Shell Helix Racing driver Steve Johnson describes a lap of Mount Panorama Bathurst - venue for the tenth round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series, on October 12:

"You drop the clutch, floor it and pray desperately that you make it to Hell Corner in one piece. Hard on the brakes at the hundred-metre mark, shift down to second on the approach, and then through the left-hander and up to third, fourth, fifth as you reach nearly 260km/h heading up Mountain Straight.

"As you drop over the hill on Mountain Straight, the car's getting really light. You're half airborne - the wheels are jumping off the track and spinning.

"Into turn two, you must be very conscious of holding your line, as it provides one of the key passing opportunities on the track for anyone who happens to be in the right place at the right time.

"You're apexing early and holding it for longer than you normally would. The car gets quite taily out of here as the camber of the road drops away.

"Heading up into turn three, you're travelling at over 190km/h before shifting back to second, just touching on the brakes and then off again to make it through the corner without locking your front wheels.

"Streaking up through Reid Park at around 180km/h, the car becomes floaty, and you feel the wheels leave the road beneath you. The crowd on the hill goes crazy as the car shaves within millimetres of the wall on your way through.

"Up over McPhillamy the car jumps sideways in the air for a split second. So, you turn in early, let the car get airborne and drift wide slightly, and hopefully you're on the apex as you come out. You're careful not to hit the outside kerb, as it's quite high and extremely unforgiving; it will launch you into the inside wall in an instant.

"Approaching Skyline the speedo shows 210km/h. At 50 metres out, you jump on the brakes and slam into third gear. Then it's hard on the throttle for the dive down the mountain.

"By the time you reach the Dipper, you've really dropped speed, and change back down to second gear. You're gently on the throttle through the right-hander, you turn in and try not to unsettle the car as it can ride high up on two wheels through here. You want to keep the car as flat as possible.

"Down the Esses you tear through the left-hander, hugging the wall, straight-lining it across to the right-hander, over to the inside and skimming around the wall on the right, all the way until you get to Forrest Elbow.

"It's a second gear turn, you drop back to just over 120km. Forest Elbow has a late apex so you straight-line out and launch down Conrod, coming out as close to the outside wall as you can (being careful not to fire in to the trees like Dad did in '83).

"Finally, you get some time to catch your breath while the Falcon reaches speeds of over 290km/h in top gear down the straight. The opportunity for rest doesn't last long though and before you know it you're hurtling towards The Chase.

"Jumping on the brakes after holding it flat through the right-hand kink, you quickly change down into second before streaking around the left-hander. Straight away you stomp on the power again for the next right-hander and then head to the final turn.

"Accelerating hard onto the front straight, you fight the car to stay off the wall, and cross the start-finish line at around 211km/h."

 

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