James Winslow has set the fastest ever officially recorded lap of Mount Panorama on the way to topping practice ahead of the opening round of the 2013 Formula 3 Australian Drivers’ Championship.
The Briton clocked a 2:04.6160s time on his final lap of the second of two 30 minute sessions, shaving 0.0027s from the benchmark set by Chris Gilmour in Race 2 last year.
R-Tek Motorsport’s Nathan Morcom was 0.10s slower than Winslow in second, with Hayden Cooper (BF Racing) and Winslow’s Team BRM team-mate John Magro rounding out the top four.
Erebus Academy driver Jack Le Brocq was an impressive fifth quickest in the afternoon, just 0.72s adrift of Winslow, despite suffering fuel pressure problems in the morning.
“It’s the toughest field in seasons and it’s great to see,” noted Winslow, who also topped Practice 1.
“I thought that we would break the lap record this year and I’m predicting that in cooler conditions tomorrow in qualifying we should go at least a second quicker.
“The air will be cooler and we will be on new tyres so we should be somewhere in the 2m03s.”
Former Formula Ford and Carrera Cup front-runner, Nick Foster, had a less than ideal first day in Team BRM’s Mygale M-08, touching the wall at the top of the Mountain on his first flying lap of the second session.
The resulting rear suspension damage kept Foster off-track for the remainder of Practice 2, but the car is expected to return to action for qualifying and Race 1 tomorrow.
Jon Collins was also in a spot of bother during the afternoon, losing a wheel on his R-Tek Dallara during his first flying lap. He returned for a single circuit late in the going to end the day at the foot of the time sheets with Foster.
Fourteen Formula 3 cars are contesting the weekend’s event, with AGI Sport’s Dallara F304 and Team BRM’s fourth F307 both failing to show.