Just days after Mercedes-AMG smashed the closed-wheel lap record at Mount Panorama, the deranged Ford SuperVan 4.2 has stolen their thunder.

Mount Panorama, or simply ‘Bathurst’ as it’s often called, is one of the most demanding race circuits on the planet. It’s high-speed, has incredible elevation changes, and harsh walls that are ready to punish even the slightest mistakes. Not only that, but it’s also located in a truly beautiful part of the world. As such, there are plenty of bragging rights to be won if you’re fastest around Bathurst, and after a hectic few days on the mountain, it’s Romain Dumas and the Ford SuperVan 4.2 who’ll be going home happiest.

In the wake of the recent 12 Hour endurance race at Mount Panorama, plus the beginning of the 2024 Supercars Championship season, it’s fair to say that Bathurst has been rather busy in recent weeks. However, despite the flurry of professional motorsport activity that’s been going on, two manufacturers have still managed to find the time to hot-lap the mountain in experimental prototypes.

Mercedes-AMG raises the bar

First up was Mercedes-AMG. The Stuttgart marque brought a completely de-restricted version of its AMG GT3 racecar to Australia, where it was piloted by Mercedes factory driver, Jules Gounon. Known to be one of the leading talents in global GT racing, Gounon is certainly no slouch. In fact, he’s won the Bathurst 12 Hour race on multiple occasions. Fittingly, he managed to beat the previous closed-wheel Bathurst lap record by around two seconds, posting a new benchmark of 1:56.605 in the fully-unleashed Merc. Sadly for Gounon, his place in the history books only held firm for a matter of days. But nonetheless, it was a valiant effort, as you can see from the onboard video above.

Ford Supervan 4.2 burning rubber

The mighty SuperVan

Now, you might be surprised to hear that the vehicle which dethroned this jacked-up GT3 car was… a van. But make no mistake, the Ford SuperVan 4.2 is no ordinary tradie’s workhorse. You might have seen it before. In the hands of French veteran racer Romain Dumas, the SuperVan 4.2 has raced against the stopwatch at famous venues like Goodwood and Pikes Peak in previous years.

In case you’ve been living under a rock though, I should explain that this Transit from Hell is a fully-electric prototype which produces more than 2000hp. When you put it like that, the 650hp petrol-powered Merc never stood a chance, even given the Ford SuperVan’s hefty 1800kg kerb weight.

Ford Supervan lapping Bathurst

In the end, Dumas clocked a lap time of 1:56.325; just under three tenths of a second quicker than what Gounon managed. That means that the Ford SuperVan 4.2 is now officially the fastest closed-wheel vehicle to ever tour the famous mountain. As for the overall record, well that still sits with Jenson Button who lapped Bathurst in 1:48.88 behind the wheel of McLaren MP4-23 F1 car. It’s fair to say that the EVs and GTs have still got a long way to go before they’ll get near to that pace. Check it out below: