Greg Murphy's 'Lap of the Gods' Holden legend up for sale!
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The story always goes that those addicted to four-wheeled brilliance tend to grow up with a proverbial poster on the walls of their childhood bedrooms. Those cars, be they Ferrari Testarossas or Lamborghini Countachs, become heroes and king influencers that help mold ones tastes.
But, while most of these poster heroes were from Italy and Germany, there was a moment in time where Greg Murphy's Kmart Holden VY Commodore had equal billing. This of course was because of 'that lap' in 2003...
We all know the story — Murphy came out last in the top-10 shootout, and absolutely decimated the marker that had been set by Brad Jones Racing's John Bowe. He didn't just beat it, he destroyed it by more than a second, and in turn set a lap time that wasn't beaten for some seven years.
He and co-driver Rick Kelly were less dominant in the race proper the following day (HRT's Mark Skaife and Todd Kelly in particular being unlucky after an opening back door forced them to come to pit lane and ended their chances of challenging). But nonetheless it was a deserving win.
Murphy pressed on later in the season with five straight podiums through Surfers Paradise and then on home soil at Pukekohe Park (where, yes, he won). It shaped up as the Kiwi's best chance to win a maiden title, only for him to stumble at the final round of the season and allow arch rival Marcos Ambrose to take the championship.
Even without a championship on its resume, the Commodore (chassis HRT 043) was still given a tall status in touring car folklore. Though it's worn several other paint schemes over the subsequent years, it was inevitable that it would get restored back to its most famous form (this happened in 2011, thanks to the efforts of George Smith and Rick Wyatt).
And now, it's up for sale!
Queensland car collector and 'Lap of the Gods Commodore' owner John Anderson has put his hand up to try and stimulate some expressions of interest in the car, which, with the Australian motoring and motorsport scene entering a curious transition, shouldn't be difficult to find.
What's it worth? Who really knows. Some will see it as one of a whole bunch of different Commodore Supercar chassis you could buy, and as such being worth a dime a dozen. To others — to the right buyer — it could be considered priceless.
The V8 Sleuth (Supercars commentator Aaron Noonan) openly asked whether this could be the first $1million-dollar Supercar. Could it be? Time will tell.
The car's history of course started well before its glorious weekend of Bathurst success. It debuted in 2000 as a Commodore VT driven by HRT's Craig Lowndes. Having won the championship in 1996, 1998, and 1999, he could only muster a third-place in the championship after a few inconsistent events. Teammate Mark Skaife took the title — the first of three in a row.
HRT upgraded and retained the car for several seasons, with Todd Kelly the last in the squad to use it in early 2003. It then was passed down to Murphy in HRT's Kmart sister team.
Up to that point, Murphy had been battling with one of the older VX-model Commodores. Not that this stopped him from scoring results, including a podium at Phillip Island in the wet, and a race win at Barbagallo Raceway. Murphy's upgrade came at Oran Park, and though he started the race from the front row it was a problematic debut — finishing 11th with a car that needed a bit more testing and development.
By the time he and Kelly rocked up at the enduros, the VY was hooked up — finishing third at the Sandown 500 (a race it would've won had it not been for the rear wing popping off for no good reason during a pit stop), winning at Bathurst, and then nearly claiming the title.
By season's end, chassis HRT 043 was given spare-car status, before eventually being sold to a team in the Development Series. Thankfully (unlike many other Development Series cars) it avoided getting into any major accidents and being lost forever, and it was restored in time for Bathurst's 50th-year celebrations in 2012 where Murphy got to once again drive it up and down Mount Panorama.
Though, this time at a much more sedate pace.