Bathurst Council approves Lowndes laps
The Bathurst Regional Council has given Vodafone approval to use the Mount Panorama circuit on March 22, when Craig Lowndes will complete five laps in a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Formula One car.
A council meeting last night approved the event, with CAMS set to have the final say on the proposal. Both Vodafone and the Council expect it to be a formality.
Lowndes, who has never driven an F1 car before, will steer the team’s de-speced machine for five laps around the 6.213km circuit, while Jenson Button will complete five laps in TeamVodafone’s Commodore VE ride car.
The Vodafone stunt is similar to what the telecommunications giant undertook at the Albert Park circuit last year, which saw Jamie Whincup drive the McLaren around the Grand Prix street track.
“From a council perspective, we’ve given it the go ahead,” a Bathurst Regional Council representative told Speedcafe.com.au.
“Now, it’s just a matter of other elements being sorted out.”
Under council regulations, the Mount Panorama circuit can only be closed off for full-track events five times a year. Currently four of those allocated slots are taken up (Bathurst 1000, Bathurst 12 Hour, the Bathurst Motor Festival and Drive Bathurst). The Vodafone F1 drive takes up the fifth and final allocated closure.
It is expected that permission from CAMS will be granted to Vodafone within a week.