Motorsport: Shane van Gisbergen describes a lap of Mount Panorama ahead of Bathurst 1000

Shane van Gisbergen says of the Mt Panorama track that “there are so many corners where you can’t see the apex or exit, so you’ve just got to trust your track knowledge”. Photo / Photosport

The Mt Panorama circuit in rural New South Wales is probably the most respected and sometimes feared piece of racing tarmac in the Southern Hemisphere.

On the eve of the Great Race, Kiwi driver Shane van Gisbergen talked the Weekend Herald through a lap of Mt Panorama.

“Probably the most important corner at Bathurst is Turn One. It sets you up for the first big run up the mountain. It’s an easy corner on paper but is probably worth the most time [for a fast lap].

“Turn Two is a crazy uphill corner that’s tough to get right. You then head into The Cutting, which is a double left, with the first part being blind and then hard into the second kink. You’ll probably touch the wall about five times if you get it right and lose the odd wing mirror rubbing against the fence, which is cool.

“After that, we head up under a big sign and there’s a bump right in the middle that upsets the car, so you have to get it just right. You again exit hard up against the wall, banging the wing mirror.

“The next tough part is what we call the Grate and is probably the craziest corner on the track, in my opinion. You come down the hill, and at the bottom, the car compresses so much, the steering binds up and the power steering just can’t cope with the load. You get in there and have to set the steering and hope you get it right.

“McPhillamy Park is the next one and is where all the fans are. You come over the top and all four wheels are off the ground and you have to make sure the car’s pointed in the right direction. It’s an awesome section.

“You then go across Skyline and you start the race down the hill with a tight, drop-away right-hander. Every time, you take a bit of a gulp, as it’s so steep, but it’s still pretty cool winding your way down the hill.

“You’re now coming up to Forrest’s Elbow, which you have to get right to get a good drive early on to Conrod [Straight].

“It’s a straight run now where we’re getting up to 300km/h before you get to the Chase, where you have to brake really hard for the 90 degree left hander.

“Pretty big stopping power here, where you need about 100kg of pressure on the brake pedal [equivalent to a 100kg single leg press]. Doing that all day is pretty hard on the leg and car.

“The last corner again looks simple on paper but it’s really hard to get right because it’s so bumpy.

“There are so many corners where you can’t see the apex or exit, so you’ve just got to trust your track knowledge. And that’s why so many people struggle in the first few years here.”

How fast?

Hell Corner: 95km/h, 2nd gear
Mountain Straight: 256km/h, 5th gear
Griffins Bend: 130km/h, 3rd gear
The Cutting: 95km/h, 2nd gear
Reid Park: 160km/h, 3rd gear
Sulman Park: 180km/h, 4th gear
McPhillamy Park: 186km/h, 4th gear
Skyline: 215km/h, 4th gear
The Esses: 130km/h, 2nd gear
The Dipper: 90km/h, 2nd gear
Forrest’s Elbow: 90km/h, 2nd gear
Conrod Straight: 295-300km/h, 6th gear
The Chase: 120km/h, 2nd gear
Murray’s Corner: 97km/h, 2nd gear

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