WhichCar
Powered by
  • WheelsWheels
  • MOTORMOTOR
  • 4X4 Australia4X4 Australia
  • Street MachineStreet Machine
  • Trade Unique CarsTrade Unique Cars

Jenson Button’s unofficial Bathurst lap record was wild

By Cameron Kirby, 13 Oct 2020 Motorsport

Jenson Button’s unofficial Bathurst lap record in an F1 car is wild

Mount Panorama witnessed the fastest ever lap of The Mountain in 2011, and it was epic

This weekend the boys and girls of the Supercar field are setting blistering times as part of the Bathurst 1000.

But almost ten years ago, Bathurst witnessed a lap that is unlikely to be matched for a very long time, and certainly not by a beloved Supercar touring car.

Vodafone brought Jenson Button and a Formula 1 car to Mount Panorama for a special showcase in 2011 – during which, Button set one of the all-time great laps of the circuit.

MORE Why the Bathurst 1000 doesn't sell cars

Coming in at 1:48.8 the McLaren-Mercedes MP4-23 Formula One car lap shattered all before it.

Oh, and Supercars legend Craig Lowndes was only a second slower than Button around the same track – in his first ever steer of an F1 car.

The fact Mount Panorama operates as public road for most of the year caused some problems for Button and the F1 car.

“I could hardly turn the wheel coming into the turn [for Conrod Straight] and it was a bit scary down the straight with it being so bumpy,” he explained at the time.

No one before or since has completed a lap of The Mountain quicker. However, it is only an unofficial lap record.

MORE A brief history of riots at Bathurst

An oft misunderstood quirk of motorsport lap records is that in order for them to count, they have to be performed under racing conditions.

This means quick laps from practice and qualifying are not counted, nor are those clocked during showcase events such as the one Vodafone put on in 2011.

Shane van Gisbergen is the fastest man around Mount Panorama under race conditions, setting a 2:01.567 lap during the 2016 Bathurst 12 Hour – which he and teammates Alvaro Parente and Jonathon Webb won outright.

However, Christopher Mies is the official outright record holder, setting a 1:59.2910 during a Challenge Bathurst event in 2018, driving a derestricted Audi R8 Ultra GT3 car.

Challenge Bathurst is a time-attack event that essentially turns a qualifying session into the race - hence Mies' time being counted as the fastest official lap around Mount Panorama.

The rules were changed by Motorsport Australia soon after this to limit lap records to those set during a 'traditional' race.

MORE The best (and worst) attempts at the Bathurst 1000 by international drivers

On top of that, neither of those time are the quickest for a car with a roof. That honour goes to the Brabham BT62, which set a 1:58.69 with Luke Youlden at the helm during exhibition laps at the 2019 Bathurst 12 Hour.

Curious what the road car lap record is? Bernd Schneider piloted a Mercedes-AMG GT R to a 2:16.5 lap in 2017. This is officially recognised as the Mountain’s production car lap record.

The current Supercar record is a 2:04.7602 set by Chaz Mostert in 2019, but everyone remembers Scott McLaughlin's 2:03.3783 that was set during the Top 10 Shootout (but later scrubbed from the record books because of an engine

To put the speed difference into perspective, the F1 car would almost lap the GT R after about five tours around the circuit.

But forget all that. Turn your speakers up and enjoy the sounds of a V8-powered F1 car ripping round Mount Panorama.

 

What would you like to see complete a lap of Mount Panorama?

Sign-up here to get the weekly Wheels highlights