Craig Lowndes sampled a McLaren F1 car at Mount Panorama Organisers have declared Vodafone’s ‘V8 vs F1’ publicity demonstration a resounding success after over 20,000 fans flocked to Bathurst’s Mount Panorama circuit to watch McLaren’s Jenson Button and former V8 Supercars champion Craig Lowndes swap share cars in the first ever run performed by a Formula 1 car on the daunting 6.2-kilometre circuit.

We reported earlier than Button had taken his McLaren MP4-23 around the track with an unofficially timed lap of 1m48s, close to 18 seconds faster than Lowndes’ lap record in the V8 Supercar.

Button reckoned that with more mileage and a better car set-up, a sub 1m40s lap time was a  certainty – the car barely cracked 300km/h on the circuit’s long straights with a short-ratio seventh gear causing the car to bounce along its rev limiter halfway down the straight.

And despite having his lap record smashed, Lowndes managed to post a lap time just a second slower than Button in his four-lap run in the McLaren, which was the Australian’s maiden outing in F1 machinery.

The pair also sampled Lowndes’ Holden Commodore. At more than twice the weight of an F1 car, its 5-litre V8 engine still produces an impressive 635BHP power output.

This time, Lowndes has Button’s measure in the big tin-top, posting a lap time of 2m09s, while Button was some six seconds slower.

Button has declared his interest in competing in V8 Supercars after he retires from Formula 1 competition.

And as for the Bathurst event, it was certainly well-received and it will no doubt spark a groundswell of support to have the Australian Grand Prix moved there.

In truth, the circuit is probably too dangerous and the location too remote for a Grand Prix to ever be a possibility, but we can all dream, can’t we?

Have a look at some video footage from the day, courtesy of 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.