NINE years ago and some 17,000 kilometres away from Bathurst, a kid called Robert Noaker was awe-struck when seeing Mount Panorama on television.
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Now, as an 18-year-old, Pennsylvania native Noaker has not only laid his eyes on the legendary circuit in person, but he's realising a dream by racing at the Mount.
Noaker has been given a wildcard to race in the Trans Am 100 at the inaugural Bathurst International.
"It's something else, it is like no other race track I've ever been on," Noaker said.
"Obviously this is the first time that I've been out of the US, but there's no race track in the US even close to this.
"You might get one turn, but not half a lap of chaos like this track.
"There's no amount of sim [simulator] laps or watching video that can prepare you for this. Obviously you learn the layout, but once you get here in person, like turn two and The Cutting, just the banking there alone and how much you have to send the car into there."
It was when Supercars took a round to the Circuit of the Americas in 2013 that Noaker first learned of the motor sport series that evokes so much passion from fans in Australia.
His family was already into motor sport, his grandfather having raced stock cars while his father "raced lay down karts on full sized tracks, so he raced Daytona, Road America, Watkins Glen in a go-kart."
They were fans of the NASCAR series, but as Noaker learned about Supercars and its marquee event the Bathurst 1000, he became a fan of it too.
That's why he leapt at the chance to race at the Bathurst International.
"When I saw Bathurst the first time I was like 'That's one crazy track' and I was only eight or nine years old at the time," he said.
"Late at night they would show the re-runs of the Supercars races on MAVTV, that's where they show motor sport 24-7.
"I honestly never even thought I'd get the chance to come here and race this track, let alone just be here.
"All I wanted to do was just come here and watch the 1000, but to be here and have it happen, I don't care if I'm way off the pace, I just want to run laps of this place."
Before Noaker got behind the wheel of the #13 Dodge Challenger, he walked the 6.213 kilometre circuit on Tuesday then again on Wednesday morning.
It was a chance to experience the renowned elevation changes.
"Walking it the first time you just try to get yourself collected and not have to learn anything at that time and then I took the second time to learn everything," he said.
"There's no other track on the planet that is like this. The difficulty, the length of it, the turns, the walls. It one heck of a track.
"I walked Road America which is longer than this track is, but obviously that doesn't have the elevation.
"I remember reading something saying this track is a lot like VIR [Virginia International Raceway] but with a lot more elevation, walls everywhere and then you have the animals to deal with as well."
In opening practice Noaker ended up 15th on the time sheet with his best lap a 2:20.4441 effort.
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