Willmington completes historic Bathurst S5000 laps
Second-generation driver Braydan Willmington has completed the first ever laps of Mount Panorama by an S5000 racer, as the category builds towards a racing debut at the iconic Bathurst circuit later this year.
The initial 10-minute untimed session saw Willmington, the son of 21-time Bathurst 1000 starter Garry, complete 5 laps aboard his #89 Braydan Willmington Motorsports entry – laps which also turned out to be his first ever at Mount Panorama.
The pair of 10-minute sessions are designed to give S5000 category management feedback on the vehicle setup and data for the challenging 6.213km circuit, ahead of a highly anticipated racing debut in Bathurst at the inaugural Bathurst International event this November.
“That was unreal, I know why dad raves on about this place so much,” Willmington enthused.
“My first laps around here, in this car were incredible… just incredible.”
No circuit-specific changes have been made to the Aussie-engineered S5000 chassis for this weekend’s demonstrations, with information gathering rather than ultimate lap times the goal.
“The laps were great and we had no issues at all. The front wing I don’t think scraped anywhere.. it’s a bit bumpy out there, but so was Sandown so that’s nothing new for these cars.
“It hit one time on the underneath of my seat going up Mountain Straight, but nowhere else.
“The car felt awesome and really good under brakes. I’m not pushing too hard yet, just taking it easy and working my way up to it.”
Despite being known as a global location for Touring Car and GT competition, Open wheel racing has a long and remarkable heritage at Mount Panorama.
The iconic circuit hosted the Australian Grand Prix on four occasions – in 1938, 1947, 1952 and 1958, Lex Davison winning the final AGP held at the venue, driving a Ferrari.
The Australian Drivers Championship / Gold Star has also been battled out at the venue on multiple occasions, the first appearance in 1957 won by Arnold Glass driving a Jaguar.
The Gold Star series has visited the Mountain on 13 occasions, with notable winners including Lex Davison, Bill Patterson, Bib Stillwell and Sir Jack Brabham, who won in 1967.
After a lengthy break, top-level wings and slicks racing returned to Bathurst in 2012 via Australian Formula 3 – the championship racing at the Easter event, the precursor to the current Bathurst 6 Hour, on three occasions.
Cooma-based driver Chris Anthony won the most recent Gold Star race at the venue, contested on Easter Sunday in 2014.
Today’s 10-minute demonstration will be repeated on Sunday morning and will be broadcast live on the screens of Seven as part of the network’s Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour coverage.