A modern Formula 1 car will tackle Australia’s legendary Mount Panorama circuit for the first time in over a decade ahead of February’s Bathurst 12 hour race.
Red Bull will be sending a championship-winning RB7 (pictured above) to the event to turn laps ahead of the GT race, marking the first time a relatively recent F1 car has driven round the 3.861-mile track since 2011.
Jenson Button lapped Bathurst in a 2008 McLaren MP4-23 in 2011 as part of a car swap event with Supercars driver Craig Lowndes, as part of an event staged by sponsor Vodafone prior to that year’s Australian Grand Prix. Unofficially, Button set a time in the region of 1m48s, with Lowndes around a second off — the current official lap record is 1m59.291s, set by Christopher Mies in an Audi R8 GT3 car in 2018.
“Oracle Red Bull Racing are the current Formula 1 world champions — just to have them at the event is a privilege, but to know that the Red Bull Racing Formula 1 car will be lapping Mount Panorama will be something else,” said Shane Rudzis, event director of the Liqui Moly Bathurst 12 Hour. “This will be a spectacle like nothing we’ve seen at the 12 Hour before and takes the event to an entirely new level.
“This will be the best opportunity in 2023 for Australian F1 fans to get up close and personal with F1 machinery and an even rarer opportunity to see a Formula 1 car lap Mount Panorama.”
While the driver for Red Bull’s upcoming Bathurst run is yet to be confirmed, the car it is taking is very much a known quantity. The RB7 won 12 races from 19 starts en route to the team’s second drivers’ and constructors’ championship double in 2011, and since then has found a new life at the forefront of Red Bull’s promotional activities away from race weekends.
The team has demonstrated the car all over the world in cities that typically don’t host grands prix as part of its “Show Run” program, but has also done more outlandish things with the car, such as running it on an alpine ski slope and on the Burj Al Arab’s Helipad.
More recently, the RB7 ran in a more modest location — the streets of Milton Keynes in the UK where Red Bull Racing is based, to celebrate its most recent successes. There, Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez ran alongside a World Rally car driven by Sebastien Loeb and a former-NASCAR Cup car driven by ex-F1 driver Patrick Friesacher.