Whincup downplays Bathurst lap record potential
Practice pace-setter Jamie Whincup says he’s not expecting to see record breaking lap times during qualifying for this weekend’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.
Whincup lapped the Mount Panorama course in a best time of 2:07.36s during the closing stages of Practice 3, ending the session almost 0.5s clear of the rest of the field.
Although comfortably quicker than any lap set during the weather-interrupted 2011 Bathurst weekend, the TeamVodafone driver will need to find more than 0.5s to match the faster ever V8 Supercar time set by stable-mate Craig Lowndes during Friday morning practice in 2010.
Lowndes’ 2:06.80s time eclipsed the long standing Greg Murphy lap of 2:06.86s, set in the Top 10 Shootout for the 2003 event.
“The track is quite clean, but the temperature is massively up from when Craig went quick, and the track is not as good as when Murph went quick,” said Whincup after today’s sessions.
“I doubt it,” he added when asked of the potential to run below 2:06.8s this weekend.
“I don’t think we should disrespect those two laps (by Lowndes and Murphy). They were up there with the best. If anyone does (go quicker) it’ll be an unbelievable scenario.”
Lowndes himself was third fastest today after a scrappy run across the top of the hill on his new tyre set, and says Whincup’s 2:07.3s might be good enough for pole in Saturday’s Shootout.
“I think it’ll be somewhere around that mark,” he said of Whincup’s time.
“It depends on what the weather does. If the track rubbers up a bit more there might be some more in it.”
Will Davison, who was second fastest today despite a mistake at Forrest Elbow on his green tyre run, is more optimistic that records are possible.
“The Shootout is about 40 minutes later this year, so if it cools off it’ll be fast,” he said.
“It doesn’t give you any points, but I think we’d all be lying if we didn’t say that a fast lap of Bathurst isn’t part of the thrill of what we do,” he added of the drivers’ collective desire to set record breaking times in the lead-up to the 1000km race.
“We all have egos, some bigger than others, but it’s just great to do a quick lap here, even a 2:07. I’ve never ‘done a six’ but I image I’d be pretty happy with myself if I did.”
The V8 Supercars will complete a further two practice sessions tomorrow morning before qualifying at 1445 local time.
CLICK HERE for today’s Practice 1 report and result
CLICK HERE for today’s Practice 2 report and result
CLICK HERE for today’s Practice 3 report and result
CLICK HERE for a gallery of today’s track action
See below for Speedcafe.com’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 Race Guide