The Pit Straight
The Pit straight of Mount Panorama, which is adjacent to the pit complex, has a different start line and finish line. For the standing start only, the start line is 143m closer to Hell Corner so that all the pit bays are located after the finish line for lap counting purposes. The start line is located where it is so that traffic does not go too far around Murray’s Corner when the start grid is formed.
The common misperception of nomenclature due to the accidents that happen at this turn are widespread. Hell Corner was so named after the tree stump that existed on the apex of turn one, it was believed that any motor bike riders who hit the stump would die in an act of folly and thereby be doomed to an eternity of death having no time to repent of their sin.
Mountain Straight is a long straight that begins the climb up the mountain towards Griffins Bend. V8 Supercars reach speeds up to 250 km/h (155 mph) as drivers race over the crest immediately prior to braking for Griffins Bend. In the days before modern aerodynamics, drivers would have to lift off the throttle to prevent becoming airborne over the crest halfway up the straight.
Also known as GTX Bend (the corner’s first sponsor), Griffins Bend was named after the Mayor of Bathurst whose vision it was to create the scenic road/race-track. Drivers heading around this right-hander have to be careful not to drift too far out of this negatively-cambered turn and hit the wall upon exit.
Referred to for many years as “BP Cutting”, this is a pair of left hand corners, leading into a steep 1:6 grade exit. Overtaking is virtually impossible here, and it is very hard to recover from a spin here because of the narrow room and steep gradient. This corner was the location of the infamous ‘race rage’ incident between Marcos Ambrose and Greg Murphy, after Murphy and Ambrose collided when both drivers refused to give the other “racing room” during the 2005 Supercheap Auto 1000, Ambrose’s last before he moved to the United States for racing. Murphy then disappeared into a resident’s house to view the replays on TV before returning to the pits.
After exiting the Cutting, drivers have a right hand turn, heading up, then into a left hand turn. This is Reid Park. The most famous incident in the history of the Bathurst 1000 was here when Dick Johnson crashed his Ford Falcon in the early laps of the 1980 Hardie-Ferodo 1000 race avoiding a large rock that had fallen from the spectator area. The car was destroyed, taking with it Johnson’s means of supporting his racing ambitions. An emotional public appeal followed during the race’s telecast which re-launched Johnson’s career and restored flagging public interest in touring car racing.
After Reid Park, drivers brave a steep drop, flowing into a climbing left hand turn, heading back towards the highest point of Mount Panorama. This is also the location of Sulman Park and its Nature Park. Jason Bright crashed here in his Ford Falcon in practice during the 1998 FAI 1000, then saw the car rebuilt in time to scrape into qualifying in the dying minutes before Bright and Steven Richards went on to victory. This corner was also the scene of a shocking crash in a support race in 2006 that claimed the life of Mark Porter.
McPhillamy Park is a downhill, deceptively fast left hand turn which is guarded by a crest prior to turn-in, rendering the corner blind to approaching drivers. Drivers have to stay close to the wall while turning so as not to go out wide upon exit. To go too close however may cause the car to clip the inside kerbing, which Allan Moffat famously did in practice for the 1986 James Hardie 1000, crashing heavily, head on to the concrete. McPhillamy Park is the location of longest running campsite for those who camp at the track for sometimes over a week ahead of the race.
A short straight connects McPhillamy to the next corner. Now named ‘Brock’s Skyline’ after the legendary Peter Brock, Skyline is a sharply descending right hand corner which signifies the beginning of the descent from the top of the Mountain. The corner acquired the name from the visual effect of looking upwards at the corner from below, such is the sharpness of that initial plunge. During the 1970 Hardie-Ferodo 500 Tony Roberts launched over Skyline backwards after losing control of his Ford Falcon, before tumbling down the hillside.
The Esses are the series of corners which begin at Skyline and stretch down the Mountain towards Forrests Elbow. There have been many notable accidents at this part of the circuit, including a blockage of the track in 2003 when Jason Bargwanna made contact with David Brabham.
The most famous of the Esses, the Dipper, the fourth in the sequence, is a sharp left hand corner, so named because, before safety changes, there was quite a dip in the road surface and then a steep drop not far from the edge of the road. Many cars used to get two wheels off the ground, sometimes having their left front wheel dangling off the side of the track before the concrete walls were put up.
The summit, looking from Forrest’s Elbow to Skyline and beyond.
‘The Elbow’ named after Jack Forrest, a motorcycle racer who scraped his elbow away after laying down his bike is a slow, descending left-hand turn that leads on to the long Conrod Straight. The corner’s line drifts towards the outside wall on exit and drivers have to be careful of getting too close. It was just past here,at the kink, during the pole qualifying session (the top ten drivers from Friday’s qualifying session participate in a final session to determine the top ten starting positions for the race) for to the 1983 James Hardie 1000, that Dick Johnson clipped a tyre barrier just after exiting the corner, which sent his Ford Falcon careening into a grove of trees, totally demolishing it.
Formerly known as Main Straight, Conrod Straight was so named because of a con-rod failure that ended the race of Frank Kleinig in his Kleinig/Hudson race-car. Conrod Straight is the fastest section of Mount Panorama, with today’s V8 Supercars just reaching 300 km/h (186 mph). The straight is a roller-coaster ride featuring two distinct crests, the second of which was rebuilt in 1987. It has been on Conrod where five of the six car-racing deaths on the circuit have occurred Bevan Gibson, Tom Sulman, Mike Burgmann, Denny Hulme and Don Watson. All except Hulme (heart attack) died in high-speed accidents. However, the chicane introduced into Conrod Straight has made it one of the fastest turns in the world. Most drivers arrive at the initial part of the chicane at over 290 km/h (180 mph).
The Chase, Murrays corner and the home straight
Known for many years as ‘Caltex Chase’, this three turn sequence was added in preparation for the World Touring Car Championship round in 1987 as Con-Rod Straight exceeded the FIA’s length for an un-broken straight. The section was dedicated to Mike Burgmann who had died in an accident at the chicane’s spot the previous year. It interrupts Con-Rod Straight with Australia’s fastest right hand bend (world’s fastest for touring cars), descending to the right away from the dangerous crest prior to the spectator bridge, before a sharp 120 km/h (75 mph) left hand bend then second right hand corner returns the competitors to Con-Rod Straight for the blast down to Murrays Corner. This corner was the scene of Peter Brock’s only rollover in his motor racing career when he rolled his Vauxhall Vectra during practice for the 1997 AMP Bathurst 1000.
Murray’s Corner is the final corner before Pit Straight and the lowest point of the circuit. It is a 90 degree left hand turn, and is a favourite overtaking spot as drivers hold braking duels for the corner.
The outright lap record on the modern circuit was recorded by Greg Murphy (Holden VY Commodore) during the Top Ten Shoot Out in 2003 (2:06.8594). When announcing he would team up with Murphy for the 2009 event, five-time winner Mark Skaife said “No one gets around the mountain better than Murph when he’s dialled in — four wins and a long-standing lap record are testament to that.”Lap records for the various racing classes are:
V8 Supercars: 2:08.4651 – Jamie Whincup (Ford BF Falcon).
Development V8 Supercar: 2:10.1022 – Dean Canto (Ford BA Falcon).
Carrera Cup: 2:10.2419 – Alex Davison (Porsche 997 GT3 Cup).
GT: 2:12.6963 – Bryce Washington (Lamborghini Gallardo).
Formula Ford: 2:24.1300 – Jordan Ormsby (Van Diemen RF93).
Performance Car (GT-Production): 2:27.1194 – Terry Bosnjak (Mazda RX-7 SP2).
Touring Car Masters: 2:28.1630 – Paul Stubber (Chevrolet Camaro).
Mini Challenge: 2:30.2732 – Jason Bargwanna (Mini Cooper S).
Commodore Cup: 2:33.3209 – Geoff Emery (Holden VS Commodore).
Aussie Racing Car: 2:34.9536 – Nick Percat (AU Falcon – Yamaha).
V8 Utes: 2:34.9815 – Kim Jane (Holden VE Ute SS).
Saloon Car: 2:37.7007 – Steve Kwiatkowski (Ford AU Falcon).
Formula Vee: 2:44.1467 – Benjamin Porter (Checkmate JP02).
HQ Holden: 2:56.0330 – Peter Holmes (Holden Kingswood).
Historic Bathurst 1000 lap records
Group A 2:14.50 – Mark Skaife (1991 – Nissan Skyline GT-R R32).
Group C: 2:15.13 – Peter Brock (1984 – Holden VK Commodore).
Super Touring: 2:16.8034 – Jason Plato (1997 – Renault Laguna).
Main article: List of Mount Panorama Races
The very first race held at the Mount Panorama circuit was the 1938 Australian Grand Prix. Since that historic meeting ‘the Mountain’ has attracted some of the biggest races in the country. The Australian Grand Prix was held here four times and the circuit also played host to the Australian motorcycle Grand Prix for a significant portion of pre-world championship life. The Australian Tourist Trophy and the Australian Touring Car Championship also visited sporadically as well as numerous other Australian Championships. The circuit has been home to one of the world’s classic endurance events, the Bathurst 1000 as well as other races inspired by it, the Bathurst 12 Hour and Bathurst 24 Hour.
The first Motorsport event was a speed hillclimb held from Mountain Straight up to Reid Park. This event is still held today as a round of the NSW Hillclimb Championship.
In 2009, the circuit hosted the IGSA Gravity Sports World Championships: skateboard downhill and street luge downhill. The race began at Skyline and ended at Conrado Straight.
Racing deaths at Mount Panorama
Fifteen competitors have died during racing associated with Mount Panorama. Two spectators were also killed in 1955 after being struck by a crashing car.
April 17, 1949 Jack Johnson, MG TC, Easter Races
April 5, 1958 Barry Halliday, Motorcycle, Bathurst Tourist Trophy
October 2, 1960 Reg Smith, Porsche, Australian GT Championship
April 7, 1969 Bevan Gibson, Elfin 400 Repco, Mount Panorama Trophy
March 30, 1970 Tom Sulman, Lotus Eleven Climax, Sir Joseph Banks Trophy
April 2, 1972 Lan Hog, sidecar, bathurst tt race
April 17, 1976 Ross Barelli, Suzuki RG500, Easter Races
April 15, 1979 Ron Toombs, Yamaha TZ 350F, Easter Races
Easter 1980 Rob Moorhouse, Easter motorcycle races
October 5, 1986 Mike Burgmann, Holden Commodore VK SS Group A, James Hardie 1000
October 4, 1992 Denny Hulme, BMW M3 Evolution, Tooheys 1000
April 1994 Jim Colligan, Sidecar, Australian Tourist Trophy
April, 1994 Ian Thornton, Sidecar, Australian Tourist Trophy
September 30, 1994 Don Watson, Holden Commodore VP, Tooheys 1000
October 8, 2006 Mark Porter, Holden Commodore VZ, Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series
^ V8Supercars, Times and Records
^ “Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 – Round 10 2003 V8 Supercar Series”. National Software. October 12, 2007. http://www.natsoft.com.au/cgi-bin/results.cgi?12/10/2003.MOUN.Q7. Retrieved 2007-12-16.
^ “Skaife teams with Murphy for Bathurst”. Stuff.co.nz. August 10, 2009. http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/motorsport/2737840/Skaife-teams-with-Murphy-for-Bathurst. Retrieved 2009-08-10.
^ “Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000-2007 V8 Supercar Series Rnd 10”. National Software. October 7, 2007. http://www.natsoft.com.au/cgi-bin/results.cgi?07/10/2007.MOUN.R12. Retrieved 2007-12-16.
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^ “Super Cheap Auto 1000 – Rd 9 2006 V8 Supercar Series Mount Panorama – Bathurst”. National Software. October 8, 2006. http://www.natsoft.com.au/cgi-bin/results.cgi?08/10/2006.MOUN.R11. Retrieved 2008-04-19.
^ “WPS Bathurst International Motorsport Festival Mount Panorama”. National Software. April 7, 2007. http://www.natsoft.com.au/cgi-bin/results.cgi?08/04/2007.MOUN.R7. Retrieved 2008-04-19.
^ “Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 Mount Panorama – Bathurst”. National Software. October 11, 2002. http://www.natsoft.com.au/cgi-bin/results.cgi?13/10/2002.MOUN.R1. Retrieved 2008-04-19.
^ “FAI 1000 Mount Panorama – Bathurst”. National Software. October 13, 1999. http://www.natsoft.com.au/cgi-bin/results.cgi?14/11/1999.MOUN.R4. Retrieved 2008-04-19.
^ “Super Cheap Auto 1000 – Rd 9 2006 V8 Supercar Series Mount Panorama – Bathurst”. National Software. October 6, 2006. http://www.natsoft.com.au/cgi-bin/results.cgi?08/10/2006.MOUN.R1. Retrieved 2008-04-19.
^ “Supercheap Auto 1000 – 2008 V8 Supercar Championship Rd10 Mount Panorama – Bathurst Fujitsu V8 Supercars – Race 2”. National Software. October 11, 2008. http://www.natsoft.com.au/cgi-bin/results.cgi?12/10/2008.MOUN.R5. Retrieved 2008-10-18.
^ “WPS Bathurst International Motorsport Festival Mount Panorama”. National Software. April 6, 2007. http://www.natsoft.com.au/cgi-bin/results.cgi?08/04/2007.MOUN.R2. Retrieved 2008-04-19.
^ “Super Cheap Auto 1000 – Rd 9 2006 V8 Supercar Series Mount Panorama – Bathurst”. National Software. October 7, 2006. http://www.natsoft.com.au/cgi-bin/results.cgi?08/10/2006.MOUN.R6. Retrieved 2008-04-19.
^ “Supercheap Auto 1000 – 2008 V8 Supercar Championship Rd10 Mount Panorama – Bathurst 2008 Yokohama V8 Ute Racing Series – Race 3”. National Software. October 12, 2008. http://www.natsoft.com.au/cgi-bin/results.cgi?12/10/2008.MOUN.R10. Retrieved 2008-10-18.
^ “WPS Bathurst Motor Festival Mount Panorama”. National Software. February 21, 2009. http://www.natsoft.com.au/cgi-bin/results.cgi?22/02/2009.MOUN.R7. Retrieved 2010-02-13.
^ “WPS Bathurst Motor Festival Mount Panorama”. National Software. February 9, 2008. http://www.natsoft.com.au/cgi-bin/results.cgi?10/02/2008.MOUN.R4. Retrieved 2008-04-19.
^ “Primus 1000 Classic Mt Panorama – Bathurst”. National Software. October 19, 1997. http://www.natsoft.com.au/cgi-bin/results.cgi?19/10/1997.BATH.R4. Retrieved 2008-04-19.
^ * Greenhalgh, David; Thomas B. Floyd, Bill Tuckey (2000). Australia’s Greatest Motor Race 1960-1999. Chevron Publishing Group. p. 479. ISBN 1 875 221 12 3.
^ * Greenhalgh, David; Thomas B. Floyd, Bill Tuckey (2000). Australia’s Greatest Motor Race 1960-1999. Chevron Publishing Group. p. 472. ISBN 1 875 221 12 3.
^ “1997 AMP Bathurst 1000 Australian Racing Drivers Club”. National Software. October 5, 1997. http://www.natsoft.com.au/cgi-bin/results.cgi?05/10/1997.ARDC.E7. Retrieved 2008-04-19.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Mount Panorama Circuit
Trackpedia’s guide to racing at Bathurst
Video of Greg Murphy’s “Lap of the Gods” at Bathurst
Circuit info from official V8 Supercar Site
V8 Champ Garth Tander’s personal tour of Mt Panorama
Skateboard downhill World Championship in Mount Panorama
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