Ahh, glorious Mount Panorama. Located 2,850 feet above sea level in Bathurst lies one of the most historically significant tracks in auto racing history. A mythical beast, the course stretches 4 miles and doubles as a public access road in the off racing season for the residents.
From its early days, the Mount was originally claimed by the local Wiradjuri tribe. They called the Mount “Waluu”, which means “to watch over.” It is there that the young men of the tribe would watch over their land and oversee visitors entering into their territory. Fast-forwarding to the mid 1930’s, the city of Bathurst was buzzing and Mayor Martin Griffin wanted to create a premiere racing track, as auto racing had become all the rage. He wanted to create a course that challenged the best of the best auto racers with exciting hairpin turns, and boasted top speeds on its downhill stretches. Specifically, he wanted to test the ability and agility of both drivers and their machines.
The first race to ever take place on the course after opening was the 1938 Australian Tourist Trophy. This event attracted 20,000 spectators and ushered in a new era of automotive racing, spawning races like the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, and The Bathurst 12 hour to name a couple. While it has been a staple for auto racing, motorcycle racing has had its place on the course as well, dating back to its original heyday of the 30’s.
As of the time of this posting, the fastest recorded lap time at Mount Panorama is held by twenty-one year old Australian, Simon Hodge. The record time was 2:02.6701, and he was driving the Mygale M11-Mercedes-Benz in 2014. View the video below to experience this record setting lap.
The Mount is also home to another staple of Australian automotive racing. The National Motor Racing Museum sits on Murray’s corner on the track, and boasts a large display of cars and motorcycles from automotive racing history from all over the world. Upon arriving, you will see a statue dedicated to Peter Brock, who won the Mount Panorama race nine times. Peter passed away in 2006 at the Targa West rally race in September 2006. A total of sixteen competitors and two spectators have been killed during racing events at Mount Panorama.
With its breathtaking scenery, and historical significance of making the careers of many, Mount Panorama has solidified itself deep in automotive racing history. While it may be a public access road (and admittedly tempting), officials ask that people do not race during the off season as there are large amounts of joggers, walkers and cyclist who frequent the road. Not to mention the speed limit of 60km/h is strictly enforced. However, if you feel the urge to burn rubber on the course, the best way to go about that would be to check out their events calendar of upcoming races to enter.