you’re making your way up there, Jenson and Craig will be in the Pit Straight/Harris Park area around 12.50pm for autographs and the like.
If you can’t make it, the pictures on the TV that night will be worth watching.