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The Ultimate Guide to Mount Panorama Bathurst

While it may sit nestled in a picturesque rural setting, Mount Panorama in Bathurst, Australia, is not your typical racetrack. What makes it truly unique is that for most of the year, it functions as a public road where regular road rules apply. 

Imagine driving down a track that is 6.213 kilometres long, with 2-way traffic and a speed limit of 60 kilometres per hour. Mount Panorama presents a thrilling challenge to racing enthusiasts and everyday drivers alike.

At first glance, Mount Panorama may appear to be an ordinary road, but it transforms into a legendary racing circuit. The track elevates 174 metres from Pit Straight’s bottom to Skyline’s top, providing an exhilarating ascent and nerve-racking descent for every driver. It’s important to note that the direction of travel is anti-clockwise during races, with the long straights and open stretches allowing for an average speed far in excess of any other circuit in Australia. 

Let’s take a deep dive into the unique spectacle that is Bathurst’s Mount Panorama Racing Circuit. You’ll quickly see why so many people jump at the opportunity to drive the track with Fastrack Experiences, the only company with Motorsport Australia accreditation to provide V8 drives and hot laps on this iconic road circuit.

What sets Mount Panorama apart from other racetracks?

The allure of Mount Panorama lies not only in its challenging track but also in the harmonious integration of homes, wineries, function centres, sporting clubs and wildlife. This unique combination in the kangaroo-filled green paddocks, native forest, provides scenic viewing locations for spectators, creating a laid-back atmosphere of excitement from the moment the MOUNT PANORAMA rock sign becomes visible on the imposing slope.

Over 30 private residences are scattered around the circuit inside and outside its boundaries. 

The Mount is also a hub for various local sporting associations, including the Sporting Shooters Association, Bathurst Rifle Club, Bathurst Gun Club, Panorama Motorcycle Club, and the renowned Bathurst Light Car Club.

A visit to the National Motor Racing Museum is a must for motorsport enthusiasts looking to delve into the rich history of Australian racing. Located on Murray’s Corner, this museum showcases an impressive array of motorcycle and car racing memorabilia nationwide. It’s a testament to the enduring legacy and passion that surrounds Mount Panorama.

Panorama section specs

With a circuit length of 6.213 kilometres, Mount Panorama offers a thrilling and challenging track for even the most experienced racing drivers. Notable sections include the 1.9 kilometre-long Conrod Straight, where professional drivers exceed 300 k/hr, and the 1.1-kilometre-long Mountain Straight, which is fiercely contested to get the inside line on turn 2 to climb the mountain. Standing at an impressive 862 metres above sea level, the track’s highest point named ‘Brock’s Skyline’ after the legendary V8 driver Peter Brock, provides truly breathtaking views if you’re brave enough to take your eyes off the road.

It’s worth noting that Mount Panorama no longer hosts motorcycle races due to safety concerns. Unlike traditional racetracks, this circuit lacks extensive run-off areas for accidents. The tight corners and close barricades create a high-risk environment for motorcyclists. 

Mount Panorama’s diverse range events 

Motorsport enthusiasts from around the world head to Mount Panorama every year for the five exciting events, which provide a ‘closed circuit’ on the otherwise public road:

    1. Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour (Feb)

The Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour is an internationally acclaimed endurance race. This event brings together a diverse field of FAI GT3 sports cars and is regularly the first round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge, showcasing high end European GT cars and the skills of renowned international and Australian Supercars drivers. Four teams in 2023 completed a stunning 323 laps, equating to an incredible 2007 kilometres, navigating the demanding circuit at an average speed of 167 km/hr… for 12 Hours… wow! You can even get hot laps at Bathurst with John Bowe, the only driver that has won the Bathurst 12 Hour three times through Fastrack Experiences.

    2. Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour (Easter)

The Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour is a thrilling endurance race that attracts a wide range of mainly Australia production-based vehicles. Teams compete over six hours, strategizing and battling for supremacy on the iconic circuit. This popular event attracts many current and former Supercar drivers driving both Australian and international manufactured vehicles and with over 60 cars on the starting grid, it makes for an action-packed spectacle. 

    3. Repco Bathurst 1000 (Oct)

The Repco Bathurst 1000 is the pinnacle of Australian motorsport and one of the world’s most iconic and viewed touring car races. This legendary event sees teams compete in a gruelling 1,000-kilometre race around Mount Panorama. Organised by the leading Australian V8 category, the Australian Touring Car Championship, V8 Supercars and now Supercars Australia, the ‘Great Race’, like the ‘Melbourne Cup’, is a must-watch event in Australia with the running in 2023 set to celebrate the 60th year of the Bathurst 1000.

    4. Supercheap Auto Bathurst International (Nov)

The Supercheap Auto Bathurst International features an exciting mix of categories and disciplines, including TCR Australia, S5000 open-wheelers, Touring Car Masters, and more. This event provides a platform for established and up-and-coming drivers to showcase their skills on this iconic circuit.

    5. Challenge Bathurst (Nov)

Challenge Bathust is the ‘grass roots’ event at Bathurst, designed specifically to allow experienced motorsport competitors and owners of performance road registered cars to drive at Bathurst. Since commencing in 2016, the event is regularly oversubscribed, as track time to drive and practise at Bathurst is very limited. It attracts over 400 racing cars each year and in 2019, the outright lap record of 1:59.2910 was clocked by Christopher Mies in an Audi R8 GT3 in the Challenge Bathurst Supersprint. 

Gran Turismo 6

While not an actual event at Mount Panorama, the inclusion of Mount Panorama in the popular racing video game Gran Turismo 6 has further elevated the track’s global recognition. Motorsport enthusiasts and gamers alike can experience the virtual thrill of racing on this challenging circuit, replicating the real-life excitement of Mount Panorama from the comfort of their own homes.

The record holders

Mount Panorama has witnessed numerous remarkable laps throughout its history in addition to Chris Mies’ ‘official’ lap record at Challenge Bathurst.

Vodafone’s unforgettable promotion in 2011 put F1 Champion Jenson Button behind the wheel of a McLaren MP4-23, driving the first F1 car on the Bathurst circuit. He clocked an impressive time of 1:48.88, and to the delight of Aussie fans, V8 Champ Craig Lowdnes jumped in the same car and clocked a lap only one second slower, proving his capability as a driver and the value of ‘local’ knowledge. Similarly, on 2 February 2019, Luke Youlden achieved a remarkable time of 1:58.694 in a Brabham BT62, but this lap also falls outside the official record due to the non-competitive nature of the run.

Before the circuit changed in 1987, the fastest lap on the pre-1987 layout was recorded by Neil Allen in 1970. Driving a McLaren M10B-Chevrolet, Allen set a time of 2:09.7, showcasing the incredible speed and skill of Formula 5000 drivers during that era.

Mount Panorama has also seen significant milestones in achieving 100 mph laps:

  • In 1967, Kevin Bartlett became the first driver to accomplish this feat, recording a lap time of 2:17.7 in a Repco Brabham BT11A during the Easter meeting. Bartlett’s achievement was rewarded with 25 bottles of champagne. He lowered his lap record to 2:17.4 the same weekend winning the NSW State Road Racing Championship earning an additional 100 bottles of champagne.
  • In 1982, Allan Grice set the first 100 mph lap in a touring car (under Group C regulations) during qualifying for the James Hardie 1000. Driving a V8-powered Holden VH Commodore SS, Grice achieved a time of 2:17.8. At the 1986 James Hardie 1000, Grice once again made history by setting the first 100 mph lap in a Group A touring car. Piloting a Holden VK Commodore SS Group A, he recorded a time of 2:16.16 during official qualifying.

Want your own ultimate driving experience at Mount Panorama Bathurst?

Fastrack Experiences gives you the opportunity to get behind the wheel for V8 drives and hot laps on the challenging 6.2 km iconic Mount Panorama road circuit. Simply head to our Bathurst page, choose your experience, and get ready for the thrill of a lifetime on this legendary track.

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