April 20, 2019

F1 car smashes Bathurst lap record

Jenson Button does the business on the Bathurst lap record with a little help from a special car.

A Formula One car driven by McLaren driver Jenson Button has set a new lap record at Bathurst that shaved nearly 20 seconds off Craig Lowndes record set last year in a Holden Commodore.

V8 fans need not stress though as Button’s time of 1 minute 48 seconds is ‘unofficial’ and Lowndes mark of 2 minutes and 6 seconds still stands for the Mount Panorama circuit.

Button, the 2009 F1 World Drivers Champion was driving a 2008 McLaren.

Five-times Bathurst winner Lowndes had a go with the F1 car and was only a second slower than the Button.

The driver swap event was part of a promotion organised by Vodafone who sponsor both McLaren and Lowndes’ Team Vodafone V8 Supercar outfit.

Lowndes says the F1 car is impressive compared with a V8 Supercar.

“When I first went out it was the acceleration [that amazed me] but when you go through turn two you really realise how much acceleration you have,” he says. “In comparison the V8 [Supercar] seems to labour up the mountain.

Lowndes says he relished the chance to drive the car, admitting he’s not expecting a call from a Formula One team.

“No, it’s about 14 years too late [to get a chance in F1] but it’s extremely satisfying to drive a car that’s purpose built for speed and precision. It was a rush of a feeling.”

Jenson Button suggested the idea of running an F1 car around Bathurst, but says the circuit’s undulating nature wasn’t without its challenges.

“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,” says Button. “The bit I really enjoyed was from about turn five onwards as you start going up the hill. That section was a real buzz”.

“This is an iconic race track and it’s great to celebrate the unofficial fastest lap in an F1 car.”