Mount Panorama is one of Australia’s most famous racing circuits. Host to the Bathurst 1000 touring car race, it’s renowned for its elevation changes, technical corners, and the long downhill Conrod Straight. However, outside of race weekends, the circuit is simply a public road used by local residents to get around, and is marked with a 60 km/h speed limit. That fact seemed to slip by a BMW driver one afternoon, who was caught speeding at almost double the posted limit, according to NSW Police.
Reported by Motor1, the driver’s excuse for such excessive speeds was that they “thought it was a race track.” Behind the wheel of a BMW 320i, the driver was clocked at a speed of 119 km/h before being apprehended by police. For his antics, the driver was issued a $2520 fine, the top tier for exceeding the limit by greater than 45 km/h. The offense also comes with 6 demerit points, out of a total of 13 maximum for drivers in the state. Perhaps the worst consequence of all, however, is the 6 month license suspension issued on the spot, along with the seizure of the car’s registration plates for a 3 month period.
It’s a tough penalty, though not surprising given the driver was traveling a full 59 km/h over the limit. Australia takes speeding offenses very seriously, with fines much larger than many other jurisdictions around the world. In the state of New South Wales, speeding just 10 km/h over the limit will net a $280 fine. Other states are even worse, with South Australia charging drivers a full $414 for the same offense.
It’s difficult to say whether this driver was misinformed, ignorant, or just using a weak excuse. With that said, it’s pretty general knowledge that you can’t just go flooring it on the road, regardless of what it’s used for a couple of weekends a year. Mount Panorama is also a particularly poor place to do it. Police regularly patrol the road to discourage racing fans from trying to recreate the heroics they’ve seen on TV. It’s not the most ridiculous thing we’ve seen on Australian roads, but it’s certainly something to go that fast in what is fundamentally a quiet country street.
At the end of the day, Mount Panorama is a street circuit, and like all street circuits, it runs on what are, fundamentally, streets. Outside of designated race weekends, street circuits are just public roads and are expected to be treated as such. We’re sure that BMW driver will have plenty of time to mull that over while they’re waiting to get their car back.
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