Bathurst record could fall

One of the longest-standing records in Australian motorsport could fall during the V8 Supercar 1000 at Bathurst's Mt Panorama this weekend. A total resurfacing of the demanding 6.213km circuit will provide levels of tyre grip never experienced...

One of the longest-standing records in Australian motorsport could fall during the V8 Supercar 1000 at Bathurst's Mt Panorama this weekend.

A total resurfacing of the demanding 6.213km circuit will provide levels of tyre grip never experienced before at Mt Panorama and the 31-yeard old outright lap record of two minutes and 9.70 seconds is set to be broken.

The existing record was set way back in 1970 by Niel Allen in a McLaren Formula 500 car on a circuit which did not include "The Chase" a new piece of road built into Conrod Straight designed to slow the cars down.

Queensland's Mark Larkham set the fastest ever lap at Mt Panorama in 1999 when he clocked a lap of 2:09.514 in qualifying the lap does not count as the official outright lap record because it was not set in race conditions.

Larry Perkins holds the V8 Supercar lap record of 2:12.3398, which he set on his way to winning the 1997 event with Russell Ingall.

The outright race record of six hours, 19 minutes and 14.8 seconds set by Jim Richards and Mark Skaife in 1991 in a Nissan GT-R is also under threat.

The resurfacing will mean that the 1350kg Ford Falcons and Holden Commodores will be reaching speeds well in excess of 300kph down Conrod Straight.

"That qualifying time in 1999 was a pretty special lap, but the resurfacing adds a whole new dimension," said Larkham.

"Whether we can get down to a 2:09 during the race is another thing, but I think it will be close.

"I think the V8 Supercar lap record would have been broken last year if the conditions had been dry and there is no doubt that Larry's (Perkins) record will be broken on Sunday if the sun is shining.

"It is a bit hard to tell how much difference the resurfacing will make until we get out on to the track and the conditions will continually change as more and more rubber goes down.

"The resurfacing and the quality of this year's field means we are going to be in for one hell of a race."

The existing lap record was set by Niel Allen in a McLaren M10B, which was campaigned in the old Formula 5000 Tasman Series.

Allen had set a pole time of 2:11.2 for the three-lap sprint race known as the Captain Cook Trophy race which was a support event for the second round of the Australian Touring Car Championship at Bathurst.

A revolutionary engine with a "flat plane" crank was used during the race and helped the car to speeds in excess of 280kph down Conrod Straight. At the same time the car continually shook violently and it actually finished the race with some rivets missing from the bodywork.

The race also included some of Australia's great motorsport names including John Harvey (Repco Brabham) and Leo Geoghegan (Lotus 39).

Allen, who won the New Zealand Grand Prix in 1971, now lives in Sydney and is a successful property developer

The resurfacing of the track was completed in February at a cost to the Bathurst City Council of more than $1.3 million.

The 40mm thick mixture used for the job is the latest in asphalt technology and is similar to the surface used on the Australian Formula One Grand Prix circuit at Melbourne's Albert Park.

Amazingly, one of the people who oversaw the resurfacing was Bathurst City Council Engineer Neil Allen who has the same name as the driver who still holds the overall lap record (although Neil is spelt differently).

"The whole job took approximately 25 people about a month to compete," said Allen.

"There was a whole strategy involved with the preparation, timing and weather conditions.

"We have been able to finish the job and have the track lay dormant for six months without any racing.

"The track was last resurfaced in 1989 and we are budgeting on this latest surface also lasting around 10 years."

Practice for this year's V8 Supercar 1000 begins on Thursday with Sunday's race commencing at 10am. <pre> TRACK RECORDS Circuit: 6.213km Cars run anticlockwise Qualifying Record: 2:09.5146 Mark Larkham, Ford Falcon (1999) V8 Supercar Lap Record: 2:12.3398 Larry Perkins, Holden Commodore (1997) Outright Lap Record: 2:09.70 - Niel Allen, McLaren M10B (1970) Race Record: (New Circuit-with Chase) 6hrs, 19mins, 14.80s Jim Richards-Mark Skaife, Nissan GT-R (1991) Race Record: (Old Circuit) 6hrs, 23mins, 13.06s Peter Brock-Larry Perkins, Holden Commodore VK (1984)

2000 RACE RESULTS Race Time: 7hrs, 23mins, 30s Fastest Lap: 2:14.2602 (Craig Lowndes, Holden Racing Team) Lap 83

TOP THREE 1: Garth Tander-Jason Bargwanna, Holden Commodore (Valvoline Cummins Repco) 2: Paul Radisich-Jason Bright, Ford Falcon (Shell Helix Racing) 3: Greg Murphy-Steve Richards, Holden Commodore (Kmart Racing)

TICKET PRICES Adults - GA Season - (Thurs-Sun): Advance $85.00 Gate $90.00 Weekend: Advance $75.00 Gate $80.00 Sunday: Advance $55.00 Gate $60.00 Concession GA - Outer Circuit Only Season (Thurs-Sun): Advance $70.00 Gate $75.00 Weekend: Advance $60.00 Gate $65.00 Sunday: Advance $45.00 Gate $50.00 Grandstand Outer Circuit: Advance $155.00 Gate $160.00 Paddock Passes Paddock passes are valid for all four days of the V8 Supercar 1000. They must be purchased in addition to a General Admission or Grandstand Ticket. Numbers limited. $30.00 (advance of at the gate)

Website: www.v8supercar1000.com Tickets: Available through Ticketmaster7 on 136 122, Ticketmaster7.com or at the gate.

TELEVISION TIMES Network Ten will be providing a massive 15 hours of nation-wide live coverage from Mt Panorama. It will also be televised live to New Zealand and Europe with a delayed telecast to North America and Asia. A total potential viewing for 400 million homes. Saturday's Network Ten telecast will be from Noon-5pm (EST). Sunday's telecast will be from 7am-5pm (EST).

-BAB-

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Garth Tander , Jason Bright , Greg Murphy , Russell Ingall , Jim Richards , Mark Skaife , Mark Larkham , Craig Lowndes , Jason Bargwanna , Paul Radisich , Larry Perkins , Peter Brock , Steve Richards
Teams Nissan Motorsport , Holden Racing Team