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Murphy shakes ‘imposter’ tag with 2:05s lap

GREG Murphy was excited and relieved to finally beat his own ‘Lap of the Gods’ time from 19 years ago in practice for his Repco Bathurst 1000 return.

Murphy, 50, is making a one-off comeback to the Great Race this year in a wildcard entry as a favour to Boost Mobile boss Peter Adderton, who sponsored his junior career.

The four-time Bathurst winner’s 2:06.8594s pole position time from 2003 is one of the most legendary moments in Australian motorsport history.

It took seven years for any rival to go faster – Craig Lowndes the first under the marker in 2010 – and remained unbeaten by Murphy himself.

Murphy clocked a 2:06.2665s in the co-driver only Practice 2 this afternoon before lowering it further to 2:05.8716s on his very last lap, which put him 22nd in the 28-car field.

Shane van Gisbergen’s co-driver Garth Tander topped the session with 2:04.1359s, noting extra grip from epoxy sealant recently laid on the circuit.

Murphy set the famous ‘Lap of the Gods’ and won the 2003 Bathurst 1000 with Rick Kelly in a car carrying #51. Pic: an1images.com / Justin Deeley

“I’m actually pretty pumped. That’s the fastest I’ve ever been around here,” said Murphy after the session.

“These guys (other drivers) have been telling me how these cars are here and how it’s changed.

“I didn’t even know there was epoxy on the track by the way, I had no idea. I don’t even know what that means!

“The cars are phenomenal. It’s just been adjusting the brain to do things a little bit different.

“The muscle memory is as in 2014 in some respects, it’s just how efficient the cars are once you get on the brake pedal and how much brake pressure you can carry.

“That’s where all my speed is coming from and the more I trust the car, the better it is. That was a lot of fun, I had a ball out there.”

Murphy declared himself happy with his time behind the wheel, grateful that today’s running was dry amid a week of inclement forecasts.

“It’s been a really strange feeling knowing I was going to turn up here this year,” he continued, having agreed to partner Richie Stanaway in the Boost Commodore.

Greg Murphy with Jack Perkins during testing. Pic: Supplied

“I was almost feeling like a bit of an imposter, turning up after all that time and taking up a space that maybe someone else should be filling.

“I’m really glad I got some dry laps to be able to settle in and understand a bit more and not be under that stress of going around in the wet and just find some confidence.

“I’ve gained some confidence today, which is really important moving forward.”

Stanaway, 30, ended up at the bottom of the timesheets in Practice 1 after a starter motor failure ended his session early.

This weekend is also a return to action for Stanaway, who burst onto the Supercar scene with a win as a co-driver in 2017 but walked away after two rough full-time seasons.

“It wasn’t ideal,” Stanaway told V8 Sleuth of Practice 1.

“I only got a handful of laps in, Greg got in to do a few and then when I got back in the car it wouldn’t start, so we missed the second half of the session.

“We’ll have to get some laps in tomorrow and see how we go. I was sort of in the mix until I stopped driving, and then of course the track got quicker because it was drying out.

“But it’s probably going to be a mixed few days anyway with the weather so I’m not too bothered about it. No one will remember what happened in Practice 1.”

Two more hour-long practice sessions will take place before qualifying on Friday.

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