The Bathurst Supercheap Auto 1000 is a grueling 161 lap race over an unforgiving 6.213Km street circuit that climbs and descends Mount Panorama like a vengeful serpent. This year, 2011 it is being held from the 6th – 9th of October. Blokes will leave their sheds, cars will leave their garages, and mechanics will leave their workshops all in order to make the yearly pilgrimage to watch V8 supercars from Ford and Holden duke it out for four days of octane pumped racing from October 6th-9th. The circuit is known as the pinnacle in Australian racing with 23 turns each with their own personalities the track also includes the longest straight in Australian racing as well as the greatest difference between the highest and lowest points 144 meters of elevation between the peak and valley. There is no other race track in Australia that has the notoriety of the Mount Panorama Circuit; it challenges both the driver and car to the threshold between possibility and improbability.
For anyone unfamiliar with the Bathurst, then perhaps the first left corner can set the mood for this track… Hell’s corner is the first left turn, a hard 90 degree left turn right from the get go into a gentle slope that hugs the cliff with a quarry to the left the road curves to the right at Griffin’s bend. A tricky left corner past the steep “Cutting” is a tricky spot known for spinouts at Reid Park. And still the road still goes up hill until it gets through Sulman Park and turns left into a downhill at McPhillamy Park. The climb is over but the dive through the 7 winding turns in the esses shaking the chassis and your brain into next week. Around Forrest Elbow, a semi hairpin left turn that dumps you into Conrad straight a 1.6 kilometre (1 mile) straight away that lets you think for a moment while you let the car go through the rev band in each gear, this is the longest straight on any Australian race track. The Chase, a series of 3 turns, was designed into the track to shorten the unbroken Conrad Straight to meet track regulations. Murray’s Corner is the final corner and is just like Hell’s corner, a 90 degree left turn that shoots you over the finish line.
As mythological and awe aspiring as Mt. Panorama may be as a race track, the truth of the matter is it’s a road circuit and on a non race day, any other day, it’s a quiet access road to rural farmland and also services the parks at the peak as well. If you’re thinking of trying some funny business about racing around the road on a regular day, be warned the police are only too aware of the temptation of Bathurst and impose a very strict 60kph speed limit. On an average day the Mt. Panorama area is pretty quiet, and life is peaceful, but every year thousands of racing fans, car enthusiasts, campers, vacationers, and blokes stir up the serenity, camp and caravan in the area to watch an exciting 4 days of racing. Powerful V8’s roar and tires squeal as they climb the hills and go through the turns, hundreds of thousands of spectators may show up to fill the grandstands, some are Holden fans and others are Ford people; either way they’re all car enthusiasts.
From the mechanics in the pit crews and the technicians in the workshops and garages to the race car drivers who leave their comfortable classic cars at home in the carports and exchanging them for uncomfortably cramped, engine bearing chassis’s and every single motor sport fan leaving the comfort of their back yard sheds; they all come in pursuit of one thing, to see what happens when you pit Man and Machine against the challenge of Mother Nature and the Mountain. That’s Bathurst!