Drivers may finally crack the 300kph barrier at this weekend’s Bathurst 1000 but Jamie Whincup expects lap times will actually be slower than last year.
Motorheads are salivating at the thought of V8 Supercars drivers thundering around Mount Panorama’s faster than ever thamks to recent changes.
A new gearing set-up in 2015 ensures they avoid a “rev-limiter” which stops acceleration, limiting top speeds down the epic Conrod Straight to 297kph – until now.
Many believe that will lead to lap records on a track that produced plenty last year after it was resurfaced.
The most memorable was Shane van Gisbergen’s two minutes, 6.3267 seconds effort that sealed pole position.
It was more than half-a-second quicker than fellow Kiwi Greg Murphy’s legendary “Lap of the Gods” qualifying effort in 2003.
Four-times Bathurst champion Whincup isn’t expecting another assault on the record books.
“I would love to hype it up but the higher gear ratio, the slower it takes to accelerate (under the new changes),” Whincup said on Tuesday.
“There’s potential to do 300kph but I don’t think we will be as quick (around the track) as last year to be honest.
“I don’t think it (lap records) will happen, but hopefully I am wrong.”
Whincup’s Holden teammate, five-time Bathurst champion Craig Lowndes, said conditions on the notoriously fickle Mount Panorama track would have to be right for drivers to reach the rare air of 300kph.
“Every year we go to the mountain and every year someone tries to claim they have cracked the 300kph mark,” Lowndes said.
“It hasn’t been possible with the gear ratio we have had but it is now.
“But we have to make sure the conditions are right (to do it).”
Whincup said the resurfaced track wasn’t exactly a dream to drive on.
“It made it hard to drive. It made the rear of the car want to pass the front of it but everyone was in the same boat,” he said.
“If last year was any indication it will be another gnarly one this year.
“We are just aiming to get to the end, hopefully it leads to the podium.”
Practice begins on Thursday with the Great Race starting at 11am AEDT) on Sunday.