Mt Panorama—the legend itself. Mt Panorama and it’s signature event, the Bathurst 1000 is the crown jewel in Australian motor racing and the ultimate destination for any true blue V8 racing fan.
The perfect mix of speed, endurance and excitement, Mt Panorama ticks every box, making it one of the most exciting and challenging circuits in motorsport.
However, despite its global fame, Mount Panorama isn’t a permanent racetrack. The circuit is made up of public roads that access homes and farms and usually maintains a strict 60km/h speed limit.
This means that few people get to experience Mt Panorama as it should be enjoyed—in the seat of a V8 Supercar at hair-raising speed! However, for a lucky few, dreams can become reality. The mountain plays host to a limited number of V8 driving or hot lap experiences, where lucky participants can join the small and exclusive club of drivers who get to experience the thrill and power of the mountain—just like a professional V8 Supercar racing driver.
Mount Panorama history
The story of Mount Panorama is well and truly etched into Australian sporting history. It all began with the pioneering vision of Bathurst Mayor, Martin Griffin. In the early 1930s Bathurst was already holding racing events on local public roads but Griffin was driven to take it to the next level.
Griffin commissioned a new race track design featuring fast straights, hairpin bends and exciting elevation changes to push the boundaries of what great drivers and motor vehicles could achieve.
The only problem was that the depression was in full swing, so getting funding for the project was near impossible. Undeterred, Griffin hatched a plan designed to swindle Federal funding allocated for unemployment by telling the government he was building a scenic route for tourists. Griffin’s new road was approved—and he simply instructed the project’s engineers to widen the corners so they were suitable for racing, as they went along.
By 17 March 1938, the Mount Panorama “Scenic Drive” was officially open.
Before the track surface had even sealed, the first racing event was organised for Easter of the same year—two days of bike racing, followed by two days of car racing. The set up was nothing like the super slick and professional major events held at Mt Panorama today. A few canvas tents made up the paddock facilities and there wasn’t much (if any) protection for spectators who got in the way of an out of control car.
And while holding Easter weekend races would continue, it wasn’t until the domestic touring car series and it’s October event known simply as the Bathurst 1000 that Mt Panorama was truly recognised as a major player in Australian sport. From 1963, the 1000km event became the second biggest date on the Australian sporting calendar, rivalled only by the Melbourne Cup in terms of audience and hype. Viewers the world over started tuning in to watch the 50 plus cars doing battle up and down ‘The Mountain’.
Names such as Dick Johnson, Allan Moffat, Colin Bond, Allan Grice and ‘King of the Mountain’ Peter Brock in their V8 Supercars became household names on the back of victories in the 1000, and there were plenty of unforgettable moments along the way.
We have no doubt that if you’re one of the lucky few who can enjoy a V8 Race Car experience at Mt Panorama, it will be one of your most unforgettable moments, too.
Mt Panorama recent upgrades
In 2004, Mt Panorama received new pit and paddock facilities, including new pit garages, race control and media facilities. In 2006, a new 129-bedroom hotel overlooking the track also opened.
Throughout 2013, improvements continued with the replacement of the concrete barriers along the pit straight. This was followed with the entire circuit being resurfaced immediately after the Bathurst 1000.
Mt Panorama facts
Mt Panorama is one of the most unique tracks in motorsport racing. As well as being a public road in a rural setting, there are over 40 private residences located around the circuit, as well as restaurants, car clubs, museums and other private businesses such as wineries!
Although Mt Panorama once hosted motorcycle races, the tight corners and lack of run-off on the track meant that driver safety was compromised, so only motorcar racing events are held there today.
- The overall length of the Mt Panorama circuit is 6.213km, reaching a maximum height of 862m above sea level.
- The Concord Straight is the longest straight coming in at = 1.916km
- The Mountain Straight = 1.111km
- Grades of up 1 in 6.13
Mt Panorama is also home to the fastest corner in touring car racing—the kink at the entrance to the Chase. This three-turn sequence was added in preparation for the World Touring Car Championship round in 1987.
Mt Panorama lap records
1970: The fastest lap on the original circuit is set by Formula 5000 driver Neil Allen in a McLaren M10B-Chevrolet. Time: 2:09.7
2011: Jenson Button records a time of 1:48.88 in a MP4-23 McLaren Formula One Car at the 2011 Australian Grand Prix
2019: Luke Youlden records 1:58.694 in a Brabham BT62 during a demonstration at the Bathurst 12 Hour.
Mt Panorama circuit layout
Mt Panorama has 14 circuit features:
- The Pit Straight
- Hell Corner
- Mountain Straight
- Griffins Bend
- The Cutting
- Reid Park
- Sulman Park
- McPhillamy Park
- The Esses
- Forest’s Elbow
- Conrad Straight
- The Chase
- Murray’s Corner
Where is Mt Panorama?
Trying to get to Mt Panorama for the Bathurst 1000 or your V8 race car driving or hot lap experience? Mt Panorama is located on the outskirts of Bathurst, NSW, roughly 2.5 hours west of Sydney. If you’re driving from Sydney, head through the Blue Mountains on the Great Western Highway. Bathurst also has a direct route to Canberra which is approximately 3.5 hours by car. Beware that roads through to Bathurst do get busy on the weekends and it’s been known to take up to five hours to get back to Sydney after the Bathurst 1000.
If you choose to fly, Bathurst has a regional airport with services to Sydney that take approximately 40 mins. There’s also train and busses available—but remember to book ahead if you’re travelling around the Bathurst 1000 because seats fill up quickly.
Once in Bathurst city, to find the track follow the main street (William Street) to its southernmost end. After about 1.5kms, the name changes to Panorama Avenue, which shows you are headed in the right direction and after another 1.5kms you will enter Mount Panorama at Murray’s Corner.
No matter how you travel to Mt Panorama, Bathurst for your V8 drive or hot lap experience, you can be sure that we’ll have your high performance V8 race car ready and waiting for you!