Jenson Button, McLaren MP4-23, Mount Panorama, Bathurst, 2011

Button does first lap of Bathurst in an F1 car

F1 picturesPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Jenson Button became the first driver to lap the famous Mount Panorama circuit, home of the Bathurst 1000, in an F1 car.

Speaking at the event ahead of this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix Button said: “These guys are crazy – they really are. This place is fantastic. Television just doesn’t do it justice.”

Button did five laps in a 2008 McLaren MP4-23.

V8 Supercar driver Craig Lowndes also did five laps at the wheel of the car. He said: “When I first went out it was the acceleration but when you go through turn two you really realise how much acceleration you have. In comparison the V8 seems to labour up the mountain.”

Button also got to drive a Holden Commodore V8 as raced by Lowndes. Button said: “As a driver you have your favourite tracks. Like Macau and Silverstone for instance.

“But this is the one I haven’t had the possibility of driving and I’m going to fulfil a childhood dream in not only a V8 but also in a Formula 1 car – which I think is pretty special myself.

“This is an iconic race track and it’s great to celebrate the unofficial fastest lap in a F1 car. That was phenomenal. It was such a rush.

“Once you get over the straights being quite hard to control the car over it is such a pleasure. It’s just a pity I don’t have more laps to test it out.”

Button said he was surprised by how much he could attack the circuit driving the Commodore: “I didn’t expect so much grip. It took me a while to get used to it.

“I haven’t hammered a car over kerbs like that for 12 years so it was a new experience for me and something I’ve missed.

“I was holding on tight all the way. It takes everything out of you. It was the experience I’ve wanted to have for many years and I’ve finally done it. In a way it’s probably not a good thing because it’s made me more hungry to come back.”