Why Mount Panorama is One of the World's Greatest Circuits

ss3

629
United States
Littleton, Colorado USA
sandyskids3
I wish I could visit more tracks. I’m still fortunate to have been in Kansas motor speedway and to have been to Phoenix raceway. Have also been to Colorado national speedway, and Bandimere dozens of times. The only one I’ve driven on myself though is Pike’s Peak.
 
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CLowndes888

I want to be monkey
Premium
10,224
Australia
Melbourne
fubbletrouble888
Yes, Bathurst is a public road! It was built in the 1930's as a scenic route and hasn't changed much at all. Only The Chase has been added the original layout. Before that, the road ran straight from (Jack) Forrest's Elbow to Murray's Corner. You turn up to the track and you wonder how the hell anything races there. Darrell Waltrip said it was a geological oddity - there's nothing like it. The consequences for getting it wrong are savage and frightening, as Chaz Mostert proved in 2015 when he smashed up his car (and himself) going through the Esses. He was ruled out for the rest of season after that. You can only appreciate the track after going there yourself. As we say, The Mountain decides who wins.
 
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36,931
Australia
The Bronx
SpacedustDaddy
Nice. I got to drive around the circuit(about 4 years ago) and it's true, even the speed limit seemed too fast. How any racers used to drive at speed, in the early years(pre-The Chase) and with inferior brakes to today's road cars, took more than guts. People can only grasp the repect of how steep and narrow it is, by visiting the circuit. Forget how fast Jenson Button took an F1 around there, how B12H GT3 cars zoom around blind corners, (V8)Supercars currently race there. When Allan Moffat mentioned how his brakes in his Bathurst winning Falcon Coupe, were gone after a couple laps, that's nuts to continue racing.

Surprised one of the Bathurst winning Minis, wasn't on display during your visit.
 
621
Singapore
Singapore
XSquareStickIt
My absolute favourite track in the world. There simply is no other track quite like it, and given how insanely dangerous it is, probably never will be. I do all my car testing there because of the unique challenges it provides. I love it more than the Ring. Definitely on my bucket list.
 
2,300
Great write up!! 👍

Bathurst really is a special place, I'd love to go over and participate in the 6 hour one day!! :gtpflag:


Me too! I am in the process of putting a plan together to pull together an entry in the next 5 years.

I may be biased, but it really is one of the greatest circuits in the world.
 

tunaphis

(Banned)
222
Australia
onboard.
"Anyone familiar with Mount Panorama would be aware of the police building that is located at the top. Known colloquially as ‘The Fort’, it was surrounded by nine-feet-tall wire fences, and during events was usually staffed by 100 police officers.

On April 2, 1983, however, it contained 120 members of the police force, including all 53 members of the TRG.

Soon enough, The Fort was surrounded by an estimated 2000-4000 fans, armed with an array of beer cans, rocks, bottles, and petrol-soaked toilet rolls. You can imagine what happens next."
Ah the bike races at Bathurst.
 

Corsa

Premium
2,101
United States
United States
That was a good read, thanks!

I’d love to experience the track, but did 20 hours on a plane years ago to Kuwait and it was not fun.
 

kikie

I'm here
Premium
24,024
Belgium
in the land of stupidity
I never thought about visiting this track myself, until I read this article. I now have this urge to jump on a plane, go to Australia and drive on this track myself. Too bad it isn't possible because of:
  1. SARS-CoV-2
  2. My father lives with me and I have to take care of him and can't leave the house for more than, let's say 5 days.
I still want to go there. I'm going to try to make it happen.

@Jordan, I'm now officially jealous of you because of all the traveling and race tracks you've visited.

Is this "public road" aka "race track" a road people use on daily basis to go to work for instance? Or is it a "scenery" public road that is only used for site-seeing and locals who live near/on this "race track"?


When were you at Spa and The 'Ring @Jordan?
 
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McLaren

Premium
40,771
United States
Texas
Partyboy78
Great read @Jordan!

BTW:
As a motorsport enthusiast, I have been incredibly fortunate to visit many of the world’s great racing circuits. From Spa Francorchamps, to Laguna Seca, Silverstone, Circuit de la Sarthe, the Nurburgring, Circuit de Monaco, and Fuji Speedway, I always try to put racing landmarks on my itinerary when I travel.
Please don't hesitate to share more stories like this about these other tracks if/when you can over next year. :)
 
179
Italy
naples
gigiotto59
Mount Panorama is a very nice track, but is really hard specially if you drive a fast car. The track has two long and fast straights but also a series of tight and dangerous curves easy to crash into. I would like Mount Panorama to be included in the F1 Championship.
 

JacoJa

Premium
2,263
United Kingdom
England
JacobsJa
Great write up, Jordan 👍 Glad you managed to visit just before Australia locked-up.
I was also lucky enough to drive around Bathurst about 12 years ago, and you're not wrong about the elevation changes. I was amazed at how steep the dipper was. Even at 60km/h, it was enough to make our stomachs drop. Couldn't imagine how it would feel at racing speeds. :scared:
 
1,882
France
France
zeptrans
Thank you, it's interesting to read.

I didn't know the track has private houses inside. Beside the covid, they are lockdown during races too :D
 

Hayden

Chrysler Racer
Premium
3,427
Australia
South Australia
Thanks for the excellent article Jordan! Extremely well written, and your passion shines through.

Racing at Bathurst is a bucket list item for me, and one I really hope to cross off later this (;)) year.
 
2,300
Mount Panorama is a very nice track, but is really hard specially if you drive a fast car. The track has two long and fast straights but also a series of tight and dangerous curves easy to crash into. I would like Mount Panorama to be included in the F1 Championship.

Pretty sure that's never going to happen for the reasons you stated above...
 
2
Australia
Australia
Being born and bred at Bathurst, and going to every Bathurst race since 2001 (With the exception of 2020). It is awesome to read into the outside perspective, of someone that's never gone around Mount Panorama in their lives. I was reading the article, with a big smile on my face. Because it always reminds me of how special Mount Panorama is, not just for me, but for all the motorsport fans!
 
250
Australia
Sydney
zdenko
There is always one....
I have driven parts of the track in Hill Climb events in my previous 2004 Factory Turbo MX-5 and it was always interesting on cold tyres, but that goes for any hill climb.
But in November I drove the full track during Challenge Bathurst and for me it was a bit boring compared to other tracks I visit.
Before anyone bites my head off saying this is is the most challenging track ever, let me explain.
I was driving a 2009 Mazda MX-5.
It had these mods. Factory hardtop to make it more aero efficient but heavier, Extractors, Muffler, ECU Tune, Coilovers, 17x9 rims and 245/40/17 Hankook RS4 tyres.
It has plenty of handling capability, and no power.
I was flat on the throttle from the Cutting all the way into Skyline. Never even had to lift. The walls never felt close.
Managed to get down to 2'44.4 and there wasn't really any thing left in it. Fastest predict from all the best bits was 2'44.0. It was a hot weekend, which cooled a bit for the final session so maybe a bit quicker could be had during a cooler weekend.
The highest speed I hit at the end of Conrod was 219km/h. Mountain straight was only 173km/h. And at the top at Skyline I was at 172km/h. Those speeds could have a little error in them as it was with 1Hz GPS. Most likely a tad slower for each.
It was also a bit frustrating to drive as I was having other much more powerful cars over take me up Mountain straight and then me having to get back past them at Skyline.

BTW, the Bridge is now Armor All
It changes around for different events.

I have driven Nurburgring twice before(A 1st gen Suzuki Swift Sport and 4th Gen Renault Clio RS200), and that is more of a challenge as you really cannot get into a rhythm as the laps are so long. 4 laps is not enough to work out how hard you can push at that place.
 

Jordan

Site Founder
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23,430
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United States
GTP_Jordan
GTP_Jordan
Thanks for all the kind words about the article, everyone. Happy new year. :cheers:

That was a good read, thanks!

I’d love to experience the track, but did 20 hours on a plane years ago to Kuwait and it was not fun.
I understand that completely. Australia was three flights and 24 total hours of travel time for me (that's not including the 6+ hours of additional flights to/from New Zealand in the middle of the trip). I've never been to Kuwait so I can't compare, but to me, the travel time to the land Down Under was worth it. If you ever have the opportunity to go, I highly recommend it despite the travel time. :)

Is this "public road" aka "race track" a road people use on daily basis to go to work for instance? Or is it a "scenery" public road that is only used for site-seeing and locals who live near/on this "race track"?

When were you at Spa and The 'Ring @Jordan?
It's a normal road people use (and have to use) on a daily basis. In the case of several homes, the track is the only way to get to their property!

Some great photos and an enjoyable read @Jordan. One thing that struck me is that everything looked so clean and unspoilt.
Yes, it's a beautiful part of Australia.

Being born and bred at Bathurst, and going to every Bathurst race since 2001 (With the exception of 2020). It is awesome to read into the outside perspective, of someone that's never gone around Mount Panorama in their lives. I was reading the article, with a big smile on my face. Because it always reminds me of how special Mount Panorama is, not just for me, but for all the motorsport fans!
Lucky you! Bathurst looked like a very nice place to live. Aside from the restaurant where I ate dinner (Pantano's Bar & Grill) and the staff at the museum, I didn't get a chance to speak with any locals. What's it like to live there? Does everything revolve around the track and race events?

I have driven Nurburgring twice before(A 1st gen Suzuki Swift Sport and 4th Gen Renault Clio RS200), and that is more of a challenge as you really cannot get into a rhythm as the laps are so long. 4 laps is not enough to work out how hard you can push at that place.
No, nothing can compare to the Nurburgring, it truly is one-of-a-kind.

However, the Nurburgring and Mount Panorama are similar in terms of just how "accessible" they are to the average person, which was my main takeaway from my visit and this article.

When you visit most race tracks (especially when there's no race going on), you're lucky to peek through some fences at your favorite corners. Mount Panorama's status as a fully public, unobstructed road is — as far as I'm aware — completely unique among top-tier international circuits, and that's what makes it such a great place for enthusiasts to visit. Yes, the Nurburgring comes out on top considering you can drive it "flat-out" in your own car for a few Euros, but you can't pull off to the side of the road for a few pictures (unless you have a death wish), and you can't drive the full length of the Dottinger Hohe or the GP track.
 
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36,931
Australia
The Bronx
SpacedustDaddy
I can only think of Le Sarthe as another public road people can drive around.

Would have been cool if you had time to visit Sydney Motorsport Park and the Newcastle Street Circuit(where I live, in my avatar).
 

-Fred-

This is a custom title
Staff Emeritus
23,857
Canada
Somewhere.
I can only think of Le Sarthe as another public road people can drive around.

Albert Park?

Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is definitely one that's a "normal" road every other day aside the GP weekend. It's one way traffic with a 30km/h limit and the roadway is a shared bikepath. There's stop signs here and there as some of the access roads during the race are actually used as paths to get to the office buildings (mostly governmental stuff) inside the circuit. I believe in recent years they even converted some parts of the runoff areas into parking lots for public transport. My friends and I used to drive around in the middle of the night back in the day... it's ironic to get a speeding ticket on a racetrack. :lol:
 
36,931
Australia
The Bronx
SpacedustDaddy
Albert Park?

Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is definitely one that's a "normal" road every other day aside the GP weekend. It's one way traffic with a 30km/h limit and the roadway is a shared bikepath. There's stop signs here and there as some of the access roads during the race are actually used as paths to get to the office buildings (mostly governmental stuff) inside the circuit. I believe in recent years they even converted some parts of the runoff areas into parking lots for public transport. My friends and I used to drive around in the middle of the night back in the day... it's ironic to get a speeding ticket on a racetrack. :lol:
Drove through all the time. When I lived in Melbourne, my apartment was a few blocks away from Albert Park(the old Red Bull garages c.2013).
95262124_3145010492210750_1779667102651645952_n.jpg


Le Sarthe was the one that came to mind regarding Jordan's accessibility comment. That's cool if the circuits mentioned above alllow people to pull over and take snaps around the layout.
 
2
Australia
Australia
It is fairly quiet to live in, at Bathurst. Even with the population of around 38,000. But once the Bathurst 1000 comes around, it just comes alive! When October comes around, you get a huge buzz. Especially when there is one more week till the Bathurst 1000 week. But we also host the Bathurst 12 Hour, Bathurst 6 Hour, and for the first time in a long time... The opening round of the V8 Supercars next month, for the Mount Panorama 500. If it is coming in this year, we will also be having the international TCR 500 race. If everything goes according to plan, of course lol. But seriously, it is a pretty special place to live in

Thanks for all the kind words about the article, everyone. Happy new year. :cheers:


I understand that completely. Australia was three flights and 24 total hours of travel time for me (that's not including the 6+ hours of additional flights to/from New Zealand in the middle of the trip). I've never been to Kuwait so I can't compare, but to me, the travel time to the land Down Under was worth it. If you ever have the opportunity to go, I highly recommend it despite the travel time. :)


It's a normal road people use (and have to use) on a daily basis. In the case of several homes, the track is the only way to get to their property!


Yes, it's a beautiful part of Australia.


Lucky you! Bathurst looked like a very nice place to live. Aside from the restaurant where I ate dinner (Pantano's Bar & Grill) and the staff at the museum, I didn't get a chance to speak with any locals. What's it like to live there? Does everything revolve around the track and race events?


No, nothing can compare to the Nurburgring, it truly is one-of-a-kind.

However, the Nurburgring and Mount Panorama are similar in terms of just how "accessible" they are to the average person, which was my main takeaway from my visit and this article.

When you visit most race tracks (especially when there's no race going on), you're lucky to peek through some fences at your favorite corners. Mount Panorama's status as a fully public, unobstructed road is — as far as I'm aware — completely unique among top-tier international circuits, and that's what makes it such a great place for enthusiasts to visit. Yes, the Nurburgring comes out on top considering you can drive it "flat-out" in your own car for a few Euros, but you can't pull off to the side of the road for a few pictures (unless you have a death wish), and you can't drive the full length of the Dottinger Hohe or the GP track.