Webber smashes ‘Eastern Creek’ lap record

Red Bull Racing at 2013 Top Gear Festival in Sydney

With the arrival of Red Bull as a major sponsor of the Triple Eight team in local V8 racing the energy drinks giant has an impressive list of Australian talent on its books. In addition to Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup they’ve signed former MotoGP champion Casey Stoner and, of course, there’s Mark Webber and Daniel Ricciardo from Formula 1 as well.

So when Top Gear lobbed into town with their festival it was no surprise that Jeremy Clarkson and James May weren’t going to the be the only stars on show. Red Bull didn’t miss the opportunity to show off their talent under the guise of a lap record attempt by Mark Webber.

Keen motorsport fans will recall the ill-fated A1 Grand Prix once called Sydney Motorsport Park (nee Eastern Creek) home and it was Nico Hülkenberg that held record. Driving a 2011 RB7 Webber managed to knock off Hülkenberg’s old record not once, but twice.

During Saturday’s festivities Webber lapped the GP circuit in 1:15.218 and then backed that up on Sunday with a new lap record of 1:13.606.

“I knew there was a bit more time from yesterday,” said Mark, “and we probably got what ever expected out of it today. There was a great crowd in and you owe it to them to put the car on the limit.”

Mind, Red Bull went to some lengths to point out they had detuned the RB7′s engine in order to prolong its working life and that the tyres used were nothing like the brand new Pirelli slicks Mark will be using in Melbourne this weekend.

[Pics: Red Bull/Getty Images]

[Amateur video]

Red Bull Racing at 2013 Top Gear Festival in Sydney

Red Bull Racing at 2013 Top Gear Festival in Sydney

Red Bull Racing at 2013 Top Gear Festival in Sydney

Red Bull Racing at 2013 Top Gear Festival in Sydney

Red Bull Racing at 2013 Top Gear Festival in Sydney

Red Bull Racing at 2013 Top Gear Festival in Sydney

Red Bull Racing at 2013 Top Gear Festival in Sydney

Show-offs in Sydney

Mar 12, 2013

Mark Webber and the showcar team kicked off our Australian Adventures with a weekend of firsts at Sydney Motorsport Park.

Mark and the team were taking part in the massively popular Top Gear Live event, hosted by Jeremy Clarkson and James May. Mark’s main task for the weekend was to thrill the sell-out crowd at the circuit better known as Eastern Creek, attempting to break Nico Hülkenberg’s A1GP lap record, and then put the RB7 through its show-pony paces with the burnouts and donuts that make Pirelli a very happy tyre supplier.

In addition to that, Mark was also going to meet the other Red Bull Racing team, as Craig Lowndes, Jaime Whincup nd Casey Stoner were in town, complete with their Red Bull Racing Australia V8 Supercars. Rather than a chat over dinner, the drivers were all there to go head-to-head out on track. Stoner took on Lowndes (the twist being Casey was driving the V8 and Craig had a Team Suzuki Australia GSX-R 1000), and also briefly came out of two-wheel retirement, swapping to a CBR1000RR and taking on Jamie in the V8 and Mark – if you’ve ever wondered how much faster an F1 car is than anything else on wheels, Mark answered that pretty conclusively by lapping his rivals.

“I’ve known Craig for quite a while, he’s synonymous with Australian motorsport, and Casey I’ve known for a long time too” said Mark. “Jamie I’ve only got to know in the last few years because we started our careers at different times, I was in Europe when he was coming through the junior ranks. It’s really nice to have a team with the quality of Triple Eight in the Red Bull family, and having three guys of that calibre is just superb. We had a lot of fun this weekend.”

The sterner challenge for Mark was beating the lap record. In racing trim it wouldn’t be much of a contest but we like to look after our RB7 showcar so it’s detuned to protect the engine, and of course, we’re not allowed to run it on race tyres instead using rock-hard demo rubber (else every F1 team would be doing a 100-lap ‘showcar’ run of Silverstone, Jerez or Ricard every day of the year). In the end Mark still managed to smash the record with a time of 1:15.218 on Saturday and then, having got his eye in, dropped that to 1.13.606 on Sunday.

“I knew there was a bit more time from yesterday,” said Mark, “and we probably got what ever expected out of it today. There was a great crowd in and you owe it to them to put the car on the limit.”