Daylight second: Where Murphy's 'Lap of the Gods' stacks up

  • Repco Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 27/11/2021
  • By James Pavey

October 11, 2021 marked the 18th anniversary of Greg Murphy’s record shootout lap at Mount Panorama.

It’s one of the most oft-told stories in world motorsport, let alone Australian motorsport.

Murphy’s record-shattering lap, a 2:06.8594s flyer, has since been dubbed the ‘Lap of the Gods’.

In seven days' time, cars will roll out at the Repco Bathurst 1000 for the ARMOR ALL Top Ten Shootout.

What Murphy achieved in 2003 - coupled with victory the following day - was remarkable, and still makes waves to this day.

But where does it actually stack up in history, when it comes to world-beating shootout efforts?

Car, track and a single lap. Shootouts are designed to separate men from boys, and no place does that as effectively than Mount Panorama.

A Top Ten Shootout was introduced in 1978 to set the first 10 grid positions.

Johnson put a massive margin on his rivals in 1992 Pic: AN1 Images

Between 1978 and 1985, drivers had two separate runs against the clock. From 1979 to 2002, it was held on the Saturday morning.

Murphy’s shootout time came in the afternoon, and since 2003, Bathurst shootouts have been held under the setting sun on Saturdays.

In all one-lap dashes since 1986, Murphy’s time margin to second-placed John Bowe is sixth overall.

Bowe himself had set a lap record, but Murphy smashed his time by 1.09s.

Ludwig sailed to a sublime rookie pole in 1987 Pic: AN1 Images

The largest shootout-winning margin at Mount Panorama belongs to Dick Johnson, who in 1992, left his rivals for dead.

Aboard his #17 Shell Sierra, Johnson - in his 15th straight shootout appearance - dropped in a 2:12.898s to put 1.53s on nearest rival Larry Perkins.

Johnson's time was almost one second faster than any other Sierra had ever been around the mountain. It was also over three seconds faster than his 1991 shootout time.

Remarkably, Johnson’s appearance was a surprise considering co-driver John Bowe had set the car's fastest qualifying time.

Skaife was on a mission in 1991 Pic: AN1 Images

Five years earlier, three time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Klaus Ludwig became the first Bathurst rookie to take pole position.

The 1987 race was the first to feature the new Chase section, but German Ludwig still managed to put 1.49s on fellow rookie Andy Rouse.

It was Ford's first pole position at Bathurst since Allan Moffat claimed pole in 1976, and Ford's first front row start since Johnson started second in 1981.

It was also the first time in Bathurst history that two Bathurst rookies had occupied the front row of the grid since qualifying times first counted for grid positions in 1967.

Gardner leads the 2000 race early on Pic: AN1 Images

A year before Johnson’s record-setting lap, Mark Skaife put 1.24s on Mark Gibbs.

Skaife, aboard the world-beating Nissan GT-R, had already beaten Tony Longhurst's 1990 qualifying record by a full second.

He lowered the mark again with a 2:12.630 in the shootout, with the Nissan also recording a Group A fastest ever speed of 293 km/h on Conrod Straight during the one-lap dash.

The 1991 shootout was the only time between 1988 and 1992 that a Sierra did not qualify on the pole.

Biggest shootout-winning margins (1986-2020)

Margin Shootout winner Year
1.533s Dick Johnson 1992
1.499s Klaus Ludwig 1987
1.246s Mark Skaife 1991
1.2306s Wayne Gardner 2000 (wet)
1.1545s David Reynolds 2015 (wet)
1.0962s Greg Murphy 2003
0.99s Peter Brock 1989
0.7723s Mark Skaife 1997
0.56s Larry Perkins 1993
0.5547s Mark Skaife 1998

Rain affected the pole times in 2000 and 2015; former motorcycle world champion Wayne Gardner put 1.23s on Steven Johnson in 2000, before David Reynolds claimed the 2015 pole by 1.15s.

So, there it is; of the five pole-winning margins ahead of Murphy’s ‘Lap of the Gods’, two came in the wet, and three in the turbocharged Group A era.

Reynolds is at the complete other end of the spectrum when it comes to shootout-winning margins.

Then driving for Erebus Motorsport, Reynolds clinched the 2018 pole over Jamie Whincup by the scant margin of 0.0094s.

Reynolds clinched the 2018 by the smallest of margins

It still wasn’t the closest ever shootout-winning margin. In 2004, Steven Richards pipped Jason Bright to pole by just 0.0012s.

In fact, eight single-lap Bathurst shootouts have been won by less than 0.1s. Gary Scott was the first to do it, pipping Allan Grice by just 0.087s in 1986.

Will Davison beat Whincup to pole in 2012 by just 0.0315s, with Mark Larkham claiming a surprise 1999 pole over Skaife by 0.0646s.

To prove the margins have narrowed, seven of the top 10 smallest shootout-winning margins came in the 14 shootouts between 2007 and 2020.

Smallest shootout-winning margins (1986-2020)

Margin Shootout winner Year
0.0012s Steven Richards 2004
0.0094s David Reynolds 2018
0.0315s Will Davison 2012
0.0646s Mark Larkham 1999
0.0652s Jamie Whincup 2016
0.0812s Greg Murphy 2011
0.0824s Mark Winterbottom 2010
0.087s Gary Scott 1986
0.1153s Mark Winterbottom 2007
0.1243s Garth Tander 2008

The 2021 Repco Supercars Championship and Dunlop Series seasons will conclude at the Repco Bathurst 1000.

Every session of the event will be broadcast live on Foxtel (Fox Sports 503) and streamed on Kayo.

The Seven Network will provide live free to air coverage of the event. Tickets for the event and camping are on sale now.

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