Kangaroos and Crashes at Bathurst, but remember when Button took on The Mountain?
Kangaroos stopped play during final practice for the Intercontinental GT Challenge Bathurst 12 Hour, but can you remember the only time that a Formula One car has taken to the legendary Mount Panorama circuit?
Firstly, yes. Kangaroos really did stop play during practice for the GT3 12 Hour race. To fans of Formula One who are only used to seeing the occasional bird on the track or, in the case of the Canadian Grand Prix, a Groundhog or two, this may seem strange but, in Australia and especially at Bathurst, this is not an uncommon thing.
With local wildlife playing the role of the overly enthusiastic spectator, it may not surprise you to hear that Formula One have never raced at this venue. A pure drivers circuit, this is a genuine shame although, with the close concrete walls, gravel traps and bumpy surface, it is easy to understand why the premier form of open wheel racing would choose to avoid the circuit.
Mount Panorama is also not a forgiving place, as some of the GT3 drivers, some of whom are regulars at the circuit in both GT cars and the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, found out.
Separate incidents have brought FP5 to an early end. Oliver Jarvis' Bentley and Daniel Serra's Ferrari are both a little shorter than at the start of the session...#IntGTC | #B12Hr 🇦🇺 pic.twitter.com/eClukvYEuB
Despite the danger, Jenson Button fulfilled a lifelong dream when he appeared at a Vodafone - then the title sponsor of the McLaren Formula One team - event at The Mountain alongside Supercars legend Craig Lowndes in 2011.
After both lapping in their own cars, Lowndes in the Team Vodafone VE Commodore and Button in the 2008 title winning McLaren MP4-23, the two swapped rides and Button ticked another dream off the list, driving a V8 Supercar.
Button said after the event that he would perhaps one day return to Supercars but nine years later, this is yet to happen.
"To look back at the footage of a Formula One car going around here will be amazing," said Button. "It's an amazing experience.
"There's a couple of corners that every time I got there, I thought I was in the right place and you're not. But that's what makes it such a special circuit. Most circuits I go to I can pick up within two laps. Here you can see it taking half a day."
Officially, none of the laps were timed and, as this was not a race event, no official records could be broken. However, with a time of 1:48.88, Button set what remains as the, albeit unofficial, lap record - a lap the is over ten-seconds faster than anything else ever to lap the track with the official lap record sitting at 1:59.29 by Chris Mies in an Audi R8 Ultra.
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