“There’s no other track in Australia like Mount Panorama. It’s a world-class track that requires commitment – and a well-balanced Supercar – for a quick lap.
You can’t afford to second-guess yourself.
As you head along pit straight and line up for Hell Corner, you’re setting yourself up for the entire lap. You hit the brakes at the 100m mark, and you really want to attack the corner but you need to be smooth to get a good run up Mountain Straight.
Turn two, Griffin’s bend, is an interesting one. It’s really late braking because it’s an uphill righthander in either second or third gear, then a short blast up to The Cutting.
On a good lap, you’ll just graze the outside wall with your mirror before you turn in, nick it on the inside and then again on the outside. The Cutting is a double left which tightens, so you’ve got to be quite aggressive, but it’s one of the best parts of the lap.
Then you face the toughest corner, Reid Park. Get it wrong here and it’s all over. There are some awkward bumps, which are always a challenge, and the famous grate. You know it’s a flying lap if you don’t need to brake.
As you come across the mountain and through McPhillamy Park, you really see all the colour of the fans. It’s a really exciting part of the track because you’re on the limit and the corners really flow.
But you can’t afford to get distracted by the view, because the next turn, Skyline, is blind. It’s one of the trickiest corners in the world because you come over the crest, feel the car jump sideways and hope you’ve got the line right.
Skyline is crucial to get right because it sets up the run down the mountain. It’s really difficult to gain time through the Esses, but so easy to lose it. You really need to get the Supercar flowing and keep up momentum.
It sounds odd, but it’s quicker to be slower, and you’ve got to have patience. The run into Forrest’s Elbow is another key part of the 6.213km lap. Get it wrong and you’ll compromise speed on Conrod Straight. This year there’s even more pressure, because it will be bragging rights for whoever sets the top speed. We’re going the fastest we go all year heading into The Chase. Any slight wheel movement can put the car anywhere, so you have to be so precise.
Get it wrong here and it’s all over.
There’s a quick right-hander, then it’s hard on the brakes and all the way back to second gear.
It’s tough to pull it up, and we’ve seen so many instances where guys have got it wrong and locked the brakes.
Then there’s just Murray’s Corner remaining. It’s a simple left-hander, but make even the slightest error and you’ll ruin the lap. It’s an unforgiving track, and that’s what makes it so exhilarating.”
The story Van Gisbergen takes us on a fast lap around Mount Panorama first appeared on Western Advocate.