Jenson Button has set the unofficial lap record around the Mount Panorama circuit in Bathurst with a time below 1min 48secs in his McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 car.

Australian V8 Supercar hero and official lap record holder Craig Lowndes also had a crack in the McLaren, and was only around one second slower than the 2009 World Champion, posting a time of 1:49.

Earlier suggestions that the car could hit as high as 360km/h on Conrod proved to be overly ambitious, with both drivers just eclipsing 300km/h, according to Fox Sports. Both recorded an average speed of around 210km/h.

After his lap around the mountain, Button said breaking the 100 second barrier would not be out of the question in an F1 car if he was really pushing and knew the track well.

Lowndes set the official lap record during a practice session at last year’s Bathurst 1000, with a time of 2:06.8012.

After their stints in the F1 car, Button and Lowndes jumped into the Australian’s Triple Eight Racing Holden Commodore V8 Supercar.

Naturally, Lowndes had the advantage in the hardtop touring car, laying down a time of 2:11 (22 seconds adrift of his effort in the McLaren). Button was a further six seconds behind, posting a time of 2:17.

The Team Vodafone driver swap was a lead-up event to this weekend’s 2011 Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix at Albert Park in Melbourne.