On any other day, six-time series champion Jamie Whincup would have been all smiles after clocking the fastest-ever V8 Supercars lap around Mount Panorama.
But Whincup left the track shellshocked along with the rest of the Australian motorsport fraternity after Ford gun Chaz Mostert’s spectacular Bathurst 1000 qualifying crash on Friday.
Four-time Bathurst champ Whincup stole the show at Bathurst 1000 final practice on Friday morning by clocking 2:04.90 seconds.
It was more than half a second faster than Holden’s Fabian Coulthard’s record set barely 24 hours earlier.
But Whincup’s heroics were all but forgotten after Mostert’s horror crash moments into qualifying.
Mostert was airlifted to hospital with an expected season-ending broken wrist and leg while three trackside officials were injured as they jumped for safety.
“It’s never nice seeing an accident like the one Chaz had,” Whincup said.
“It’s just a reminder that our sport is dangerous and at the end of the day we are strapped in to missiles.
“The last thing we want to see is anyone hurt and something like this reminds us we’re all part of a big family and united together in the sport.
“I’ve got my fingers crossed for Chaz and I wish him the best in his recovery.”
Whincup had earlier this week hosed down talk that lap records would be under threat at Bathurst this year despite the introduction of a new gearing set-up at Bathurst.
Teams have removed a “rev-limiter” which had stopped acceleration and restricted top speeds to 297kph.
It sparked speculation that drivers would crack the 300kph barrier for the first time down the legendary Conrod Straight this week.
The Seven Network claimed Ford’s Scott Pye pulled it off, reaching a maximum of 304kph in final practice, but V8 Supercars are yet to confirm the landmark speed.
Whincup still felt the need for speed ahead of Saturday’s rescheduled qualifying session at Mount Panorama.
“The lap itself felt real good,” he said of his lap record.
“It’s a money can’t buy experience and something that’s hard to explain to anyone who hasn’t raced a car around one of the best bits of road in the world.
“A good, balanced V8 Supercar on new tyres around this joint flat out is one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had.
“I’m glad the sport is able to give me that thrill, but hopefully I can do it again in qualifying.”