A Lap of Bathurst in a 928 GT
by Shane Navin (April 4-6 2010)
Preparation and racing was on all afternoon. The remaining two Porsche Groups and the five FoSC (Festival of Sporting Cars) Groups were all getting a pace lap and ten laps to determine times, so that racers were placed in similar speed groups.
Our Group was to be away at 3.00pm and after some nerves I found myself in Pit Lane ready to go. We headed off up Mountain Straight on the warm up and everyone was pretty serious, weaving from side to side warming up the R-Specs. A reasonable pace over the top of the Mountain and when we hit Conrod straight, there was no mucking about.
The Green flag was waved on the main straight as I flew past in third gear at 6000rpm, chasing a Cayman S. Slid wide at Hell Corner on cold tyres, up on the ripple strip but kept it off the grass and off, up Mountain Straight.
Absolutely flat in third to 6500rpm, with a 968 CS hot on my tail. Flat change over the first hump, hold it in fourth to the second hump. Head bangs the roof over this hump and into fifth for two seconds, before back to fourth, back to third, engine screaming and set the car up for Castrol.
What a tricky corner but the torque of the V8 leaves the CS behind and before you can blink you are back to second, to rip through the Cutting. Hold second to the first ripple strip on the inside. Short change into third and cut the inside through Reid Park.
Bloody hell! Is this for real or am I dreaming? Aim for the tree as you can't see the road as it drops away to McPhillamy, change to fourth and float the car through at 4000rpm. Then it opens up into Skyline.
Oh Sh*t! Where did the road go? On the brakes, double de-clutch back to third, 5000rpm and down through the Esses. Hard on the brakes, around to the right, avoid the skid marks straight into the wall, at the Dipper, as a reminder to only run at seven or eight tenths, if you want to survive.
Off the brakes, hard left into the Dipper and just as the left front comes off the deck, floor it and catch her as she slides the bum out to the right. Then as close to the wall as you dare, 6000rpm in third and catapult off towards Forest Elbow.
Is this my first real lap or my 30th lap? Can't remember. Anyway, where were we? Into Forest Elbow, hard on the brakes, not too close to the concrete wall on the inside, very hard corner to get right and more skid marks into the wall.
Float her out towards Dick Johnson's wall (of Green Ford, XD fame). Still in third, floor it to the left hand kink at the start of Conrod Straight to 6500rpm, then into fourth. Hold it to the first hump and stay to the left.
Change at the flag marshal post at 6500rpm. Oil pressure OK. Temperature OK. 'Monet' Rally Computer reads 223kph.
GT3 goes past me like I'm stopped!
Drift to the left, out over the white line. Flat through the kink to the right, car squirms and on the brakes, back to fourth, double de-clutch and back to third, still as hard as you can push the brakes. I wish I had size fourteen feet, to heel and toe in the 928!
Pull hard left, up over the inside ripple strip. Full noise in third, over to the right and pull fourth gear under the Dunlop Bridge at 6500rpm, for two seconds, then hard on the brakes at the 300 marker. Back to fourth, screaming back to third and hard left, holding third back up pit straight and across the start finish line to do it all again, and again. Try as you might, there just isn't a perfect lap.
Hope you enjoyed a 928GT, lap of Bathurst. - Shane Navin, '89 928 GT