In 2003, the series now known as the Virgin Australia Supercars was populated exclusively by fire breathing, V8-powered four-door sedans from Ford and Holden. The series is and was built around the Bathurst 1000, the biggest race in Australia, and few things mean more to a Supercar team than taking pole in single-car shootout qualifying for the Great Race.
More than 15 years later, one lap stands above the rest at Bathurst.
(A Very Good Lap is a celebration of incredible achievement in individual laps, whether they happen in a race, in a qualifying session, or during a track day.)
As the fastest driver in group qualifying, Greg Murphy was the favorite to take pole before he embarked on what is now called the first Lap of the Gods, but nobody knew what would follow. Alone on the track and on the absolute edge of control, the K-Mart Racing Team driver somehow found an entire second over his best time in the previous session, enough to take pole by over a second.
What did he get right here? Almost everything. Mostly it’s the slim margin between control and error, and the huge gap over the rest of the field. Generally, the gaps in these sorts of things are .3-.5 seconds—Murphy had his up to 1.1 seconds.
Murphy and his Commodore held the track record at Bathurst for the better part of a decade. The modern record, set at this year’s race, is down to 2:04.7, but his 2:06.8 remains supreme in the memory of every Supercars fan that saw it happen.
Murphy and co-driver Rick Kelly would go on to win the 2003 Bathurst 1000 from pole.