The circuit was judicially named "Mount Panorama", and quickly
became the venue for many high profile racing events, of both two and four
wheel variety. But the race that stops the nation, apart from the one held
in Melbourne that features the four-legged variety, is unquestionably the
This event, under various sponsorships, first came to Bathurst
from Phillip Island (Victoria) on the Labor Day holiday weekend of 1963.
Mount Panorama came of age in 1987 with the staging of the James Hardie 1000
as a round of the FIA World Touring Car Championship. Millions of dollars
were spent on upgrading the circuit and its facilities.
The first major track
change since the track was initially opened came into use at this event,
with the Caltex Chase, a chicane introduced at the braking end of Conrod
Designed by Bathurst City Council Engineer Peter Gannon, this
new addition provided a buffer to the entry of Pit Straight as well as a
whole new spectator viewing area which has created some spectacular high-speed
racing over the years.
The circuit has been the testing ground for a number
of Australian world champions over the years. World champion motor-cyclists
Keith Campbell (350cc, 1951), Tom Phillis (250cc, 1961), Kel Carruthers (250cc,
1969) and Wayne Gardiner (500cc, 1987) have all raced here. On four wheels,
three-time world champion Sir Jack Brabham
(1959, 1960 & 1966) and 1980
world champion Alan Jones have also raced on the circuit.
The 'Mount' presents
an exhilarating experience to those who drive or ride around it. It is 6.213
kilometres in length, 874 metres above sea level and has grades of up to
1 in 6.13.