Jenson Button has created history after becoming the first man to lap the iconic Bathurst circuit in an F1 car ahead of this weekend's Australian Grand Prix.
Button completed five laps around the circuit at the wheel of a McLaren
MP4-23 with unofficial times in the Australian media suggesting he managed a quickest lap of 1min 48secs – some 20 seconds quicker than the official lap record.
The event, organised by McLaren
title sponsor Vodafone, then saw Team Vodafone V8 Supercar driver Craig Lowndes get behind the wheel of the F1 car to turn his own laps, with Button given the chance to sample Lowndes' V8 Supercar.
“This is an iconic race track and it's great to celebrate the unofficial fastest lap in a F1 car,” he said. “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.
“[With the V8] 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.”
Button's performance at the wheel of the V8 machine was enough to lead Team Vodafone chief Roland Dane to admit that he would be keen to see the Briton join the multiple champions for a race in the future.
“Jenson did a great job, jumping in our car, but you don't win a world championship by accident,” he told Speedcafe.com
. “He was always going to be quick, regardless of what race car he jumps in. It was good to see him enjoying to drive one of our cars.
“I'd love to see him race one of our cars. He is welcome anytime, and I've told him that. He's got plenty to do in life at the moment, but if he is bored in the future, we've got plenty of events where we can use extra drivers.
“For sure, we'd like to have him come along and race.”TO SEE A FULL PICTURE GALLERY FROM THE HISTORIC EVENT, CLICK HERE