There are three key reasons the official Mount Panorama lap record is expected to take a pounding at the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12-Hour; no restrictions, new track surface and a tyre war.
In previous years organisers of the Bathurst 12-Hour imposed an artificial floor of 2:06. The performance of the GT3 cars were deliberately restricted to ensure the slower cars could qualify within 130 per cent of the pole sitter – go faster than 2:06 and you got penalised. Which is what happened after the late, Allan Simonsen, set a blistering 2:04.9 in a Ferrari 458 GT3 at Sprint Bathurst in 2011. However that’s allout the window for 2014! Now we’ll get to see the real pace of the GT3s!
The legendary 6.2km, Mount Panorama circuit has just been completely resurfaced. The grippy, new surface is the same material used to resurface Philip Island and Highlands Motorsport Park – both of which have seen a significant drop in lap times. In fact the GTs shaved almost eight seconds off the old Philip Island record!
Pirelli and Michelin both spent the last throws of 2013 locking in their tyre compounds for the ‘round-the-clock enduro. Samples of track material have made their way overseas so that tyre manufactures can optimise compounds for the gruelling event. And as we graphically saw during the F1 tyre wars, competition between tyre manufactures invariably results in quicker lap times.
So how fast will they go? People in the know have been predicting low 2:02s – that’s more than four seconds faster than the blistering 2:06.8 set by Craig Lowndes during practice for the 2010 Bathurst 1000! Given that nobody knows how fast the NISMO GT-R GT3 will be, along with the fact that Simonsen has already run that 2:04.9 back in 2011; will we see the magic two-minute barrier broken?
WATCH THE RACE LIVE ON TV:
SBS ONE 3:30pm – 6:30pm, Sunday February 9th.
WATCH THE RACE ONLINE:
Via the LIVE STREAM – all day Saturday & Sunday at bathurst12hour.com.au
Proud supporters of the 2014 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour
The Mountain – The Race – The Magic
February 7th-9th, 2014