Motorsport fans will finally be able to see the the lap record at Bathurst’s imposing Mount Panorama circuit smashed as part of a sponsor-fuelled car swap that will see V8 Supercars driver Craig Lowndes drive a Formula 1 car for the first time.
Team Vodafone driver Lowndes will swap mounts with McLaren’s Jenson Button as part of a sponsorship event for the respective teams’ title sponsor in the lead-up to the Australian Grand Prix, after the Bathurst city council finally gave the go-ahead.
The event will mark the first time that a Formula 1 car will lap the 6.2-kilometre circuit, which is the home of the epic Bathurst 1000 endurance event that is a fixture on the V8 Supercars championship calendar.
The race lap record posted by Lowndes in last year’s event – a time of 2:06.801, or an average speed of 176km/h – will certainly come under threat if he is allowed to drive anywhere close to full speed in the McLaren.
Describing the opportunity as “a dream”, Lowndes’ previous open-wheeler experience came in Formula Holden and in the International Formula 3000 series, where he was team-mate to Juan Pablo Montoya in Helmut Marko’s team.
For Button, it will be his second outing in the Team Vodafone Holden Commodore after he traded places with Lowndes’ team-mate Jamie Whincup to perform some demonstration runs at Albert Park last year.