Production car racing at Mount Panorama is but a distant memory, and production new cars rarely translate well from public road to racetrack – with the exception of these few models.
It’s a simple list: we’ve gathered up five new cars available to buy off the showroom floor that we’d love to punt around the mythical 6.2km circuit.
With 20 turns and an astonishing 174 metres between its highest and lowest points, this western NSW track has no time for cars with excess flab, rubbish brakes or a front end anything less than pin-pointy. Yet on the big climb you also need power and correct gearing.
So meet our top five then feel free to argue (like how there isn’t a Holden and Ford in sight).
1. Ferrari 458 Speciale
They’re almost, almost gone, giving way to the turbocharged 488 GTB that replaces the 458 range. This is the definition of mid-engined balance, track finessed. Howling grunt at the rear – all 445kW in a 1395kg package – matched by a front end so delicate and precise you could punt the Speciale through The Esses while housing a violinist in the front boot playing every note perfectly. Price: $635,000 (but sadly sold out).
2. Porsche GT3 RS
We can only imagine the 368kW 4.0-litre atmo flat six wailing towards 9000rpm up through the Cutting towards Skyline, seven gears packed tighter than flat-pack furniture inside the dual-clutch transmission. Giant 325mm-wide rear tyres and monster carbon ceramic discs team with a stripped-out 1420kg kerb weight – less than a base Commodore – means the rear-engined supercar will slither through The Esses and Forest Elbow before attempting to nail its 310km/h top speed on Conrod. Price: $387,300.
3. Jaguar F-Type V8 R Coupe
Okay, we’re getting a bit silly here, but stay with us. The F-Type isn’t what you’d call the most finessed performer dynamically – it’s more sit behind a rocket launcher and hold on. Just like Brocky in the wet across Skyline, though, you’d be a bloody crowd favourite. Now with AWD, you can deploy the 404kW/680Nm 5.0-litre supercharged V8 with aplomb while still getting silly-squiggly and a little bit hairy everywhere. Price: $242,280.
4. Renault Sport Megane 275 Trophy-R
If the F-Type is a big yahoo around the Mount, then this is your surgeon’s scalpel – a GT3 RS condensed. Fastest front-wheel drive car around the Nurburgring is one for the hot-hatch believers. Weighing 1297kg and with 201kW, 360Nm, Brembos, Ohlins dampers and sticky Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres at your disposal, the Megane will feel tighter and more lithe than any lardy AWD competitor, like the 1515kg WRX STi and 1435kg Golf R. Price: $61,990.
5. Fiat 695 Biposto
It will feel like you’re sitting in a cinder box and it could swap ends on you at any point when driving it. However the baby 997kg hatchback gets a dog-ring gearbox and no air-conditioning, a digital data logger and carbon-shell seats with four-point harness. It gets adjustable race suspension and Brembo brakes with beefy 305mm perforated front discs. Driving it at the Mount would be a riotous, go-kart-good time. Price: $65,000.