V8SC: No Lap of the Gods Repeat for Holden’s Greg Murphy

RaceChaser Staff Featured, International, Supercars 0 Comments

BATHURST, New South Wales, Australia — official release — V8SC photo — There seems no chance Greg Murphy will get an officially-backed chance to better his legendary ‘Lap of the Gods’ during this October’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.

The event will be the first on the freshly resurfaced Mount Panorama circuit, but could also be Murphy’s last outing in the 1000 if he ends up focusing on television commentary in 2015.

The New Generation V8 Supercars are expected to smash all current records for the category, including Murphy’s 2min 06.8594 secs qualifying mark set in a Kmart Racing Holden Commodore VY during the top 10 shootout for the 2003 race on a freshly resurfaced track.

Holden Racing Team boss Adrian Burgess dismissed any romantic notion he might give Murphy a crack at a time in the #22 SP Tools Commodore VF he will share with James Courtney.

“If it isn’t going to help me win the race then no,” Burgess said. “Greg’s past that, he knows that. It’s not about him and his Lap of the Gods, it’s about us winning the race.”

Murphy, who drove more than half of the Wilson Security Sandown 500 and finished second with Courtney, agrees with Burgess.

“That (going for a lap) I think would not be the professional thing to do,” the four-times Bathurst 1000 winner said. “Setting a qualifying time is James’ job and he is a brilliant qualifier. You need to be very precise to drive these cars very quickly and you need to be at one.”

The only way Murphy would beat his 2003 time is if the resurfacing gains so much time, routine laps undercut it. But Murphy, who retired from full-time V8 Supercars racing at the end of the 2012 season, insists he isn’t pondering that at all, instead focussing on his co-driving duties.

“You want to do a good job, you want to be as fast as you can, you want to be as close to the main driver as possible, you want to deliver the car back in one piece and deliver it back in a good enough spot so the car can potentially win the race.”

He played down the prospects of this being his last Pirtek Enduro Cup season, although he is expected to be on-air as part of the Fox SPORTS or Network 10 V8 Supercars broadcasts in 2015.

“I don’t know what’s going on and I will have to weigh everything up when or if something is offered and put on the table,” he said. “I have a contract with these guys (HRT) for the next two years and if everything goes well at Bathurst…”

Murphy’s 2003 time has since been bettered only once, by Craig Lowndes during practice for the 2010 race in a Team Vodafone Holden Commodore VE.

But many people still rate Murphy’s effort superior because it was performed under the pressurised single lap format of the shootout. Memorably, rivals teams spilled from their bunkers to applaud his effort as he rolled down pitlane post-lap.

Fans of Lowndes’ lap argue he set it on a poorer surface with a less powerful engine in a car not set up for qualifying.

“It’s going to be fast up there,” said Murphy. “I hope it is, I really hope we set a new benchmark up there. It’s about time.”

Murphy goes to Bathurst with his confidence sky-high compared to 12 months ago, when the HRT Commodores were a handful to drive on the daunting circuit. He was caught out during the race, crashing heavily into a wall climbing the mountain.

“You can’t buy confidence, you can only earn it and at Sandown I got a lot of confidence because of the performance,” Murphy said. “I am going to go up there and drive the car as fast as I can. ”

“The cars are so much better and so much more comfortable than last year. You just have to understand how tough it was and really how good a job these guys (Courtney and teammate Garth Tander) were doing last year throughout the season to achieve what they even achieved.”

“So for a co-driver it is a massive change and massive difference. It is so critical to make the job as easy as possible and at the moment it is so much better and so much more enjoyable.”

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