Button and Lowndes address the Bathurst crowds

Despite there being no official timing allowed for today’s Vodafone publicity exercise at the famous Mount Panorama circuit, sources from Bathurst – where McLaren’s Jenson Button and V8 Supercars driver Craig Lowndes will swap machines  – tell us that the 2009 World Champion smashed the two-minute benchmark in his McLaren MP4-23.

While the exact time may never be published – lest it encourage either driver to exceed ‘safety’ standards – the quickest time unofficially recorded was a 1m48s lap, some 18 seconds faster than Lowndes’ official lap record of 2:06.801 around the 6.2-kilometre circuit.

Speaking after sampling the daunting circuit for the first time, Button admitted that a 1m40s lap time was achievable if he pushed a little harder.

Despite all parties being given strict instructions not to push too hard, the helicopter sent to film the exercise was struggling to keep up with Button as he took a Formula 1 car around the circuit for the first time ever.

In an interview after his outing, Button exclaimed: “This place is fantastic. I’ve watched it on TV but it doesn’t do it justice.”

Lowndes will get his opportunity to sample Button’s McLaren at 1pm, which will mark the first time that he gets to put pedal to the metal in a Formula 1 car.

[Image via Fox Sports]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.