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A Lap Around Mount Panorama M.I.N.I.

What's it like to drive a Cooper 'S' around Mount Panorama? Lakis Mantucas gives us this description of a lap around the Mount.

"A good Cooper 'S' would be doing about 80 mph along Pit Straight in third gear before the braking point for Hardie Ferodo. We would come out of here at about 60 and head off up the mountain, getting into top at about 90 mph just over the crest in Mountain Straight.

"You are doing about 90 coming into XL. I've tried both top and third for this, and third seems to be the quickest, so you just slip it back to third and go straight through - no braking - and try to get up the long pull to the Cutting as fast as you can.

"Through the cutting an 'S' is showing about 50 mph in second, and you have to hang onto second for another 40 yards till you are doing about 65. You have to rev the car hard going up the mountain, otherwise you lose too much time.

"From there on up past Reid Park it's third gear, and once you get put onto the top of the mountain you can go into top if you want to: this is about 90 mph.

"But if you go into top you have to back to third starting into the Esses, and there's two gear changes you could avoid, so you might like to think about staying in third all the way.

"All around 90 mph across the top, through McPhillamy Park and over Skyline, no braking until you get headed downhill.

"You go through the Dipper still in third about 60, and you wind it out in third down to Forest Elbow, starting that last steep drop at about 75.

"You get through Forest Elbow about 60, trying to start tight and come out wide and fast to get the best start for the run down Conrod. I drop into top through the little left-hand kink, and a good 'S' is winding out all the way down the straight doing about 115 if you have come out of Forest Elbow properly.

"In a Cooper 'S' you can go in to 125 yards before braking. You can go in to even 75 if you want to, especially with racing tyres. You can pound the brakes in a Mini and never have any trouble for the whole race - no brake troubles, no wheel troubles, no tyre troubles for the whole race.

"Third gear for Murray's corner, about 55 mph coming out, and you head off down Pit Straight again."

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